Monday, January 22, 2018

Dear Members and Friends

P. O. BOX 45

January, 2018

Dear Members and Friends,

It's been a busy year at the Pitt House, and looks to be more so in 2018. Throughout our 2016-2017 season, on the second Thursday of each month, May through October, we hosted a well-attended series of programs. These included, among others:
  • “Elder Edward Davenport: Travels of a Colrain Missionary”
  • "The Narrow Escape of Angelina Palmer," an indentured African American child who was rescued from being sold into slavery and grew up in Colrain
  • “The History and Unique Joinery of the Christian Hill Church,” presented in the old church, which dates from 1778.

Plans for the coming season are in process, including a program on the wonderful red wooden covered wagon in our collection, from which butcher Ross Purrington (1880-1957) peddled meat and vegetables around the community in the early 20th century.

The curatorial committee continues to inventory the nearly 2,000 artifacts, photos, maps, and Colrain memorabilia which the Historical Society has been collecting since our founding in 1957. This collection is the material history of Colrain, which we are preserving for its residents and for posterity. Last fall we started to inventory the contents of the Pitt House.

As you may have heard, the Historical Society is at a critical point now, with expensive repairs required for the preservation of our historic house and outbuildings. The town, which owns the property under the will of G. William Pitt, is doing its best to help, but has limited resources. We would like to help the town as much as we possibly can. For this we ask your help.

Like most small-town historical societies, we rely on a small cadre of active members to plan programs, raise funds and maintain the Pitt House and the collection. Pitch in with us, and bring friends who enjoy history and social interaction with a purpose. For this also we ask your help!

With the goal of expanding active membership we will be holding small gatherings during this winter to look at some of the Colrain art, military and business memorabilia in our collection and to talk about how you'd like to see the Historical Society develop and what you can do to help. If you would like to be contacted for one of these gatherings, please contact Belden Merims (, 413-625-2003) or Debby Wheeler (, 413-624-8800).

Thank you,

Belden Merims
Chair, CHS Board of Directors

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I support the efforts of the Colrain Historical Society!
Non-member friends who contribute $50.00 or more will become life members. 

Name: ____________________
Address: ____________________
E-mail: ____________________
Phone: ____________________

Please accept my donation of ( ) $50 ( ) $100 ( ) $250 ( ) $500  Other: $ _____

Please make check payable to The Colrain Historical Society. Thank you!

Note: The CHS is a 501 (3) (C) charitable organization, so all your donations are deductible to the extent of state and federal tax regulations.

Open a PDF copy of the letter in Google Drive to print the donation form:

The Greenfield Recorder published an article about the Pitt House on their website on October 1, 2017, and in their print edition on October 2, 2017.
Colrain Pitt House renovations sought
by Diane Broncaccio

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

October Potluck, Meeting, and Show And Tell

Pitt House

A potluck supper, election of officers and an important discussion of the future of the Pitt House will be on the agenda for the final 2017 meeting of the Colrain Historical Society, Thursday, October 12, at the home of Joan McQuade, 7 Main Road.

 The potluck supper will begin at 6 p.m., followed at 7 by the business meeting, and after that a Show and Tell of items in the collection.

 For the potluck, attendees are asked to bring a main dish, vegetable or dessert to share. Cider will be available, BYO wine optional.

The public is welcome to attend. For information, call Belden at 624-3453.

The Greenfield Recorder published an article about the Pitt House on their website on October 1, 2017, and in their print edition on October 2, 2017.
Colrain Pitt House renovations sought
by Diane Broncaccio

Sunday, September 3, 2017

The History and Unique Joinery of the Christian Hill Church

Second Baptist Church, August 2017
In 1797, when members of the Second Baptist Society on Christian Hill built their church, they used the scribing joinery prevalent in Europe for hundreds of years. But they also employed a unique truss design soon to be adopted in the young country. This church building is the oldest in Colrain, and one of the oldest structures in town.

Lyonsville carpenter Jeremy Topitzer will describe its unique joinery at a meeting there of the Colrain Historical Society Thursday, Sept. 14, at 7 p.m. In a reversal of custom, the program will precede the 7:30 business meeting. As the kerosene-lit church is not illuminated outside, attendees are advised to bring flashlights for the walk back to cars after the program.

 The public is welcome to this free program. To reach the Christian Hill church, drive north from Colrain Center on Route 112 (four miles) to Thompson Road on the left just before the iron bridge. At the end of Thompson Road (three miles) turn left. The church is on the right on Christian Hill Road. Get directions from your location with Google Maps:

 For information, call Belden Merims, 624-3453.

This undated photo of the Second Baptist Church shows the long shed in back, where parishioners could hitch their horses and buggies. The shed has been gone for many years. The building to the right of the church, formerly the church parsonage, is now a private residence.

Front of the church, August 2017.
(Click or touch the photos for an enlarged view.)

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Narrow Escape of Angeline Palmer

“The Narrow Escape of Angeline Palmer” will be the topic of a program at the Colrain Historical Society Thursday, August 10, in the Stacy Barn behind the Pitt House on Main Road in Colrain.

In 1840 free African American residents of Amherst rescued a 10-year-old indentured servant who, they learned, was about to be sold into slavery and whisked her off to safety in Colrain, where she lived with a free black family. Shelburne Falls resident author Jackie Walsh will tell the tale.

The program at 7:30 p.m. will follow a 7:00 business meeting. Refreshments will be served, and the public is welcome.

For information call Belden Merims at 624-3453.