October 2007
Artifacts and Fiction

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

e-mail pratthall@gmail.com

Number 2007-4

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

Check out the History For Sale link for DVDs, Xmas decorations, cards and Frig magnets.  

October VT History Quiz:

1.  What value was the Montgomery Grand List in 1863?
a.  $550    b.  $11,400
c.  $2,500    d.  $4,600

2.  Where was "Lake Goodspeed" in Montgomery?
a.  Deep Gibou
b.  Hazen's Notch Road
c.  Longley Bridge
d.  Comstock Bridge

3.  How many working farms were there in the West Hill/HillWest area in the late 1940s?
a.  8  b.  12.  c.  17  d.  23
Chairman's Message

   Leaf Peeper:   Does it matter which road I take to Lowell?  
   Local:  Not to me it don't!

     This summer's road construction seems to be mostly behind us and seemed to be handled with our usual good nature, even when the lane closures strained our patience.  Likewise the Board and I have been traveling a road we believe is moving the organization in the right direction and I wanted to take some space to review.

     The trends are encouraging:
- Memberships are at an all time high.
- Membership income is our best ever.
- We've set records for attendance at our sponsored events and those we charge a fee for have shown a bit of a profit.
- Our summer auction was our most successful fundraiser yet.
- Our outreach efforts have resulted in two successful initiatives, one with the school and the other Elders' Night.
- At Pratt Hall this year we re-covered the stained glass windows with lexan, established a special fund for their care, and repaired and repainted the bottom two thirds of the interior nave walls.  
- The building is also being evaluated by an expert to help us determine what needs attention next.  This evaluation will be funded in part by a grant, written by Bill McGroarty,  from Vt Historic Preservation.  
- Financially we've paid off the loan we took for last year's painting and restoration, and paid off a portion of the principal of the mortgage on the property we purchased at the end of 2005.
     The Board and I are encouraged by our success and will continue to work to make our organization an even better steward of our community's heritage.   We look forward to the road ahead.  Thanks for your support.

                                                        Scott Perry

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)

First Elder's Night a Huge Success 

     About 60 folks attended our first Elder's Night.  Our panel was made up of Billy Cabana and Dora Hurtubise and our participating audience included others who shared their experiences growing up, and working and playing in Montgomery.
     We started the evening with some social time where folks were able to examine artifacts, view a slide show of old photos, and talk one-on-one.  We then spent about an hour asking our guests questions and discussing life "not that long ago."   Billy listed the 17 farms in the West Hill/Hill West/Enosburg Mtn Road area in 1947.  Dora was a member of the last graduating classes of the East Hill School (Belfry) and Montgomery Center School.  We concluded with more one-on-one time, all the while enjoying Parma's pastries.

     We will try to arrange more of these sessions in the future.  It was a lot of fun and we received many enthusiastic comments.  Thanks to Sally Newton and Jo Anne Bennett for pulling this together.

Sad News

      We were stunned and very sad to hear of teacher Alex Chirelstein's death.  We reported in the last Newsletter about his work on a Montgomery history project with his Montgomery Elementary School 5th graders.  The project was great fun.  His kids loved him and we loved working with him. 

     Herb and Joan Spindler, long time Society members and Montgomery lovers, both passed away since the last newsletter.  They were active in a number of civic causes as well, including the Library and Garden Club.

      Sidney Sundell, a founding member from 1974 has also died.  At 101 he and Elizabeth hosted us for a concert and dinner in September so we could hear musicians we might be interested in for the concert series next year.

      We will miss them terribly.   Our condolences to all of their family and friends.  

Jim Pratt Memorial

     In July Pratt Hall hosted a memorial service for Jim Pratt and a concert later that night dedicated to his memory.  The Pratt family made a generous donation to our newly established Stained Glass Fund which we will use exclusively to protect and preserve the windows.  Thanks to Dee and the entire Pratt family for the beautiful legacy.

 Concerts By The Common

     The 2007 Concerts By The Common series was one of our best attended and most profitable yet thanks to Steve Hays.  Next year will be our 20th season and Steve indicates he will try to include some chamber music as part of the program.  Thanks once again to our sponsors and patrons:

TD BankNorth
The Black Lantern Inn
Eastman Charitable Foundation
Fairpoint New England
Steve and Catherine Hays
Drs. James and Ann Lackner-Graybiel
Lutz's Auto Repair
People’s Trust Company
The Rock-Tenn Company
Elizabeth M. Stanton
The Belfry
Bernie's Restaurant
Blouin Brothers Oil Company
Charlie Fichman and Marijke Dollois

MHS Art Show and Membership Appreciation Night

     This year's event showcased eleven area artists.  The weather didn't cooperate and attendance was down for both us and the Garden Club's Harvest Fest on the common next door but we persevered.  I must apologize for having the wrong start time for the Member's Appreciation Preview in the last paper newsletter.  I hope it didn't inconvenience you too much.  Thank you to all participating artists, Heidi Lague for running the show, and Parma for her superb refreshments.

Carols and Candles

     Our annual holiday celebration is scheduled for Saturday, 22 December, at 5:00 p.m. and will include the usual singing, dancing, stories, and food.  Andrew Massey will conduct us.  I have it on good authority from the head elf that this year's decorations will be worth coming to see on their own.  Something about a new theme...

