Pittsford Historical Society

Pittsford Historical Society Inc. News - August 2013

Eaton HallMuseum Hours:
Tues: 9 am–4 pm; Apr. 2 – until mid-November;
And on Saturdays 1PM- 4PM until Oct. 13

Located in Eaton Hall, 3399 US Route 7.
Address mail to:
PO Box 423, Pittsford, VT   05763
(802) 483-2040

Curator: Anne Pelkey 483-6178
Membership: Doris Hoare 483-6470
Newsletter Editor: Peggy Armitage 483-2108. peggy.armitage@gmail.com

Pittsford Historical Society, Inc.

 PO Box 423, Pittsford, VT 05763    802.483-2040    www.pittsfordhistorical.com


PHS News Letter, August 2013


Notice of Next Meeting: September 8, 2013

   The next members’ meeting will be held in the Pittsford Congregational Church fellowship hall on the Village Green and US Rte 7, on Sunday September 8.  The hall is ADA accessible.

   The evening begins with a potluck supper at 5:30 pm.  Please bring a dish to share.

   President Ernie Clerihew will open the business meeting at 6:30.  Board members and committee chairs will report on current activities, with time allowed for your questions and comments.

   Program at 7:15:  If you grew up in Pittsford between 1940 and 1960, especially on a Pittsford farm, plan to stay for tonight’s program.  Two brothers, Jack and Ed Fox, will reminisce about growing up on the Fox family farm on Corn Hill Road.  This will be of interest to kids and their families.  If you have a way to record the discussion, please bring it.

   Anyone interested in Pittsford’s history is always welcome to attend.


Memorial Day 2013

   Commander Robert B. Birmingham, Supply Corps, United States Navy (retired) was this year's speaker. Born and educated in Pittsford, he graduated from the University of Vermont. He earned his commission from Officer Candidate School in 1986. Throughout his career he earned numerous advanced degrees in science, also receiving military awards and medals until his last assignment in 2003 as an analyst in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

    Cmdr. Birmingham's eloquent speech memorialized his older brother, PLT Sgt. Edward A. Birmingham, killed in action in Vietnam, and his niece's husband, SSGT Scott C. Rose, 30, killed in action in Iraq. Ivy Dixon and videographer Ken Lizotte collaborated to record Birmingham’s presentation. When finished it will be available on our Website, www.pittsfordhistorical.com.


Summer-Fall Hours at the Museum

   The Museum in Eaton Hall is now open for the summer two days a week on Tuesdays from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, and Sundays 1:00 to 4:00 pm through October 13. Thereafter, it will be open on Tuesdays until mid-November.  Eaton Hall is located at 3399 US Rte 7 in the Village, and is ADA accessible. We invite everyone interested in the history of Pittsford.  Admission is by voluntary donation.


Tag & Bake Sale a Complete Success

   A total of $1,001.45 earned at the July 20 Tag & Bake Sale is the highest in recent years. The food sale garnered $172. 75, an all-time high. We owe a big thank-you to our members and friends who contributed to the quantity and variety of items. Members Tom and Kathy Brown generously donated antiques and collectibles from Tom’s Treasures to help this year’s Tag Sale net $828.70. Remainders from the Browns are reserved for next year.


A 501(c)(3) organization since 1960


Update on Weatherizing Eaton Hall

   During the 2012-2013 heating season we only burned about 40 percent of the estimated gallons of fuel oil in Eaton Hall, thanks to sealing the basement last fall.  On August 12th the Governing Board reviewed an updated proposal from Absolute Comfort to complete Phase II of weatherizing Eaton Hall by insulating the outer walls. With most of the funds available to pay for doing the first floor this year, the Board voted to contract for that much now, and then to decide whether we can complete the project this year. If we can, there are advantages:  we could be eligible for larger rebates. If you plan to make a donation to Phase II, please notify our treasurer Terri Davis by email: Vermont426@aol.com or PO Box 423, Pittsford, VT 05763, and thanks. (Anonymous gifts are always welcome.) And many thanks to everyone who made Phase I achievable.


Volunteer Kay Killoran Retires

   Katherine Killoran, our live-wire volunteer since the 1980s, retired in May. She started cutting clippings from five local newspapers for our family files in 1995 when Lois Blittersdorf asked her to take over the task. “I’d do anything for Lois - I couldn’t say no to her!” Two or three Board members are now doing what Kay did by herself for 18 years.

   Kay and her husband Phil moved back to Pittsford and built their retirement home in 1981, the same year the Society bought Eaton Hall for its headquarters and museum. She was elected president in 1987, and served a term as corresponding secretary. With Ruth Hennessey and Ed Wheeler Sr. she coordinated the Memorial Day parades and programs from 1988 to 1992, and at one time was president of the Housekeepers Club. Every nonprofit group should be so lucky to have a volunteer like Kay!


Chinese Visitors

   Stephen Belcher recently hosted three Chinese exchange students at his home in Pittsford. Among other sites in town, Steve gave the young gentlemen a tour of the Museum, and presented each one with a copy of our latest photo book, “Around Pittsford.”


Asa Whipple’s Sofa to be Reupholstered

   The Museum has a photograph of a couch in Mrs. Martha Wood Belcher’s home. A handwritten label on it says it was made by “Old Mr. Whipple. He lived across Rte 7 from us, in the Casey house.” His full name was Asa Stevens Whipple. He farmed in Whipple Hollow until he married and moved to the Village around 1877.

   The current owners of Whipple’s home are the heirs of the late Francis Casey. In July, they held an estate sale of the contents, which included a large sofa (82” long by 27” deep) that needed reupholstering. It was there when the Casey family acquired the property. We asked Tom Conway, owner of Conway’s Antiques and Decor, if he thought the Belcher piece and the one in the Casey house could have been made by the same person. Tom thought they could:  although not identical, the shallow carving and “country style” of one resembles that of the other.

   The Casey heirs offered to give their sofa to the Society, but there was no room for it in the Museum. So we offered it to the Maclure Library, if we paid to have it recovered. Librarian Bonnie Stewart said there is room for it in the adult reading room, where it can be seen -- and sat on -- year-round and six days a week. In Eaton Hall it would only be seen part of the year, and only one or two days days a week.

   Ultimately, Tom Conway proposed to clean and reupholster the Whipple/Casey sofa. Fran Casey’s heirs, including his daughter Carole (Casey) Zakrzewski, said they would like to pay Tom Conway’s fee, and to choose one of his fabrics to cover Asa Whipple’s sofa.

   The Casey heirs have also given us small things, photos and documents related to the St. Alphonsus Church.




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.


Street/Apt. #

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 since 1960