Happy New Year!

2016 already?

We have at least one presentation planned for the spring, by David Krimmel, whose specialty is the early history of New Hartford. Hopefully, we will also have a presentation on some 20th century history as well.  Details to follow.

We have a variety of new donations or items we are scanning ranging from a child’s scrapbook from the mid twentieth century to some early nineteenth century letters from a New Hartford resident to relatives in the southern United States.

As always, we are here in New Hartford opposite the Town Hall on Wednesday nights from 7 to 9 pm.

Hope to see you!

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Town Functions

Function at Monaghan's basement

Sometime just before or around 1911.

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Why we like donations!

1815 Asher Merrell

(Double click on the underlined to get the link to the pdf)

This letter from 1815, discussing a lawsuit to recover some money, is part of a long series of letters concerning the Merrill family and others in New Hartford and elsewhere. Some volunteers have been steadily scanning them in; once finished the letters will be returned to the family. Isn’t the 21st century digital age wonderful!? It might have solved Mr. Meacham and Mr. Merrill’s issue of payment (running almost a decade) quite quickly. Or maybe not.

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Revisionist History

We constantly rewrite our history. The events can’t change, but the emphasis and the facts that are taught or not taught can be changed.

It is hardest to do this with names. Place names often out last the culture or country that created them. Perhaps with the rise of Google, sweeping changes will begin to occur; but for the most part names take generations to shift. Nonetheless they do shift. The fastest to shift are roads. The slowest are hills. Which perhaps says something!

In New Hartford….Shepard’s Pond becomes Lake Wonsunkamunk becomes West Hill Pond becomes West Hill Lake

Mast Swamp becomes Greenwoods Pond becomes (once more) Farmington River

Skunk Hollow turns into Maple Hollow

Puddletown into River Run

N—-town into Farmington Turnpike

Nepash into Nepaug

East Mountain become Jones Mountain

Greenwoods Turnpike is Route 44

Tunxis River becomes the Farmington River

Albany Turnpike turns into Johnny Cake Lane

And so forth

The changes reflect the sensibilities of the times during which they change, what offends, concerns, or should be memorialized. Equally important are those that don’t change. Town Hill, Pine Meadow, Pussy Lane, Steele Road, Baker(s)ville, North End, Cedar Swamp, Litchfield Turnpike, Cotton Hill.




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New Hartford Little League, 1956

Anybody recognize these boys? The photograph was taken in 1956 in New Hartford, Ct by T. Auburn.

New Hartford Little League Team 1956


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Bridge Street, New Hartford

These photographs were taken sometime shortly before the 1955 Flood. It shows the Bridge Street bridge, rebuilt after the 1936 flood, that connected Bridge and Cottage Street. This alignment was changed completely after the 1955 Flood, with the creation of Route 219.

What is particularly interesting in these photographs is the building behind the bridge: the old Village Firehouse. Very few photographs exist of this structure, which also went down the river. In the second photograph old Greenwoods factory complex is visible. At the time of the picture, it was being used by the Underwood company, which made everything from gun fittings to vacuum cleaners.

Today the site of the old Firehouse is part of the town garage parking lot. The new firehouse is slightly back from the river, roughly where the substation (visible on the right in the first picture) was.  Only a few traces of the bridge remain: the abutments on the Bridge Street side are buried in the lawn/river bank, on the Cottage Street side a few traces of rebar and stone work can be found.

2003.295.01.a Bridge Street Bridge before 1955 flood firehouse in back

2000.46.1.0 Bridge Street Bridge in NH Center

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New Information!

Winter is coming!


Actually, this is an older article written by the late Walter Landgraf and Jim Smith. Walt Landgraf was the foremost expert on Native Americans and early history in the region. Jim Smith was, for many years, the president of the New Hartford Historical Society.

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