Shinglehouse has been home to Indians at various times for centuries. Located at the confluence of the Oswayo River and Honeoye Creek, which is the headwaters to the navigable Ohio River, it was an important place to the Indians by water.
Early settlers of this area mention a circular embankment or fortification of earth in what is now the Assembly Park, but there is no trace left of it these days. Small camp and village sites containing many relics have been found along the high banks of the Honeoye Creek. This area once was Seneca country.
In 1767, David Zeisberger, a Moravian missionary, desired to reach the Ohio country to preach the Gospel to the Indians. He followed a trail taken by Post and Hayes, which they had traveled seven years before. The trail traveled through Canisteo, Genesee, and crossed near Shongo.
From there he traveled the highlands to the present site of Shinglehouse, and on down the river to a Seneca town called Tiozinossongachta, near Cold Spring.
Zeisberger was the first white man to set foot in what is now Shinglehouse.
This area was purchased from the Indians at Fort Stanwix in 1784; the transaction was signed by the six tribes of the Iroquois, Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Seneca’s, Cayuga’s, and the Tuscarora’s. The sum of $10,010 was paid to the Indians, who were allowed hunting rights for 20 years.
These lands were opened for settlement in 1785. The warrant, on which our village is located, was purchased by a Frenchman, Louis D’Aubigney, and was recorded as a taxpayer in Sharon Township in 1832, but he never settled here.
A Frenchman named M. Generet (pronounced Jandray) built the first house in 1806, just outside of our borough across the Mckean County Line. From this log cabin, covered with Shingles and nestled among the huge pine trees, our village received its name. Jander’s Run, a small tributary entering the Oswayo River from the south, is named after him in a corrupted form.It is assumed that M. Gneret may have been a deserter from the French Army.
In the 1830’s, pine lumbering was very prominent in this area, being one of the first industries to Shinglehouse. The mid 1800’s and the early 1900’s also brought many hotels to the borough, many small businesses were also present including a jewelry store, a furniture store, general merchandise store ,a hardware store, a meat market, a drug store, a bank, a theater, and a wagon and buggy shop, and a gas company. A grist mill was built in 1875 on the upper end of Oswayo St. Many gas and oil wells were also being drilled; the first gas well was drilled in 1886. Many of theses gas wells were used to supply the Palmer Window Glass Plant. In 1900 the New York and Pennsylvania Railroad came to town, where it joined the Pittsburgh, Shawmut and Northern Railroad. The First passenger train arrived in Shinglehouse on Monday, October 29, 1900. In 1901 The Palmer Window Glass Company (South Mill St. area) was built in 1901, and employed many of the area residents until its closer in 1921. This was the largest industry ever to operate in Shinglehouse. The Elk Flint Bottle Company (Second St. Area) started operation in 1904, and closed in 1919. In 1916, a silk mill opened (North Mill St. area) and a weaving mill (the old Elk Flint Bottle Company Building), and went bankrupt in 1930 forcing it to close. In 1913 a trolley system was established from Shinglehouse to Olean, NY. A water works (gravity system), a sewage system, and a hose company was also in place during this time frame, and was stated that Shinglehouse was an extremely healthy place to live.
In 1880, Miss Myrtle Meriwether, a gift shop owner of Shinglehouse became famous as the first crowned Miss America. At that time she was called Miss United States. Her prize was a gilded plaque and a complete bridal outfit. The day after the competition she sold her bridal outfit for half the price, to pay for her bills while at the competition and then returned home to Shinglehouse.
In 1871, Fielder A. Jones was born in Shinglehouse. He started his baseball career with the team from Shinglehouse and a team in Bolivar, NY. He started professionally playing with the team from Corning, NY and a team in Springfield, MA. For five years he played as a catcher and an outfielder in the National League with the Brooklyn Dodgers. In 1900, he moved and played three years for the Chicago White Sox. In 1903, he took on position as manager for the White Sox team. During his 5 years of management, the team won two league pennants and the 1906 World Championship. Fielder was classed as one of the greatest managers of all times.
On Monday, March 3, 1902 a charter of incorporation was granted and Shinglehouse became a borough.
In the 1920’s the Shinglehouse Borough took over the old Honeoye Valley Temperance Assembly area which was formed in 1907. This area was used by the assembly to meet yearly during the last week of August until their objective of Prohibition was met. The families would stay in this area for a week time frame while they conducted their meetings. From the time the borough took the park till current, the park is known as Assembly Park.
Currently Shinglehouse Borough has no industry in town, and has become a mostly residential town with a population of roughly 1250 residents. The borough is a very quiet place to live. Shinglehouse has gone through many changes, but there are still areas visible, if you look hard enough, that are a reminder of the days when our borough was a booming town.