A step into the Carriage House is like a step back in time...
Carriage House Creations was conceptualized and named for the 100+ year old carriage house on the back of the property of David and Louise Christofor. The carriage house is located at 544 Gordon Alley, and the gift shoppe, as of September, 2007, s located at 545 E Main St. Reynoldsville, PA. Their plan included the restoration/ renovation of the carriage house to be used as a retail shop for the unique line of gourmet jams, jellies, butters, and sauces produced in the commercial kitchen on site. They "grew out of" the retail shop in the carriage house, and had to relocate the retail shop to their Main Street home.
The carriage house and home were built in 1876, and part of the original Reynolds Tract.. Both the home and the carriage house are traditional Victorian in style and design. After the home was built, a wooden sidewalk was added, until 1904 when an ordinance was invoked prohibiting wooden sidewalks. The Christofors are the third family to live in this home. One of the home's unique features is the elevator (The Elevette) added in 1952. The brass bird-cage style elevator is operational and used today between the first and second floor.
The wooden sidewalk is gone, as are the horse and carriage. But, the carriage house exists, and not as a horse barn. In 1999, the Christofors renovated the carriage house, as well as the garage (or barn as it is known) which was added in 1979. The inside of the carriage house, as well as the outside, has been renovated to include current amenities (central air conditioning/heating, running water, track lighting, and a new sound system) while retaining some of the old charm: open ceiling beams with hundreds of baskets hanging from them, original plank floor (sanded, sealed, and finished to hopefully last another 100+ years), fireplace front and hearth of old Reynoldsville Paver brick (with a few pieces of period china and glassware from France and England that includes an authentic mustache cup, and glass bottle with "patent pending 1855" incorporated into the brickwork) with the mantel a piece of the original foundation beam, and plank walls deemed to be in good condition were scrubbed and sealed to accentuate the wood's patina under the track lighting. The china and glassware were found in the dirt under the carriage house when the new foundation was poured. The "barn" was renovated to include the installation of a commercial kitchen in the loft where Carriage House Creations products are produced. A "front" porch was built for the entrance to the carriage house, that during summer months, is used as the Carriage Cafe` for the weekend gourmet coffee and muffin service.
In 2007, more room was needed for production, so the decision was made to make the whole carriage house production and office space (544 Gordon Alley). The dilemna was: where to put the retail shop? The most likely alternative was to relocate the retail portion of Carriage House Creations to the first floor of the family home at 545 East Main Street. Of course, that meant downsizing the family living quarters to the second floor of the home, which was no easy task. The ribbon cutting was held September 11, 2007, with approximately 150 persons attending. The retail shop flourished in the old Victorian home, but when the decision to include wine was made, it again meant renovations. French doors have been added to the parlor (which is the wine area of the home). A ribbon cutting to celebrate the collaboration with Laurel Mountain Vineyard was held on October 1, 2008.
Additional historic notes:
- At left is a picture of Rosannah Ruth Corbett and Sarah Prescott Corbett with their horses in front of the carriage house. The dating of the picture is unknown. Sarah Prescott Corbett married Charles Dinger who was the owner of Reynoldsville Hardware and Furniture. Rosannah Ruth (known as Ruth) married John Graham.
- Below, are the original owners of the home: John H. Corbett and his wife, Isabella Barnard Corbett in the parlor. The parlor is where my Husband, David and I renewed our wedding vows in celebration of our 25th wedding anniversary. The 2 pictures at left were provided courtesy of Sally Barnard Daggett.
- Found hanging in the carriage house are period tools used in the installation of roofing tiles, horseshoe hooks, and a wooden level. One of the work areas in the carriage house, made of "wormy" chestnut, was made from an old bench found in the third floor loft of the carriage house.
- A college hazing paddle, dating back to 1929, hangs on the carriage house wall.
- Found behind a pull-out flour bin in the pantry of the main house were newspapers from the 1950s and 1970s, but most notably, copies of the Young Peoples Weekly, vol. XLII, Number 40, dated October 6, 1928; and The Girl's Companion, Vol. XXVII, Number 40, also dated October 6, 1928.
- The Christofors have in their possession, architectural drawings for the alteration of the main house, dated September 26, 1924, by G. Edwin Jackson of Utica, New York (found in the original mailing tube), from VanLeer Brother's Lumber, Brookville, PA, to the Wood-work Supply Co. of Reynoldsville, PA.
- The Christofors also have possession of copies of deeds dating back to the year 1872, and a historical picture of the main house and the carriage house, as shown in the upper right hand corner of this page.