Friday, April 26, 2013

Greenwich & Johnsonville treasure

Yet again, at a loss for what to blog about this week (not because nothing comes to mind, but because too many do & I can't choose), an envelope on my desk this morning provided the answer.

A train ticket collector in California sent me 2 Greenwich & Johnsonville Railway Company tickets! They are tiny & stained but otherwise in great condition. Based on the information in David F. Nestle's book Rails Along the Battenkill: A History of the Greenwich & Johnsonville Railway (Is the title a play of Drums Along the Mohawk? I digress.) I can estimate the dates of the ticket...

The oldest ticket is numbered 20791 & has the signature of J.H. Thompson who was Superintendent in 1897. The other ticket is numbered 26824 & signed by J.H. Mc Daniels. Mc Daniels was Superintendent from at least 1901-1912.

Greenwich & Johnsonville Railway ticket c. 1897

For more information I highly recommend Nestle's book. It is very readable & has quite a few interesting images of engines, bridges, maps & railway ephemera like tickets & schedules. I have referred to it before, but now I am actually reading it!

Highly recommended book on the G&J

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Happy Anniversary

I just wanted to say that today marks my 10th anniversary of being the appointed Town Historian of Greenwich!

Thank you all for your questions, comments, likes on Facebook... Inviting me to present a program to your students, or group...I really appreciate being able to serve this wonderful community for the past 10 years!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Sesquicentennial in Greenwich: 1959

Sesquicentennial Banner - Greenwich, NY 1959
In 1959 the village of Greenwich, NY hosted an elaborate Sesquicentennial celebration, complete with two parades, & a pageant called "Whipple City Grows."

Front page of Whipple City Grows and ticket stub

The schedule of events is listed in the center of the program above.

Saturday, August 1, 1959 was Sesquicentennial Parade Day which included the parade from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. & the Queen's Ball at the high school from 9:00 to midnight.

Sunday, August 2, 1959 was Religious Dedication Day with all of the local churches hosting special services in the morning & an interfaith service at 8:00 p.m.

Monday, August 3, 1959 was Youth Day- filled with baseball, softball, swimming, & an "Outdoor Street Dance."

Tuesday, August 4, 1959 was Agricultural Day featuring a hay ride, square dance, old-time farm equipment & exhibits by the Farm Bureau, Soil Conservation, the Grange, 4-H, & others.

Wednesday, August 5, 1959 was Ladies' Day (sorry fellas). This included a luncheon, a reception, a dinner for Lt. Governor Malcolm Wilson, a fashion show, & the crowning of the "Sesquicentennial Queen." 

Thursday, August 6, 1959 was Homecoming Day with open houses at the various churches & fraternal organizations like the Independent Order Of Fellows

Friday, August 7, 1959 was Industrial Day which included guided tours of local industries. Plus, the final judging of the "Brothers of the Brush" beard growing competition ended with a shaving contest!

Saturday, August 8, 1959 was Fireman's Day. The week of festivities concluded with the Washington County Fireman's Parade at 2:00 p.m. & the final of 4 performances of "Whipple City Grows"!

Sesquicentennial book and Washington County VFA Convention Program

Housing Committee badge
Some Housing Committee documents still survive. Then, as now, there was little accommodation for out-of-town guests. So, the committee members were in charge of finding housing for people coming to town for the week long celebration. Marion Harrington was the Housing Committee Chair.

Wooden nickels- one with the Sesquicentennial logo 1959
When we held the Town of Greenwich Bicentennial in 2003, & the Village of Greenwich Bicentennial in 2009, I looked into having wooden nickels done, but the funds just weren't there. I did have a wooden nickel collector call me though. The gentleman told me that he would buy a bunch of them if we decided to do it so he could trade & sell with other wooden nickel collectors! (Who knew...)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Historian vs. Archivist

As some of you may know, I am working on my Master's of Science in Information Science from the University at Albany, SUNY. (Information Science used to be called "Library Science" not too long ago.) My focus is on Archives & Records Management & I am currently interning at the NYS Archives in Albany.  & thinking about what to blog about today, I realized that many of you may not know what an archivist does. You may not even know what an historian does.

So, I did what most of us do in this day & age, I "googled" it.

The definition of an historian: a student, writer, chronicler of history

The definition of an archivist: one who is in charge of an archives & its collection

Didn't we learn in grade school not to define a word by using the word? These definitions are vague & flawed, but I think you get the idea. An archivist cares for, describes & preserves records, documents for posterity. An historian uses those documents as evidence to prove, or disprove, the point of their writing.

As a public historian, I am not supposed to amass a collection* of documents pertaining to Greenwich history. I am supposed to look at those records, read, study, synthesize, then write & talk about Greenwich history. This blog is one attempt at that.

Recently, I received a package of documents pertaining to the United Presbyterian Church of East Greenwich. Mostly they are bits of ephemera that, singly, may not amount to much, but as a whole could be useful to someone studying local churches or local businesses. I plan on transferring the documents to the Gill Room so that they can be accessible to researchers. Here is a taste...

Documents relating to the UP Church of East Greenwich

*Many of my colleagues do because there may not be a suitable repository available.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Preparing for the big move...

It appears spring has finally sprung, as it always does, here in Greenwich. Just this morning traffic was backed up from the Mowry/Corliss/Main intersection to Cottage Street behind the street sweeper. Kids & adults alike were walking to the Greenwich Free Library without winter coats.

My new office is coming along nicely, but my packing is not. Every time I decide to look through something with the intention of putting it into a box, I come across really cool stuff. Stuff that must be perused & read right now!

Today, was just such a day. I opened the Historic Resources Survey boxes to see if there was anything on Riddle Road to aid in an e-mail inquiry (just a nondescript record on The Owl Pen) & realized that there was a wealth of information in those boxes. Plus, I need to go through & put the records in folders & label them. That will be my project next week! Oh, the survey was done in preparation for Greenwich's nomination for Historic District designation from the National Register of Historic Places & the National Park Service. Check it out here.

I found some information regarding the Lowber Lime Kilns in Bald Mountain & Old Lock 12 of the Champlain Canal. If any of you have been on the Facebook page you have seen the photo I posted, but there were a few others.So I ran them trough my new app "Photo Grid" & voile!

1981 images of the Lime Kilns with a 21st century shot of the marker

Mash-up of 1981 images and my 2009 photos

I also found some interesting historical "papers" included in the survey that I will be reading & sharing with you. An obituary on Ann Caroline Holmes (nee Mowry) really caught my attention. More research is needed there I think!

I'll leave you with images of my new/ old offices. I haven't been this excited since I got upgraded from Windows 3.1 to Windows 98! (Now I have Vista.)

work in progress- new Historian's Office upstairs

current vs. new- so much bigger