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Louis Goulett's Store (1903)

Welcome back, Monroe history lovers. This week’s history takes us up to Stevenson once again, specifically to the house at the sharp bend in the road at 278 Cottage Street. For those of you who follow Monroe history closely, you’ll likely know this property as the former Burr & Twist Store, and although that’s certainly true, owners George Burr and Edward Twist represent the second chapter in the store’s history. Today, we’re going to discover the store’s origins. So, let’s go shopping for some Stevenson history then.

It all starts with a hard-working immigrant from New Brunswick, Canada, named Louis Stephen Goulett - rhymes with roulette! Louis was born in 1866, immigrated to America in 1887, became Stevenson’s first railroad stationmaster in 1890, married Ella Bradley from Newtown in 1893 and officially became a naturalized American citizen in 1894. To say Louis was industrious would be an understatement. He was one of the hardest working men of his day, and if there was an opportunity to be had, Louis had a natural gift for being in the right place at the right time.

In 1897, Louis was appointed as Stevenson’s postmaster, the post office being conveniently located within the train station. He was now spending so much time at the station that he decided to move his family into the living quarters on the upper floor. He also opened a small grocery store on the main level of the station. Business was so bountiful that he was inspired to build a larger dedicated store and tenement house across the tracks to the south. The contract for the job was awarded to East Village resident Warren W. Bliss, the same talented carpenter who built the tower and belfry on the East Village Church in 1909. Bliss was eventually voted in as one of Monroe’s most popular first selectmen.

The L. Goulett Store was completed and officially opened in November of 1903, and was an immediate success, offering the locals in Stevenson, Newtown, and Oxford the finest selection of groceries and butchered local meats. It seemed as though nothing could possibly go wrong, but then, in 1905, tragedy struck when the original railroad station and depot burned to the ground, the result of a chimney fire. The former Monroe Station, located near Hammertown Road was disassembled and its pieces moved by rail to Stevenson for reassembly. Louis Goulett was awarded the contract to build the new foundation for the relocated building and the Stevenson station was soon back in business.

Today’s vintage Fred Sherman photograph shows the L. Goulett store in 1907. The new railroad station relocated from Hammertown is seen across the tracks to the north. Posing atop the store’s deck is Goulett’s oldest son Paul and his little buckaroo brother named Wilfred. At the boys’ feet is the family’s beloved Saint Bernard named Nero. And, if you look closely, you can just barely see mother Ella discretely joining in the event from behind the store’s windowpane.

It seemed as though Louis Goulett was the King of Stevenson in his day, but all that changed when he unexpectedly took ill and passed away in 1910. This was a devastating blow to the family of course, but they carried on as best they could with Louis’ numerous business endeavors, his widow Ella even being officially appointed as Stevenson’s postmistress in his absence. But, with Louis no longer at the helm, the family eventually decided to sell the business to Burr & Twist. Ella Goulett continued to live in Stevenson and passed away in 1945. She and Louis are now together in eternity, buried with family within the Bradleyville Cemetery on Bradley Lane in neighboring Newtown.

I hope you enjoy this week’s historic spotlight on Louis Goulett and his family’s history in Stevenson. It’s hard to imagine today just how active this area of town once was when the railroad was in its heyday. Please share this post with your family and friends, and as always, thank you for your continued support and interest in Monroe’s rich history. Until next time. Be sure to look both ways when crossing the tracks to go shopping!


Kevin Daly
Historian, Monroe Historical Society
Our Past is Always Present

1 - Goulett Store 1907.jpg
2 - Cottage Street.JPG
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