January 2022

1st Quarter

Number 69
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

Pratt Hall
 December 2021

Scott Perry,Chairman/Editor
 Bill McGroarty,Vice Chairman
  Marijke Dollois,Secretary
   Pat Farmer,Treasurer

  The MHS Board meets the third Thursday of the month at 5:00 p.m.  at Pratt Hall May - October and normally the Public Safety Building Conference Room November - April, but via Zoom until virus restrictions are lifted.

Recent History Quiz: .

1.  An April 2021 study of mask wearing in northern Vermont found a usage rate of about:>
  a.     54%        b. 62%
  c.   75%         d. 83%

2.  There was a gender gap observed with women showing more usage than men. What was the approximate difference?
  a.    5%         b. 10%
  c.  15%         d. 20%

3.  In 1952 Montgomery was one of several area towns where specimen collection stations were set up. Montgomery would have one each in the Center and Village. What was it for?

  a.  Mange     b.  Mad Cow
  c.  Diabetes  d.  Rabies
     An anonymous phantom left a copy of  "A Vermont Year in Sonnets" by James Chapados at Pratt Hall.  Published this past November, this northern Vermont author took inspiration from several Montgomery venues and his copyrighted poem is included below by permission.  What a wonderful gift for the new year.

Hutchins Bridge

     Down hill astride the river stands the bridge.
     Once hundreds crossed each day village to mill.
     Now only the curious come down hill
     To see its roofed timbers span the river's ledge.
     Wood latticed shadows hold in its dotage
     Joinery of angles and corners that still
     Hold in their dust memories no quill
     Has writ, moments of love and private pledge.
     There is an echo when I step onto
     Its worn planks, a rustling as pigeons wake
     To my presence.  Its shade holds silhouettes,
     History's vestiges in earth tone hue.
     I see them shaped by joy, by love, by ache
     Dancing with the wind and river's spirits.

       Hope you and yours are well and optimistic about things to come.  Thank you for your support.


Published by Four Seasons Press or BookBaby Press and available at Amazon.


     The picture above is one of the earliest we have of the Congregationalist Church, what is now the Town Hall.  We worked with the State on behalf of the Selectboard to secure this eligibility determination, making the building more competitive for preservation grants.

     The State Architectural Historian determined the building was eligible for national listing mainly for its architectural history as the Crescent Theater, and remarked on the unusual use of the building going from a church to a theater to a Grange Hall to Town Hall.  The Selectboard will need to follow up with a formal nomination, and any preservation planning or project grants.


     Several years ago the Society received a copy of the State's 1983 survey of Montgomery historic structures.  We used it in our work on the Town Hall (above).  We learned the Town Hall was part of one of the three Historic Districts in the Survey; Montgomery Village, Montgomery Center, and the West End of Montgomery Center.  

     Structures were included as part of the districts or individually.  Fifty-five were identified in town. We've posted an excerpt from the survey
on the three districts on our web site and hope to scan the entire 400+ page survey in  the future.    


     Ringing the bell from the ground floor of the entry is no longer possible due to the fragility of the rope and bell wheel, a mechanism that rocked the entire bell so the clapper would strike the inside of the bell.   If we want to ring the bell someone has to climb up to it and pull back and release the chime hammer which strikes the outside of the stationary bell.

     As some of us have aged, climbing up the tower to manually ring it was getting more challenging,
so we've added a cable to the chime hammer that can be operated from below.  We can now safely ring the bell from the entry by pulling and releasing the cable, which pulls back and releases the hammer.    Click the photo to see a video.


     Several intrepid board members have been working on reorganizing our archives and developing procedures so others can quickly learn how to accession new items.  We are using the former Heaton House for processing and storage.  It has no heat, tenuous electrical service, and no water service.

     We really need an improved facility to take better care of  these treasures from Montgomery's past and are reaching out for help with design and to eventually build, a modest facility we can use all year.  If you have any ideas or advice or connections,  we are eager to hear.


    1.  c.  About 75% of those observed were wearing masks.

    2.  c.  Women wore masks at about 15% more than men.

Vermont Research News, September 2021
.  The study was done by people watching commercial areas in the Northeast Kingdom.  They also noted a difference by age with those older wearing masks at a much higher rate than younger.  The research was being done to support analysis on devising media campaigns to improve mask usage.

 c.  Human Diabetes.  Urine samples were taken as part of a program to prevent or treat the disease.  Atlas Plywood factories participated in the program.  Source:  Nov. 13, 1952 edition of the Richford Journal and Gazette.

     While just short of our membership goal of 200, our 2021 membership rebounded from 2020's low, and we hit a new high in terms of membership revenue.    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

     Our 2022 drive will begin in late March but you can renew, anytime online by clicking the Membership link on our home page.  You can use any credit card (processed by Paypal) or your personal Paypal account by clicking the Donate button and following the prompts.  
New and re-joining former members are appreciated greatly too.  

      If you have a friend, or family member, you think might be interested please encourage them to consider joining, or consider giving them a gift membership.  Please email us if you have any questions.


     This year's wagon rides were well attended but the snow didn't start until the last ride headed out to the Comstock Bridge.  The library board handed out candy canes and cookies and Pratt Hall was open, but only for warming while people waited.  We hope to return our other activities, including Candles and Carols, next year.

     This was Chip and Dale's
(right to left) first time in Montgomery and they had never been through a covered bridge before, but they never hesitated.  Great job guys!!   Our thanks once again to Misty Meadows Draft Horses in Fairfield.


     The September / October issue of Yankee Magazine gave Montgomery's covered bridges as the 12th of "31 Ways to Fall for Autumn".  Comstock was pictured  but it was taken before the historic marker was added.  

     The Society's covered bridge pamphlet remains very popular and  will need to be reordered next year.  We provide them to area businesses at no charge .  They are also downloadable from our web site.



      Applications for our annual Winston Lewis, and Joe and Irene Scott Memorial Scholarships are due May 1st.  All graduating Montgomery seniors going on to future education / training are eligible.   This includes technical training, such as a CDL, as well as college.


     January:  1897 - Temperature of 22 below zero and "hurricane" winds reported.  Firewood in short supply.  Enosburg Standard

      February:  1955 - Village water system freezes.  Ninety families without water.  St. Albans Messenger

      March:  1895 -  Town votes to establish a library.


     Engraved brick pavers were popular at the MES craft show.  We will be placing another order soon.  Let us know if you would like one.  Order forms can be downloaded from our web store and emailed to us.  Our pint glasses are available there too.


         Driveway sliding is a powerful yearn.
        But steering I never did learn;
              I  couldn’t wait to toboggan, 
             But drank brandy egg-nogans,
        Then crashed and burned on the turns.


Pat Calecas, Tim Chapin, Bob Cummins, 
Marijke Dollois, Pat Farmer, Mary Garceau,
John Kuryloski, Roger Lichti, Bill McGroarty,
Patty Perl, Scott Perry,
Elsie Saborowski, & Sue Wilson