April 2014

  2nd Quarter

Number 38
Artifacts & Fiction

The Quarterly Newsletter of the
Montgomery Historical Society

P.O. Box 47
Montgomery, VT 05470

e-mail pratthall@gmail.com


Click here for a printer friendly pdf version
WWCC Progress

Getting closer everyday!

Scott Perry - Chair/Editor
   Bill McGroarty - Vice Chair
      Marijke Dollois - Secretary
         Sue Wilson - Treasurer

  The MHS Board meets the third Wednesday of the month at 5:30.  Pratt Hall in the summer, Public Safety Building Conference Room in the Winter.

Our WWCC Goal is $150,000.

 Our progress is shown on the goal thermometer at the top right of this page.

  Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this very important effort.

"Somethings not right here."  

Montgomery/Vermont History Quiz:

1. According to the 2010 census, of those working, what percentage of Montgomerians worked at home?
a.  3.7       b.  5.2      c.  6.7      d.  7.3 

2.  Of those working, over 75% drove to work alone.  What percentage car pooled?
a.  5.0       b. 7.3       c.  9.6     d.  12.9

Chairman's Message:
Walking and Chewing Gum at the Same Time

     As I write this we are getting into the home stretch with our year long West Wall Capital Campaign (WWCC).  With three months to go we have raised enough cash and have enough pledges and borrowing authority, to commit to the work we need to do.*  We have an approved Statement of Work and are soliciting bids, and we hope to select a preservation contractor(s) this April.

Stained Glass Expert Lawrence Ribbecke
Assesses Pratt Hall Window

     We will continue our WWCC fund raising to bolster our ability to pull this off.  We know all too well from past experience that once you start opening up walls in an old structure, other must-do tasks (and expenses) pop up.   We also want to avoid having to borrow money to cover costs or cash flow since some of our WWCC donations won't be received until 2015 or 16.  As detailed below, we have several more fund raising events and initiatives in the works.  They include a dance, craft and vendor sale, brick sales, and quilt raffle.  

     While we have been focused like a laser on the West Wall project, we have also continued our efforts in other mission areas and this is where membership donations play such a big part.   Finishing the painting of the former Heaton House, publishing the updated Town history, exhibiting at the bi-annual Vermont History Expo, our annual scholarship, and mundane expenses like water, electricity, and mowing require us to make our annual appeal.

     We have been blessed by a tremendously generous membership and we are a shining example of what a small town and its extended family can do.   Tell your friends and neighbors and invite them to join us.  Thank you!                                                                          
* p.s.  In the "no good deed goes unpunished" department...  we are now required to file a federal income tax form since we raised an average of over $50K per year for the last three years.  Called a 990EZ, we will need to do it for at least the next three years, so the Board decided to hire Wallace Tapia, a CPA who specializes in Non-profit returns.

WWCC Fund raisers

          Since the last newsletter we've had a very successful Venison Dinner and another Texas Hold'em tournament.  Our thanks to Greg Lucas, Hannah Sorenson, Matt Crowley, and the whole Black Lantern team.     Thanks also to the Belfry, and Phinneas Swann,  for sponsoring our event banners.  Join us for these coming events.

     April 12: Square Dance. 7:30-11:00  Town Hall (Grange).  Music by Rhythm Ramblers.  All types...Square, Round, Polka, Waltz, Jitterbug.  $30/couple.  BYOB.

     May 3: "Christmas in May" Craft and Vendor Sale.  10:00-4:00  Town Hall (Grange).  Free Admission.

     Ongoing: Raffle tickets are for sale for a lovely bed quilt donated by the Franklin County Quilters Guild.   Table runner second prize, and covered bridge red work pattern set third prize.  

     Ongoing:  Our engraved paver bricks continue to be very popular with 108 sold so far.  They are available via our web site or by contacting Pat Farmer.

     Speaking of our web site you can purchase hats, t-shirts, and other items or just make a donation at our MHS for Sale page.

"Don't let the Hall's wall fall"

Montgomery, VT: The History of a Town, 3rd Edition
Deemed a "Must Read"

     As many of you know both the hard cover and paperback version of the newly updated Town History are now available.    The books are for sale at the Town Office, Lutz's Automotive, and on line via our web site.   There are a limited number of hard cover copies available.

     The Society will be donating copies to the Town Office,Town Library, Vermont Historical Society Library, and UVM Library.  

      Reviews so far have been excellent.  Kudos to Jo Anne Bennett and the MHS Board for seeing this multi-year project through with such excellent results.  Thanks also to Queen City Printers in Burlington for design and integration of old and new, printing and binding.  

     We hope to have an official book release and signing reception sometime this Spring.  People who have purchased a book will be able to get them signed by Jo Anne, Joe Sherman, and possibly Bill Branthoover if he is able to make the trip.  We will also have copies available for sale.  We will let you know the details via email.

Speaking of Email...

      If you haven't already, please consider giving us your email address.  It is generally more timely and definitely less expensive.

So What Else Has the MHS Been Up To?

     The Society supports a lot of information requests and initiatives related to history and preservation which we try to satisfy.  This is part of what we call our outreach mission  Here are a few of them since the last newsletter.

     In Late January the Burlington Free Press (BFP) did an article on the State's historic preservation grant programs and visited Pratt Hall to see an example of the program in action.  Color photos of your editor not withstanding, it was a great article and very complimentary of the MHS and community.  In April we will attend a ceremony at the VT Statehouse honoring all the grant  awardees.  This helps promote the program with the legislature and of course supports funding.  

    In March the BFP did another article on the Boy Scouts (BSA) and community service in general.  They read about the most recent MHS/BSA project painting our archive building in an earlier newsletter on our website and wanted to interview us for the article.

