Saturday, June 3, 2017


CHS’s annual plant sale will take place on July 1, Saturday, from 9-2 in front of the Museum (Route 131 in Cavendish). Below is the plant list as of 6/27/17. As we add plants, we will be updating it. Some plants can be pre ordered including the tomato plants and American Chestnut trees. Most plants are $5 with the exception of the patio tomatoes ($10). Herbs, depending on size can be 2 for $5.

If you have plants you would like to donate to the sale, please call 802-226-7807 or e-mail We can help with posts and soil. 

Creeping Sedium

Lemon Balm


Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla)

 Astilbe (pink)
Campanula (Pink)



Day Lilly (various colors)
Rodgersia (Pink)

Campanula glomerata 'Superba'

Sedum-Autumn joy pink

Spirea (Pink)

Spirea“Dakota Goldcharm”

Weigela florida 'Foliis Purpureis'

TOMATOES-Already planted and staked in containers. Put outside and bring in when frost is predicted and you can extend your tomato season. 

Roma Tomato

• Brandywine tomatoes

Sweet 100
The  trees being sold are 100% American Virginia Chestnut trees and come from Wendy Regier's trees, which are 25 years old. The American Chestnut Foundation first sold these before beginning their X program to get enough of the parent nuts to cross with the Chinese variety. Dorothy Regier, bought the seeds and tended them until her death.

American Chestnut

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Spring 2017 Newsletter


We’re hard at work on the annual plant sale, Saturday, July 2. Once again Svetlana and Kem Phillips have a new and wonderful plant surprise-chestnut trees. This is an experimental venture sparked by Wendy Regier who gave them chestnuts to see what they could do with them. They are in the Phillip’s garden and will be transplanted closer to the sale.

Informally known as the “Restoration” chestnut, these trees have enough of the Chinese chestnut’s natural blight resistance to have a shot at surviving. The tree looks very similar to the American chestnut. We will provide an opportunity to pre buy closer to the sale.

Once again there will be patio tomatoes-Brandywine, Roma and Sweet Cherry.  It wouldn’t be a plant sale without hosta. Special thanks to the Tings and Moonlite Meadows Farms for the absolutely best compost. A list of what we will be offering will soon appear at the CHS blog. If you have plants you would like to donate for the sale, please contact us at the numbers above. We can provide soil and pots, and with advanced notice, some manpower.

The Museum is now open Sundays from 2-4 through Columbus weekend . Visits can be arranged at other times by contacting CHS. As you drive by, you’ll notice that work is underway on the door of the Museum. Carl Liener has been lending his considerable talents to repair the transom over the door and is redoing signage. Dave Stern is heading up the installation of the new doors, in spite of a skiing injury.

The layout of both of the town’s villages were based on people walking and traveling by horse. As we speed
Proctorsville Quarry
by in our cars, we often miss the beauty and interesting aspects. This year, CHS is offering a series of walking tours to point out interesting aspects of the villages and the town. The first walk will be to the Proctorsville Quarry hopefully in July. August will include a walking tour of  Cavendish Village, while the annual Phineas Gage Walk-N-Talk will be Sept. 10. Columbus weekend, Oct. 8, CHS will host the Proctorsville ghost walk.

This summer is going to involve a lot of planning including preparing for the 100th anniversary of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s birth in 2018 as well as continuing restoration of both the Museum and Stone Church. Have some time? We have plenty of jobs for volunteers.


Carmine at the book signing of his autobiography
At CHS’s Annual Meeting in March, it was agreed that the most fitting tribute for Carmine Guica, one of the founders of CHS and an avid historian, was to rename the Young Historians program in his honor and work to expand programs. The objective of the CCYHP (Carmine Guica Young Historians Program)  is to offer programs at Cavendish Town Elementary School (CTES), Green Mountain Union High School and other regional schools so that students will not only know Cavendish’s history but also develop a sense of stewardship and responsibility for it.

Specific learning objectives include:

6th graders at the old Fitton Mill.
• 1st Peoples: There is strong archeological evidence that Cavendish was occupied over 11,000 years ago, including the possibility of an archaic Indian village 5,000-7,000 years ago.

