July 2007
Artifacts and Fiction

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

e-mail pratthall@gmail.com

Number 2007-3

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 in the summer, Public Safety Building Conference Room in the winter.

  Covered Bridge Mailbox note cards for sale.

July History Quiz:

    1.  In what town did the Bailey-Hazen Military Road end?
a.  Irasburg
b.  Lowell
c.  Westfield
d.  Montgomery

   2.  What year did construction on the road end?

   3.  Was Montgomery ever part of  the following counties?
a.  Chittenden  Yes/No
b.  Addison  Yes/No
c.  Rutland  Yes/No

Chairman's Message
    One of our goals since I've been involved with the Society is community outreach.  That is, how can we make our holdings more accessible to the community and how can we involve the community more in the preservation and appreciation of our shared heritage?  I've written about our fledgling oral history efforts and our plans for an Elders Night in previous newsletters and we continue to work on both.

   You can imagine the wonderful and unexpected delight when we were contacted by Montgomery Elementary School teacher, Alex Chirelstein, to see if we were interested in supporting a Vermont and Montgomery History project for his 5th graders.  We quickly said yes and hosted an enthusiastic group of about 20 for a tour of Pratt Hall and slide show of what Montgomery was like 100 -150 years ago.  (see items later in the newsletter)

     We included a discussion of what school would have been like for them, showing them pictures of the Hazen's Notch, Village, and Center schools, and students walking to school or posing in front of the horse drawn barge used to transport kids to the Black Falls school.
 We also let them handle the 150 year old graduation autograph books from Madge Goodspeed.  They laughed at the poems written by kids their age and seemed to be very impressed.  "Alas, Alas I am so dumb, I cannot write in your album."

     We also briefly discussed the role of the Historical Society in preserving our community's heritage... do you think we should save these things,  why,  what do they tell us?  The kids seemed to think it was important to know what life was like for their parents and grand parents.  Besides, some of those poems were just plain funny.

     If you haven't already, please send in your membership donation.  In this case I guess you could say it's a laughing matter.  And thank you for your support.

                                              Scott Perry,
                                              Chairman, Board of Directors

                                              Montgomery Historical Society

Montgomery Historical Society Events and Programs
(Reminder:  All MHS events are listed on the Town's Community Events Page and the Society's Calendar Page)

Memorial Day Commemoration  

     This year's Memorial Day commemoration was well attended.  Our guest speaker, Aaron Grossman, USMC, spoke about  "What Memorial Day Means to Me".  Wounded in Afghanistan, he was awarded the Purple Heart and spoke of his brothers in arms, some of whom paid the ultimate price.  His remarks brought tears to the eyes of many.  

     Thanks to Aaron for his service and for being our speaker.  Thanks also to Carolyn Lague for singing America the Beautiful, Lloyd Touchette and American Legion Post 42, Bill Branthoover (Roll Call), and Parma Jewett (Refreshments).  


      MHS Member, Andre LaBier, will be our 2007 inaugural speaker.  A Chief Inspector with the U.S. Marshal Service, Andre is a 23 year federal law enforcement veteran who is currently the U.S. Marshal Agency's liaison to the Department of Homeland Security.  Andre has held a variety of positions during his career most recently serving as Commander of the U.S. Marshal’s NY-NJ Regional Fugitive Task Force, the largest and most successful task force of its kind in the world. Andre will be discussing the role of the U.S. Marshal Agency in modern history.  Date and time is still being set up.

     Sally Newton
is also working on a program on the Abenaki.  Call her, or e-mail the Society if  you have any other ideas.  The Vermont Humanities Council has a list of programs/speakers that may peak your interest or give you some ideas on their web site:

MHS Lalia Pratt Hays Scholarship

     Two Montgomery high school seniors were awarded $300.00 scholarships this year.  Congratulations to Virginia Purrier and Isaiah Patterson.  As one of the selection committee members said, "god those kids are busy!"  Best of luck in all your future endeavors.
     Thanks to Marijke Dollois, Sue Wilson, Rita Kalsmith, and Patty Hathaway for administering this annual MHS program.

Elders Night
     Jo Anne Bennett and Sally Newton have scheduled our first panel discussion and social with several Montgomery elders on Saturday, September 8th at 4:00-6:00 p.m. at the  Town Hall.  We will announce their names and other details soon.  This will be a storytelling session and we will encourage questions and interaction with the audience.

    Depending on the interest in and success of this program we hope to make it a regular feature of our activities.  Please contact Sally or Jo Anne if you have any requests or ideas for the evening.  Thanks.
 Annual Meeting Summary

     About 50 members attended the Annual Meeting on June 22nd and enjoyed some special displays and food, drink, and company  The Treasurer's and Membership Reports are included later in the newsletter.  The following challenges for 2007 are from the Chairman's report.
  Maintain & Continue to Increase Membership
  Increase Participation - Outreach
  Plan for Exhibit Space/Storage
  Continue Building Artifact Collection Database
  Financial Security
  Pratt Hall Clock, Windows, & General Upkeep

First Ever MHS Auction a Grand Success

    Our first MHS auction was held Saturday, June 23rd on the grounds of Pratt Hall.  A rousing success, we raised about $3,200 for our various activities.

