Thursday, August 29, 2019

Program: School Days - Our Many One and Two Room Schools

The one-room Four Corners School.
“School Days” will take the Colrain Historical Society back to the town’s one and two-room schools Thursday, September 12, at 7:30 p.m. at the former East Colrain Chapel on West Leyden Road. [NOTE this change of venue.] A business meeting at 7 p.m. will precede the program.

 In addition, and not to be missed, the one-room Four Corners School uphill from the church on West Leyden Road will be open from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. This school was restored to its original state dating from the mid-1800s by Ellen Miller. In its day it was one of 19 mostly one-room schools in Colrain.

 Built in 1872 and known then as Four Corners Church, the East Colrain Chapel was restored to service as the River Valley Christian Church in 2016. It’s a little gem.

The former East Colrain Chapel on West Leyden Road.
 West Leyden Road begins at the top of Colrain mountain by the old Chandler Hill Cemetery. Four Corners School is about four miles down that road on the right, followed on the right by the East Colrain Chapel. As there is little room to park at the school, park at the church and walk up to the school.
Wilson Hill Schoolhouse.
An undated photo of one of the early one-room schools in Colrain.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Program: A Photographic Tour of Western Massachusetts Libraries



A photographic tour of hill town libraries in western Massachusetts, including Colrain’s Griswold Memorial Library, and histories of some will be the topic of a program following the August meeting of the Colrain Historical Society Thursday, August 8, at 7:30 p.m. in Joan McQuade’s barn, 7 Main Road, across from the Pitt House.

 Residents of Rowe, Carlos and Kathy Heiligmann spent five years driving their 1947 Desoto over the highways and byways of western Massachusetts in search of its eclectic collection of public libraries. Carlos, who worked for ten years as an industrial engineer at Kendall Mills in Colrain, created a photographic record of libraries in 112 towns and cities from the Berkshires to Worcester, while Kathy compiled little-known historical facts related to many local libraries.They will share their photographs and personal observations from this unique journey of discovery.

 A meeting of the historical society will precede the program at 7:00 p.m. Both are free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. For information call Belden at 624-3453.

The Heiligmann’s book, Public Libraries in Western Massachusetts: A Photographic Essay, is available to borrow or read at some Western Massachusetts public libraries: http://bark.cwmars.org/eg/opac/record/4314979

Colrain’s Griswoldville Memorial Library photographs in the Heiligmann’s book.


Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Program: Fischlein’s Store in Shattuckville

Ray’s Market sign on the south end of the building, April 2019.
For 40 years, beginning in 1953, if you lived in Shattuckville, perhaps you picked up your mail at Ray’s Market and bought an excellent steak he had butchered, some bread, maybe some candy for your daughter, and chatted with neighbors in the store that stood on the west bank of the North River by the old iron bridge. If you lived, say, on Wilson Hill, you might have regular deliveries from the store by a Fischlein son or high school student. Before Ray and Irene Fischlein bought that store it had had a succession of owners stretching back to the original Shattuck and had served a population that for decades perhaps depended on it because they had no cars.

 The Colrain Historical Society will focus on Fischlein’s store and the community it served in a program Thursday, July 11, at 7:30 p.m., in Joan McQuade’s barn at 7 Main Road, Colrain.

 The program, which is free and open to the public, will follow a meeting at 7:00 p.m. when we’ll have an update on the Pitt House property and the Arthur Smith Covered Bridge.

 For further information call Belden at 624-3453

Early July 2019. The sign has been removed from the end of the building and donated to the Colrain Historical Society by the Fischlein family.



Ray and Irene Fischlein pose near the store entrance, late 1980s or early 1990s.
Ray Fischlein trims a steak at the store’s butcher counter.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Program: A Clock With Wooden Works

“A Clock With Wooden Works” will be the subject of a program following the Thursday, June 13 meeting of the Colrain Historical Society in Joan McQuade’s barn at 7 Main Road.

A mantel clock in the collection of the Society raises questions about the history of wooden works, when they became metal, and about clockmaking in New England in the 19th Century and earlier. Conway clockmaker Marc Desrosiers will lead this exploration, and attendees may want to bring curious clocks for him to examine.

The program at 7:30 p.m. will follow a 7 p.m. business meeting. At the meeting we’ll have the latest on the Pitt House property and results of the wonderful “Colrain On Canvas” Art Show. Meeting and program are open to the public, and refreshments will be served. For information call Belden at 624-3453.