•  Culture-People have come to Cavendish from all over the world including: Africa; Austria; Belgium; Bulgaria; Canada; China; Czechoslovakia; Denmark; El Salvador; England; Finland; France; Germany; Greece; Holland; Hungary; India; Ireland; Italy; Japan; Korea; Mexican; Native American; Norway; Philippines; Poland; Portugal; Rumania; Russia; Scotland; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland; Turkish; Ukraine; Yugoslavia; Wales. Special programs, such as St. Patrick’s Day, and Dias de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) are ways to teach students about other cultures and the influence they’ve had on Cavendish history

• Civics/Stewardship Students are involved in a number of civic projects including RiverSweep, where they learn the role the Black River played in forming the town and well as clean a beach that dates back to the mid 1850s. Other projects include cleaning gravestones; placing flags on veterans’ graves; making poppies for Memorial Day. As a result of the CHS programs, Cavendish has a lower incidence of youth vandalism.

• Cavendish’s Role in World Affairs: While many know of Phineas Gage and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, fewer are aware of Nettie Stevens who was born in Cavendish and went on to do the research crucial in determining that an organism's sex was dictated by its chromosomes rather than environmental or other factors. Cavendish played an interesting role in the abolitionist era, as well as the Revolutionary War.

  Agricultural to Industrial to Digital: With the passing centuries, Cavendish has gone from an agrarian culture, with small businesses to support them, to the industrial age with the development of the woolen mills and other manufacturing companies (e.g. cheese, chair, potato starch factories) to digital with its proliferation of small home based businesses and telecommuters. Through various programs and books, we show them what was as well as opportunities for the future.


Part I of the Cavendish Woolen Mills timeline appeared in the Scribbler II Summer 2016, while Part II is in the Winter 2017 edition. Both newsletters are available on-line at the CHS blog. See header for link. This issue covers 1938 to present day.

1938: On December 31, Proctorsville village purchased the Black River Mill building for $1,000 plus$800 back taxes. The equipment was auctioned off.

• Late 1937 and 1938 were bad times for the woolen mills. Many mills in Ludlow were closed for months at a time and Gay Brothers for shorter periods. When the mills did get orders, they asked the workers to take heavy cuts in their wages. They were competing with cheaper labor in the south. The workers didn’t necessarily agree instead blaming troubles with the union and strikes as the cause for the downfall of the Black Bear Woolen Mill. Workers at Gay Brothers said they would accept cuts in pay if the mill would become a “closed shop.”

1939: The Gay Brothers business had picked up sufficiently that they purchased the VerdMont Mill on Main St. Ludlow and renamed it Gaymont. The Vermont Tribune reported, The woolen mill industry in the Black River Valley is running at capacity speed with two of the mills on a 24 hour basis, ...Gaymont Mill is now equipped with modern machines with three shifts. Gay Brothers has 262 workers at present.
1941: Gay Brothers signed a union contract Local 261 of the Textile Workers Union of America.

• Proctor Reel and Shook company moved from New Jersey to the former location of the Black Bear Mill.

1942: The Town Report states that Gay Brothers are..”the chief war industry of our town...where 300 people work producing 30,000 yards of woolen blankets, Navy uniform cloth and Khaki flannels each week for the United States Government...In addition to the war materials produce, the plant flies the Minute Man Flag...Thirty-seven of the works are serving in the Armed Forces.” Because of the high demand, all of the high school students over 16 were asked to work at the mill whenever possible and many of the remaining men in town would work second or third shift in addition to their regular jobs. The mills flourished with contracts for Navy overcoats, khaki material and blankets, 200,000 of which went to ships which transported troops. One very famous ship, the Queen Mary, received some 10,000 of the mill’s blankets as she had been converted into a fast troop carrier ferrying the Atlantic. Blankets also went to war workers, the Maritime Commission, and to other organizations under the “Lend-Lease” Program. Some blankets and uniform cloth even went to the Russians.

1948: Gay Brothers agreed with the union on a contract giving the workers a .15¢ an hour increase, a minimum wage of $1.05 an hour, six paid holidays and hospital benefits. There was a no-strike clause and no pension plan. Reports appear in the Rutland Herald that the Gay Brothers Mill is to be sold to Ames Worsted Company of Lowell, Ma. This was not true.

Post WWII (1946-1950): Business was very poor for mills all over New England in the late 1940s.Moreover, not all the veterans were content to return to the mills. Some had found the mills to be noisy and dirty; others disliked being kept inside all day, preferring outside work instead.

