You’ve seen this face before - longtime Beacon resident and business owner Fred Antalek. Fred was born in 1937 and still works for his family business, Antalek & Moore Insurance Agency, coming to work “faithfully to keep everyone in check.” On Saturday, March 9, 2019, he’ll be bundling up along with everyone else to serve for his first time as the Grand Marshal in Beacon’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade of Green.
To find out how Fred feels about being this year’s Grand Marshal, we reached out to his daughter, Susan Antalek Pagones, who now runs the business with her partner Vince Lemma and their team of staff members. “Fred is quite honored about being the Grand Marshal this year,” Susan replied. “People ask if he is Irish… LOL, he is actually from the Gallagher family, so don’t be fooled!”
Fred’s Fondest Memory of Beacon
Our Beacon elders are filled with fond and important memories. We asked Susan for one of Fred’s: “When Fred was 10 years old, he used to row around in a boat on the street behind Rite Aid,” Susan recalled. That street is also the location of Antalek & Moore’s current Beacon office. “This area was always flooded.”
Flooded? “Yes,” said Fred. “Matteawan Brook is what constantly overflowed. This brook caused major flooding to the back of what is now Rite Aid and the intersection of Church and South Chestnut Street.” Before Rite Aid, the location was the home of Schoonmaker’s.
Schoonmaker’s, which you may have heard references to in old stories, was one of the first department stores in Beacon. According to the Beacon Historical Society:
Schoonmaker's Department Store. Beacon had its first "modern" Department Store when Schoonmaker's opened its doors in the Christmas season of 1929. With "60 departments under one roof" (including "Toyland" in the basement), Schoonmaker's was the first stop for your Christmas shopping on Main Street. Later on, across the street at 341 Main, was the W.T. Grant store (Schoonmaker's biggest competitor), where you could even buy a live parakeet for Christmas! Like so many other good things in Beacon, Schoonmaker's and Grant’s were both gone by the late 1960s.
UPDATE 3/9/2019: Since first publishing this article, a reader wrote in with a picture of a map of Beacon from 1876 when it was known as Fishkill on the Hudson. The stream is also on the 1867 map we covered earlier. The reader, Air Nonken Rhodes, is on the Resources Committee for Beacon, a new committee that is currently compiling all known natural resources in Beacon. Residents who live in that area still experience some flooding, so we asked Air about the stream as it is today:
“They buried the stream circa 1910 - scavenger hunt to find the plaque in Memorial Park commemorating that! The stream-burying was done rather poorly. It was especially challenging since it was swampy ground all around what’s now Rite Aid. That’s a big part of why the center section of Main Street wasn’t developed sooner and more fully. So, flooded basements still today, and not many historic buildings along there.”
More Beacon Business Trivia
Family businesses run deep in Beacon. Fred used to have his office on East Main Street, where Tiko’s Hair is now. “I remember it well,” recalled Susan. “I used to slide along the floor, where the large picture window is. playing with my toys. His sister Mary Ann worked for him.” In the late ’70s/early ’80s, Fred moved to 308 Main Street, where the Darrow Brothers used to have their clothing store. When Fred merged with Pat Moore, the business moved to 340 Main Street, Antalek & Moore’s current location. Fred’s mother worked at Gallagher’s Market, the current location of BAJA.
Continuing in her father’s footsteps, Susan has recently closed on the purchase of their building. She is one of Beacon’s newest female building owners. She’s got her eyes fixed on a new project on their roof involving a light. “We are trying to get the ‘beacon’ light on the roof - look for it the next time you pass by. I think that might be neat to find out the history of that.”
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