Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Comerford Dam Construction, Waterford, Vermont, and Adjacent Towns, Circa 1930

Yes, we've talked about Comerford Dam before in the Waterford History group -- but who can resist wanting to know more about this amazing structure and the complicated project that built it? We'll talk more about these photos in the 2014 meetings of our group, and look at a possible new project: mapping and walking the existing trails and old roads that reveal the dam's construction process.

Meanwhile, on the agenda for Wed. Oct. 23 and for our November meeting: Waterford's own farm-to-table project (for an event next summer!); a report from Girl Scout Laura Benoit on her Waterford cemeteries Silver Award project; and more!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

First Annual Waterford, Vermont, Barn Tour

Our self-driving barn tour was off to a lovely start today, as a soft mist clung to the hills before a bright sunny day. Here are a few photos as generous barn owners prepared to open their historic structures to visitors.

Donna Heath's display of old tools and "parts":

Donna's photo display, giving visitors a sense of farm history, as well as the less accessible upper floor of her barn:

Mary Florio's welcome to visitors at her 1857 double barn:

Mary's collection of photos shared by the Remick family, who owned the barn before her, over generations:

Sharron Caplan's decorative entryway to the barn at Dream Catcher Farm:

The event room on the main barn floor at Dream Catcher, ready for the next gathering:

In addition to these wonderful opportunities, the Lee family opened its "high drive" (not visible from Route 18) so that 94-year-old Mrs. Geneva Powers Wright could see the interior of the barn, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Visitors at the Davies Memorial Library shared their passion for Waterford's barns and beauty. The Concord Historical Society also hosted a table during the group's open house today, for the barn tour maps and barn documents. Heartfelt thanks to all who collaborated, share resources, visited, smiled.

To see more of the barns in detail, click here:  http://waterford-vt-barn-census.blogspot.com

And one last reminder: If your Vermont town would like to hear about how Waterford's history group (a library interest group) is documenting our barns, simply and effectively, let us know; we can visit and share our experience.

Now, it's your turn: Did you take any photos of Vermont barns that you'd like to share here?

Friday, September 27, 2013

Our Barns

This year, the UVM Barn Census website hasn't been working, so the state historic preservation team was kind enough to send us back our material listed so far. I've added the other barns documented as of Sept. 2013 as well, and they are all here:


Just click on that link!

Sat. Sept. 28: First Ever Waterford Barn Tour!

Waterford, Vermont, Self-Driving Barn Tour:
Vermont Archaeology Day, September 28, 2013 – 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.

Welcome to Waterford, Vermont! You are in the village of Lower Waterford; Upper Waterford is under the waters behind the Moore Dam (1954). Other villages in town were West Waterford and Waterford Hollow (both are now residential and farming – no stores or churches.)

We hope you will want to photograph some of what you see today. If you’d like to share your photos, please e-mail them to the Waterford History Group at BethPoet@gmail.com.

PLEASE NOTE: You are welcome to photograph all the barns, but please do not enter any barn unless it is marked with VISIT in this handout. While all the barns open for visitors are in reasonable condition for farm structures, they are not intended to be “handicap accessible” and your visit is at your own risk.

You are invited to visit three barns where owners will meet you (RED DOTS), described in Driving Directions (below).

After your three-barns drive, you can loop back to the library OR extend your tour in any of these ways:

(a)   See the Lee and Heath barns (BLUE DOTS) in the area that was Waterford Hollow (the Heath barn includes a display of tools). Continue from here to Route 2, and then visit Concord, Vermont, where there is an open house at the Historical Society. OR

(b)  See the Powers Mountain View barn (ORANGE SUN) and savor the view of two states. You can add the Bonus Barns to your drive (see final section) – or just return from here to the Library, OR

(c)   Continue from the Powers Mountain View barn by proceeding to Concord, Vermont, via either highway or scenic route, for the open house there.

MORE DETAILS ON THE BARNS are available in a handout you can purchase (thanks for supporting the library this way!). Mill-site visits are not possible this year, but will follow in 2014.

Driving directions:

From the LIBRARY, turn away from the Rabbit Hill Inn, heading west on Lower Waterford Road. Watch for street numbers (hint: 100 numbers = one-tenth of a mile). At 506 Lower Waterford Rd is Pleasant Valley Farm (parts of the barn date to the 1800s; more of it, 1950s). At 728 Lower Waterford Rd, VISIT the Wajda barn (late 1800s). At 976 Lower Waterford Rd is the Hale barn (late 1800s).

At 1298 Lower Waterford Rd pass the Frank Bullock barn (late 1800s; please do not stop here). At 1640 Lower Waterford Rd is the George Bullock barn (late 1800s).