1950: Gaymont Mills in Ludlow, owned by the Gay Brothers, is sold to ten Ludlow businessmen, who sell the building to General Electric in 1951.

• Rutland Railroad declares bankruptcy further reducing passenger service in town.

1951: The Gay Brothers sell the mill to F.C. Hyuck and Sons, who rename it Kenwood Mills. The reasons given for the closure included; the rising price of wool, the use of synthetic fabrics and the concentration of the woolen business into a few large corporations. Many textile mills had left New England and moved South where there was cheaper labor. Though not mentioned by the Gays, others believe that “”trouble with the unions” was a contributing factor.

• General Electric opens in Ludlow in the Gaymont Mill building. Offering good benefits and chances for advancement, many former Gay Brothers employees go to work for GE.

1955: Kenwood Mills made blankets and employed 270 people on two shifts.

1956: Proctor Reel relocates to Massachusetts. The building is purchased by Acousti Phase.

1957: Kenwood Mills closes. Cavendish is no longer a mill town.

1962 Mack Molding purchases the Gay/Kenwood Mills building and continues to use it for injection plastic moldings.

1982: Acousti Phase burns leaving considerable devastation.

1996-1998: Proctorsville revitalizing projects undertaken. With matching funds and in-kind matches provided by the Town and the private sector, the Town was able to change the vacant Proctorsville mill site into a handsome, well-designed village green with recreational space. Affordable housing is strategically placed adjacent to the green with the move of the historic Freeman House from next to the Cavendish Pointe Hotel to the Green in 1997.
2017: Murdock’s on the Green pub opens in one of the former Proctorsville Mill buildings. The building adjacent to Murdock’s has been sold and plans are for a brewery and a tasting room/pub.


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

Monday, May 1, 2017

CHS Briefs May 1, 2017

Brook Farm Vineyards of Proctorsville  is sponsoring a wine tasting, including cheese, chocolate and charcuterie plates, to benefit the Cavendish Historical Society on Monday, May 15 from 6:30 to 8:30. The cost is $35 a person and will take place at their Ludlow tasting room, Circa 1810, 116 Main St. Tickets can be purchased by stopping by Circa 1810 during business hours or sending a check, payable to Brook Farm Vineyards, to CHS, PO Box 472, Cavendish, VT 05142. This would make a great Mother’s Day present. FMI: 802-226-7807 or

Stone Church: The belfry repair has been completed. Next up is to take care of the powder post beetle problem in the vestibule of the church; replace the belfry roof; assess repair needs on the roof and to paint the door and shutters.
Belfry Repair underway. 

These were most likely the original doors to the
museum, which were modified with panes
of glass. The new double hung doors will
be solid, similar to the doors at the Cavendish
Stone Church, which was built around the same time.
Museum: Under Dave Stern’s guidance, work has begun to replace the single door with period correct double hanging doors. Thanks to Carl Liener, the transom window over the door is being reglazed and painted. Nothing is ever simple with a building of this age, but little by little progress is being made and it wont be long before the new doors will be installed.

Carmine Guica Young Historians: A series of activities are being planned with the 6th graders including a panel on immigration; recording of Cavendish ghost stories with LPC-TV; day long cleaning of debris and placing flags on veterans’ graves in Cavendish maintained cemeteries; and making poppies for Memorial Day.

One of Craig's original plant
sale lists
Annual Plant Sale: Thanks once again to our “plant whisperers” Svetlana and Kem Phillips, we will have something new to offer at this year’s Plant Sale-Chestnut trees. We begin to transplant after Mother’s Day so if you have plants you’d like to donate, please contact us. If you have pots you can donate, leave them by the door to the Museum. Once again we will offer container tomato plants and you will be able to pre order. 

Presentation: Margo Caulfield will be doing a discussion and book signing –Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: The Writer Who Changed History-at the Fletcher Community Library in Ludlow on June 22, 7pm

If you can help with any of the following, please contact CHS; 802-226-7807 or PO Box 472, Cavendish, VT 05142

• Annual Plant Sale-Do you have plants you like to contribute? Are their plants you’d like to see us carry this year? Other suggestions?

• Do you like to paint? CHS has painting projects both at the Museum and at the Stone Church.

• CHS is looking for new board members as well as volunteers who can help with various activities.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Wine Tasting to Benefit the Cavendish Historical Society

Thank you to Brook Farm Vineyards for sponsoring this event. Please order early as tickets are limited.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

CHS Briefs April 1, 2017

 Please check the Cavendish VT Facebook page for photo albums of various CHS activities.

