Hotel Lenhart, Neckers Co. General Store added to state registry | News, Sports, Jobs

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Submitted Photos Above, pictured are state Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, R-Jamestown; state sen. George Borrello, R-Sunset Bay; Travis Heiser, Clymer town supervisor; Barry and Kathy Neckers and Hannah Bryerton. Pictured below are state Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, R-Jamestown; state sen. George Borrello, R-Sunset Bay; Chautauqua County Legislator Pierre Chagnon, R-Bemus Point and chairman of the legislature; Larry Anderson, Ellery Township Supervisor, and Barbara Johnston, John Johnston and Deborah Johnston.

Two longtime Chautauqua County businesses have been added to a registry that includes some of New York’s longest-tenured companies.

Assemblyman Andy Goodell, R-Jamestown, and State George Borrello, R-Sunset Bay, presented New York State Historic Business Awards to the Hotel Lenhart in Bemus Point and Neckers Company General Store in Clymer for their induction into the state’s Historic Business Preservation Register to celebrate

Established by legislation passed in 2020 and newly launched this spring, the Historic Business Register includes businesses that have been in business for at least 50 years and have contributed to their communities’ history.

Goodell nominated the Hotel Lenhart and Neckers Company General Store to the registry, in recognition of their role in helping shape the history, heritage and identity of Chautauqua County.

Hotel Lenhart, overlooking beautiful Bemus Bay on Chautauqua Lake and now in the fourth generation of family ownership, was built in 1881 by Dr. JJ Lenhart and his wife, the former Dora Baldwin.

Submitted Photos Above, pictured are state Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, R-Jamestown; state sen. George Borrello, R-Sunset Bay; Travis Heiser, Clymer town supervisor; Barry and Kathy Neckers and Hannah Bryerton. Pictured below are state Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, R-Jamestown; state sen. George Borrello, R-Sunset Bay; Chautauqua County Legislator Pierre Chagnon, R-Bemus Point and chairman of the legislature; Larry Anderson, Ellery Township Supervisor, and Barbara Johnston, John Johnston and Deborah Johnston.

The present hotel, rebuilt after a fire in 1891, has a main floor and three upper sleeping floors, with a total of fifty-three rooms. Of particular note is the 185-foot wrap-around veranda, which offers spectacular views of the sunsets over Bemus Bay. Other amenities include a cocktail lounge, full dining room and live entertainment. Owners were John and Barbara Johnston, later generation members of the Lenhart family, before selling the business recently.

“Generations of residents and tourists have enjoyed rocking on the famous porch and all the other amenities the hotel has to offer,” Goodell said. “This gem of Chautauqua Lake deserves this honor.”

Sen. Borrello said the hotel is woven into the history of Chautauqua County.

“The Hotel Lenhart dates back to Chautauqua Lake’s resort hotel and steamship era,” Borrello said. “It helped make Chautauqua Lake a major tourist destination. For 142 years, visitors from across the country and around the world have stayed at the hotel and enjoyed the views from its veranda. The Hotel Lenhart has certainly earned its place among our state’s historic hoteliers.”

Neckers Company General Store in Clymer was founded by John H. Neckers and Ed Neckers. The store opened in 1910 at its current location. Groceries, dry goods, boots, shoes, kerosene and wallpaper were among the items for sale. By 1947 the business was in the hands of Delbert and Bernice Neckers. After Delbert died in 1949, Bernice and her three sons ran it until her death in 1958.

Her grandson, Barry Neckers and his wife, Kathy Neckers, carry on the family tradition. They are the fourth generation of Neckers to serve Clymer and nearby communities. Today, the business sells groceries, fresh cut meats, made-to-order pizzas and subs, home decor, shoes, boots, clothing, and more.

“Many generations have grown up shopping at Neckers and enjoy their family style customer service and excellent products. It is a pleasure to honor and recognize this multi-generational local business,” Goodell said.

Sen. Borrello said Necker’s longevity is a testament to how valued and appreciated the business is in the community.

“Small businesses are the beating heart of our town centers and our communities,” Borrello said. “Neckers’ success is based on the relationships they have built with their customers and their reputation for always putting their customers first. This honor is certainly well-deserved.”

The honors program, which provides educational and promotional assistance to ensure that businesses in the state remain viable, is coordinated by the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP). An interactive storyboard map, which provides information about the location and history of each business, can be found on the agency’s website parks.ny.gov/historic-preservation/business-registry/default.aspx.


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