In another half mile, TURN RIGHT onto Duck Pond Road. (You are entering West Waterford, which is not a “village” center today, just a district.) In about a mile, see Hale Rd on the left (a mill stood at this intersection in the early 1800s; come back in 2014 to see its “footprint”) – bear right with Duck Pond Rd.

At 4002 Duck Pond Rd VISIT Dream Catcher Farm (ca. 1903) with Sharron Caplan. At 3517 Duck Pond Rd is the Hovey Place (note “high drive”; barn date ca. 1890). Stay with Duck Pond Rd for about 2 miles and turn RIGHT onto Remick Road. At about three-fourths mile, pass Green Road on left, and arrive at 717 Remick Road to VISIT the Florio Barn. Backtrack to Green Road, which in half a mile ends at Route 18.

CHOICES for the rest of your drive are here:

(a)   Turn LEFT on Route 18 and go 3 miles, passing Stiles Pond. (This region once held the village known as Waterford Hollow.)  The Lee Farm is just past the pond (lake), on Lee Road on the left (a National Register of Historic Places site, barn ca. 1860). The Lee Farm included a mill site (more details in 2014).

From Lee Rd, return to Route 18 and turn RIGHT to find Stiles Cemetery on the left, and take the next LEFT turn onto Hudson Road. Pass under the interstate and turn LEFT onto Walsh Road. VISIT the Heath Barn at 271 Walsh Road and see display. Continue half a mile and turn LEFT on East Village Rd; the Adams-Babcock Cemetery (town’s earliest, steep but accessible path) is on the left.  Continue downhill on East Village Rd three-quarters of a mile to Route 2. Turn RIGHT (east) on Route 2 and drive 3.5 miles to Concord, Vermont, for open house at historical society.

(b)  Or, turn RIGHT on Route 18 and drive about 5 miles to Lower Waterford. Turn right at the triangle to return to Library (the Morrison mill was near this corner; come back for our 2014 tour), or continue STRAIGHT on Route 18 (passing Cushing Horse Barn at 7083 Route 18) for about half a mile to Shadow Lake Road and turn LEFT. At 762 Shadow Lake Rd see the Powers Mountain View farm and enjoy the view behind you! Return to Route 18 and turn right to return to Library.

(c)   SCENIC ROUTE TO CONCORD:  From Powers Mountain View farm (in part b): Continue up Shadow Lake Rd approx. 5 miles to the “four corners” (intersection with Long Hill Rd and Mitchell Rd), called Concord Corner; turn LEFT to stay on Shadow Lake Rd another 3 miles, arriving at Route 2 in Concord; turn RIGHT to find historical society open house.

BONUS BARNS (for intrepid explorers): from Route 18, take the LEFT onto Shadow Lake Rd (see option b) and go only three-fourths mile, then turn RIGHT on Old County Road (South). The Gillott goat barn at 4962 Old County Rd (S) dates to 1948.

TURN AROUND and backtrack to the RIGHT TURN onto High Ridge Road, where at 957 High Ridge Rd is the Kevin Powers barn (1962) and at 1011 High Ridge Rd is the Patricia Powers barn, moved in 1945 from Upper Waterford before the waters rose behind the Moore Dam.

Return to Old County Road South and turn RIGHT to find the Boisvert barn at 3200 Old County Rd (at corner of Mad Brook Road), which is from 1902 (barn-raising photos in supplemental booklet). Use Mad Brook Road to return to Route 18 (from here, go LEFT to return to Library, or RIGHT toward Route 2).

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Adams - Babcock Cemetery Emerges from the Wild! Thank You, Laura Benoit.

What difference can one person make? Girl Scout Laura Benoit of Waterford, Vermont, showed us all, as she and her team of family and friends tackled clearing and re-making the path to the Adams-Babcock Cemetery on East Village Road, on August 17, 2013.

Laura is working on her Silver Award in the Scouts, and she'll probably be making a presentation to the Waterford History group later in the year. Her hope is that with her work as a head start, people will agree to maintain the cemetery in better shape than it has been.

If you look closely at these photos, you'll see why the burial ground's other name was the Myrtle Cemetery!  Before Laura's recent work, the path was blocked by downed trees, and the stones were half hidden by green growth all around them. Thank you so much, Laura!

More on this cemetery here: http://waterford-vt-history.blogspot.com/search?q=babcock

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Getting the Barns in a Row - for the Barn-A-Palooza!

The Davies Memorial Library is celebrating its 75th birthday, and the Waterford History Group is honoring this with the first-ever Waterford, Vermont, BARN-A-PALOOZA! The event will be Wednesday July 10 at the library, at 7 pm, and includes a showing of the 20 barns already documented by the volunteers and the barn owners, as well as a display of library history.

