October  2020

3nd Quarter

Number 64
Artifacts & Fiction
The Quarterly Newsletter of the
Montgomery Historical Society
P.O. Box 47
Montgomery, VT 05471

e-mail pratthall@gmail.com


Click here for a printer friendly pdf version

September 2020:  Paint off!  Paint on!!
Scott Perry,Chair/Editor
Bill McGroarty,Vice Chair
Marijke Dollois,Secretary
Pat Farmer,Treasurer

  The MHS Board meets the third Thursday of the month at 5:00 p.m.  Pratt Hall in the Summer, Public Safety Building Conference Room or Zoom online in the Winter

Montgomery History Quiz:

The Tcherny Illumination below, right is from a page of George Baker’s translation of Volume 2, Book 44, Chapter 22 of Titus Livius’s (Livy) “History of Rome”, which covers the period of about 180 B.C. to 160 B.C.  The page recounts the appointment of Lucius Aemilius Paullus to take over as Roman commander in the Third Macedonian War in which he triumphed in 168 B.C.  His last appointment before he died was as one of only two Roman censors.  What was a censor?


Covid 19 Status

     Under current rules each person in Pratt Hall must have 100 square feet (see State of Vermont rules for Arts, Culture, and Entertainment Organizations).  We figured out we could have no more than eighteen people in Pratt Hall's nave with three more in the chancel.  

     Given those limitations the Board decided to cancel the remainder of our events for 2020.  This includes the Holiday Happiness activities and Candles and Carols
, normally our most crowded events.  We know things could open up a bit but are doubtful, and it really isn't fair to plan and ask people to commit to us when there is probably better than a  50-50 chance we would have to cancel.  We also had two weddings booked.  One was postponed until next year and the other, 
scheduled for this month, was  postponed indefinitely.

       We were able to provide a venue for the Conservation Commission's Mum Sale though and we will definitely decorate the outside of the building for the Christmas holiday.

2020 LLHSM Annual Meeting

     This year's League of Local Historical Societies and Museums Annual Meeting will be an all Zoom event spread out over two days, Oct 30th and 31st.  Registration is $5 for Vermont Historical Society members and $15 for others.   Click this link for more information.

                                                                                             Thanks for your support!!



    This year's membership drive remains open.  Our numbers are down, no doubt due in part to the impact of the virus.  You can renew / join online anytime.   THANK YOU!


       As of this writing Pratt Hall's new paint job is almost done.  This included replacement of some clapboards and trim.  This project was assisted by a preservation grant made possible by a partnership between the 1772 Foundation and the Preservation Trust of Vermont.  

     The Men-with-Tools put a coat of Rosewood Oil on our new deck and will add another.  Two more bricks were added to the walkway since
the last newsletter.  The Men also jacked up the corner of the Heaton House.  A new railing by Steve Hathaway will be added comparable to the previous one.  We've also commissioned a couple of small grab bars (small railings) on either side of the door.  
     A recent routine insurance inspection resulted in three findings. Two are already taken care of but one will require a new fuel oil tank in the crawl space of the Hall.  We are working with our oil dealer and have a general estimate of about $2,000.


     Last newsletter we reported we would be featured in the Preservation Trust of Vermont's (PTV) first ever Annual Report.  Apparently they had to reduce the size so we were bumped to an upcoming newsletter.  Text below:

Pratt Hall, Montgomery

     When Scott Perry drives down Route 58 from Hazen’s Notch, he looks down the Trout River Valley and sees a white dot in Montgomery village. That dot is Pratt Hall. Formerly St. Batholomew’s Episcopal Church, the c. 1835 Pratt Hall was saved from demolition in 1974 by the Montgomery Historical Society.  Scott, Chairman of the Historical Society, says their preservation approach has been “use it or lose it.” As the historical society has chipped away at the building’s needs over the years, including reinstalling the clock and bell tower, addressing major structural work and improving accessibility, the community use of the building has grown. The Society has organized, or hosted concerts, theater, art shows, speakers, the farmer’s market, weddings, memorial services and more, often in collaboration with other community groups.  Along the way, Scott and his volunteer board members received encouragement and fund raising support by attending PTV Preservation Retreats at the Grand Isle Lake House. A 2020 grant through PTV’s partnership with the 1772 Foundation will support an essential step in the restoration: a professional and proper scraping and painting of the building. When finished, the view from Hazen’s Notch of this community landmark will be a bright white dot that will carry well in the future of Montgomery.


    Can you identify this happy Montgomery youngster?


     Montgomery has long had a reputation as a mixing bowl of sorts.  Old timers, farmers, hippies, artists, foreigners, ski bums, eccentrics, young and old have found homes here and made it a vibrant community.  One such person was Carl Tcherny.
     Carl was a world renown Illumination Artist.  He practiced a medieval art form which involved calligraphy, and colorful drawings often adorned with gold  leaf, which embellished the margins of manuscripts.  Carl and his wife, Peg an accomplished artist in her own right who specialized in restorations, honed their talents in New York before moving to the Hazen's Notch Road in the Center.  They worked on documents for the Queen of England and the Pope. Carl also did his own stylized creations of animals and letters for locals.  Many had their initials painted by him.
     In 1996 as he struggled with his health, he decided to thank the Town who had supported his work and life in Vermont.  He donated one of his last works to the Town, accompanied by a heartfelt letter.  Both were featured in the 1996 Town Report and are shown in this newsletter.    In 2014 we featured Carl 's unique work in part of our Vermont History Expo exhibit , "Creative Montgomery".
     The illumination, a copy of a page of an ancient Roman history, was displayed for years at the old Main Street Town Office, but  the current Town Clerk and Selectboard needed to find it a new home due to the scarcity of wall space in the current PSB office.   In September they agreed to donate it to the MHS.
     We hope to do a small exhibit on Carl's work as soon as the virus restrictions permit, and are working with the Library to exhibit it there as well.  Our thanks to the Town.

1996 Town Report Inside Cover


     We were surprised to learn all of our nominations of the covered bridges and Pratt Hall (Union Church) for the familiar green Historic Site markers all passed muster in the first round of State evaluations and might all be approved with installations beginning this Spring.  The project manager for the State informed us she might have spoken too soon.  Still we're hoping to see some installed in 2021.


     The censor was a magistrate in ancient Rome who was responsible for maintaining the census, supervising public morality, and overseeing certain aspects of the government's finances.  The power of the censor was absolute: no magistrate could oppose his decisions, and only another censor who succeeded him could cancel those decisions.  The censor's regulation of public morality is the origin of the modern meaning of the words "censor" and "censorship"
Source:  Wikipedia.


    October:  1971 - Montgomery School House Toys established.

    November:  1952 - Crescent Theater sold and became the Grange.

  1909 - Fire destroys Nelson and Hall tub mill.  Rebuilt and newly equipped with electricity.
                         1977 - St. Bartholomew's renamed after young man pictured to the left.

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