Tuesday, September 20, 2016

American Pickers Looking for Locations in Vermont

The Cavendish Historical Society was approached today by representatives from the show “American Pickers,” -airs on the “History” channel-as they are looking for locations in Vermont where they can “pick” in October. Please note they are looking for large, rare collections that are not open to the public- no store, malls, flea markets, museums, auctions, or businesses. 

Below is the press release from the show, along with how to get in touch with them if you or someone you know is interested in participating.  

Mike Wolfe, Frank Fritz, and their team are excited to return to Vermont! They plan to film episodes of the hit series “American Pickers” throughout the region this fall. The showis a documentary series that explores the fascinating world of antique ‘picking’ on History. The hit show follows Mike and Frank, two of the most skilled pickers in the business, as they hunt for America’s most valuable antiques. They are always excited to find sizeable, unique collections and learn the interesting stories behind them.

As they hit the back roads from coast to coast, Mike and Frank are on a mission to recycle and rescue forgotten relics. Along the way, the Pickers want to meet characters with remarkable and exceptional items.  The pair hopes to give historically significant objects a new lease on life, while learning a thing or two about America’s past along the way.

Mike and Frank have seen a lot of rusty gold over the years and are always looking to discover something they’ve never seen before. They are ready to find extraordinary items and hear fascinating tales about them. American Pickers is looking for leads and would love to explore your hidden treasure. If you or someone you know has a large, private collection or accumulation of antiques that the Pickers can spend the better part of the day looking through, send us your name, phone number, location and description of the collection with photos to: americanpickers@cineflix.com or call 855-old-rust.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

CHS Briefs: September 1, 2016

This is a special “back to school” edition of the CHS briefs. 

In the fall of 2009, CHS launched a once a week half hour program for students in grades 3-6 at the Cavendish Town Elementary School (CTES) who might have an interest in “hands on history.”  Using volunteers, students had a chance to try all sorts of activities. Because of the “great recession,” that first school year we focused on the Depression Era and the kids did everything from making hobo stew for the entire school to learning how to “Lindy,” thanks to a demonstration by Gloria and Seymour Leven.

Today, programing is offered to all grades as part of the classroom activities. In August, we met with the teachers, discussing curriculum and programs that meet both the school’s standards and CHS’s learning objectives.

CHS has five areas of town history that we think are important to impart:
• 1st peoples (Native Americans)
• Where people came from and why
• Civics) & stewardship (role of Town Meeting, the importance of being involved in one’s community
• Cavendish’s role in world affairs (for a tiny town we have a big history)
• The evolution of the town from agricultural to industrial to digital.

2015 6th Grade RiverSweep
Programs differ from grade to grade. Some of the activities planned for September include:
• RiverSweep for 5th and 6th grades. They will be cleaning a portage and swimming hole on the Black River that appears on Cavendish maps in 1870. In addition to clearing debris, they will be pulling invasive plants that can damage the river. 

• Museum Scavenger Hunt for the 4th Grade

• One Room Schoolhouse: 3rd Grade

For our homeschoolers we will be doing a civics project where they will build a Free Tiny Library and a Free Tiny Pantry. The “library” will be set up next to the Museum while the pantry will be placed at the Cavendish Baptist Church.

For the holidays, CHS picks a country that Cavendish residents have come from and uses their various traditions as a teaching tool. In previous years, countries have included England and Russia. No pinecones or greens this year as we will be featuring South of the Border Christmas, complete with piƱatas, poinsettias, and tropical fruit ornaments. 
CTES 4th graders making stars as part of Christmas 2015

Bruce McEnaney, with volunteer Sandra Russo, at Sturbridge Village
Thanks to Bruce and Betty McEnaney, who donate money from the sale of their blueberries to the CTES program, we can now take students on field trips. Last year, a group of dedicated volunteers, drove the 6th grade to Sturbridge Village. This same trip is planned for the coming year but we hope to also include the 4th graders.

Leavanna Point found at dig site.
This summer, CHS volunteers have been working on an archeological dig in West Haven, VT on what appears to be a very rich site from the Paleo-Indian period (11,000 years ago) through present day use as a farm. Not only will some of the grades be visiting the site, and have an opportunity to participate in a dig, but the archeologists will be meeting with students to discuss their findings from a dig in Guatemala. The latter fits with the 5th curriculum.

We post pictures of the school program at both the CHS blog and the Cavendish Facebook page so that you can follow along with what we’re doing.

• Blueberries are still available for the picking:  Berries continue to ripen, even if it is September, so take advantage of it before it’s too late. Thanks to Bruce and Betty McEnaney, half the proceeds from picking their organic blueberries, ($3 a pint) goes to the CHS program at CTES. Located at 354 Miner Rd, just over the Cavendish line in Chester off of Smokeshire (part of Cavendish at one time), lock in your GPS and head for some of the best blueberry picking ever. 

