Category Archives: News

Wallingford Historical Society Annual Meeting Notice

 

Boy With The Boot

Boy With The Boot (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Please join the Wallingford Historical Society for its annual meeting on Tuesday, August 26, 2014 at 7 p.m. at the Wallingford Rotary Building.

 

If you have a passion for history or simply a desire to learn more about the town that you live in, this is your opportunity to come and get involved! Learn how you can help the historical society and learn a whole lot in the process.

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May’s WHS Program

English: The Old Oak Tree.

English: The Old Oak Tree. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ever wonder about your family tree — that famous uncle or how your family navigated one of history’s big events? Have you always wanted to dig into your lineage but it all seems so daunting to undertake? Join us for the Wallingford Historical Society’s May program on genealogy. Learn how to find out who you are and where you came from during this program.

MAY’S UPCOMING EVENT

We all grow up with the weight of history on us. Our ancestors dwell in the attics of our brains as they do in the spiraling chains of knowledge hidden in every cell of our bodies. ~Shirley Abbott

Learn how to navigate your past with the Wallingford Historical Society’s program

ANCESTRY.COM TUTORIAL SESSION

presented by
Tim Heffernan
Tuesday May 21, 2013
6 p.m.
Wallingford Historical Society Museum Town Hall (Second Floor)
Free to the Public

~Handicap Accessible~ 

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Stafford Doll Collection

Wallingford resident David Klock was the speaker at the Wallingford Historical Society’s June program. Klock is a wealth of information about Wallingford history and a pleasure to hear relate history and stories about Wallingford’s past, partly because you can tell that he just enjoys passing on the information to his audience.

Klock presented his grandmother Minnie Stafford’s doll collection to the Historical Society during the hour-long program at the Historical Society’s Museum located on the second floor of the Wallingford Town Hall.  Minnie Stafford is the daughter of Alfonso P. Stafford, for whom the Wallingford Town Hall was named. A.P. Stafford, as he was known, was the town tinsmith with his business located just south of the Gilbert Hart Library. In 1876 he and his family, including daughter Minnie moved into the house on Main Street that David and his wife Lowell currently call home.

Photo Credit: Lowell Klock

Klock had the doll collection laid out on a table together with all the accouterments for each doll so that the audience would have an opportunity to come up close and see the beautiful antique dolls firsthand which was a real treat for audience members, who eagerly came up when invited to do so. The dolls, Klock explained,  have been stored in an impeccably maintained steamer trunk in the Klock home since his grandmother moved into the house in 1876.  Each doll, save the smallest one, had a name. The smallest, unnamed doll, a beautiful bisque doll measuring about six inches is simply referred to as “the Little One”.

The largest of the dolls, and by the looks of it, maybe Minnie’s favorite was the doll called Hattie.

Photo Courtesy of Lowell Klock

Hattie has her own homemade four poster bed and handmade quilt along with a beautiful straw hat that most likely was instrumental in her name. She bears leather hands and feet with a porcelain head and cloth body. She came with a trunk full of clothes that Klock says were handmade by Minnie, her mother and her sisters.

Photo Courtesy of Lowell Klock

The next doll in the collection, Emma is a slightly smaller porcelain doll with a completely cloth body. She travels in her wooden cradle, which I am sure was also handmade with lots of love and her own trunk full of handmade clothes and a homemade quilt. The gorgeous craftsmanship of the tiny quilts is amazing and considering that they were most likely made by children, makes one more appreciative of the time and effort that was put into each one.

Photo Courtesy of Lowell Klock

The third doll, Annie, another porcelain doll with a cloth body is smaller still from the other two and resides in her wood cradle with her own quilt. Her clothing is a bit smaller and fits into a cigar box, but still sports the same wonderful care and detail as the other dolls’ clothing.

The final doll, the one that bears no name but is affectionately referred to by Klock as “The Little One” doesn’t have a cradle, but rather a sort of makeshift box bed in which she is safely tucked. Not to be outdone, she comes complete with her own, tiny wardrobe.

Klock recounted during the program, fond memories of how his sisters played with the dolls each and every summer that they came to visit in Vermont. Wallingford resident Nelly Button, the author of the book “Creative English” was also privileged to be able to play with Minnie’s dolls as a child. In fact, as part of the collection being given to the Historical Society, Klock displayed for the group a copy of Button’s book with a personalized inscription recounting that she was one of the lucky few to be able to play with Minnie’s doll collection.

The dedication ceremony concluded with the packaging of the dolls and their belongings back into the beautiful steamer trunk that they have called home for the past almost 150 years. The trunk and its contents will become part of the Wallingford Historical Society’s Museum collection. The dolls will be placed on display at an undisclosed date in the future for those of you who were not fortunate enough to enjoy Klock’s informative program.

Photo courtesy of Lowell Klock

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The Covered Bridges of Nicholas Powers

Last week, the Wallingford Historical Society presented its first program for this year. The program entitled “The Covered Bridges of Nicholas Powers” was held at the Historical Society Museum located on the second floor of the Town Hall. It was a well attended, fun and informative event.

A. Nicholas Strom-Olsen, the great great great grandson of famous covered bridge builder and Clarendon resident, Nicholas Powers walked the audience through the life and works of Powers.

