Hope to see you there!

Our one, and only, fundraiser for the year: September 12th, 2014 from 6 to 9pm at Ski Sundown. Our wine tasting is not only an excellent way to taste a wide variety of wines and beers; but it is a great dinner. We will have a number of dishes from various local restaurants: Pizza to Lobster Macaroni to Thai!
$25 at the door, hope to see you there! Come support local history!

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What Happened Next?

The Greenwoods Dam, on the west branch of the Farmington, failed in 1936. But then what? The Metropolitan District Commission, then known as the Hartford Water company, purchased the water rights along with the land once inundated by Greenwoods Pond. In doing so they also inherited the question of whether the dam ought to be replaced.

But should the dam be rebuilt? While it seems self-evident today that the dam and pond had no real use beyond recreation and that was economically minor; this was not the feeling for several decades. Greenwoods Pond had been a valuable recreation spot for New Hartford and Barkhamsted even after it was no longer a vital power source. It was, arguably, as much an emotional argument as an economic one.  The MDC had no need of another dam, especially if it was one that could not provide clean drinking water. Their’s was an economic argument.

The upshot was several decades of discussion between the towns and the MDC about what, if anything, should replace the dam. The eventual agreement was that the MDC would help fund several recreations areas to compensate for not rebuilding the dam.  Among these areas are Brown’s Corner in New Hartford and Stanclift Cove in Barkhamsted. Today, the old Greenwoods Pond lake bed is open for hunting, fishing, and passive recreation.

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Save the Date!

10th Annual Wine Tasting Fundraiser

Our tenth annual wine tasting is on September 12th, Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. at Ski Sundown, New Hartford Ct.

The main fundraising event of the year for the society; this event has become the kick-off event for the winter season in New Hartford, with many people coming back into town after the summer away. Good wine, good food, good music, and good conversation, at a pleasant location. Tickets will be $25 at the door.

The wine ranges from Chile and Australia to Europe to California to Connecticut. The food is all by local restaurants and stores; it showcases many of the best restaurants in the area. Where else can you get a chance to try dozens of wines, and a few beers, get a good supper, and listen to some good music….all for twenty-five dollars?

We hope to see you there!

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Greenwoods Canadian Brass Band

A short-lived band, it almost certainly died when the Greenwoods Company left town in 1907. The article is from the New Hartford Tribune, an undated clipping in a series about local businesses.

Note the names, there is a good reason it was the Canadian band. New Hartford had, and still does have, a number of families who came down from Quebec and the Maritimes; a common migration throughout the Champlain and Berkshire regions.

“New Hartford is well favored in the musical line by the Greenwoods Canadian Brass Band. This band was organized in December, 1899, with Anthony Bedore as manager and Alfred Dechamplain was leader and musical instructor. The members of the band with their respective pieces follow: Alfred Dechamplain, cornet; Remi Pauquet, cornet; David Russett, cornet; Felix Guilbeault, piccalo; Barney Moran, alto; Arthur Christian, alto; Arthur Parren, alto; Regis Gagnon, trombone; Peter Gelina, trombone; Arthur Cote, baritone; Isaac Moran, bass; Lawrence H. Hotchkiss, snare drum; Peter Dechamplain, bass drum and symbols.”

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Greenwoods Factory District

2000.182.5.61 Factory District of Greenwoods Company

This is a rare view, most photographs were taken looking up at the dam and the factory. The main building, including the section still existing (Hurley Manufacturing) is located mid-center/left of the photograph. Holcomb Hill rises up to the left of the photograph. The main section of town is out of the picture, center-right. Lower Dublin, so called because of the many Irish immigrants who lived there is visible stretched on along the left bank of Greenwoods Pond. Only two of these row houses still exist.

 

 

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John Blakesly

As a gardener, descriptions of old gardens always catch my eye:

Here in Sarah Jones’ book is the description of a house and garden in the West Hill area built by one John Blakesly in 1842:

“Mr. Blakesly was an industrious, honest man, and although he had but an acre and a half of land, he always found enough to do upon it, and his place, for neatness and high culture, could not be excelled in Litchfield County. It was by many considered a treat to look his little place over, so nicely was everything kept. He raised celery, garden vegetables and some tobacco, and from his own exclusive production made very good cigars.”

Tobacco  was a cash crop and luxury item for many farmers in the area. One of the largest tobacco farms in the region was the Case Farm in Barkhamsted Hollow. Commercial production of tobacco was a primary focus on several other farms on the Farmington River above Satan’s Kingdom. It was an ideal export crop, for it stored well, was easily transported, and even small amounts could always be sold in Hartford for cash. Most people relied on barter for goods and services, but cash was always welcome. And, as the above passage suggests, many farmers grew tobacco for their own personal use.

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morbid curiosity

The burial permits for the town of New Hartford from 1893 to 1975 are available on our website, look at ‘Archives>Burial Records’. In addition to being an excellent source for genealogical information, these records are a fascinating glimpse into daily life. They record the lives, and the tragedies, of the people of the town. We can see through these permits how life has changed: diseases and accidents that were once common place have become rare, while unheard of accidents have become common.  The records are sometimes sobering: children dying of appendicitis or cholera, virtually unheard of in our modern world, men in the prime of their life dying from accidents that today would be survivable.  They are also reminders that some people lived long lives, dying in their 80’s, even a few in their 90’s.

On Page 7 of the burial and transit records though, we come to the first real indication of the modern world: 2nd Lieut. Henry C. Smith died on December 22, 1918 in an airplane (aeroplane was the spelling then) accident in France. The first car accident victim in New Hartford’s records was a child, Albert Pompa, age 11, in 1927.

The starkness of the burial records makes them almost more poignant. Who were these people, summed up in such a few short sentences?

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