Thursday, February 23, 2017

Memories of Fifty Years Ago -- and Before ... in Waterford, Vermont

At the small district schoolhouse, when Waterford had one-room and two-room (and even four-room) schools. Courtesy of Vivian Davis, who is one of the students here.
Stories of the "old days" from the people who remember what happened -- these are the treasures that the Waterford Historical Society's spoken history team gathers from area residents, on video, in pictures, and in voice recordings. And now you can watch and listen to Waterford, Vermont, residents share their memories, at the group's channel on YouTube. Hope you can make time to visit really soon -- just click here to see what's available!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Time to Chat About Waterford, Vermont, History! (but Note Weather Changes Possible)

Young trees surround the Adams-Babcock Cemetery.
Waterford Historical Society program calendar for 1st half of 2017.

WHS meets at The Davies Memorial Library unless noted otherwise.

Wed., Feb. 22, 6:30 PM: Annual Meeting. Membership votes on officers. Members also share their discoveries and board of directors shares update on archives work. NOTE: may be rescheduled if weather severe.
Tues., March 7, 8 AM to noon:
It’s Town Meeting Day!
Come help us ID photos! Pick up a membership form & a copy of this program calendar for a friend or neighbor. Read about all we accomplished in the Town Report!

Wed., March 22, 6:30 PM:  Garden memories! Heirloom seeds! Old-growth rhubarb! Butternuts! Come share.

Wed., April 26, 6:30 PM:
National Poetry Month!
We’re teaming up with the Davies to offer a night of poetry reading out loud from Waterford poets present and past. Limericks, quatrains, free verse – all forms welcomed!
Poems to be submitted at Town Meeting 3/7 to help us determine the rhythm and flow for a memorable evening.
Location: to be announced later.

Sat., April 29, 9 AM to 1 PM: Davies Library Spring Book Sale and Congregational Church rummage & artisanal food sale.

Sat., May 6, 9 AM: Green-Up Day project at the Hill Cemetery on Higgins Hill Road (Gingue Farm). Rain? We’ll reschedule.

Wed., May 24, 6:30 PM: Author-poet and one of our founding members, Beth Kanell, talks about her research on Waterford’s Revolutionary War veterans.
Sat., June 17: 4th annual joint fund raiser between WHS and Congregational Church in Lower Waterford features a series of mini documentaries of Waterford residents and a return of the tasty Rhubarb CafĂ©. 
Time: 6:30 PM. Location: village church.
Tkts: $10; $5 for children under 12.

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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Wrapping Up January, Planning for April -- and Waterford Poetry!

This poster, provided by Helen Pike, one of the planners of a new April event, says it all!

To get your poetry to Library Director Jen D'Agostino, e-mail it to or mail them to the Davies Memorial Library, PO Box 56, Lower Waterford VT 05848 -- or deliver it in person, for the added pleasure of a visit to the state's last "honor system" library at 111 Lower Waterford Road.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Waterford's Northeastern Speedway

The Caledonian-Record printed for January 6, 2017, included a pair of photos in the sports/racing section that apply to Waterford's own Northeastern Speedway. For connections to more information on the historic track, click on this earlier post and follow the embedded links to related material.

Bill Labadouche confirmed today that the noted photographer of the track's heyday, Norm McIver, has passed away, and so has regional racing historian Cho Lee, who carried on from McIver. We hope that Mr. Labadouche may be able to provide more Northeastern Speedway materials here in the future. Meanwhile, here are today's photos (thank you, Dave Kanell, for the scan):

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:

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