October 2006
Artifacts and Fiction

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

e-mail pratthall@gmail.com

Number 2006-4

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.
Don't forget the Christmas ornaments too!

October History:

1919: Babe Ruth played for the Red Sox in an exhibition game, in Rutland, against a Rutland team comprised of notable Vermont players. Enosburg's Larry Gardner, Vermont’s own Red Sox superstar, was on the Vermont team.  In the eighth inning, Ruth homered helping the Sox win. Not long after he was traded to the Yankees.  (Courtesy VT Book Of Days)

2004:  Red Sox win the World Series (what curse?)
Chairman's Message

     This past summer and into the fall, most of my, and the Board's, attention has been focused on Pratt Hall.  The tree removal, clock repairs, replacement of rotten sections of wood on numerous parts of the building, and deciding the color scheme all presented the challenges of Solomon.  We did our best.

     Jim Ouellette and Jason Robtoy, our principle painting contractors, did a tremendous job.  They had to juggle schedules to work around repairs, weddings, concerts, and the art show.  Did I mention weather?  They dealt with rot, glass so brittle it broke if touched with a paint brush,  and sidewalk supervisors and estimate seekers.  Jim confessed to me that, at times, they all cursed the day they bid the job...they are still having flashbacks.  Did we mention the scraping?  (The Karate Kid had nothing on these guys!)  In the end they say the satisfaction of a job well done on such a prominent community landmark will be an enduring source of pride.  

     As with any maintenance on a 170+ year old building we uncovered other things that will need to be dealt with.  The window frames of several of the stained glass windows need attention, the floor in the entry way is sagging, and the floor in the altar area needs to be beefed up... and so it goes.

     Are we in danger of becoming a preservation society for one building?  Can we avoid spending all our resources and energy on this worthy, yet limited piece of our heritage?  Yes, but it will require clearly articulated goals, difficult choices, and more active member and community involvement.  In the months ahead the Board and I will be working to refine our vision and to develop a plan to move forward.   Grant writing, endowments, building plans will all be discussed.  We need and welcome your ideas and energy.

                                                                          Scott Perry
                                                                          Chairman, Board of Directors

Montgomery Historical Society Events and Programs


     Sally Newton is now leading our effort in this area.  She is always looking for program suggestions.  Call her, or e-mail the Society, if you have any suggestions.

Archival Data Base

     Thanks to member Bob Scales' donation of software and data base design services, we now have a prototype archival data base loaded on our computer and are ready to start loading the data from the 4X6 card catalog meticulously created and maintained by Bill Branthoover.  Our goal is to be able to rapidly search our holdings which includes a data base on the donors.  As we evolved the design we've included links to images of the artifact, a field for provenance, and detailed information on storage location.  We're still learning but hope to have a demonstration, at least of the concept, by next year's annual meeting.  Isaiah Patterson will be volunteering with us for the initial data entry effort.

Carols and Candles

     This year's Carols and Candles date has been set for December 17th, 5:00 p.m. at Pratt Hall.  Come join us to savor Pratt Hall's decorations, sing carols, listen to the storytellers, watch the dance students, and enjoy a few surprises.

Clayton Fuller Display

     Thanks to Bill Branthoover for exhibiting his collection of Clayton Fuller photos, including the several personal showings of his post card collection.  If you are interested in such a tabletop showing please let us know.

 Covered Bridge Mailbox Project

     The silent auction for completed mailboxes ended on August 26th and netted about $1,500.  
Kudos and thanks to Parma Jewett, Sue Wilson, Heidi Lague, Marijke Dollois, and Sabra Massey for pulling this together, and all the participating artists, sponsors, and Ben Weed for building them.  Pictures of the mailboxes are still online and can be accessed via links on the Society's Home Page.  There's a rumor one or more may soon show up on Ebay soon!

     We're also selling covered bridge mailbox notecards and refrigerator magnets.  They're available online via the "History For Sale" link on our Home Page.

2006 Annual Art Show and Sale

     Heidi Lague and Parma Jewett pulled together one of our best attended Art Shows ever.  Sixteen artists exhibited, along with locally created Palettes of VT, and the mailboxes (above.)   Our membership appreciation preview also drew a crowd.  Thanks to all of you.

