Story by Lon Tytell
When John Fischer was renovating and preparing Fischer’s Auto Repair, located at 21 Spring St. in the Village of Warwick, to open on June 4, 1998, he found interesting artifacts in the walls of the building.
Some of the items he found were a milk bottle from the Warwick Valley Milk Association, a piece of mail postmarked from 1899 addressed to Harvey Whiting Richardson postmarked from Detroit, a Warwick Hand and Laundry Steam Laundry Poster, a fireworks catalog from 1899, an empty wallet and ink bottles. This peaked Fischer’s interest in the history of the building.
With the help of Jennifer O’Connor, editor of the Warwick Valley Dispatch who found information on the Albert Wisner Public Library website and an article written by Jennie Sweeton a writer for the Warwick Valley Dispatch, who received information from Town and Village historian Florence Tate, the early history of the current Fischer building was revealed.
History of the Fischer Auto Building
Harvey Whiting Richardson was born on July 14, 1840 and moved to Warwick in 1868 opening the Warwick Foundry & Machine Shop in August of the same year in the building now owned by Fischer. In 1871, the firm is listed as being located on the corner of Spring St. and McEwen St. in the Village of Warwick.
It was Warwick’s only machine shop for many years. Richardson repaired machinery of all kinds such as steam engines, boilers, and steam cylinders for locomotives. He also sharpened lawn mowers. The steam engines built by Richardson were used for steam boats on Greenwood Lake and the Hudson River. Richardson also made equipment for creameries – an ad in the Warwick Valley Dispatch in the fall of 1892 mentions that Richardson also sold sweet cider. In the fall of 1916 Richardson sold the building to the Warwick Valley Telephone Company.
The Warwick Dairy later occupied the building. The Deming Family also operated a milk store on the premises. When John Fischer renovated the building prior to its opening, he chose red barn paint to honor the dairy farm business that once brought their milk to the building. New concrete floor with radiant heat, all new plumbing and electric, a Hunter Hawkeye Alignment System, updated diagnostic equipment and lifts were added to accommodate the maintenance of foreign and domestic cars.
About Fischer’s Auto Repair
Fischer’s Auto Repair was recognized by the Warwick Valley Chamber of Commerce for the Outstanding Building Renovation of the Year on November 16, 2000. Fischer’s Auto Repair also was the recipient of the Warwick in Bloom Community Beatification Award on August 24, 2007.
“We treat all our customers as friends and family,” said Fischer.
Fischer’s Auto Repair is open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and specializes in general automotive repair on foreign and domestic cars, electronic diagnosis, air conditioning, brakes and tune-ups. For more information visit www.fischersautorepair.com.
If anyone has any knowledge about Richardson’s Civil War involvement or any other additional information about Richardson contact John Fischer by calling 986-8100.