C.H. Cutting and Company

Twenty year old Charles H. Cutting formed a partnership with J.W. Silsby resulting in a men’s wholesale-retail clothing store which would last for 89 years. The C.H. Cutting Company opened in a modest building on State Street in 1870. Within a few years the enterprise was so successful the store was moved into the newly built Martin Block on the corner of Main and State Streets. Almost from the time they moved, the area became known as “Cutting’s Corner.” Silsby retired soon after the first store opened in 1871. 

The Cutting store occupied half of the building’s ground floor. The other half held McGraw and Tatro’s which catered to women’s clothing. Both enterprises flourished through the Great Depression, two World Wars, and four floods. 

The Cutting Company catered to a male clientele with only high-grade merchandise. There was a children’s department at the rear of the establishment. It could be reached by walking through the store from the Main St. entrance or from State St. The children’s section was administered by an affable woman, Kate Curley, who was a clerk there for most of her working life. This department was also an agency for the Boy Scouts of America’s uniforms and accessories. 

The Cutting store had no cash registers. Money and sales slips were sent to the office using an elaborate overhead trolley system. Change was returned to the customers on the return trip. In charge of the receipts was the firm’s longtime bookkeeper, Kate Clancy. 

The North Adams store observed its anniversaries regularly: at first every ten years until its Golden Anniversary in 1920. This occasion was cause for an elaborate banquet. After the fiftieth, there were celebrations every five years until its 75th in 1945.

One thing can be said about Cutting’s, all of the employees were long-term. Clayton M. Ottman completed 60 years of clerking there in 1946. Others besides Miss Curley, Miss Clancy were John Alexander, James Haggerty and Lawrence (Larry) Granger.

In 1959--with its aging staff looking towards retirement along with its owners, the decision was made to sell the business after 89 years. The sale was completed in July to the W. G. Roberts Company whose president was Timothy F. Breen. The new owners took possession in August. In another decade the business would move to a new building down Main St. and the Martin block would fall to the urban renewal wrecking ball. 

Adapted from a story for the North Adams Historical Society.