Photograph From 1873--1883
---Plans have been substantially completed for the new block which Col. Hooker will erect the coming season on the site of the old Fisk block. That portion of the old block which is still standing will be vacated by its tenants the coming week, F. K. Barrows removing his goods to the room opposite the post office, and Ratté, the barber, moving to Judge's building, probably. E. E. Stockwell will then make short work of the removal of the building, and work on the foundation of the new one will begin at once. The new building will be 120 x 60 feet, of brick, and three stories high. The front of the lower story, which will contain six stores, will be of plate glass and iron. The front of the other two stories will be of pressed brick, laid in red mortar, and trimmed with colored tiles. The window sills and caps will be of brownstone. The entrance for the upper stories will be in the centre in front. J. D. Plummer & Son have the contract for the entire construction of the building, including the furnishing of the plans. Their plans, as now drawn, contemplate a tenement flat on each end of the new building on both the second and third floors, and four offices in front and four in the rear on each floor. These plans, however, are subject to change as the necessities of tenants may require. Plummer & Son will do the mason work and Harris & Butterfield the carpenter work. The stores are to be ready for occupation from the first to the middle of September.
We are glad to know that W. E. Ryther of Bernardston has had plans drawn by G. A. Hines for a new building to take the place of his old arcade. Mr. Ryther's active live was intimately associated with Brattleboro's affairs, and it would undoubtedly be a satisfaction to him as it would be to all his old friends here, to see a good building go up on his property as the monument of his declining years. The erection of such a building would close the entire gap between The Phoenix office and the Vermont Savings bank, and we hope Mr. Ryther may see his way clear to go on with the work.
Vermont Phoenix, March 21, 1884.
---The glory of "Ryther's arcade" has departed. Since Tuesday crowbar and pick and ax have been busy upon it, and by the end of this week the old landmark will exist only in fond (?) memory. It will be difficult to make the generation which now rides in baby wagons understand what a funny looking little old building it was amid its pretentious surroundings of brick and stone. Reliable local authority says it was built in 1808 by Sam Parker, a man who died in Hinsdale only a few years ago, and was occupied by him as a harness shop and dwelling. Since then it has been used for all sorts of purposes, sometimes as a dwelling, but for the last half century always for business uses. The process of demolition has shown that the original entrance was by a door in the centre, the large front windows and double entrance being innovations of modern times. On the north side were marks showing where sheds and outbuildings were doubtless once attached.
Vermont Phoenix, April 18, 1884.
---If some one of the "oldest inhabitants" can give an authentic history of the old arcade building, which has become a thing of the past, he would do a public service by letting us have the facts to put on record, for as a landmark the old building has an historical interest both in the present and future. The best information that we have obtained indicates that, as stated last week, the late Sam Parker built the old house, and he once told Mr. Ryther that the timber for it "came from West Brattleboro." The demolition of the building revealed the fact, known to but few people, that in the cellar was the bottom of an old chimney stack, with fire-place and brick oven, standing intact, and with unmistakable marks of the untold quantities of wood which had been burned there in the olden time. Here it was that the family of "Nigger Bradshaw" lived 40 years ago, while Bradshaw kept his barber shop and saloon on the floor above. To this spot the 50-year-old boys of the present day look back with a fond memory of the ice-cream and other delicacies which then for the first time tickled and delighted their boyish palates. It would be interesting to know how much lower than the street's level this basement living room was then the house was built. The street is now some ten feet higher than the bottom of the old fire-place.
Vermont Phoenix, April 25, 1884.
In this village, on Friday the 24th ult., Mr. Andrew Bradshaw, aged 48 years, a very worthy citizen who had lived in this place twenty years.
Andrew Bradshaw bought the premises for his barber shop and the saloon for his wife Phoebe on July 1, 1834. Phoebe Bradshaw was famous locally for her cookery. After the death of Andrew on November 24, 1843, Phoebe saw the marriage of her daughter Susannah Bixby Bradshaw to Charles Balfour of Montego Bay, Island of Jamaica, conducted by the Rev. J. C. Foster on February 15, 1844. Phoebe sold her property to William E. Ryther, the editor of the Vermont Phoenix.
Shortly after moving to Brattleboro in 1823, Phoebe Bradshaw opened a restaurant in a small wooden building on Main Street that served as home and workplace for herself and her husband, Andrew, who set up his barber shop there.
Phoebe Bradshaw's dining room was overwhelmed by her 13½-foot-long table. Her tableware included one dozen large plates, two dozen small plates, six glass tumblers and a dozen wine glasses. The Bradshaws were the only blacks in town for quite a while, but they were well-received by local townspeople who "liberally patronized" the restaurant, the first in town to serve ice cream.
Andrew Bradshaw died in 1843 and was buried in Prospect Hill Cemetery. After her daughter, Susannah, was married in Brattleboro the following year, Phoebe Bradshaw moved with the couple to Boston.
Brattleboro Reformer, February 10, 1994.
Extract from "Black Women in Early Brattleboro Competed with Irish Poor for Jobs", by Anne Dempsey.
This article is one of a series of five, published in the Reformer for February 7, 1994 (page 12), February 8, 1994 (page 7), February 8, 1994 (page 16), February 10, 1994 (page 11), and February 11, 1994 (page 7), concerning black citizens in early Brattleboro. There is an impressive array of enjoyable research here.