     The Preservation Trust of Vermont (PTV) asked us to write a short "Local Spotlight" article about our grant and upcoming West Wall project for their February 2014 Newsletter.  The PTV sponsored studies in 2005 and 2006 which we used as the basis for our work, and subsequent grant applications for the Tower and the West Wall projects.

     Author and Montgomery-lover, Pierre Holmes-Douglas contacted us for assistance in January for an article he is writing about our Town for Vermont  Magazine.  We helped him with contacts and provided other information.  He also toured Pratt Hall in March and took pictures to accompany his article which he expects to run in the Fall edition.

     UVM Master in Historic Preservation student, Karyn Norwood visited in March to tour Pratt Hall, and discuss historic preservation and Vermont's churches.  We also visited the Town Hall (former Grange and Congregationalist Church) and former Baptist Church.  Serendipity may have struck as she may end up doing the MHS-sponsored application to put the Baptist Church on the National Register of Historic Places.  

     Vermont has a wonderful Civil War web site that's been done entirely by volunteers.  It is led by Tom Ledoux, who recently asked for help identifying and photographing Civil War and other veteran monuments around the State.  We provided photos and information on the veteran's memorial on the Montgomery Village green.

     This March we provided a Montgomery History Quiz for the 2013 Town Report. We also used it as an opportunity to let people know about the hot off the press 3rd Edition.


     Zack's dear friend, Lucille Moran, recently called to donate several of his things including a tweed "Sherlock Holmes" cape, a couple of small statues, and four "Dresden" dolls.  The dolls were made by Laura DePew from Montgomery in the 1950s.  
     The Society lost a great friend recently with the passing of Arthur St. Onge Sr.  He and Lorraine and family were always there with crane, plow, hydraulic jack hammer whatever we needed so it should come as no surprise they designated the Society for donations in his memory.  

     Our most sincere thank you to Lucille and the St. Onge's for their wonderful acts of kindness.  

2014 Membership Campaign Underway

    You should receive a letter soon, if you haven't already, asking you to renew your membership or become a new member.  Annual membership donations are used for our operating expenses and programs.  This year you can also join via our website and make your membership donation using a credit card (processed by Paypal) or a Paypal account transfer.  

  Since 2007 we have averaged over 215 household and business memberships. We have members from 20 VT towns including 8 in Franklin County, 16 states & the District of Columbia, 2 Canadian Provinces, and 3 foreign countries other than Canada.  No donation is too small.  Please tell your friends and help us in make history.

Save the Date - 2014 Annual Meeting June 29th

     This year's MHS Annual Meeting will be part business and part party as we anticipate the finale of the West Wall Capital Campaign and the prelude to Pratt Hall West Wall work.  We will be renting a large tent, tables, linens... the works and will enjoy a pig roast by local chef Dennis Deuso.  It will be an country elegant Sunday afternoon affair.  We will have our Vermont History Expo exhibit on display and a few surprises as well.  The pig will only feed so many so please call Sue for reservations 326-4189.  Cost is $20 per person and should be pre-paid.

Thank You Ken and Parma

     Two long serving MHS Board members, Ken Secor and Parma Jewett, recently stepped down due to the demands in their "other" lives.  

     Ken was a founding member of the "Men with Tools" and had a hand in almost every restoration and repair project we undertook over the past few years.   He has some really great tools!  He was also our photographer.  At Board meetings he kept us honest, making sure we were looking at all sides of the issues.  

     Parma Jewett has served as our archivist, and special projects person for years and whatever else was needed to get the job done.  She is now part of the leadership of the National Society of Early American Decoration and is traveling more than she likes.  Our loss is their gain.  

     Our heartfelt thanks for your service to our organization.  Remember, we know where you live.  

Will You Serve as an MHS Board Member?

     Our Bylaws allow for a 14 member Board of Directors.  Parma and Ken's departure leaves us with 3 vacancies.  The Board meets the third Wednesday of each month at 5:30 and oversees every facet of the organization.  Please contact us if you are interested or have any questions.

"The Address"

   Filmmaker Ken Burn's latest offering focuses on the Greenwood School in Putney, Vermont and their requirement for their learning challenged students to learn and recite the Gettysburg Address.  But it's much more.  Look for it on your PBS station and check out this web site:  http://www.learntheaddress.org to hear others read, or to leave your own reading.

This Quarter in Montgomery History

     April 1984 :  Village (Parker) Store burns.

     May 1818:   Episcopal congregation formally organizes, the second to organize, but the first to build a church 1832-1835.

     June 1816:  Frost and snow!  Called the Cold or Famine Year.

Hectorville Covered Bridge

     At Town Meeting this year the Selectboard received approval to dispose of the remains of the Hectorville Bridge which had been disassembled and stacked in a local construction yard for 10 years.  The Society played a role in taking the unsafe bridge down, and arranged for it's removal and storage with the Selectboard's approval.  Society reps also participated on a committee back then to try to find a place to locate and reuse the bridge, even writing a grant application to repurpose it into a pedestrian path.  All efforts failed and the bridge pieces have languished.

     A new committee has been appointed to try again.  They will evaluate the condition of the timbers and if appropriate recommend a location and use for the bridge.  Members include:  Merle Van Geisen, Joe Sherman, Sandy Bowman, Melissa Haberman, David Burns, Darren Drevik, Pat Farmer, Jacob Racusin, and Andre LaBier.

History Quiz Answers

     1. According to the 2010 census, of those working, what percentage of Montgomerians worked at home?
     a.  3.7          b.  5.2         c.  6.7         d.  7.3 

     2.  Of those working, over 75% drove to work alone.  What percentage car pooled?
     a.  5.0           b. 7.3         c.  9.6         d.  12.9

Pratt Hall walkway waiting for bricks, March 14, 2014

Thanks for your support!!