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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Early military service

From ‘New Hartford History’ by Sarah Lucia Jones, pg 406:

“The first record pointing to active service by New Hartford troops us a reference to powder taken from the town stock by Israel Loomis at the time of the expedition against the fort at Lake George, from which it is gathered that a detachment of men under Lieut. Loomis were at the attack on Ticonderoga in 1758. The town records also mention the death of Nathaniel Seymour at Crown Point, Oct. 20, 1760; there were probably others who served at the same time who lived to return.”

This was part of the campaigns of the French-Indian War. New Hartford troops were also involved in the Battle of Havana in 1762.  Many, of course, were involved in the Revolutionary War, including an immediate response to the battles of Lexington and Concord.

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Taking a Walk?

If you are out and enjoying this summer weather, consider exploring New Hartford on foot.  The center with its late Georgian and Federal, Italianate, Queen Anne, and many other styles of architecture stretches across the river to Holcomb Hill where a few late 1800′s factory-built row houses stand.  On the other side Steele Road and High Street back up against Jones Mountain, where a good climb takes one up an old road that is a classic bit of landscape architecture.

Just downstream lies Pine Meadow and its historic district, nearly unchanged in a century.  A classic village green, an icon of New England.

Elsewhere a walk along Maple Hollow from Bakerville, the natural beauty of the Nepaug floodplain and the remnant of old industry: the blacksmith shop and the grist mill, both listed buildings, both visible from the road.

There is the top of Town Hill, where the foundation remains of the Town’s first church and where its bell still speaks somberly on special occasions. Not far from there lies the Town Hill Cemetery, still in use but dating back to the 1750′s.

Perhaps a walk through Satan’s Kingdom, looking for traces of the old railroads. Or maybe up by West Hill or Cotton Hill, where old fields turn slowly to woods.  Here and there a barn is still standing, some still in use, great dairy barns and small general purpose barns, chicken coops and ornate carriage houses.

How many stories there are beneath each mile of road here!

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