A Hardware Store That Will Take You Back in Time
Dennis McEvoy and Bart Slutsky of Rogerson’s Hardware in Hudson NY are doing the herculean job of keeping a great old American hardware store alive, and they are doing it well.
Swimming against the stream is fraught with difficulty, but the five-story building that has housed Rogerson’s Hardware since 1830 is a testimony to McEvoy and Slutsky’s success. In this building there is an unprecedented inventory of rare locks, hinges and various hardware. There are also endless files, measuring tools, saw parts and so much more. By luck, love and commitment, the store and its stock are still going strong, weathering the tide of change levied by modern home centers and the online shopping culture of our time.
The store is in picturesque Hudson, NY, on Warren street, less than a mile from the Hudson river. Warren street is a great street to visit, with lots of antique stores, galleries and great food, but for me, Rogerson’s is the icing on the cake. I discovered the store four years ago while visiting Hudson for a wedding. I returned to it just a few months ago when I chaperoned our 6th grade class during the farm week we spent in Hawthorne Valley. If you like old world tools and hardware, this store is your Disneyland. The store has been here for more than 180 years! While its inventory has undoubtedly changed, there are good chances that you will find brand new items that were made a hundred years ago. The only challenge is that you’ll have to spend some time looking for it.
The store is only accessible through the street level, but the it has four more floors of inventory packed tightly on stacks of shelves and in bins. Bart was happy to take me on a short behind-the-scenes tour, and was very proud to invite me into the store’s metal shop on the second floor where he custom fabricates locks and other hardware that the store doesn’t carry and can’t order. While Bart works upstairs in the shop, Dennis is steering this mercantile ship from his in-store office on the street level. His office is packed with old catalogs, accounting ledgers and probably law books, as on top of running this joint, his second job is practicing law.
On my most recent visit to the store I was hoping to buy a hewing axe, but unfortunately they had run to of stock and since their loyalty is mainly with American made goods, Dennis sadly told me that the manufacturer they have been ordering from doesn’t make the axe anymore. Nevertheless, it was fun looking through the old catalogs and wash my eyes with amazing hand rendered illustrations of a bygone time.
Boxes upon boxes of files and rifflers.
Where they are found wanting in hewing axes they surely have the biggest inventory of files and riflers I have ever seen. Hundreds of boxes of all kinds of specialty files, and some rasps that this country used to produce when our manufacturing industry was in its prime. I couldn’t resist the temptation and bought a special and somehow expansive vixen file-rasp that I thought would be great on wood. I also bought frame saw tensioning rod’s by two different manufactures … I just couldn’t resist it.
If you happen to be passing by Hudson, NY, carve out an hour or two to visit this amazing oasis of Americana. While most of the items are for sale, a few are considered “Store Collection,” which Dennis will tell you he is not yet ready to part with. I also wanted to mention that the stock of woodworking tools has dwindled over the years. Yet, you can still expect to find a few gems upstairs or in the basement, like frame saws and their parts, stacked somewhere in the endless cache of shelves. It’s definitely worth inquiring if they still have that specific item you have been yearning to find all these years as both Dennis and Bart are happy to help, after all, they are truly passionate about hardware and tools.
I took many picture of the store including the upstairs caches, and built it into a five minute slideshow. Sit down and enjoy traveling back in time – 19th century here we come…