Monday, June 25, 2012

Summer Fest Activities June 30

WSummer Fest Events
Located on the Cavendish Historical Society Museum grounds, Summer Fest –June 30th (Saturday)-will feature the following:
• Plant Sale

• “Indian Books,” owned by the Cavendish Fletcher Community Library will be on display inside the Museum McKenney & Hall: History of the Indian Tribes of North America is a collection of 125 images of lithographic and chromolithographic plates. Thomas Loraine McKenney (1785-1859) served as Commissioner of Indian Affairs from 1824 to 1830. In that capacity he commissioned and collected portraits of Native Americans for his Gallery in the War Department. McKenney's goal was to publish a record of vanishing peoples: portraits, biographical sketches and a history of North American Indians. He accomplished this in the first issue of the History of the Indian Tribes of North America, published in three volumes between 1838 and 1844. James Hall (1793-1868) provided the text.

• Museum Tours: Exhibits include 250 Years- Cavendish Historical Timeline. Flood exhibit. Be sure to bring pictures and other items you would like to include in the Historical Society archives for future generations.

• Food: Ting BBQ (lamb kabobs and hamburgers from their farm on East Hill Rd in Cavendish
- Pie for Breakfast (and other delicious items)
- Crepes and drinks
- Farmstead Cheese
- Chicken BBQ by the Cavendish Volunteer Fire Department at the Fire House

• Activities for Kids
- Fabulous Jessie’s Face Painting (Calvary Church)
- Bouncy House (Cavendish Baptist Church)
- Museum

• Silent Auction (Closes at 12:45)

• Live Auction (1 pm)

• 250th Banners are on sale-$150 for double sided banner; $80 for single sided.

• Voting closes at 2 pm for the Community Calendar photography contest . The three winners of the judged contest will also be announced. Photos are on display at the Cavendish Community and Conservation Association's display table.

• Register to vote at the Democratic Party booth. The Republican party will also be present.

• Register your home for the 2nd Annual Town Wide Tag Sale (July 28, 9-3 pm) if you want to be on the map or reserve a space for Proctorsville or Cavendish Green.

• Other vendors including jewelry, crafts, antiques and more.

Events begin at 9 am and end shortly after the live auction. Parking is at the Mac Molding Parking Lot, located in easy walking distance between the Museum and the Fire House.

FMI: 226-7807 or

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

History of the Black River Health Center Building

2013 Memorial Day Parade
passing in front of  BRHC
Was Phineas Gage taken to the Black River Health Center (BRHC) building when he was injured? What was the building before it became a health center?

To answer these questions, and help people understand the history of the building in view of the current discussions about whether the BRHC building should be tax exempt or be given to the town, the Cavendish Historical Society has prepared the following timeline:

1839: Building erected as a store by Daniel Wheeler and George Davis

1870’s Drug Store run by Walker Bent

1891 Old Stone store sold to George Mandigo and his wife for $1,500, with “the express understanding that said premises are to be fitted up immediately for hotel purposes.” Large porches were added along with a livery stable. It was named the Hotel Elliott in 1902.

1908 Hotel Elliot burns

1912 Elliott building was for sale. Run as a boarding house by H.D. Sanders

1917 Gay Brothers buy the building, used first for storage and then as a hotel.

1928 Leased as the Cavendish Inn. Operated for the next 20 years catering to Mill workers and teachers.

1956 Physician serving the Cavendish/Proctorsville area dies. Two fatal car accidents occurred and Cavendish found they could not rely on Ludlow for medical coverage. Community leaders meet with the University of Vermont Medical School about the situation. They were advised to equip a medical office and then solicit a physician. Kenwood Mills, who purchased Gay Brothers Mills and its holdings in 1951, donated the stone building to help form the new Black River Health Center. Members of the community donated their time to renovate the building. Workers at Kenwood Mills had $1 a week withheld from their pay to help for the establishment of the Health Center.

1957: Dr. Eugene (Gene) Bont and Dr. Lawrence Bixby set up their practice in the building.

1970's: A non profit status [501-©-3] was obtained in order to seek Rural Health Initiative funds and designation. Thanks to the federal program, BRHC was able to run a satellite office in Ludlow, which had a strong prevention focus. 

1988: Dr. Bont and his wife Phyllis Bont, a nurse practitioner, leave BRHC to work at Albany Medical Center.

Over the ensuing years, various medical groups tried to maintain a health center but were not successful. The Visiting Nurses Association (VNA) was housed there for a short while. The longest standing occupant since the Bonts left was Opportunities in Learning (OIL), a school for students whose needs were better met outside the traditional classroom. The facility currently houses three mental health counselors.

The delivery of healthcare has changed considerably since the arrival of the Bonts in 1957. However, the Ludlow Health Center (LHC), which is part of Springfield Hospital’s Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) designation, provides care to many in the community in a manner similar to what the Bonts provided. FQHCs are open to everyone. The centers care for patients covered by Medicaid, Medicare and private insurance, as well as those who have no insurance. Payments are on a sliding scale, so people with low or moderate incomes can afford the services.

As for Phineas Gage, he was taken to his "boarding house," which by all accounts was directly across the street from the current War Memorial. Stop by the Museum on Sundays in the summer, from 2 -4 pm, to pick up a copy of the Phineas Gage Walking Tour or down load it from the Cavendish Historical Society's blog.