January 2007
Artifacts and Fiction

Montgomery Historical Society Newsletter
P.O. Box 47
Montgomery, VT 05470

e-mail pratthall@gmail.com

Number 2007-1

Scott Perry - Chair/Editor
Bill McGroarty - Vice Chair
Marijke Dollois - Secretary
Sue Wilson - Treasurer

The MHS Board meets the second Thursday of the month at 5:30.  Pratt Hall Apr-Sep, Public Safety Building Conference Room Oct - Mar.

  Covered Bridge Mailbox note cards and magnets are now available.  Click History For Sale on the home page or call Parma.

January History:

Jan 31, 1889:  St Johnsbury gets a new snow roller.  Selectmen had paid a man named A.L. Bragg $80 to build a snowroller. The snowroller weighed two tons and was 12 feet wide. It was pulled by workhorses, and flatten the deep snow on the roads. (VT Book Of Days)

Jan 13, 2007:  Cars and trucks travel over Hazen's Notch Road during an unusually open winter.  The Notch is usually "closed" from November until May.

Chairman's Message

    Happy New Year!

     On January 13th I, and several Board members, attended the inaugural meeting of the Franklin County historical societies.  Organized by the St. Albans Society, there were five towns represented at this meeting where we discussed our top three challenges, money, and membership.   Not surprisingly, we share many of the same challenges.  
We hope to get together periodically to network, share ideas, and provide mutual support.  I'm not sure how this will pan out but the timing couldn't be better as we look ahead to the new year.  Our next meeting is tentatively set for October.  

    As I indicated in the last newsletter, 2006 was one of our best fund raising years ever, thanks to all of you.  Our membership numbers are now just under 200 and we are closing in on the $10,000.00 mark for membership contributions.   We will begin our 2007 membership drive in March instead of April so we have a little more time for our campaign, and hope to do even better this year.    

     Not included in this figure are the many hours of volunteer work, donation of services, and goods, and targeted donations for scholarships, Pratt Hall maintenance, and in memorium.  We are very grateful for these contributions also.

     The Board and I will be making a concerted effort to develop additional sources of resources for the Society in 2007.  This includes grants, gifts, behests, and services.  Are you aware of any grant opportunities we could pursue?  Would you be willing to write grant applications and administer the grant if awarded?  Do you have any fundraising ideas and/or would you be willing to chair/participate on a committee for a fund raising project?   Are you willing to donate any services/goods in support of our programs?   Please let us know.

                                                                          Scott Perry
                                                                          Board of Directors

Montgomery Historical Society Events and Programs

New Covered Bridge Pamphlet

     We nearly ran out of the pamphlet on Montgomery's Covered Bridges this fall.  This is the one we distribute free that contains some quick facts, pictures, and a map to the bridges.  Printed in the era before digital production we found it would be quite expensive to convert the existing pamphlet so we experimented with a new one.  It's now available from our web site as a pdf file.    Please take a look and let us know what you think, new Covered Bridge Pamphlet.

Carols and Candles

     This year's Carols and Candles" was a wonderful time thanks to the leadership of Marijke Dollois.  Thanks also to decorating elves Noella & Bill McGroarty, Marijke Dollois and Tim Chapin,  Peg Doheny for donating dried hydrangeas which were used to decorate the Christmas tree.  Kathleen McClosky-Scott and her dancers, storytellers Jackie Kaufman and Lynn Cota-Caforia, maestro Andrew Massey,  treat chef Parma Jewett, and cider fairy Sally Newton.


     Our Speakers Program Chair, Sally Newton, solicits your ideas on speakers, or topics you would like to hear discussed this year.  Please give her a call or send an e-mail to us at the address above.  The Vermont Humanities Council has a list of programs/speakers that may peak your interest or give you some ideas on their web site: http://www.vermonthumanities.org/index_files/sbcatalogue.htm

Date Set for Annual Meeting
     The MHS Board set June 22nd as the date for this year's Annual Meeting.  It will be at Pratt Hall, include food and drink, the annual report, and a few surprises.   Also a preview of our first fundraising auction (see below).

New Fundraiser  -  Need Donations

     A recent donation of furniture and household goods spawned an idea for a fundraising auction later this year.  It will probably be held June 23rd on the grounds of Pratt Hall.  Sue Wilson will be our  project Chairperson.  

     We are looking for items of furniture and other items in good condition, suitable for auction.  Do you have an chair, end table, or object d'art you could part with?   Need to make room for that new plasma large screen HDTV?  Please give it some thought and let others know.  Details on arranging pick up or drop off will be published in the next newsletter or call Sue.  All donations are tax deductible.

