October  2023

4th Quarter

Number 76
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

Pipes of the E. Fairfax Edward Smith Organ
Scott Perry,Chair/Editor
John Kuryloski,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

History Quiz:

1.  Besides Victrolas, one of the Atlas Plywood Company’s major contracts was providing 
containers for shipping:

  a.  Tea          b.  Munitions

  c.  Car parts  d.  Paper

2.  Where was Route 105A?

Chairman's Message

     A friend of ours works for a well known organization that offers trips all over the world.  He has taken on the planning for a week long Vermont foliage trip in 2024 and asked us our opinion on what are the things that make Vermont unique; what are the “can’t miss” things people should see and experience.    (How would you answer that question?)   Where was the best foliage? Where should they arrange stays?  What is best time to come?      

     We recommended staying away from the crowds and traffic around Stowe. We put in a plug for covered bridges, tram rides, the Shelburne Museum, cree-mees, Camels Hump and the Long Trail but also professed the belief that just about everything is special; you can't go wrong  in Vermont in the Fall.      

     He also wanted to include the history of the places they were visiting.  The context of time enriched the experience and often was a key ingredient for a memorable trip.

     These conversations brought home how lucky we are to live here and how sometimes we take it for granted.   As our 50th year draws to a close thank you for supporting our community and organization.   We all make it special.                                                                                            



    This year's membership drive remains open.  Our numbers have partially rebounded, and new members are up.  You can renew / join online anytime.   THANK YOU!

     We’ve had several questions about our membership process recently.  Over the close to 20 years I’ve been involved, memberships have ranged from about 100 to 220.  We strive for as many as we can get in part because of the revenue, but also to foster a wide base of citizen support and involvement. 
     We operate on a calendar year and normally send out about 500 solicitation letters every March.  There is no minimum dues donation amount.  Our average donation is about $60 and our median donation is $50. 

     If a member owns a business and wishes to be listed as such they just need to let us know.  Normally if we receive a business check we will count it as a business membership.   Current business members are listed on our web site, in our quarterly newsletters, on a plaque at Pratt Hall, and are acknowledged at our Annual Meeting.   Some members join as both individual/family members, and business members. 

     If we haven’t heard back from recent members we usually send a reminder around the end of July, either via email or letter.  As an example, 46 members from 2022 had not renewed by Aug 1st of this year. 

     Membership dues are the lifeblood of our organization and pay for our operating expenses (e.g. upkeep of our properties, water/electric/heating, insurance) and for our programs (e.g. archives, newsletters, Memorial Day, scholarships, speakers, concerts, holiday events).  We do not receive direct financial support from the Town.  We do not have paid staff although we do pay $50/month to our clock winder Quasimodo  (aka Kevin Scheffler). 

     Marijke Dollois has been our membership guru as long as I can remember and does a marvelous job managing our membership data base.  I can’t imagine trying to do this without her expertise and wisdom.

     If you have questions or concerns please drop us a line.  As always, thank you for your support,


     Until recently there were only two operating organs in Vermont made by Montgomery's Edward Smith.  A third derelict organ at the "Meeting House on the Green" in East Fairfield was restored over the last year and was recently featured in concert, the first time it has been played in over a hundred years.  It has over 200 pipes, all tuned by hand, and over 2,000 parts not counting screws and nuts and bolts.  Stephan Conrady restored the organ and played it for an appreciative audience in August.

     He said he considered his project 98% complete but they also needed to get an electric blower.  The hand operated bellows and a shop vacuum, rigged on it's blower setting, just couldn't generate enough air, specially for those low notes.  

     The Meeting House organizers have raised over $5,000 to date for the project and hope to raise an additional $7,000 for the blower and the rest of the work.


    September 16th saw the conclusion of this season's Farmers Market.   Thanks to all our vendors and customers, and special thanks to Elsie Saborowski and Patty Perl who organized this year's market, and all the MHS Board volunteers.   "Penny" Demar was the winner of the Michael Domina water color of the Comstock bridge.  


Hutchins Mill c1890


    October 8th:  "1800 and Froze to Death":  presentation by Howard Coffin.    1816 has long been known as the year without summer. Vermonters still call it “1800 and Froze to Death,” a year of frosts every month, dark skies, and mysterious lights that caused a widespread belief that a higher power was displeased.  2:00 p.m. at Pratt Hall in partnership with the "Friends of the Library".

 December 10th MES CRAFT SALE:  The Society will have a booth at this year's show.

    December 16th,
11:00 - 2:00pm.  HOLIDAY HAPPINESS:  We're planning to have horse drawn wagon rides and the Hall will be open with a return to traditional activities that includes Santa arriving aboard a Montgomery firetruck.    

     December 17th, 5:00pm. CANDLES AND CAROLS:  Traditional caroling and other silliness.


        Last Board meeting Steve Hays regaled us with the Montgomery Center Junior High School song (we hope to record him and post it online).  It raised the question, where in the Center was the Junior High?  We have two diplomas that show it was in operation in1930 and 1942 and think it may have been converted to the Center elementary school after WWII.  Any information would be appreciated.


     Friends and family gathered in Pratt Hall in late August to celebrate the life of Jay Adams.   Tales were told of a life lived well and many acts of kindness.

     The Hall will also be the venue for the Young Writers Contest and Pizza Party sponsored by the Friends of the Library in late October.  Each young writer reads their creations to the audience and judges, then tops off the evening with free pizza!


     Do you know what / where this building is?  See the bottom for the answer.


     Since our last newsletter we've received word that longtime members Dee Pratt and Elaine Bruckner passed away.  Our condolences to their families and friends.


        October:  1827  Planning begins to construct an Episcopal Church.

    November:  1952  Crescent Theater sold to house Grange Post #548.

    December:   1959  Hubert and Caroline Daberer open the Carinthia Inn in former home of CT Hall.  Now The Inn.


     1.  a. Tea.  Shippers of tea from India to Europe became a major user of Atlas Plywood cases.

     2.  Route 105 A was a new segment of what is now just Route 105, built after WWII.  It connected Richford to Newport.  Previously that route required crossing into Canada.   The new segment allowed travel entirely in the U.S.


     The building was the home of Carlos Parker, co-owner of the Village store with his brother Natt.  It became the home of the Montgomery Schoolhouse Toy Factory and is now in private ownership.

2023 MHS Business Partners so far… 

     Thanks to the following businesses for their membership and support. Let them know you appreciate their civic mindedness by your patronage. 

Black Lantern 

Breezy Acres Farm

Community National Bank Trust Services 

Community Bank NA 

Crafty Lil' Gift Shop

David Howe Memorial Library (UVM) 

The Inn 

Kristin’s Flowers 

Johnson Woolen Mills 

Lucky Dog Maple 

Lutz's Automotive 

Manosh Properties LLC 

Preservation Painting

Sunset Motor Inn

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