     Thanks to all of you  who donated items and/or worked the event.  Thanks to Mr. Noel Blouin for the tents.  Mark Waterhouse for Auctioneering,

     Special thanks to Sue Wilson for leading our efforts and organizing everything.    It was a herculean effort and our success was due to her leadership.  Attagirl Sue!

19th Annual Concert Series Dates Set

     Steve Hays has a jazzy series in the works for this year.  Dates and artists are:

       July 7:  The MediterrAsian Ensemble
       July 21:  Jazzmosis (this concert will celebrate the life of Jim Pratt)
       August 11:
 Random Association

      All concerts will be at Pratt Hall, and begin at 8:00 p.m.  You can subscribe to the whole series, three tickets for just  $25.00 members / $30.00 non-members, or purchase them as singles for $10.00 members/$12.00 non-members.  Tickets are available at Lutz's Automotive in advance or at the door.  Anyone interested in helping out please give us a call or email.  Thank you Steve!  More details at the CBTC link on the MHS home page, www.montgomeryvt.us/mhs.htm.

MHS Art Show
     Our annual art show will be August 25th, 9:00a.m. - 5:00p.m. and August 26th 10:00a.m.-2:00p.m.   Heidi Lague is the MHS lead.  The Covered Bridges Garden Club Harvestfest will also be on the common on August 25th.
     Our member's appreciation fete will be the night before, Friday, August 24th from 7:00p.m. - 9:00p.m.  Come meet the artists and nosh in the ambiance of Pratt Hall.

Other News...

Annual MHS Work Day

     A hardy group assembled on June 2nd to tidy up Pratt Hall and grounds.  We removed stumps, tilled and seeded the area near the rear of the property, spackled and prepared the interior walls of the Hall for painting, tried to clean some of the paint drips off the foundation, secured the bell tower screening, and prepared box lots for the auction.

  A special thank you to KT Landscaping of Essex for their donation of services pulling stumps, clearing and tilling.  Also thanks to Ken Secor, Parma Jewett, Tim Chapin, Andre Gareau, Andre La Bier, Sue Wilson, Charlie Fichman, Marijke Dollois, Bill McGroarty, Pat Farmer, and John Beaty.
 A better crew has nary been seen!

Grants Update

     We regret to inform you we did not get the TD Banknorth Charitable Grant mentioned in the last newsletter.  We will try again.  

     Bill McGroarty has written another grant from VT Historic Preservation for an expert evaluation of Pratt Hall and the former Heaton property which will provide us with prioritized recommendations on what work needs to be done in the future.

     There have been over 100 downloads of the on line pamphlet since February.  A link can be found on the Society's and the Town's Home Pages.

Celebrate The Life of Jim Pratt

     Dee Pratt wishes to invite Society members to join her family for a memorial celebration for her late husband, Jim, Saturday, July 21st at 3:30 p.m. at Pratt Hall.  Jim was an avid booster of the Society and Montgomery.  Share your memories and help us pay tribute.

Must See TV

     Copies of  “Life In Franklin County” are still available.  Produced by Johnson State College students, this 40 minute program includes pictures and interviews of Franklin County residents that lived many of the events.  This wonderful program includes our own Bill Branthoover talking about making mischief as a child visiting his grandparents in Montgomery.  Please contact any Board member or send us an email request.  The cost is $12.00 (normally $15.00) for members and is tax deductible.  Please specify DVD or VHS.

Montgomery 5th Graders Study Pratt Hall

     Students in VT study VT history in the 5th grade.  This year's students did a project on early Montgomery featuring Pratt Hall.  The project included grave stone rubbings, building a model of Pratt Hall and doing drawings inspired by the Hall's stained glass windows.  

     We helped support the projects by hosting a visit from the class in May.  We provided a broad lesson plan, study guide questions, a tour, and made a presentation on life in early Montgomery.  The model and stained glass window drawings were exhibited at the Annual Meeting.  

This and That

 July History Quiz Answers

1.  C. Westfield
2.  1779

3.  Yes for all three.

Board Members
     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.

Treasurer's Report Summary
As of June 22, 2007

  Checking........................................$ 1,186.01

  Lalia Pratt Hays Scholarship CD...$ 6,469.73
  Capital Improvements CD…….......$ 2,694.31

  Heaton House Mortgage
    Monthly Payment... $210.15

  Line of Credit Loan Balance.......... $  5.000.00

Membership Report As Of June 22, 2007

                    2005           2006           2007 (so far)
Total              181             196              170
New                 23               17                14 
Fees          $7,822        $9,217        $8,413
Mean              $38             $48             $52
Median           $25             $25             $25+

Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?

1.  What year was Pratt Hall built?
2.  What was the population of Montgomery then?
3.  Where did stained glass windows first originate?
4.  When were most of the stained glass windows installed in Pratt Hall?
5.  What was Montgomery's population in 1900?
6.  How many schools were there in Montgomery 150 years ago?
7.  What was the principal industry in Montgomery a hundred years ago?
8.  How often is the clock at Pratt Hall wound?
9.  By what other names was Pratt Hall known?

Please remember to mail your membership renewal!