This summer I went to a sale at St. Luke’s United Church of Christ. They had delicious strawberry shortcake, and as I sat there enjoying my shortcake I thought of the church strawberry festivals I went to with my parents at the Haight House on North Street.
After I finished I walked down to 49 North St. I knocked on the door and the owner’s wife answered the door. I told her about visiting her home when the Haights had the Strawberry festival there. She took me around to the backyard and introduced me to her husband. He gave me a very interesting history lesson and told me Capt. George Brown Chase had built their home.
Capt. Chase bought 150 acres of the Casey Farm and built his home around 1830. Capt. Chase had been a whaler. Imagine the tales he told around the fireplace on long winter nights about his sea voyages to the south Pacific harpooning whales and the cruise he made to the coast of Japan.
I’m only going to mention a couple of the owners of this house and I already included his son George R. Chase, who framed part of the captain’s acreage and built his own home down the street.
Charles Chauncey Dwight bought the house in 1871 and expanded and changed it to what it is today. Charles was a Union Army officer, was the first district attorney and became a state Supreme Court judge.
Mildred Lucille Sherman Haight bought the house in 1944. Mildred was the wife of Lyndon A. Haight. He was the treasurer of Beacon Milling Co.
Mildred was a graduate of Syracuse University and as an educator had many positions in Syracuse and Auburn. Mildred was an artist and her art is represented in the permanent collection at Syracuse University.
Mildred wanted the house preserved and worked to have it placed on the city’s list of historic landmarks and her son carried out his mother’s wishes. The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2015.
A newspaper article “Whalemen of New England made Cayuga County Home” was written by David Tobin. This reading is available at the Cayuga County Historian’s office. I also found information at the Local History Discovery Center at the Seymour Library and Cayuga Community College Local History Room.
John R. St. Croix