Thursday, August 13, 2015

Scribble II-Summer 2015

Upcoming CHS Events
The Cavendish Historical Society (CHS) Museum is open on Sundays from 2-4 pm until Columbus weekend. The Museum can be open at other times by request. Contact information is above.

• Sept. 12: Visit the CHS booth at the VT Golden Honey Festival, where we will be teaching a beeswax candle making workshop. The Festival takes place at the Golden Stage Inn, intersection of Depot and route 103 in Proctorsville, from 10-4.

• Sept. 13 (Sunday): Annual Phineas Gage Talk and Walk, 2 pm at the CHS Museum.

• Oct. 11 (Sunday): Annual Cemetery Tour. In keeping with the serialization of  Coming To Vermont (Cavendish): Memoirs of Philip Tiemann, we will be visiting the Center Road Cemetery in Cavendish where the Tiemann’s are buried. Meet at the CHS Museum at 2 pm to carpool to the cemetery.  This is the last day the Museum will be open for the season.

Pick Blueberries to Benefit CHS
We are fortunate that CHS board member Bruce McEnaney, better known on Facebook as Bruce’s Berries, has the best blueberries in Vermont (100% organic) and they’re ripe for the picking.

As Bruce notes, The picking procedure is the same as last year...scale on the porch...honor system...blah, blah, blah. Half of the proceeds will go to the Cavendish Historical Society to supplement the funds that the good citizens of Cavendish voted to give the Society. The money will go into a fund to repair and paint the former Cavendish Baptist Church that is now the museum. Pick delicious, healthy, never any sprays (except water) blueberries and help refurbish one of the towns beautiful buildings. And remember Bruce's Berries are the freshest and tastiest because YOU PICK THEM YOURSELVES!!!

Bruce’s berries reside at 354 Minor Rd, which is just off Smokeshire Rd in Chester. Smokeshire is just over the Cavendish border off of Route 103. Bruce is very quick to remind us that his home was originally part of Cavendish, but due to some “redistribution,” it’s now part of Chester. If you need additional directions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at the numbers above.

Plant Sale Then and Now

No one seems to remember the exact date, but at least 35 years ago, Craig Rankin started a plant sale to raise money for CHS. Craig came to Vermont from Long Island where he was a landscape architect working on a wide range of high-profile projects, including Yankee Stadium, the Wollman skating rink in Central Park, Jones Beach, and  the New York State Thruway.

Craig was to hosta as Johnny Appleseed was to the apple-everyone needed to have one. As a result, nearly every home in Cavendish has a hosta plant.

In the early days of his sale, Craig had to transplant thousands of plants, as it wasn’t uncommon for him to make $3,000 at a sale where most plants were $1. This was one of his price lists as photographed by his daughter Nancy McMillan.

With Craig's passing in 2008, his legacy of the plant sale continues.

Many thanks to all those who made this year’s sale a great success-Pieter van Schaik and his team (Norma Randall and Brian Pelkey); Steine van Schaik;  Kem and Svetlana Phillips; Bruce McEnaney; Lou Choinere; Jen Leak; Gloria Leven; the Tings and Moonlite Meadows Farm (best compost ever); Anna Shapiro; Bob Naess; Cooper Naess; and Margo Caulfield. 

Even though it’s August, we’ve already started plants for the 2016 sale.

Summer Visitors
With many people on vacation, the Museum has had a number of visitors from all over the world, the farthest being from Siberia, Russia.

In June, we heard from the Johnson family who lives in California, but were originally from Illinois. Going through a family photograph album, they found a number of pictures from Cavendish circa 1925.

They e-mailed CHS asking, “did we know the Kingsbury family?” They also sent a number of photographs wondering if we knew where they were taken.

It turned out that Emma Johnson Kingsbury, came to Vermont as part of a Christian group from Chicago to hold revival meetings. She married Bradley Kingsbury in 1908 and lived with him on East Road-the white farmhouse that was moved. In 1925 various members of her Chicago family came for a visit and the photographs included familiar landscapes, as well as a visit to the Coolidge store, all the more interesting because Calvin was president at the time.