• Stone Church: It looks like Bruce has found someone who can do the belfry repair. We had to stop looking at the restoration companies, since none of them wanted to do (or for that matter needed) the work.

• Cleaning the Civil War Monument: We met in August to look over the War Memorial and it appears there is some “spalling” taking place. Acid rain” speeds weathering, resulting in stones being permanently damaged, as it leaves a rough, pitted surface, making writing and art harder to distinguish. Before we take on the cleaning of the entire monument, we will be doing a test patch as soon as the temps are cooler and the weather is cloudy. Actually, rainy days are idea for stone cleaning.  

• September/October Activities:
-       Sept. 10 (Saturday) VT Golden Honey Festival  at the Golden Stage Inn off Depot Street Proctorsville. We’ll be running a day-long candle dipping workshop. 
Sept 11 (Sunday): Phineas Gage Annual Walk & Talk at the Museum 2-4 pm.

-       Oct. 7 (Sunday): Cavendish Ghost and other eerie stories. 2-4 pm. We’d love to hear your stories. This is the last day the Museum will be open for the season.

For any of the items below, please e-mail margocaulfield@icloud.com or call 802-226-7807.

• Strange, Ghostly and Eerie Cavendish Stories: We're collected stories about all things spooky, eerie, strange and ghostly in Cavendish. If you have a tale to tell, we want to hear it.

• Tiny Library and Pantry: Do you have an old cabinet or something else that would be could be used for this project? Have carpentry skills that could assist the kids in building? 

• Marketing Assistance: Do you have experience in marketing? We could use your help with book distribution.

• Board Members/Volunteers: Want to have a more active role in CHS? Become a board member. There are also numerous volunteer opportunities.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Scribble II-Summer 2016

Upcoming Events

The Museum is open on Sundays from 2-4 pm and other times by appointment. The current exhibit is on the history of the Cavendish Woolen Mills. There are a variety of hands on activities to try including helping to make a woolen rag rug, potholders and needle holders.

Sept. 10 (Saturday): Honey Festival at the Golden Stage Inn, off Depot Street in Proctorsville. CHS will once again provide an opportunity for visitors to make hand dipped beeswax candles.

Sept. 11 (Sunday): Annual Phineas Gage Walk and Talk. CHS Museum, 2pm.

Oct. 9 (Sunday): Cavendish’s Ghosts and Eerie Stories. Over the summer, CHS has been collecting stories and we have quite a collection to tell. Story telling begins at 2 pm. We’d love to hear your stories.

CHS Briefs

To help members and friends stay involved with CHS, we are now offering a monthly e-mail update on what we’ve accomplished in the last month as well as what’s planned and how you can be involved. You can read it on-line at the CHS blog-address above-or receive it by sending an e-mail to margocaulfield@icloud.com with “subscribe CHS briefs” in the subject heading.

Cavendish’s Woolen Mills Timeline: Part I

As part of the Woolen Mill exhibit, CHS is providing a timeline of the mill history.

1830-1840: This time period marked the transition through out Vermont, from hand-weaving and spinning at home to the mills, which could be run by water power.

1832: The Black River Canal & Manufacturing Company is constructed in Cavendish. It was the first stone building in town. It burned in 1873. On the Beers Atlas in 1869, it was listed as Frederick Fullerton & Co Woolen Mill.

1836: The Proctorsville Woolen Mill started on what is today the Proctorsville Green.

1850: Peak of sheep raising in Vermont. Barely perceptible at first, it gathered momentum from the fact that the earlier spotting around of the imported Merinos, in localities throughout the country that would naturally encourage propagation, resulted in opening up the ranges of the West with their great expanses of grazing lands, which had no need for fencing. Experimentation has shown, too, that sheep raising in the West was cheaper than in the East; so Vermont saw its peak in sheep-raising pass. (Neither Wealth Nor Poverty by Janet Mabie)

1861-1865: The Civil War helped the American woolen business to a good start, But, as is typical of war periods, there was great over-optimism, with wool prices spectacularly inflated. Once the war was over, prices fell to disastrous levels. (Neither Wealth Nor Poverty by Janet Mabie)

1867-1875: Spring Mill (known as Fitton Mill) started in 1867 and burned in 1875 causing some 125-130 employees of Cavendish to be placed out of work. It was an economic disaster for the community. Many former employees tried to find work in  the other mills in the area, but there were just so many positions available. Some of the men who were heads of their families were forced to travel to other communities on the train and board in rooming houses during the week in the towns where they found some work, then travel back to Cavendish on the Saturday train home, making this a weekly requirement. Numerous fires occurred in Cavendish around this same time. Believing that the fires were arson, Robert Fitton soon gained the name of “Fire Bug Fitton.” While the Fitton Mill brought many new immigrants to the town, requiring a new school to be build, they did employ child labor.

