Pritchard's Hardware & Cattaraugus, New York


Take a step back in time and slow the pace of your day. Take a trip to the village of Cattaraugus, New York. With over 20 of the "downtown" buildings listed on the Historic Register, your car tires echo the sound of the brick underneath as you drive back in time. Take in an extended look and you immediately realize this is no longer the hurried Twenty-first Century setting you just seemed to leave behind.  Now park your vehicle on those brick roads and wander through the little shops waiting. The Cattaraugus Area Historical Society offers a very attractive display in their window. The little library in this village is not to be overlooked. It is filled with good reading and many movies to check out for your enjoyment as well as access to the web for those of you not carrying your connection with you.  The deli/diner is enough to give one a chuckle and many a smile. You will find a "Big Red" school jacket on display accompanied by other fascinating ads and signs from the past.  The food in this little diner is "hometown cooking". It is aromatic and tasty.

While sitting in the diner, visitors from Las Vegas made the comment, " I do not need glitzy dining when visiting Cattaraugus County. Where could I get the setting of a 50s diner with locals chatting at a community table as they dine together. Meanwhile, I am sitting at a big table with family with a shelf of items for sale directly behind me. Where else can I enjoy a hamburger while someone grabs a roll of toilet paper off the shelf behind me?" That type of ambiance is difficult to duplicate anywhere.

The American Museum of Cutlery looks like an interesting visit. Walking down to the bank which looks a bit old fashioned.  We learn this bank was opened in 1882.  It is still just a local community bank. Turning the corner following the sidewalk and wandering on down the street we encounter another diner..

Pascarella's - entering the first thing that your eye is drawn to is the old-fashioned soda fountain counter (which unfortunately is no longer used).  Tables are nestled closely with the booths on the left as you walk inside. A beautiful tin ceiling is above and a player piano tucked into the far left corner. Every so often Ray will set one of the old tunes to playing, usually on someone's birthday.  A community table sits on the right (meaning three or four tables have been pushed together). Then as folks come in that are acquainted just pull out a chair and sit and chat as they eat.  It is similar to joining the family table at home. The food is delicious, with Ray making homemade soups, pasta sauce, bread and rolls, etc. The feisty waitresses that have been on staff for years add to the enjoyment.

When you leave Pascarella's you can continue to wander down to Heavenly Treasures. Quite a variety of gift selections are available with a Christian tone in an old time store setting..  Across the street is the Saving Grace Trading Post South which reaches out to help the community. On up the street is

Pritchard's Hardware

Pritchard's Hardware has been serving the public for over 50 years and before this building carried the name Pritchard's it served as a hardware store with a different name. Window displays are always interesting. Opening the door and walking in you hear the creak of the wooden floors where hundreds of others have walked. Hardware items of all types are available, no not in the quantity of the big box stores, but ask and you may find what you are looking for and more.  The bins and displays reflect the earlier era of hometown shopping.

Like most old stores in the villages, this building served as a hardware while entering the stairway through the right on the outer door led you up to the ballroom. Dancing was a favorite pastime in the late 1800 -1900 era.  Downstairs in the basement was nestled a two-lane bowling alley, which was still in operation in the 1950s and utilized human pin-setters.  The automated machinery to set the bowling pins was purchased but never installed.  The bowling lanes still exist in the basement.