Sunday, July 7, 2013

Latest News from CHS July 7, 2013

Below is the latest news from the Cavendish Historical Society (CHS). Contact information for CHS is as follows: PO Box 472, Cavendish, VT 05142,, 802-226-7807 .

Many are not aware that just before the Cavendish Gorge and Hydro Dam, on the Black River, was located one of the most productive mills in Vermont. Called Spring Mill, but better known as Fitton’s Mill, it started operation in 1867. The Mill complex included tenement houses as well as a boarding house.  A short lived operation, the mill burned in 1875. When two other Fitton buildings burned later, it was suspected that the mill owner, Robert Fitton, had committed arson to collect the insurance. 

CHS and Green Mountain Power, are hosting a tour of the Fitton Mill, with archaeologist Charity Baker, and the Cavendish Hydro Plant on July 27 at 9 am. While this is a free event, space is limited and the tour is already half full, so let us know as soon as possible if you plan to attend. Note that this is the same day as the Cavendish Town Wide Tag. However, it was the only date the archeologist was available. Contact information is at the beginning and end of this post. 

• Facilities Update: We have received the report from Steve Melanson, part of the Preservation Trust of Vermont, about the condition of the building. As noted by the other members of the Trust, he was amazed at the remarkable shape the building is in considering its age. Much of the building's interior is original to the time that it was built in 1844.  

This report outlines a list of repairs, which total about $34,000. The first order of business was to remove the pigeons from the attic, along with their residue. Thanks to Pieter van Schaik and his crew from Beacon Pest Control, this task has been achieved, and the attic is sealed off to future exposure. We are fortunate that Pieter was able to do this for a quarter of the price estimated by Melanson.

Members of the town wide Stone Church committee (Margo Caulfield, Dan Churchill, Eric Gilberson (Preservation Trust), Mike Pember, Rolf van Schaik, and Rich Svec) have gone through the report and have begun to develop a Facilities Management Plan. Specs have been drawn up for repair work for the Belfry and cupola, and price estimates will be sought in the up coming weeks. 

• Use of the Facility: The building can be used for small gatherings, weddings, memorials etc. For use of the building, please contact CHS (information is at the beginning and end of this post).

• Tours: A number of people stopped by the church for tours on July 6, during Summer Fest. The Church will be open again on July 27 from 12 to 2 pm and arrangements can be made to tour the building at other times by contacting CHS.

• Fundraising: We need your creative ideas for helping to raise funds for the building's restoration. Since the Church is so beautiful at night, and it's been decades since anyone has seen it like this, we are looking to do some type of event in August or early September. If you have any ideas please let us know.

Thanks to Carolyn Solzhenitsyn and Julia Gignoux, the Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn summer exhibit was opened at Summer Fest to rave reviews. The exhibit provides a time line of Solzhenitsyn’s life including what he did after he returned to Russia. It was wonderful to have so many members of the Solzhenitsyn family present for this occasion.

Our heart felt thanks to Carolyn and Julia for an amazing job. The exhibit can be seen during normal Museum hours-Sunday afternoons from 2-4 pm. Arrangements for visiting at other times can be arranged by contacting CHS. 

A reading/viewing area has been set up at the Museum where you can read, do research or watch videos. Among the popular videos watched at Summer Fest was the 1991 Bicentennial Parade and Solzhenitsyn’s farewell speech at Town Meeting in 1994. There were lots of comments about how much younger everyone looked as well as noting who is no longer with us.

Thanks to donations from many members of the Cavendish Community, we have a wonderful array of prizes as part of this year’s CHS Raffle. These include:
• Seascape Painting by Craig Rankin
• Lighthouse Painting by Craig Rankin
• Reading by Dan Churchill
• Historical Cavendish (History of Cavendish, T Shirt, Sandra’s book)
• Golden Stage Inn Honey Bee Amenities Bag
• Class at Fletcher Farm
• Glimmerstone Gift Certificate
• Workshop on Maxim Russian Machine Gun, includes one shooter position
• Old Cavendish Products fruitcake and Monkey Chews
• Pizza and sweat shirt from Goodmen’s Pizza
• One month membership at the Castle Hill Resort and Spa

Tickets are $5 and available at the Museum on Sunday afternoons, at the Stone Church on July 27 or by contacting CHS. The drawing will be on July 27 at 2 pm at the Stone Church.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out the Cavendish VT Facebook page, do so, as we have been featuring many pictures of Cavendish from the earliest photos in the CHS archives to more recent events. You do not have to be a Facebook member to read the website. Commenting does require that you be a Facebook member. If you would to add a picture to the site, you can e-mail it in jpeg format to

Turning to the digital age for help in understanding more about Phineas Gage’s life, as well as to provide accurate information,  CHS has started a Phineas Gage Facebook page. 

You can support the work of CHS by:
• Becoming a member or renewing your membership
• Volunteering
• Making a donation and/or hosting a fundraiser
• Becoming a board member

CHS Contact Information
Mailing Address: PO Box 472, Cavendish VT 05142
E-mail Address:
Phone Number: 802-226-7807

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