Josiah Benjamin Clouser was living in Pennsylvania with his wife and two children. When his wife’s health began to fail, doctors recommended that she move to a warmer weather state to recuperate (a standard medical suggestion at the time). Being a carpenter by trade and seeing an advertisement by Longwood founder Edward Henck that they needed a master builder, he answered the call.
In 1880 the family relocated to Longwood. Upon arriving, Clouser found the house provided to him was infested with fleas. He was disgusted and refused to stay in it after the first night. Hastily, Clouser built this temporary home for his family on Church Street, using any spare lumber he could salvage. They lived in it for three years until he could construct their more permanent home, the Clouser House, just behind this one on Warren Avenue.
Josiah Clouser became a prominent citizen and well-known builder throughout the area. He contributed to the construction and handiwork of many of the homes in Longwood and surrounding towns.
After the family moved into their new house on Warren Avenue, their former home became Longwood’s first schoolhouse. Later they used the cottage as an animal shed, storage space, and for rental income.
Elena Amelia and Garland Henry Shaw lived in the home from the 1940s through the 1970s. The high school sweethearts (Lyman) raised their family there and in later years operated a gift shop from the home. Garland died in 1972, but Elena lived all the way to 103 years old–passing in 2019. It became known as the Shaw Cottage for years.
By the 1980s, this home had fallen into terrible shape. To save it from demotion, Longwood Historical Society members John and Fred Bistline, Josiah Clouser’s great-grandchildren, purchased it and fixed it back up in the 1990s. It was opened as a gift and country furnishings shop, the Apple Basket. The building was shifted slightly to the west of its original spot to make room for parking spaces to its left. Today it hosts a small retail business called Ruby Sun Gifts, previously the Craft Shack.
It is a simple vertical wood paneling construction, typical of the style for basic pioneer homes from the era.