Pittsford Historical Society

Pittsford Historical Society Inc. News - Summer 2015

Eaton HallMuseum Hours:
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..

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: Steve Belcher
Newsletter: Steve Belcher, spbelcher4@myfairpoint.net 483-2852
Genealogy Research: 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 - Summer 2015

Museum Hours

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.

Upcoming Events

Members Meeting/Exhibit
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 as well.

Tag-and-Bake Sale
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.

Memorial Day

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 were:

4th grade: Abigail Adamsen for her piece "Memorial Day"
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 to Veterans:

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 Markowski’s.

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 businesses.

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 you.

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 enterprise.

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 Library.

Covered Bridges

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 sympathy.

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, 1930.

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?

Member News

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.

Contact Info for Pittsford Historical Society. Summer 2015


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.


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A 501(c)(3) organization since 1960