Friday, July 31, 2015

The Last CVL Long Log Drive, 100 Years Ago: Celebration in Barnet, Vermont, August 1

One more wonderful image from the 1929-1931 construction of Comerford Dam surfaced recently. This dam was the first on the Connecticut River to be built WITHOUT a sluice gate for logs -- thus marking the physical end to the log drives on the river.

But the practical end happened in 1915, when the Connecticut Valley Lumber Company held its final long log drive. And the emotional end ... well, that's a story of George Van Dyke. You can here it on Saturday August 1 in Barnet, Vermont, at the grand 100-year celebration, held at Maplemont Farm, just south of Barnet Village on Route 5.

Here's the schedule -- hope to see you there!

8am- 10am : Barnet Preservation group lumberjack breakfast at the Barnet Congregation church

10:00- Festival start time Aden Marcotte opens with his log drive song
Tables: Helen Pike, Paul Keenan, Green Mountain books, Barnet Historical Society (also selling pies), Barnet Library booksale, Waterford Historical Society, St.Johnsbury History & Heritage Center with Tools, Blacksmith Craig Marcotte, Canaan Historical Society

10:30 1st Lumberjack Demo 

10:30 Beth Kanell tells stories of George Van Dyke, “lumber king of McIndoes” 
11:00 Helen Pike reads from Ruth Park
12:00 Aden Marcotte performs log drive song #2
12:00 Barnet trailblazers providing lunch of hot dogs, hamburgers, cole slaw (?)and baked beans.
12:15 : Grinner Schoppe Tribute by Schoppe descendants
12:30: Bayley Hazen Boys begin with Gary Moore reading from Robert Pike’s books
12:45: 2nd Lumberjack demos
Beth Kanell tells stories of George Van Dyke, “lumber king of McIndoes”
1:25 Gary Moore reading from Robert Pike's books
1:45: 3rd lumberjack demo
2:00 Gary Moore reading from Robert Pike's books
2: 30 : Bayley Hazen ends
2:30 : Grinner Schoppe tribute #2
3:00 Helen Pike reads Ruth Park,
Beth Kanell tells stories of George Van Dyke, “lumber king of McIndoes”

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Searching for the First District 10 Schoolhouse, Waterford, Vermont

The rain held off nicely for our "history hike" down Kidder Road from its east end, so Craig B. could show us where he'd located the probable site of an early schoolhouse. Craig began (as mentioned earlier this week) with two maps of the town: 1858 and 1875. Between the two dates, the schoolhouse for District 10 (centered at the Green farm on what is now Remick Road) changed -- and Craig found a record of expenditure for the school district in that gap, so his best guess was that the district decided to spend some money relocating and rebuilding its school.

His find of the site depended first on the distance shown on the map. Then he spotted a row of stones along what was probably the south edge of the little building lot. As he explored, and probed through the current soil cover among very young trees, he found what amounted to a "pad" of rocks, and measured the extent as 16 feet wide and 26 feet long. The structure would have been about 20 feet from today's (Kidder) roadbed. At a guess, the window wall of the building could have been at the south end, for maximum light and heat, and there is a suggestion of a door area with possible steps at the southeast corner of the "pad."
Southeast corner of stone "pad."

Surveying the site.

"Test pit" about 4 inches deep. Tool shows north-south direction.
Craig, who is experienced in archaeology's current steps of making careful investigations that can be restored without changing the site, made two small troweled "test pits" (about four inches deep) through the soil to the stone pad; one is shown here, with his tool lined up to north–south. This one simply showed the soil depth to the stone pad, but his other small space, toward the northern edge of the site, revealed scraps of building materials: handmade nails in two sizes (the smaller for clapboards, the larger for flooring; at a guess, the structure would have been timber-framed, held together with mortise and tenon joints), two different ages of window glass, some crumbles of brick (probably a layer between the rock pad and the wooden sill beams), and two chunks of old-fashioned plaster.

Nails, brick and plaster bits, and two colors/ages of window glass, from second part of site.
Much of the gathering after seeing the site was spent speculating on what might have happened to change the school location (demographics was our best guess: no kids at the central part of the Kidder Road, with the kids on the western part attending the "West Waterford" school, leaving the Green farm as the focus for the relocation); what happened to the old schoolhouse itself (moved? repurposed? collapsed?); and whether either the first or second schoolhouse survived in re-purposing of other nearby structures (no good evidence yet).

With the discussion came more visualizing the daily tasks of getting kids to school in the 1840s, including perhaps rolling the road, using horse and sleigh, and providing for heat during the day.

It was a great walk, short and easy but full of evidence and questions. Thanks, Craig, and thanks to all who attended or helped this to take place. More "history hikes" are sure to follow.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Powers Family History, Waterford, Vermont

Geneva Powers Wright and her family shared these documents earlier this spring. Thank you very much, Mrs. Wright!

More details on the family can be found in the rapidly growing archives of the Waterford Historical Society, searchable by family surname. If you would like to add material to this valued reference collection, please contact Helen Pike (pikeprose (at) gmail dot com).

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Rediscovering an Early Waterford Schoolhouse Location: History Hike

The 1875 Beers map shows the Green School, for District 10, at the corner of today's Green and Remick roads. But the 1858 map at the Davies Memorial Library shows another location, and archaeologically savvy Craig B. examined the earlier spot and found traces of that vanished schoolhouse.

So on Saturday July 18 at 10 a.m., as long as it's not totally pouring rain or crashing thunder, Craig will lead interested walkers down the old Kidder Road and show how he searches for and identifies markers of the past. The walk is flat on an old dirt road; wear sensible shoes and insect repellent! Parking in the barnyard at the Florio farm is available (thank you, M. Florio!).

Looking forward to learning a lot!