Today was "craft the PowerPoint show" day, and it began with setting the barns in order, as shown here. We have some great stories to share! Please mark your calendar to spend the evening of July 10 with us.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Oldtimer Returns to Waterford!

This month the Davies Memorial Library welcomed back to town a model created by Dave Morrison's grandfather, William J. Morrison. It's the Lower Waterford bridge, and its story involves travel to Massachusetts, a re-discovery, and the efforts of Dave Morrison, librarian Jen D'Agostino, and Fairbanks Museum director Charlie Browne. To hear the whole story -- and see the bridge! -- come to a Waterford History Group meeting (fourth Wednesday of each month at 6 pm at the library), or visit the library while one of the three is on the premises. Also watch for a possible published article on the bridge's journey by author Helen-Chantal Pike.

And stay tuned for more news about the work of Waterford's "Master Craftsman," as Dr. C. E. Harris called William J. Morrison in his town history, A Vermont Village.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Barn That Moved from Upper Waterford: Barn Census

One of the challenges of the Waterford Barn Census has been assigning a "common name" for each property we learn about. Some have been simpler -- the Lee Farm is still known by that name and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places under the same name. There there's West View Farm, also on the Register under that name -- but better known to older residents as the Hastings place.

As I've been typing each record into the state Barn Census website (sharing information is part of the Census goal), I've named some barns with multiple family names, like the Florio-Remick-Green barn (there were two other families who owned it in the past but they are not often spoken of in terms of the property).

An especially interesting case is the Patricia Powers Barn: that's what it's mostly called now and that's how we've labeled it in the Barn Census. But it was moved from Upper Waterford, and the information about that move -- purchase of the original property from the George and Flora Wallace family, by New England Power; purchase of the barn itself by Gilbert Wright in the 1940s from the power company (which was about to flood the village in the creation of Moore Dam Reservoir); and movement of the barn to its present location beside the home of Patricia Powers -- also goes into the Census.

Here is a handwritten note from the Patricia Powers family, along with a photo of the barn. On the back of the photo is yet one more piece of information that ties the names together: Mr. Wright sold the house to the Powers family, and rebuilt the barn on their houselot while he was rebuilding the house as well, in 1949 or 1950. Many thanks to Andrew and Tanya Powers for gathering this information.

Info for those who live outside Waterford: The Moore Dam was completed in 1954.

We now have 14 barns listed for Waterford on the state website; we'll let you know when the listings become accessible to you (we hope, very soon!).

And this evening's Waterford History Group meeting (6 pm, Wed 4/24, Davies Mem. Library) will review what we've accomplished, which barns are next, and what else (!!) we're planning for this year.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Comerford Dam, A Different VIew!

All the stories of Waterford, past and present, have within them the presence of the Connecticut River along one border of the town, and with that, the changes that the two major power dams along this stretch of the river brought to the town. "Upper Waterford" is under the water behind Moore Dam; Comerford Dam, the earlier of the pair, was built in 1930-1931 with the promise of Moore Dam to follow, but the later, larger dam didn't actually arrive until 1954. Thus, older Waterford residents have memories of Moore Dam's construction and the changes it brought. Younger folks focus on the swimming access to the lake, as well as boating and fishing there.

An angle rarely seen is shown by this postcard. It dates back to the days of "amateur radio" or "ham radio," when anyone who studied for and passed the test could have a radio station in their home. Users -- called "hams" -- who contacted each other over the air waves sometimes exchanged postcards marked with their radio call signs (special combinations of numbers and letters assigned when the station was first authorized) and a note about the on-air connection. This one, from the collection of Waterford resident Dave Kanell, shows Comerford Dam -- at the time, the only dam on the Fifteen Mile Falls of the Connecticut River.

Online research easily located Alex Tremblay, the local station operator and a nearby resident.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Barn Survey Continues: Remick/Green Barns

Many thanks to Mary Florio for sharing so much information about the barns built by Lorenzo Green, eventually becoming part of the Rufus W., Harry E., and then Henry E. Remick dairy farm. A lot of the information on these barns will be in the 2013 Waterford Town Report, as part of a longer exploration of the barn survey by local historian Helen-Chantal Pike. For now, I'll just mention a small story that goes with the farm:

Teachers at the neighboring Green School (named for the Green family) usually boarded at the farmhouse. In the farm's earliest years, several of the seven Green sons married teachers because of this. Teacher spouses also abound in the Remick family, and today the farm owner has retired from the Waterford School, after a career as an actively teaching librarian. (Do you think it's something in the water? Smile.)

REMINDER: Waterford Historical Group meets on the 4th Wed. of each month, at the Davies Mem. Library, 6 pm; as I write this, that's TOMORROW. Come talk barns.