Other News...

Pictures From the Scene of the Crime

You missed a spot

It would go faster if you used a bigger brush!

Pratt Hall
     Pratt Hall continues to receive our TLC.  Noela McGroarty and Marijke Dollois led a team of volunteers spackling, sanding and painting the bottom 2/3 of the nave walls.  This included primer and two finish coats.  It looks wonderful.

  Bill McGroarty wrote a grant, which we will match, for an evaluation by an architect affiliated with VT Historic Preservation of both Pratt Hall and Heaton House.  We will be receiving a report with recommendations of future work.

  Pat Farmer's experience as a trans-Atlantic sailboat  sailor will be put to work as he's made a boson's chair which we hope to use to repair the hands on the front face of the clock.  We may sell tickets to view the event.  Stay tuned!

Speaking of Pratt Hall...

     In 1985 the Board completed an extensive application to the National Parks Service for inclusion of Pratt Hall on the National Register of Historic Places.  It was approved and placed on the Register that same year.  

     Fast forward to 2007.  While researching the files for the Grant mentioned above we discovered the original application and wondered why we didn't have a plaque like other places (e.g. The Black Lantern across the street).  We learned it was up to the organization to order and pay for such a plaque.  Bill and Noela McGroarty researched, ordered, paid for, and installed the plaque.  Look for it next time you're there.  Thank you Bill and Noela.

This and That

 October VT History Quiz Answer

1.  c.  $2,500 according to a Vermont history text dated  in the 1880s.  The 2007 Grand List is just over $115,000,000.

2.  d.  Comstock Bridge,the body of water behind the mill dam in the area.

3.  c.  17, Including two on Enosburgh Mountain Road.

Board Members

     We regretfully accepted the resignation of Heidi Lague from the Board in August.  Heidi organized our annual Art Show and Members Appreciation Night for the past three years.   Thank you Heidi.
     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, and Pat Farmer.

Treasurer's Report Summary
As of Sep 13, 2007

  Checking........................................$ 4,666.15

  Lalia Pratt Hays Scholarship CD...$ 6,584.68
  Capital Improvements CD…….......$ 1,815.01
  Stained Glass Window Fund.........$  5,327.72

  Heaton House Mortgage
    Monthly Payment... $210.15

  Line of Credit Loan Balance.......... $         0.00

Membership Report As Of September 07

     The table below is updated from the last newletter and shows we've reached & exceeded our goal for 200 memberships and $10,000 in membership revenue.  

                          2005           2006           2007 __
Total              181             196              219
New                 23               17                19
Fees          $7,822        $9,217        $10,300
Mean              $38             $48             $52
Median            $25             $25             $25+

Membership Goal Met and Passed
by Marijke Dollois

     The MHS membership drive has been a fantastic success this year – we’ve reached 219 memberships!

     Just some statistics – there are 19 new members; the membership is up 43% since 2004; the median MHS member has a Montgomery address and has been a member since 1998 or earlier. Our members come from all parts of the country, as far away as California and Nebraska and we have special support from many of our Canadian second-homeowners here in Montgomery.

     When the MHS was founded in 1974 there were 34 charter memberships of whom the following are still current members: Bill and Margaretta Branthoover, Ann and Leonard Bases, Warren and Agatha Blodgett, Merrill Cabana, Charles and Patricia Carpenter, George Costas, Clare Coy, Beth Crane and Morgan Daybell, Madeline Munn, William Symons, Arthur and Lorraine St. Onge, The Caney Family, Sandy Bowman, Maggie Sherman, Andrew Crane, and Doug and Sharon DeVries.

     I became membership chair in 1987 and still have the original green box with 3x5 index cards – a historical artifact in itself! Going from a hand-written list, to a typewritten list and now a computer database.

     The membership has varied over the years, reaching 160 during the time of the clock-tower restoration and after that varying from 92 to 115. It is only in the last few years that it has sharply increased as we’ve made a strong reach out to the public to support the Society in its efforts to continue the maintenance of Pratt Hall, to provide community events, and work towards a new exhibit and storage space.

     The MHS is very dependent on its membership contributions – our largest fundraiser. Because of the tremendous response this year we were able to pay-off our Line of Credit (used to pay for the painting/restoration of Pratt Hall last year) and to reduce our mortgage on the Heaton house. Right now we have enough money in the bank to get us through the winter and pay our bills. We cannot stress enough that without our members there would be no MHS.  So a very big “Thank you!” to all of you!

Editor's Note:  Thank you to Marijke for 20years as Membership Chair!!!

Welcome Our Newest Members

     Mark and Susan Baddorf, Dr. Philip Bennett, Mr. & Mrs. Stanley Blodgett (MV Printers), Andy Cimino, Mark A. Corcoran, Edward and Lauri Ellis,Thomas A. and Catherine M. Fleck, David L. and Mitsuko Goldman, Stewart D. & Patricia Hammond, Everett and Susan McGinley, Sheila Metcalf, Robert and Nancy Mutell, Anthony J. and Diana Piscitelli, David N. Powell, Michael S. Pratt & Christina Suarez, Ken and Jaye Secor, Gerry van der Weyden/Lenore Lewis, Rena Wade, James D. Wakefield

Please remember to mail your membership renewal!