Annual Meeting: CHS’s Annual Meeting was on March 5. It was great to see so many kids (seven) who came to learn about the “strange” side of Cavendish. One boy stayed for the business meeting because he said, “I like learning about this.” At the Annual Meeting, the following was agreed to:
• Rename the Young Historians Program to the Carmine Guica Young Historians Program (CGYH). Funds donated in his name will be earmarked specifically to help offset the costs of the programs at Cavendish Town Elementary School (CTES). 

• Since the Catholic Church is no longer able to offer a luncheon after Memorial Day activities, it was suggested that CHS could work with the respective churches-Cavendish Baptist when the ceremony is at the High Street Cemetery and Gethsemane Episcopal when it’s held at Hillcrest- in providing a lunch as a show of respect for our veterans. See Memorial Day in the Upcoming Activities section for more information.

• The activities for the coming year will include: Continued renovations of the Cavendish Stone Church; Installing the new doors on the Museum; planning for the 100th anniversary of Solzhenitsyn’s birth in 2018; and to have sufficient fundraising to offset expenses.

An Irish knot made 
Bruce McEnaney talking to the 3rd
graders about the Irish in Cavendish.
School Program: Grades 3, 5 and 6th learned a lot about the Irish in Vermont and Cavendish as part of CHS’s annual St. Patrick’s Day program. This year, everyone (staff, students, faculty, visitors) colored a section of a Celtic knot. A wall hanging was created and hangs in the school's hallway. Thank you Becky Plunkard for jumping in at the last minute and helping. 

Solzhenitsyn 100th Anniversary in 2018: CHS is talking to the Russian Departments at various colleges and universities about collaborating on a year long series of events pertaining to the 100th birthday of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn on Dec. 11, 2018. To that end, Dartmouth, University of Vermont and Middlebury College have expressed interest in working with us. Some of the activities being discussed include: Governor declaration of 2018 as the "VT Tribute Year to Solzhenitsyn" (this would be done with the help of UVM’s Office of Governmental Affairs); series of lectures throughout the state working with VT Humanities Council, Elder Hostel, Osher Lifelong Lecture Series etc.; holding a special weekend Elder Hostel event in Cavendish; opening of CHS’s permanent Solzhenitsyn exhibit at the Cavendish Stone Church.

Stone Church: The first order of business is to take care of the powder post beetles that were discovered in the vestibule in January. The exterminator explained that until we had warmer temperatures the chemicals needed to remove the beetles wouldn’t be effective. The belfry beams, which are currently housed in the church, will be installed. Outside painting of doors, shutters etc.

These were most likely the original doors
but for various reasons wooden panels were removed and
glass panes installed. 
Museum: Installation of the new doors, which wintered over inside the Museum. These will be very similar to the original doors that would have been installed in 1834, so no windows.

Memorial Day: CHS has been working with Bruce McEnaney, who is both Cavendish’s Assistant Town Manager and CHS board member, on Memorial Day activities. In order to promote environmental conservation and reduce the use of plastics, the wreath tossed into the Black River will be made from natural fibers. Planters will be placed in front of each war memorial and will be filled with red, white and blue annual flowers. The 6th graders will be making poppies for the day’s event and the Cavendish Baptist Church has agreed to host the luncheon following the parade and service at the Cavendish Village Cemetery.

Cemeteries: The 6th graders will be placing flags on the graves of veterans in all of the town maintained cemeteries as well as removing winter debris on May 15. This is a daylong activity and volunteers will be needed. In June, the 6th grade will be cleaning gravestones.

A young Carmine Guica.
Carmine Guica Young Historians: A series of activities are being planned with the 6th graders including a panel on immigration and interviews and recording of Cavendish ghost stories with LPC-TV.

If you can help with any of the following, please contact CHS; 802-226-7807 or PO Box 472, Cavendish, VT 05142

Craig Rankin's Original Plant Sale List
• Annual Plant Sale, which will be July 2 (Saturday). Do you have plants you like to contribute? Are their plants you’d like to see us carry this year? Other suggestions?

• The Museum is in desperate need of a deep cleaning. Do you have some time to spare to help with this activity? It’s a great way to learn about what’s in the Museum.

• CHS is looking for new board members as well as volunteers who can help with various activities.