Nicholas Powers was born on August 30, 1817 in Pittsford, Vermont. He lived in Ira for a period of time and spent his final days in Clarendon.

As Strom-Olsen explained during his presentation, Powers who was self-taught, built his first bridge when he was 19 years old. That bridge, the Pittsford Mills Bridge, traversed the Furnace Brook and was built in the year 1837. It was removed in 1931 for road widening.

The Gorham Bridge, also located in Pittsford traverses the Otter Creek and still stands today. It is one of the four still-standing covered bridges built by Powers in Rutland County.

The other bridges that still remain standing today are the Cooley Bridge over the Furnace Brook in Pittsford, the Brown Bridge over the Cold River in Shrewsbury and one of the Twin Bridges in East Pittsford, which is now on dry land and no longer used as a bridge.

Powers is known for building covered bridges that had covered sides which became one of Powers’ trademarks. Powers built Wallingford’s own covered bridge over the Otter Creek connecting the two sections of Route 140, which was then referred to as a “quaint side road”. Powers built the Wallingford bridge in 1874 and a streamside ledge outcrop served as most of the western abutment of the bridge. Wallingford’s bridge was burned in 1949 when the metal bridge was erected in its stead.

Powers also holds the record for building the longest single span wooden bridge in the world. The bridge, located over the Schoharie Creek in Blenheim, New York was built by Powers from 1854 to 1855. It is 232 feet long. It is contained in the Guinness Book of World Records.

English: The Old Blenheim Bridge in North Blen...

English: The Old Blenheim Bridge in North Blenheim, New York is the longest covered bridge of its type in the world. Photographed 11 March 2008 from up the hill on the eastern shore of the Schoharie Creek. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The bridge was referred to as Power’s Folly because during its construction, nay-sayers believed that the bridge would fall, being unable to support that long of a suspension. It was reported by Strom-Olsen that Powers stood on top of the bridge when it was opened and stated that if the bridge fell, he would fall with it. The bridge settled less than one inch and withstood over two hundred years, it was destroyed by Hurricane Irene when the concrete buttresses went underwater. There no longer being anything to support the bridge, it collapsed.  A true tragedy.

In addition, to covered bridge building, Powers was responsible for building the Kingsley Grist Mill in Clarendon. This is the only mill designed and built by Powers. Ironically, the Kingsley covered bridge located next to the mill was not built by Powers.

Powers also built the Cheese Factory and Creamery in Clarendon which is the present home of the Clarendon Grange. Strom-Olsen was joined by his wife and family for the presentation. A lively discussion ensued with lots of questions and comments from the audience including a story from David Klock about the burning of the Wallingford bridge.

The Wallingford Historical Society welcomes the entire Wallingford community to its next presentation, featuring Wallingford residents Jay White and David Klock at the Town Hall on June 26, 2012 at 7 p.m.

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Congratulations

Congratulations to the new board of the Wallingford Historical Society, elected at its annual meeting.

President – Joyce Barbieri

Vice President – Lowell Klock

Secretary – Elaine Warzocha

Treasurer – Arlene Santor

 

 

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Yellow Cat Tea Room

Bob Sargent, a former Wallingford High School teacher emailed us these pictures of the Yellow Cat Tea Room  in Wallingford.

According to Sargent, the Yellow Cat Tea Room was run by Ruth Kirk (nee Alexander) in and about 1920. If anyone wants to add anything to it, I am sure we would all be interested in learning more about it.

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Summer in Vermont

Summer in Vermont—it doesn’t get much better than that, always something for everyone.   Today nature has provided us with beautiful blue skies, light breeze, and low humidity… but if this isn’t your cup of tea it will be hot and humid on the 4th of July.

The Wallingford Historical Society welcomes all the summer residents and out of town visitors.  Stop by the Town Hall during the week and head upstairs to view our exhibit.  Save the last Tuesday of the month for our programs. On July 27th, it will be Adam Boyce presenting “SPRIGHTLY STEPS: Vermont’s Contra and Square Dancing Traditions”.   An ideal family program, it will be at 7:00PM in the Town Hall.  There will be a general meeting following this program.  All are welcome to give input into how we can improve the Historical Society.

August is our annual Art and Collectable show at Elfin Lake.  Diane Cooney will be looking for participants in this program as well as some help setting up.  If you or anyone you know does any sort of artistic work or has an interesting collection of items, please contact Diane at 446-2514.  The show will open at 5:00PM.  Bring a picnic dinner and spend an evening with friends and family admiring the talent of Wallingford people.  Directly after the show, 7:30PM, we will hold our annual meeting.  All are welcome.

It is with great celebration of life that we remember Thelma Carlton Perry who passed away on June 24th at the age of 100.  We can be assured that Thelma will be greatly missed.  She did countless wonderful things for so many people of this town.  It would be a real tribute to her if we could compile some of your remembrances and dedicate a future issue of the Wallingford Perspectives to her.   Send or email me your stories…brookvale@vermontel.net…. 2586 West Hill Rd..

I hope you enjoy this issue of the Perspectives as much as I enjoyed doing the April Poetry Program.  Hopefully it will become an annual affair.  Next time we can include student poems about Vermont/Wallingford along with more poems written by town people.  Watch for updates on this program.

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

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