Our History

History

It was originally a two story building, this little store in the center of town. Water damage destroyed the lower level, so it was removed, and the upper floor lowered to the first floor level. Phew! That must have been a trick.

In the 1940s, the Cobweb House next door had Texaco gas pumps for locals and travelers. In 1946, Ellsworth Russell opened the store and the gas pumps and the post office came on over too. The store quickly became the favorite meeting place. The Eaton post office remains here today.

About 1950, the Robert and Mary French became owners of the store, building the little red house on the opposite side of the road as well as several small guest cabins. They rented the store to the Meloons, who began operating it in 1951 (Mrs. Meloon was Babe Ruth’s adopted daughter) and continued to do so until fall of 1955. After their departure, the Kay and Gus

Rickert entered the picture, building the living quarters on the north side of the store. In 1962, Kay Rickert (1909 – 1979) became postmistress and Gus departed for other adventures.

Subsequent owners included the Kellys, the Lane, and the Masons until the early 2000s when the Eaton Village Preservation Society was formed with the specific purpose of purchasing the store and revitalizing it. Successful in raising adequate funds, the EVPS gained ownership of the store and numerous townspeople contributed labor and expertise to restore the building. New operators were contracted to run the business and lunch counter, and to continue to oversee the operation of the post office. They were even successful in enticing Phil Kelly, who had owned the store previously, to return. A sparky lad with a bit of the Irish in him, Phil had some fun stories, a great laugh, and a penchant for vintage postcards of the entire Mt. Washington Valley. He was well loved and continued operating the business until his retirement in 2012.

This photo was taken in the mid 1940’s, a postcard saying “Main Street, Eaton Center NH” by “AH”.
Ellsworth Russell gassing up the Rockhouse Farm vehicle. Fred Johnson and Merton DeWitt are on the steps. Photo by John Edge, Sr., in May 1949. (Courtesy Bob Barker & Tim Ostendorf)
Don and Edith Dashnau with proprieter, Phil Kelly
Cobweb House from 1890s postcard