New Material!

If any one is interested: check out the Personal Recollections page of our website and the sub-page ‘Plain Tales’

We always appreciate donations of material and we like it even more when we can share it with you!

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Excerpts

From Sarah Jones’s inimitable ‘Sketches’ an anecdote about John Cotton Smith, one of the founders of the Greenwoods Textile Mills in the 1850’s:

“He was eminently the friend of the poor, and a promoter of law and good order in the town. And yet, he was not a man to be easily imposed upon, as the following anecdote will illustrate. An employee of the mill, thinking to perpetrate a fine joke on his employer on one occasion, rang the bell for dismissing the hands five minutes ahead of time.  Mr. Smith said nothing, and the weeks ran on until the next pay day, when instructions were issued to send the self appointed bell-ringer to headquarters for settlement of his accounts, where he was shown a paper with the loss to the company of five minutes time for each hand carefully figured thereon, and informed that it amounted to something over the quarter’s wages then due. After that it was not considered a wise thing to attempt a joke on ‘Capt. John’ as he was familiarly called not from any military rank, but because he was a born leader of men.”

From Sketches of the People and Places of New Hartford in the Past and Present; Sarah Lucia Jones, 1883

Reprints for sale from the New Hartford Historical Society, 537 Main Street, New Hartford, Ct. Open 7-9pm Wednesdays.

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January 22nd, 2015

Ever wondered about the stately brick houses that dot the New Hartford landscape?  Who built them, why, and when?

Come find out about a remarkable chapter in New Hartford’s architectural, industrial, and social history on January 22nd, 2015 at 7pm at the New Hartford Town Hall. David Krimmel, retired town historian, will relate his findings on all of the brick houses of the town. Mr. Krimmel’s knowledge of the early history of New Hartford, who owned what and when, is unrivaled.

Open to the public, donations gratefully accepted.

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Recent Acquisitions and loans

A few interesting things have come through the door in the past few months:

The Hitchcock Chair Dog from the 2005 Dog Dazes of New Hartford; the artist was Lori Sokolik Pagano and the sponsor was the Hitchcock Chair Company. Dog Dazes was a fundraiser using the popular format of painted fiberglass animals, in this case dogs. The dogs were painted by local artists and auctioned off, with the proceeds going to several local non-profits. The bench, with the life-size gun-dog or pointer standing on it, is in black and gold stencils that recall the Hitchcock chair patterns once made in Barkhamsted and New Hartford. The bench is, naturally, a Hitchcock bench. This item, and a poster showing all the other dogs that were created for the event, are currently on loan from Chris Jones.

Chris Jones has also loaned an 1859 topographic map of Litchfield County published by Clark’s of Philadelphia. The map is just about six feet tall and remarkably detailed for the era.

A birdhouse made of scrap fret board wood and various hardwoods. This simple birdhouse was made Leon Whipple, a former carpenter at Ovation Guitars in New Hartford. When Ovation closed in the summer of 2014, he was allowed to take some scrap wood; with it he constructed a variety of bird houses. The birdhouse was donated by Terry and Lou Moscaritolo, owners of Wild Birds Unlimited, Avon.

We have also had a number of photographs and newspaper clippings come in. As always, we are on the lookout for more information from any time period!

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Belated Congratulations!

I (the anonymous author of this quondam blog :) ) would like to thank Ginny and Bob Worrest, Pat and Tammy Casey, and Barbara LaMere, for all their wonderful work in making our wine tasting fundraiser a success once more! Along with all of our local sponsors, without local business where would we be?

Thanks.

I would also encourage people to help us with our next project: 2015 will be the 60th anniversary of the 1955 Flood which changed the face of Northwestern Connecticut permanently. If you, or a relative, have any recollections, artifacts, or anything at all relating to the Flood, we would love to know about it! We are quite happy to make copies of original documents if need be. Digital, paper, or other submissions would be much appreciated!

Thank you all for your support and interest.

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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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