Mike Chuttey was born in Centralia PA in 1905 to Jacob and Mary. Shortly after, the family moved to Auburn and then finally settling in Throop. (If you don't know about Centralia, click the link) Around 1922 or 1925, Mike became a signalman on the New York Central RR. He died in1958 at the age of 53, still working for the railroad.
His work station was east in the Albany area, so he commuted each week. It is likely that he was able to hitch a ride on the trains, catching them at the station in Port Byron. (Port Byron had stations both on the West Shore and the NYC mainline. The West Shore was owned by the NYC.) At first, accroding to family lore, he may have been taking the Auburn and Northern Trolley from Throop to Port Byron, but when the line went out of business in 1930, we don't know what he did. Likely there was a bus route. He and his wife are mentioned quite a number of times as visiting people in Port Byron, so he had some knowledge of the village.
Sometime after 1931, Mike used the backside of one of his NYC waybills to draw a map of downtown Port Byron. The big question is why he drew the map. Was he showing someone something, much like we sketch out a map on an piece of paper; or was he just doodling? You can see that he carefully named all the stores on the west side of Main Street, but none on the east side. He leaves out the two large hotels and the mincemeat plant, but includes the location of a fire hydrant on Pine Street. He also notes where the nearest hospital is (Auburn), all the churches, and the auto repair shops.
What made me say wow was how Mike noted the location of the Main Street Garage and Ware's Garage. You might recall from a previous post that the Main Street Garage is a bit of a mystery. We cannot place where the first garage was located, and I am not sure if the location noted here solves that mystery. But we do know that Ware sold the business and opened another and this map shows that. We did not know until now that he had a garage in one of the old canal warehouses.
We also don't know if Mike Chuttey was trying to draw out what was at the time, or what used to be. Perhaps he drew this in 1940 attempting to recall what the village was like in 1920. You see how the map raises more questions then it answers.
Here is a newspaper ad from 1932 that ran in the Chronicle. Remember that this is during the height of the depression, so getting people to shop was key. (also remember that you can click on the image and it will get bigger) It is fun to see what you use to be able to purchase in Port Byron.
In the end, Mike Chuttey placed the map in one of his railroad books. Years later, his grandson Brian found it. He has donated it to the Historical Society. For this, we thank both the Grandfather for drawing the map, and Grandson for the gift.