Pittsford Historical Society

Pittsford Historical Society Inc. News - Spring 2015

Eaton HallMuseum Hours:
Tues: 9 am–4 pm; April – until mid-November;
And on Sundays 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


Newsletter - Spring 2015

Museum Hours

The Museum will be opening in early April, depending on weather and snowstorms and how soon Rebecca Davenport and Barb Willis can process the greeting cards that now fill the exhibit space (see below). The museum remains accessible to visitors by arrangement, of course; please contact Curator Anne Pelkey if you wish to visit or consult the collections.

First Meeting of 2015

We will hold our first annual meeting and talk on Sunday March 29. The speaker will be Jean Smith Davies, talking about the establishment and early history of Camp Betsey Cox. This will be an afternoon meeting: potluck desserts beginning at 1:30 pm at the Congregational Church, followed by a business meeting and then Jean's presentation .

Further Activities

The Covered Bridge Society will be coming to visit on May 51 a Saturday. Following their internal deliberations, there will be a presentation at 11:00 a.m. at which PHS members and the Pittsford public are welcome. Bill Powers will talk about the Potwine Bridge to the north, and other PHS members will follow with some background on Pittsford's covered bridges.

The Historical Society will be involved in the Memorial Day activities later in May, as usual.
On June 211 we plan a Museum visit for the member's meeting, during the afternoon (hope for good weather). The theme is the exhibit put together in the spirit of last year's Vermont History Expo: Pittsford artists and crafts people. We will be inviting local artists to come and display their work and there will be a gallery talk on the works displayed in the exhibit and the artists behind them.

On July 18 we hold our annual tag-and-bake sale. This is your chance to dispose constructively of the white elephants & donkeys (a bipartisan effort) that have been cluttering up your attic or basement.

The Crockett Card Caravan

In late January, Curator Anne Pelkey received an inquiry from Nancy Myers, a florist in Bennington whose shop had closed; Ms. Myers had a substantial inventory of cards from the Katherine Crockett label that had come to her and needed to get them out of the store before a thrift shop opened its doors in the space. The decision fell into the no-brainer category: of course the Society wanted the Crockett materials.

For background: Katherine Crockett Marnell (1898-1979) was an art teacher born in Brandon who began making and marketing greeting cards. Around 1951, she set up her atelier in a barn on Furnace Road, and began silk-screening her cards. Her volume of business was large enough to affect the Pittsford Post Office, which was upgraded from third to second class (although we know the personnel are first class). When she retired from the business in 19661 it was continued in Pittsford for a while and then moved to Manchester. A number of Pittsfordites still remember working on the cards.

With the noble assistance of Bill Powers and Ernie Clerihew, unexpectedly numerous boxes of cards and - larger and lighter - boxes of the boxes for the cards were transported through frigid weather and over snowy roads to the Museum, where they filled, for a time, all the open space in the exhibits area. Ron Smith, to his credit, noticed a U- Haul truck in front of the museum and stopped to make sure that things were going in, not out.

Rebecca Davenport and Barb Willis threw themselves at the task of sorting the cards and putting them in new boxes, sustained by rhubarb muffins. Ernie Clerihew is constructing shelving on the second floor to house the many boxes of cards. Ivy Dixon is planning an internet marketing scheme (this is hearsay).

Not all the designs were by Katherine Crockett; several of the boxes contained materials on the other artists whose designs were used. So the Society now has something of an archive of the commercial activities of the Crockett Cards, a s well as a large store of delightful and lovely cards for all seasons and humors.

Markers Update

Last year a committee chaired by Ernie Clerihew worked on drafting the text for a new historical marker to be placed where the old Samuel Hopkins Patent marker had stood, since Philadelphia lawyers have undercut the Pittsford claim to Mr. Hopkins. The selected topic was the Pittsford iron industry, that flowered in the era of the Granger stoves.

Our contact person, Mr. Dumville, in the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation, then went onto the disabled list, and so the enterprise is being revived. Peg Armitage has been reviewing the text on a letter­ by-letter basis (we had a dispensation allowing a longer text carrying over onto two sides of the marker), building on her experience composing the marker for the Sanatorium, and has edited the text as follows:


Its Iron Industry 1791-1882
I n 1791 Israel Keith built an iron blast furnace on Furnace Brook, about a mile east of here. Iron ore and manganese came from Chittenden, and limestone flux from Pittsford. Charcoal kilns reduced Chittenden's forests to fuel for smelting the ore.

Keith's successors, Nathan Gibbs, then Simeon Granger and Sons, rebuilt and increased the furnace height to 50 ft.

I n 1829 the Grangers built a foundry near the furnace. From 1829 to the 1860s the Granger foundry produced 300 cast iron stoves a year and shipped them across the eastern US. Different models of stoves were intended for use in kitchens, laundries, parlors and bedrooms. Other wares were kettles, griddles, basins, flatirons, door latches and hinges.

The Granger furnace capacity was 2,600 tons of iron a year. The area became known as Grangerville. Workers' houses, the company store, a school and post office surrounded the furnace works and Granger brick homestead.

Later owners were C. and E.L. Granger; Granger, Hodges & Co.; Pittsford Iron Co.;
Vermont Iron Co.; Jeremiah Pritchard. Under Mr. Pritchard the furnace, foundry, mines and charcoal kilns employed 60 men.

As local sources gave out, iron ore from eastern New York was shipped by rail to Pittsford. When operations ceased in 1882, it was Vermont's last iron furnace.

Several stoves are in the Pittsford Historical Society Museum.

We understand the marker will be put on the agenda of the Division's council in April. This may be the time to lobby our representatives.

President: Bill Powers, 773-2633
Vice President: Ernie Clerihew, 483-6871
Recording Secretary: Rebecca Davenport, 483-6531
Corresponding Secretary: Jane Welsh, 483-9539
Treasurer: Terri Davis, 483-9597

Museum Curator: Anne Pelkey, 483-6178
Membership Chair and Newsletter: Steve Belcher, 483-2852
Geneology Research: Peg Amitage, 483-2108

Mark Mooney, 388-2944
Barbara Willis,
Bob Welch, 483-9539
Past President: Charlene Patch


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