Hamden’s oldest continuous business keeps moving along and providing great service to Hamden Residents and the region. Eastern Fuel has been around for 130 years. Its current President is Howie Hoyt who recently celebrated his 50th anniversary at this iconic business.
Howard Hoyt reflects… “As a kid, I loaded firewood into car trunks. In my early teens I loaded firewood and coal on trucks and rode along for delivery. Throughout I spent many Saturdays riding along with my dad delivering heating oil to Hamden area homes. At 18, by the day after high school graduation I was driving my own oil truck. By the time my parents retired my brother and I were growing the company from a few hundred homes to a few thousand. My kids run it now, and their kids will get their chance, because we all learned the family motto early on, always warm and personal. Our customers are generational as well, and with their help we'll be around for another 130 years. Thank you Hamden.“
Around since the early part of the Gilded Age, Eastern Fuel has survived despite several wars and many turns in the local and world economy.
In the 1880's the fledgling Southern New England Telephone Company was growing rapidly, and with property owners objecting to telephone wires being attached to their trees and buildings, good poles had to be found. Frederick W. Dickerman's father had a grove of chestnut trees on his farm in Mt Carmel, and after the Blizzard of 1888 Fred realized that the tall, straight, strong and lighter-than-oak chestnut would make the best new-fangled telephone poles. Quickly selling off much of the grove, he set about to contract buying many other groves of chestnut from local farmers and rural landowners throughout the county. By 1890 this business, coupled with a sawmill, became Affiliated Wood Dealers. Less than two decades later the Chestnut Blight wiped out almost all chestnut trees in the state, and with them his telephone pole business. This led him to expand his firewood sales and lumber sales. After the Great War he backed two of his sons who separately added kerosene and gasoline and in the late 1920's home heating oil. Howard operated Mt. Carmel Fuels and Fremont established Giant Valley Fuels.
In the early 1930's Howard Dickerman's Mt. Carmel Fuels expanded briefly adding Chevrolet auto sales and service, but by the late 30's the heating fuels customer base grew and the name Eastern Fuel Corporation was more apt. During WWII's shortages a Feed and Grain store was added, and after the war Howard's daughter Vivian and her husband Elwood Hoyt came on board. In the late 70's their two sons took charge, with Howie (who celebrated his 50th anniversary with Eastern Fuel on June 17th) and Woody Hoyt as President and Treasurer respectively. In 1980 they happily returned Giant Valley Fuels to Dickerman family ownership.
Today Eastern Fuel is a leader in heating oil supply and services as well as providing services in the air conditioning industry. It is operated by the team of Howie's daughter Jackie, her husband Cameron Condon, and her brother Jonathan Dickerman Hoyt. And once the Covid situation eases, for those who like to stop by the office, Vivian, Evelyn and Grant Condon, when not in school, are quickly learning the ropes.