COHOCTON — This important part of local history will be open once more to the public during the Cohocton Fall Foliage Festival Oct. 8 and 9.
The Davis House has stood for 205 years on the outskirts of the town. Daniel Davis, a lumber tycoon from Connecticut, came to Cohocton in the early 1800s. He built The Davis House in 1811 and owned most of the valley.
The home had a colorful history. An infamous Steuben County thief, Joseph Rosenkrans Jr., lived there. It was a Stagecoach, and may even have ties to the Underground Railroad.
The Davis House has been investigated several times by the Wayland Paranormal Group, and many people have experienced supernatural occurrences within the home.
The Towner family has had a rich history in this historic treasure.
Jane and Ron Towner had a gift shop in the 90s, before their son, Ryan, took over a few years ago. Ryan had an antique shop for about a year, before his wife, Meredith, suggested they turn it into an arts and wine store.
Ryan and Meredith Towner have restored this beloved home, and will be selling local art, wine, antiques, and woodwork. Wine tasting will be available.
“Most of the people that came in were on the wine trail,” Meredith Towner explained. “I am a nurse, and was looking for a change. I wanted to get The Davis House open and sell wine and antiques.”
Naples-native Meredith Towner grew up in the heartbeat of the wine trail community. A painting of the finger lakes is on the wall, Meredith said she wants to put a map there to indicate the wineries in the area.
Ryan Towner has made most of the items in the store. He has restored and created some tables, chairs, chests, light fixtures, wine racks, pianos, and much more.
Only two rooms will be used for the wine, one room will be a potential gathering place for musicians, and a few of the rooms are used for the antiques. There is a lot of space for storage, and Ryan’s workshop will be out back.
The process to make this dream come true was a long one, Meredith said it took them since February to get this far.
“I have always been into woodwork and building things,” Ryan Towner said. “I have gotten these antiques over the years from all over. I would bring them home and fix them up to sell.”
Meredith Towner wants to showcase the small wineries in the area. Wild Brute of Wayland is already on board.
“I want to have all New York State wines,” she said. “There are so many awesome wineries in this state. I want to focus on the small ones, and really treasure them in our area.”
The entire outside of the house has been stained and restored to its original look, and the inside has some lovely fresh color to it while still respecting the originality. Ryan and Meredith Towner with help from a couple friends have managed to breath new life into this old home.
“Everything is the same; except we had to replace the foundation,” Ryan Towner said. “The back corner of the home was in mid-air. The foundation was a bunch of rocks stacked up. We had to stain the entire outside. We did it all with hand brushes. The last time this house was painted was in the 1920s.”
Ryan Towner mentioned most people who have been stopping by are interested in the house’s history. It gives them a good opportunity to sell to a large tourist crowd.
“In the early 1900s they use to have a room that was used for jam sessions,” Ryan Towner said. “Once a month people would come to the house, and play music in the parlor. I would like to have that happen again. My wife and I are both musicians.”
“One guy had a lot of beautiful old hardware here, and the place was packed with it when I was cleaning it out,” Ryan Towner continued. “Everything was beat up, but I wanted to keep it. I wanted to do something with it. There are so many dressers that I turned many of them into wine racks.”
As the couple worked on the house they noticed the old nails that held the house together had never been changed in over 200 years. Ryan Towner found this to be very impressive.
“This is the second time this house has been nailed in 200 years,” he said. “They held on this whole time, and that is unbelieveable.”
Meredith Towner added that half of the community has come down to watch them.
“We get half of the town coming down to watch us,” she said. “They are glad this place is finally getting a facelift. We want to keep it as historic as possible.”
It will still take a few months to be up and running, but the couple wants to have everyone come and see their progress during the famous festival.
There are plenty of items on sale already, and the wine may be available by the end of the year. They accept cash and credit. It is located across from the Steuben County Highway Department on State Route 415.