1873-4: Proctorsville Woolen Mill fails and is not used for three years.

1877: New owners of the Proctorsville Woolen Mill reopen it as the Crescent Woolen Mill

1880: The Crescent Woolen Mill enlarged their operation by buying a chair factory one west of Proctorsville and converted it into a shoddy and flock factory, as well as a box shop.

1886: Herbert Murdock bought into the firm of Hayward, Taft, and Burbank in December and took over the management.

1887: Gay Brothers Mill opens on the site of the Black River Canal and Manufacturing Company, which by this point was nothing more than walls. Relocating from Tunbridge, VT, the town of Cavendish struck a deal with the Gays to make it feasible for them to purchase and start the mill.

1890: H.T. Murdock now had complete control over the Proctorsville Mill. He adds a large brick addition of four stories and the machinery was increased to 12 sets of cards and sixty broad looms, employing 175 people. The Proctorsville Mill was considered to “rank second in the state.” (1899 Souvenir Edition of the Vermont Tribune). Both mills depended on water power but had steam as an auxiliary source of power. The expansion of these two mills was at least part of the reason that the population of Cavendish rose by 180 people during this period.

 1900: While the mills kept hiring more people, the number of farms in Cavendish, and all Vermont, continued to decrease.

World War I:  Both Cavendish and Proctorsville village mills were operating at full tilt, doing their best for the war effort. Business was booming not only through the War years but also through 1920.

1927: The November flood caused serious damage to the mill in Proctorsville. It’s finishing room was under water, foundations of several of their tenement houses were badly damaged and 400 tons of coal were washed away. Gay Brothers was not as severely damaged, though muddy water had covered everything in the stock shed to a depth of three feet. Despite the damage, the Gays went ahead and completed both a dye house and a new shipping building, 60 by 64 feet, which had been started just before the flood.

• The Murdock Mill becomes the Proctor Mill

1929: Due to financial difficulties, Proctor Mill was sold to Mr. Pike of Hanover, NH. The sale included the mill, the tenements, the Opera House, and woodland, all for a total of $24,601, a fraction of the value.

1932: The Proctor Mill in Proctorsville becomes Bear Woolen Mill

New Doors for the Museum

Under the guidance of Proctorsville woodworker Dave Stern, volunteers have been stripping paint for the new doors to the Museum. While the original doors were found in the basement last summer, and wood was seasoned over the winter for replacement parts, a close examination showed that they weren’t salvageable. Fortunately, period appropriate doors were found but needed to be stripped, repaired and painted.

Unlike the doors in this photo, the replacements will not have windows, since churches of the 1830s would have used solid doors.

The goal is to install the doors once the Museum closes for the season.

Do You Have A Cavendish Ghost Story?

Over the summer we’ve been collecting all kinds of ghost and other “eerie” stories about various places in Cavendish. Who knew there were so many ghosts in one town? “George visits the Golden Stage Inn” while the Proctorsville Fire Department contends with “Homer” from time to time. Charlie frequents a house on Depot St leaving his signature trademark-pennies. The old Duttonsville School House still has children talking and playing in what was once the 4th grade classroom.

Do you know of a house or property that has strange stories connected to it, or have experience something out of the ordinary? If so, using the address, e-mail and phone information on the cover of the newsletter, please send us you stories by Sept. 20th so they can be included in our Oct. 9th program.

If you have not joined the Cavendish Historical Society, need to renew your membership, and/or would like to be a volunteer, please complete the form below and sending a check, payable to CHS, to CHS, PO Box 472, Cavendish, VT 05142. All contributions are tax deductible.

Name: _______________________________________

Address: _______________________________________________

Phone Number: _____________________    E-Mail: ____________________________
Membership Level
__ Individual Member $10        ___ Senior Member 65+ $5  ___ Sustaining Member $500
__ Household Member $15      ___ Contributing Member $250                                

___ I would be interested in serving, as a volunteer .I would be interested in serving on the following committee(s):__ Program Planning          __ Fundraising            __ Building (Museum)
__Archives                    _ Budget         ­­–– Cemetery    __ Hands on History

Donations are always welcome and can be designated as follows:
__ For general purposes               __ Educational Programs           __Publications
__ Archeological Activities             _ Museum & Archival             __ Special Events
__ Rankin Fund                           __  Williams Fund                  __ Solzhenitsyn Project
__ Other (please specify)                        __ Cemetery Restoration        __ Preservation Projects