Sunday, November 6, 2016

Taking Care of Your Old Barn -- The Why, the How, the Person Behind the Book

Studying a local barn with Curtis B. Johnson (center).
The Waterford Historical Society appreciated a visit from Curtis B. Johnson as October wrapped up. Curtis is the author of the very useful guide "Taking Care of Your Old Barn: Ten Tips for Preserving and Reusing Vermont's Historic Agricultural Buildings." The entire contents of the book is now available online, which makes it easy to access this information: http://www.uvm.edu/~vhnet/hpres/publ/barnb/bbtit.html

Before his evening presentation, Curtis toured four of Waterford's classic barns: from the Koeppel (Bonnett) barn, to the George Bullock barn, to Mary Florio's linked barns, to the very posh "Locust Grove Farm" large barn (just across the town line) and its humble partner out in the field, perhaps Waterford's oldest standing barn.

Then came the presentation, which focused on the history of Vermont barns and how to identify the kind and age of the structures we see around us.

What would Waterford be like without its historic barns? Let's not find out ... instead, visit our ongoing Barn Census here.

Meetings of the Waterford Historical Society resume after the snowy season, and there are work groups gathering in the meantime. For more information, contact president Donna Heath or leave a message at the Davies Memorial Library (davieslibraryvt at gmail dot com and 802-748-4609.
Barn designed by Frank Bullock.

More Waterford history and great stories of a community working together: click here.

Monday, October 10, 2016

William J. Morrison's Lower Waterford Models

In September, thanks to the generosity of the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium, the Waterford Historical Society received the gift of two of the five models that long-time town resident William J. Morrison made in the 1930s. These joined two more that already reside in the town office. There are wonderful stories of discovery and generosity that are linked to all of these, but for the moment, let's just get the models themselves here so online visitors can see them right away!

The Lower Waterford church:


Mr. Morrison's dream house:


And some of its furnishings and dolls:



The blacksmith shop (not a direct copy, but Mr. Morrison's own shop stood at the bridge entering Lower Waterford):


The covered bridge that once spanned the Connecticut River from Lower Waterford to the Littleton side:


The fifth model is at the St. Johnsbury History & Heritage Center and represents the covered bridge that stood in the village, near the blacksmith shop:




Photos of Mr. Morrison with the house model:



And here is a narrative of Mr. Morrison and his models, written by regional author Helen C. Pike (click on the image to enlarge it):

You can see the blacksmith shop and covered bridge at the Waterford Town Office on Lower Waterford Road (near Route 18); the church and house, now rewired to light up their detailed rooms, will be shown again at the Lower Waterford Congregational Church in December.

Caroll Campbell, left, and Dave Morrison (William's grandson) explore the house model as it returns to the town where it was made.

Friday, September 30, 2016

As Vermont Archaeology Month Wraps Up ... Waterford's Two Events

The Waterford Historical Society hosted TWO of Vermont's 29 public events for Vermont Archaeology month -- what an exciting way to share our local history and to learn about statewide initiatives to bring archaeology into public view.

Dave Morrison, front, guiding the annual White Village walking tour.
On September 24, lifelong Waterford resident Dave Morrison led a walking tour of the "White Village" that was created by John W. Davies almost a century ago. Mr. Morrison shared his knowledge of families and events in the village, especially from the 1950s onward, including showing the four large structural models crafted by his grandfather, William J. Morrison, in the 1930s. He also showed how to use the oversize "photo painting" of the village, located on the wall of the town office's lobby, to track changes in the village. From rollerskating to a house fire, his anecdotes brought local history to life, for a group that included about 10 eager listeners.

Dr. Jess Robinson, Vt State Archaeologist, presenting his talk to the WHS. Photo by Helen C. Pike.
Then on September 28, WHS at the Davies Memorial Library welcomed Vermont State Archaeologist Dr. Jess Robinson, speaking on "Public Archaeology in the 21st Century." Using colorful examples from the Champlain Basin, especially around a change in Route 78 in St. Albans, he showed how modern archaeology investigates prehistoric and historic life in the region, making sure its evidence won't be lost as massive highway construction follows. The many ways that his projects engage local residents intrigued an audience of about two dozen, including guests from Barre, Hardwick, and Burlington.

Dr. Robinson wrapped up with praise for the archaeological survey work done by local resident Craig Brown, who investigated historical trace evidence at a site in the Waterford Springs (once known as Copenhagen District) region of town.

At front, an ox shoe; at center, ceramic pipe fragments; to rear, redware pottery, from investigation at Waterford Springs site. Photo by Helen C. Pike

Another view. Photo by Helen C. Pike

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Daniels Family Photo Around 1898, at the Family Farm in Waterford, from Vivian Daniels Davis

Some identification, thanks to Vivian Daniels Davis, who shared this wonderful photo with the Waterford Historical Society last week:
Grandpa Daniels has his arm on the horse, my dad Ben Daniels sitting on the wheel, Uncle Carl Daniels in the middle holding the reins, my aunt Bertha Daniels on the end (right), and Grammie the first lady on the left.
(Click on the photo to see a larger version.)

To learn more about Vivian's years growing up on the farm, check out her recent interview on the WHS YouTube channel: click here.

Thank you, Vivian!

Friday, August 26, 2016

"Catching the Stories": Video and Audio Records of Our Oral History

At the Hastings School, 1932, courtesy of Vivian Davis.
The "Oral History Team" of the Waterford Historical Society has been working hard in 2016! Recording interviews with our older residents is a high priority for us, so we can all keep listening and learn more about our town's past.

With the help of a skilled Lyndon State College graduate, this summer the interview files have been placed on YouTube so everyone can watch them. There are already three that show the interviews in action, and a fourth one (of Elizabeth Rudd Knights) that provides the sound, with just a pair of photos. We'll add more photos to this when we can; there is also an interview with Vivian Davis coming soon.

Please take a look-and-listen: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCy9FgZlEppAaGZwS9pqKg5A

And think about what you might like to share about your own connections with Waterford, Vermont!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Blueberry Social, August 20 -- Delicious History in the Making!


Do you remember the delectable rhubarb treats offered in the Congregational Church's Fellowship Hall at last year's joint fund raiser with the Waterford historical society?

Whether you made it to that event or not, your tastebuds will be glad that the Ladies Social Circle is this year serving up an old-fashioned Blueberry Social on Saturday afternoon, August 20, from 2 to 4 p.m. Prices are $3.50 a slic,e which includes a hot or cold beverage, or $10 for an entire homemade pie. Proceeds help with the ongoing restoration of the historic building erected in 1859.

The Lower Waterford Congregational Church is hosting the event, across from the Rabbit Hill Inn.

Come make a new Waterford memory for yourself!

Photo courtesy of ConorPeterNolan, Wikimedia Commons.

Monday, August 8, 2016

A Timber Baron's Connection to Upper Waterford

On Wed. August 24, publisher Mike Dickerman of Littleton, NH, will bring his newest book to the meeting of the Waterford Historical Society. He'll also present a program on "J.E." (James Everell) Henry. And he'll include the surprising connection of this 19th-century timber entrepreneur to the village of Upper Waterford.

Hope to see you at the Davies Memorial Library on the 24th at 6:30 pm!