Friday, August 21, 2015

Waterford's Part at the 100-Year Celebration of Long Log Drives on the Connecticut River

Canaan Historical Society

Spiked boots (worn by river loggers) and logging chain.
One hundred years ago, in 1915, Waterford schoolchildren and families probably stood along the Connecticut River, like people along about a hundred miles at a time, marveling at the last long log drive organized by the Connecticut Valley Lumber Company, the C.V.L. Co. -- there would be some other log drives, but in 1930 the river would close entirely to this, as the Comerford Dam rose into place here. It would be the first dam on this river to NOT have a sluice gate for logs to pass through.
Helen and Beth at WHS table.

On August 1, the Waterford Historical Society took part in a celebration of the river logging days, hosted by the Barnet Historical Society and organized by Dylan Ford and Bobby Farlice-Rubio. Also on hand was the Canaan Historical Society -- which brought many C.V.L.-related artifacts, and where Waterford resident Walter Dodge donated a pair of snowshoes that belonged to noted logger Winfield Schoppe. Many members of Win Schoppe's descendants shared the stage for renditions of logging tales related to his life, as written and published by Robert E. Pike.
Helen Pike visits with a couple who used to host her father as he wrote his books.

And Waterford's Helen Chantal Pike -- a historian and author herself, and daughter of author Robert E. Pike -- narrated the life and adventures of Ruth Park, one of the few women to leave a record of her own efforts in timber harvesting, managing the operation, as well as setting in motion forest conservation for future generations.
Helen Pike on stage.

A stunning hooked rug designed and hooked by Roberta Smith of Waterford hung at the center of the event space. And storyteller Beth Kanell (yours truly), also of Waterford, shared tales of logging magnate George Van Dyke of the C.V.L., as recorded by Robert E. Pike and added to with more details from her research.
Roberta Smith and her hooked rug.

What an event! Some 400 people attended, making it clear that the history of the logging days is a lively and engaging topic that continues to be an active part of our heritage.

(Photos by Lynn Troy and Beth Kanell.)

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