Pittsford Historical Society, Inc.
Box 423, Pittsford, VT 05763
Newsletter - Summer 2015
The Museum at Eaton Hall is now open on Tuesdays from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.
Beginning on Sunday July 12, the Museum will also be open on Sunday
afternoons from 1:00 to 4:00 pm. Any volunteers to staff the Museum during
those hours would be most welcome and should contact Anne Pelkey.
The second Member’s Meeting is scheduled for Sunday, June 28th, from
2:00-4:00 pm at Eaton Hall. Activities include a potluck dessert table and a
viewing of the ‘Artists and Artisans’ exhibit that was put together over the
winter and that shows works from the 1870s to the present. We have invited
living artists in Pittsford to attend and show their work for the occasion
The annual Tag-and-Bake sale is scheduled for Saturday July 18th, from 9:00
am to 2:00 pm. Contributions of items for sale are always welcome,
particularly china, glass, kitchen ware, curtains, linens, books, sports
equipment, baskets, garden tools, jewelry, vintage ephemera. And, of course,
edible items, baked or otherwise.
Please: NO clothing, encyclopedias, Reader’s Digest books, textbooks,
electrical or electronic appliances, or large furniture.
Volunteers to help price and tag the items should contact Anne Pelkey.
The Memorial Day ceremonies, once held in front of Eaton Hall, took place
for the third time at the Fire Station. Our Curator, Anne Pelkey, served as
M.C. This year the parade was sent down Arch St. rather than Rte. 7. James
Carvey delivered the address, recalling the many soldiers buried in overseas
cemeteries. The prize-winners for the writing competition at Lothrop School
4th grade: Abigail Adamsen for her piece "Memorial
5th grade: Gunnar Tinsman: "A World of Gravestones"
6th grade: Liam Murphy: "In a Graveyard on Memorial Day"
Some visitors stopped by the Museum afterwards .
A note: Ken Lizotte, who has been
carefully filming the Memorial Day ceremonies for years, foresees a time in
which he will be unable to do so, and hopes someone might step up to take
over. He will be happy to show how he produces his videos.
Of Monuments and Markers
A message from Hank Pelkey about the planned Memorial
The first step in moving the memorial forward was taken on Saturday, June
13th. Markowski Excavating loaded and transported 9 large blocks (15 ton
each) of marble from Fire Hill Rd in Florence to Gawet Marble and Granite in
Center Rutland. Under the direction of David Markowski , his son Matt used a
large excavator to load the marble onto two flatbed trailers driven by
employees Lindy Bovey and Chuck Delpha, who made 2 round trips each.
Operator and equipment time for the move was generously donated by the
Gawet’s will saw the marble into the various components needed such as
pavers, wall tile, benches, and of course, the actual memorial stone. The
components will then be shipped to the Proctor Marble Co. where master
craftsman Brent Wilson will do the final fabrication, polishing, and
lettering. Brent, who will also oversee the installation from start to
finish, was onsite Saturday to choose the best blocks. The blocks were taken
off the former Jack O’Keefe property, which is now owned by Liz Willis and
Josh Towne. It is thought the blocks have been there for over 70 years. The
blocks were donated by OMYA and Oliver Danforth of Rutland.
The marble was chosen because it was quarried locally in Florence and will
retain some of the natural quarried look and marks. The interior Wall of
Honor will contain the names of all Pittsford veterans from the
Revolutionary war to the present. The committee will be asking the Pittsford
Historical Society as well as all residents to help compile the names to be
engraved on the wall. All work will be done by local artisans and
A fund raising campaign will begin in the near future. If all goes well the
project could be completed in time for the 2016 Pittsford Memorial Day
Celebration. This project is long overdue and we ask for your support. Thank
PHS Addendum: Ken Lizotte has the most
complete list of Pittsford war casualties, to our knowledge. Pittsford’s
Second Century gives a list of those who served, beginning with the
Spanish-American War, and Caverly’s History of Pittsford details the names
of men (at that time) who served in earlier wars. Dave Barnard has also
provided a list of names of veterans in Pittsford cemeteries. We thus have
an extensive list of names. Any volunteers who might wish to help flesh it
out, looking for birth-death dates, service records, etc. would be very
welcome. Our records are also thin in contemporary service, and we would be
grateful for information on current service members.