Many of the photographs supplied by the Johnson family have been posted to the Cavendish VT Facebook page. They also brought more photographs with them when they visited Olive Kingsbury.  

In true welcoming fashion, the first thing Olive said to the Johnsons was, “how nice of Emma’s family to come all this way to visit her.”

Olive was able to provide names of various people in the photographs and talked about how much she loved her Aunt Emma, “who was a wonderful person.” Since Emma died in the 1950s, Olive provided an escort to the Cavendish Cemetery so they could pay their respects.

The Original Door to the Museum

For quite some time, the board has wanted to replace the door of the Museum with double hung doors. Since Yankees never through out doors and windows, a few weeks ago, the original doors, as seen in the picture, were found in the basement, along with what we believe is the original weather vane.

The initial assessment is that the doors can be restored. However, it’s like many preservation projects, you start thinking it’s just a matter of making a few changes and then discover much more is involved. Since the goal is to have new doors hung before the “snow flies,” (by Thanksgiving), we have a set of back up doors in case we can’t reuse the original ones.

Solzhenitsyn Project
CHS was pleased to receive a grant from Jeld-Wen Foundation to help with the preservation of the Cavendish Stone Church, which will be the permanent home of the Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn exhibit. These funds will be used to help restore the belfry and cupola area. Unlike other projects, where a good carpenter can do the work, we need to hire a steeplejack and so requests for proposal are underway.

In the spring, we were fortunate to receive the donation of a book collection that included biographies and essays about Solzhenitsyn, as well as a number of copies of his books that have been translated into English. You can stop by the Museum, pull up a chair and enjoy reading some of his prose poems, plays as well as biographies.
The CHS children’s book, “The Writer Who Changed History: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn,” is due to be published this fall. All proceeds from the sale of the book will go to the CHS Solzhenitsyn project. Written for students in grades 4-7, the biography includes many photographs and excerpts from his writing.

A website is now on-line and includes a study guide for teachers and others to use. Also available on-line are a Pinterestsite and a Facebook page. It is through the latter social medium that students can discussion their impressions of the book and related topics with other students from around the world. This will be a monitored site.

Cavendish Historical Society Board: Dan Churchill, Jen Harper, Bruce McEnaney, Kem Phillips, Gail Woods. Coordinator: Margo Caulfield
Cleaning Gravestones: Orange Lichen
During the spring, summer and early fall, CHS volunteers work in the town’s seven cemeteries to clean headstones. This year we’re focused on the Cavendish High Street Cemetery as it has a unique problem-orange lichen.

Algae, lichen, fungi -- that may be green, black, gray, yellow, red, orange, brown, or blue -- can be hazardous to gravestones because they trap moisture on and under the surface of the stone. They also secrete acids that can dissolve limestone, marble, sandstone, concrete, and mortar and can insert their "roots" into the pores of the stone. These growths will swell and shrink in response to moisture, leading to cracking and “spalling” of the stone.

Limestone and marble headstones become weathered because the elements slowly dissolve them. This is a natural process as the calcium carbonate they are made of is slightly soluble in water. “Acid rain” speeds weathering, resulting in stones being permanently damaged, as it leaves a rough, pitted surface, making writing and art harder to distinguish.

The openness of the Cavendish Cemetery, combined with the position, type and age of the stone all contribute to a number of headstones that are heavily damaged. Unfortunately, once the marble is "spalling,” the recommendation is to replace the stone as it's almost impossible to repair.  

We’ve tried various techniques, all recommendations of the National Park Service’s guidelines for cleaning monuments, and it doesn’t seem to make a difference. Once the orange lichen is on it, the stone beneath turns a reddish color, some of it being worse than others. 

While many of the graves we clean have no descendants that can maintain the stones, many “modern” headstones are not cared for. Please know that if you pay for “perpetual care” that only refers to the grounds and not to the individual stone. So the next time you leave flowers on a loved one’s grave, make sure you check the condition of the marker. If you need assistance in cleaning a gravestone in one of the town’s cemeteries, please contact CHS.

BECOME A MEMBER, RENEW YOUR MEMBERSHIP, DONATE 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                          __ Hands on History
__ Other (please specify)                        __ Cemetery Restoration       

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