Pittsford Historical Society

Pittsford Historical Society Inc. News

Eaton HallMuseum Hours:
Tuesdays from 9 am to 4 pm, April through October.

During this time, volunteers gather for a variety of constructive activities, and company is always welcome. Visitors to town outside normal hours should contact our Curator, Anne Pelkey, or Steve Belcher, for access to the museum.

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 - Spring  2018

Museum Notes

The Museum at Eaton Hall (3399 US Rte 7) is now open again; regular hours are 9 am-4 pm on Tuesdays. Visits can be scheduled at other times, preferably in advance. Volunteers interested in helping our activities are always welcome, as are visitors with inquiries and questions.

Member Meetings and Schedule of Events

We do not yet have a confirmed schedule of activities for the Society through the end of the year, but the coming months (until the next newsletter) are covered.

  1.  Member Meetings
    May 6, 2-4 pm. at the Congregational Church
    This meeting will be an opportunity to say farewell to David and Tracey Barnard. The Barnard Funeral Home opened in 1895 (per Pittsford’s Second Century); David represents the fifth generation of the family to ply the trade. He has now sold the business to Aldous of Rutland; he and Tracey plan to move south to Myrtle Beach. Their talk thus marks the closing of a long-standing Pittsford tradition (although people will continue to be buried here, of course).
    June 24, 2-4 pm. at the Congregational Church
    Lance Mead will talk on the subject “Pittsford’s Contribution to the World of Marble.” The town is the site of many abandoned marble quarries, but at one time the industry employed many people.
    September, date TBA
    Bill Powers will lead a historical walk over Hawk Hill (behind the Otter Valley High School) to explore the remains of the first settlements in the area.
    The topic and exact date of the October Annual meeting have not yet been settled.
  2. Other Activities
    May 28, Memorial Day
    The PHS will of course be involved in the Memorial Day ceremonies. The speaker will be Frank Hudson, U.S. Navy.
    July 21 – Tag and Bake Sale, 9 am-2 pm at Eaton Hall
    This is an annual fund-raising event. Donations, edible and otherwise, are requested and will be gratefully received. It is the time to get rid of the white elephants cluttering the house, however small they may be. It may be the opportunity for a guilt-free disposal of that lamp that great-aunt Thelma gave your mother on her wedding.
    Aug. 23 – Pittsford Day (date to be confirmed)
    The Society will have a booth with displays and articles for sale on this occasion.


The Museum is planning an exhibit on World War I – November will mark the centennial of Armistice Day/Veteran’s Day. The Museum has some materials, but would be grateful for the offer or loan of any additional objects or memorabilia.

Eaton Hall, the Building

Winter brought concerns. The water stopped flowing into the taps during a period of extended cold, and so our new President, Ernie Clerihew, plans to enlist the help of a plumber to explore and, we hope, correct the problem. As the weather warmed, water began flowing from a large flat space on the roof (in the NW corner at the front of the building) under the slate and down into the area where the Katherine Crockett cards are stored. This is a situation that clearly calls for remediation and very very tall ladders

The Caleb Houghton Monument at Fort Vengeance Committee

Bill Powers, Past President, has been appointed to arrange for a cleaning and restoration of the monument. It was erected in 1873 and was last cleaned up in 1950 or so.

Town Notes

We have had alternate thaws and freezes and heavy snowfalls. Mud season is behaving like an operatic soprano, refusing to die before trilling a few more notes. Pot holes have been appearing all over. On the plus side, the sugaring season seems also to have been extended.

Aspects of Governance, in sequence

The ‘Village Farm’ Debates

The disposition of the ‘Village Farm’ (aka Forrest Farm, and before that the Swift and Caverly residences) has been the subject of several meetings; the property lies across Elm St. from Kamuda’s Market. A first meeting, in January, invited participants to identify the possible functions of the property. A second meeting, held in February, winnowed the possibilities down to three. The process was entertaining. The moderator listed the proposed uses, with the assistance of the audience members who read out the descriptions of the uses. Hanging behind her were large poster-size papers labeled with the eleven proposed uses. Applause went to one of the youngest attendees, a hobbit-sized volunteer who read the description of ‘Enhancing Pittsford Tourism’, with some assistance in the pronunciation of words such as venue.
Participants were then given little brown envelopes containing strips of round colored stickers (2 red and 4 blue; red counted for 2 points and blue for 1) that participants were invited to stick on the posters labeled with their preferred uses. Some people, clearly, assigned all their eight points to a single use (especially the commercial/retail); others spread them over the range. The moderators then withdrew and tallied the stickers, and announced the results. The eleven were winnowed down to seven (after discussion) and a second round of stickers reduced that number to three: commercial/retail, community center, and agricultural hub. Further meetings are scheduled.

The event was covered by the media, most notably by Nina Peck of Vermont Public Radio, who had earlier interviewed Anne Pelkey and Ernie Clerihew on the history of the farm. Her reports can be found on the web, through vpr.org (search Nina Peck and Pittsford). There was also video and print coverage. The effect made a curious echo to the propaganda movie filmed in Pittsford some seventy years ago, “A Town Solves A Problem,” intended for distribution in Germany and Japan. The movie focused on the human and institutional process involved in a decision to provide hot lunches to the students at the Furnace School (some of whom are still with us, thus showing the benefits of hot lunches). The 11-minute movie, for those interested, is available through the Vermont Historical Society website; the PHS also has digital copies.

The Dollar General store

The developers have presented proposals for traffic management. The Planning Commission has asked them to submit a final proposal to be voted on. The town lawns sport signs saying ‘We don’t want your Dollar General,’ but none calling for its acceptance.

Town Meeting, 5 March 2018

The Town Report is available at the Pittsford Township website: pittsfordvermont.com, under resources/documents

The honorees were the late Marsha McMahon, of Pittsford First Response, and Tom Hooker, Chief of the Fire Department, who has stepped down from the Fire Department, but is stepping up to replace Hank Pelkey as Chair of the Selectmen.

The Meeting was moderated by Jim Carvey. Rep. Butch Shaw and Sen. Peg Flory (by dispensation: she has become a resident of Rutland) reported on Montpelier activities, and particularly on the issues of school funding and guns. Marijuana legalization was conspicuously unmentioned.

The major budget items (highway and general fund) passed without much substantive question. Citizens who asked about apparent spikes in the cost of certain line items learned that, on the advice of the accountants, certains categories had been combined (and the next page in the report did show a string of 0s where those categories had once been listed) or that – to save space – future expenses had been grouped into five-year increments (and so the apparent increases represented 5-year totals).

The greatest debate came on the issue of joining the mosquito eradication efforts of the Brandon-Leicester-Salisbury Goshen group. Many were worried about chemicals. Dave Trombley may have swayed the vote by pointing out that there was no leeway for further study, and that if Pittsford declined to join the group now it might be some time before they could do so again. The voice vote was too close to call, and so the moderator called for a show of hands (not requiring the display of the colored cards issued to registered voters as they entered, although many voters held them up). The motion to join the group passed, 35-24.
Run-off Election

There was only one contested race in the next day’s Australian ballot election: Jane Cornell (incumbent), Sue Markowski, and Alicia Malay competed for a two-year seat on the select board. Sue and Alicia led, tied at 181 votes each, and a run-off election was scheduled for March 27. The results of that election: of 459 ballots cast, 253 for Alicia and 204 for Sue; two were blank. The Rutland Herald of March 28, announcing the victory below the crease, carried as its headline story the news that State Senator Peg Flory is not seeking re-election.

Pittsford Historical Society Directory

Pittsford Historical Society Officers and Board Members


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