2006 Concert Series Comes to a Close

    Since the last newsletter we've enjoyed the performances of the Green Mountain Chorus and The Will Patton Ensemble. The Envision Chamber Consort performs the final concert Oct 7th at 8:00 p.m., and as an added bonus will be doing a school program the day before.  Thanks to Steve Hays, Sabra Massey and John Beaty for pulling together another successful season.
    Thanks again to our sponsors:  Sharon and Rolf Anderson; Sylvester's Market; the Laura Crane Family; the Vermont Arts Council; TD Banknorth; Marijke Dollois and Charlie Fichman; the Rock-Tenn Co.; the Eastman Charitable Fund; Fairpoint New England; Blouin Bros. Oil; The Belfry; Peoples Trust; Lutz's Automotive; Elizabeth M. Stanton; Steve and Catherine Hays; The Black Lantern; and Montgomery Catering Co.

Other News...

Montgomery Art Farm

     Last fall the Society's Board of Directors approved a motion to offer sponsorship to a group of college art students who wanted to live in Montgomery for a portion of the summer and do public art projects.  Our support was not financial but we did provide book keeping, administrative, personnel, and moral support.  The group taught classes at the local Rec. Dept. summer camp, exhibited their works, put on a performance art piece using changing venues, and documented it all with an extensive photographic work.   Thanks to Marijke Dollois and Sue Wilson for their work in support of this effort.

Calling All Members...

     Can you volunteer a day, part of a day, an hour or two?  We will be working on the grounds of Pratt Hall, and reinstalling the historic "Flags Over Vermont" display inside.  We've scheduled a work day for Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m. on October 14th.  Please stop by and lend a hand.

Stowe Magazine Features Jewett Brothers

     The Summer/Fall issue of "Stowe Guide and Magazine" has an article and photo's by Kevin Walsh on Montgomery's covered bridges.  "Montgomery's Bridge Building Brothers" sources cited include the Society, Parma Jewett, and Bill Branthoover's/Sara Taylor's town history.  Alas, it is not available online but copies may still be found throughout the area.

Pratt Hall Painting & Repairs

     The painting and restoration of Pratt Hall is done for this year.  We've spent about $14,000.00 to date.  Repairs included all new clapboards on the back of the Hall, replacement of rotten wood on the trim and exterior of the clock/bell tower, and reglazing the lancet windows.  The entire structure was scraped, primed, and painted too.  We still need to replace some plexiglass and some rotten wood.

     Jim Ouellette, Jason Robtoy, and their crew did an excellent job with the preparation, painting and repairs.  It was a labor of love and a real test of patience.  (At least a half dozen 50 pound sacks of paint chips were removed.)  Thank you Jim, Jason, and crew.

     Brad Elliott made carpentry repairs and supervised volunteer "carpenter" assistants Andre Gareau, Scott Perry, and Bill McGroarty.  Brad will continue working with us to handle some of the other repairs.  Thank you Brad.

     Pictures of the before, during, and after, along with some of the typical rot on the tower are available on the Society's Home Page.

Pratt Hall Clock Update

     Last newsletter we reported the clock had been repaired...Well it's stopped again.  We will continue to work the problem.  

This and That

 Financial Progress Report

  We will be able to meet all of our fiscal obligations for 2006.  This includes our mortgage payments for the former Heaton property, and the monthly payments on the $7,000 we just borrowed on our signature loan line of credit for the work on Pratt Hall.

Archivist's Report:  Every Item Has A Story
     Bill Branthoover reports the acquisition of over 170 items from a donation by member Betty Stanton.  We have also received several other items including a set of snowshoes from Sally Newton.  Our thanks to them.

    Bill has accessioned these and stored them in the archival room.  Part of the process of accessioning these items is documenting the story, or provenance, of every piece.  Bill asks anyone interested in donating or assisting with the acquisition of artifacts to also provide as much of the associated history as possible.

2006 Membership Drive a Success

     Our paid annual membership count is now 187, just over a 5% increase from 2005.  Membership contributions have increased to just short of $9,000, which is about 14% more than last year.  Thank you.


     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.  Note: our address has changed.  Thanks.

The MHS Board is...

     Scott Perry, Bill Branthoover, Marijke Dollois, Sue Wilson, Bill McGroarty, Parma Jewett, Sally Newton, John Beaty, Jo Anne Bennett, Heidi Lague, and Sabra Massey.

Make History Everyday!