The Iron Furnace Marker
We have no information on the results of the proposal to replace the
(allegedly) discredited highway historical marker on Samuel Hopkins and
potash with a new one commemorating the Iron Furnace and the Granger Stove
Crockett Cards, Continued
There were few visitors to the Museum during our extended winter (for
out-of-staters, the region had a record 43 days of sub-freezing temperatures
in February and March, and frosts in parts of Pittsford in May). Those who
came found their path obstructed by boxes of cards and folding tables,
supporting cards, as Rebecca Davenport and Barb Willis engaged in a
monumental sorting exercise.
We now have an irregular polyhedron of boxes in the basement, where the
boxes of card-boxes have been piled up. In the antechamber to Storage Room 5
on the second floor, where once perhaps students sat in misery, Ernie
Clerihew has constructed tiers of shelving, assisted by Steve Belcher, upon
which close to 100 boxes of sorted cards await delivery. The exhibition
space is now almost card-free (remember, there are some Crockett Christmas
Cards in mandarin-orange boxes on a bookshelf).
Rebecca and Barb have been sorting the cards, matching batches with
envelopes, and labeling them for sale. The collection is very strong on
Christmas cards, and that is only some 150+ shopping days away. A selection
of cards produced under the Crockett label is also available at the Maclure
The Vermont Covered Bridge Society held a meeting in Pittsford on May 2.
PHS President Bill Powers made a presentation on the Potwine Bridge (now
lost) between Pittsford and Brandon, and then Peg Armitage discoursed on
Pittsford’s covered bridges, cued by a projected set of photographs prepared
by Steve Belcher. The adventures of our bridges – flooded and floated,
damaged repeatedly, periodically reconstructed – deserve respect and
A Town Solves a Problem – the Pittsford Movie
Fred Pond, a librarian researching a paper for a conference on propaganda
films, stopped by Eaton Hall a few weeks ago. He was delighted to find that
we have in our files a long letter to Mary Randall explaining who made the
movie (the ‘Reorientation Branch’ of the Department of the Army) and why
(for distribution mainly in Japan, to promote democracy), as well as
numerous black and white still photos showing the filming and a handwritten
list of the ‘cast’ of the movie. Rebecca Davenport, one of the children in
the Furnace School, getting only cold lunches (the problem to be solved) was
present, and perhaps not by coincidence, some time later Sam Carrara and
Steve Wright came to view the movie and identify their relatives.
The PHS has a collection of the Pittsford Paragon, the publication of the
Pittsford High School before it became an otter den. The collection is not
complete, and we wonder if anyone might have issues for: 1926, 1928, 1929,
On a related topic, we are scanning class photos from Lothrop for the period
1970-on. Not all the photographs have the names of the students. We would
love help identifying them. (Kathy Swahn has started, and we thank her).
Wouldn’t it be fun to remember what your neighbours looked like at age 8? Or
alternately, your parents/ in-laws?
A very warm welcome to the Society's newest life member Katherine (Rantanen)
Wyman. Katherine's parents, Donald and Mary (Mae) Rantanen were both very
active in the Pittsford community. Donald was a long time employee of the
White Pigment/Omya plant before opening his own real estate business, and a
charter member of the Pittsford Fire Department. Katherine's mother Mary
(Mae) was an assistant librarian at the Maclure Library. Katherine graduated
from Otter Valley Union High School and later from the Jeanne Mance School
of Nursing in Burlington. She and her husband Robert live in Ipswich, Mass.
Membership in the Society extends over a calendar year. Your dues support
the annual operating expenses of Eaton Hall. Please send your check, payable
to Pittsford Historical Society to: (Welcome to the new Membership Chairman)
Stephen P. Belcher IV. Send dues to
Stephen P. Belcher IV
PO Box 423
Pittsford, VT 05763
We thank you for your continued support.
Town, State and Zip
Please check amount enclosed:
Single $15_____ Family $20 _____ Contributing $25_____
Sponsor $50_____ Life Member $200 (per person) _____
A 501(c)(3) organization