VT History Expo

     For some time the Society has participated in the Expo in Tunbridge in odd years.  Previous booths have included Montgomery's Covered Bridges, Area Sugaring, Quilting History, and Farming Then and Now.  

     We need your help.  Do you have any ideas for a theme for our 2007 booth?  Would you like to lead our effort?  Please contact any Board member with your ideas soon.

Other News...

Pratt Hall Repairs & Projects

     Since the last newsletter we've covered the one stained glass window that was missing Plexiglas, (it was stolen during the painting project).  We used a newer product call Lexan which is supposed to be tougher and UV resistant.  The Plexiglas on the other five windows is brittle and needs to be replaced as well, but at a cost of $600 per window we need to space out the work.

     Brad Elliot completed work on several projects, including stair repairs, some concrete patching, asphalting the Heaton House roof, and beefing up the floor at the front of the Hall.  Thank you Brad.

     The exterior light fixture over the front door was also repaired, and the "Flags Over Vermont" exhibit, donated by the Anderson family was remounted at the rear of the hall.  The Board thought the previous location between the stained glass windows detracted from both the flags and the windows.   Some ambitious members were even heard to discuss spackling the walls and repainting parts of the interior walls...

     Several work days resulted in clearing some of the land  acquired with the Heaton property.  Thanks to Joel Magnuson for donating brush hogging services.  We could use a donation of services to remove about a dozen small stumps, rototill, and seed the area this spring.

Pratt Hall Clock Update

     We've determined a few things since the last newsletter regarding the clock.  

     First the clock repairman was able to determine and precisely measure how much the tower had moved out of plumb.  This shift, or settling, was compensated for by making adjustments to the clockworks and pendulum.  While not uncommon for an old building to settle, this could be an indication of more serious structural problems with the tower.  We will wait and see.  We have the clock on an annual maintenance program and the same measurement will be taken again late in 2007.

     The above adjustments left the clock in working order but not for long as it repeatedly stopped, usually at noon/midnight.  The clock repairman told us a common cause for this symptom was that at least one set of hands were rubbing and catching as they passed each other, physically stopping the clock.  After careful observation we determined the hands on the front face were, in fact, touching so we disconnected the armature to the front face and the clock has been running fine ever since.  We now must figure out how to remedy the problem with those hands.  

This and That

 Sad Member News

     Jim Pratt:  We regret to report life member and Montgomery booster, Jim Pratt,  passed away in December.   Jim, and wife Dee, owned a home in the Village just down the street from Pratt Hall.  They designated the Society for memorial donations.  Our condolences to Dee and to Jim's family and our thanks for thinking of  the Society and our community.  

     Willie Middlestadt and Donetta Hollis:  Many of you already know about the tragic automobile accident and deaths of members Willie Middlestadt and Donetta Hollis.    Thanks to the Middlestat family for designating the Society for memorial donations and to Donetta's family for donating much of her household goods and furniture for auction.  Our condolences to both families.

MHS Website

     The Society's Home Page is growing and can be found at http://www.montgomeryvt.us/mhs.htm.  It has newsletters, pictures, our bylaws, and a transcription of the town charter among other things.  Please take a look and let us know if you have any suggestions for making it better.


E-mail Address

     If you haven't already and would like to receive this newsletter, and other event reminders or news via e-mail, please send us an e-mail - pratthall@gmail.com.  

MHS Board News: Good-bye, Hello
     It was with extreme regret we accepted the resignation of Sabra Massey from the MHS Board in November.  An enthusiastic promoter of all our activities, Sabra has been a key player in our concerts and arts programs.  She will be devoting more time to the Fiber Folk Co-op Store in the Center, but remains committed to helping with all our endeavors.  Thank you Sabra, and remember, we know where you live.

     We were delighted to have Pat Farmer join the Board in December.  Pat has been a solid supporter, always there for our work days and other Society events.  In keeping with his nautical background we say "welcome aboard".

     So you know...  Sue Wilson is our focal point for fund raisers, Bill McGroarty for grants, Marijke Dollois for membership and Parma Jewett is our  new Archivist (with help from Bill Branthoover as Archivist Emeritus).  

     The Montgomery Historical Society Board is... Scott Perry, Bill Branthoover, Marijke Dollois, Sue Wilson, Bill McGroarty, Parma Jewett, Sally Newton, John Beaty, Jo Anne Bennett, Heidi Lague, and Pat Farmer.

Make History Everyday!