Saturday, December 15, 2018

Dear Members and Friends

P. O. BOX 45

November 2018

Dear Members and Friends,

2018 - 2019 will mark the end of an era for the Colrain Historical Society and the beginning - exciting and a little daunting - of another. Since 1976, When Bill Pitt left the Pitt House property to the town for the use of the Historical Society and the town's citizens, we have operated as a partnership. The town paid for needed repairs and upgrades such as new windows, and the society maintained the grounds and buildings.

In May, 2018, at a special town meeting, the town voted to "dispose of" the property with the intention of selling it to the Historical Society at a nominal fee. Meanwhile, due to lack of a certificate of occupancy on the buildings, we have had limited access to them.

We expect that following approval of Probate Court, hopefully in 2019, ownership of the property will pass to the Historical Society. With this change comes the opportunity to restore these buildings to use as museum, meeting place and collection storage. With it also comes the challenge to raise the necessary funds and to increase the active membership to pursue these projects.

While we await full access to the Pitt property, we have been busy creatively fundraising. In October an exuberantly successful benefit concert of Irish music by Ikeys Crossing filled the house.

Even now we are selling raffle tickets for a drawing November 23. The winner will take home a handsome reproduction of the 18th century Connecticut Valley style tavern table in the Pitt Collection crafted by Ken Noyes.

Plans are nearing completion for a benefit showing of paintings of Colrain scenes by local and visiting artists, past and present, at the Buckland-Shelburne Community Center April 13 – 14, 2019

Having temporarily lost the use of the Stacy Barn for our meetings and programs, we moved into Joan McQuade's barn across the street to continue our series of popular programs, among them:
  • Ross Purrington's red covered meat wagon and its story
  • The Hollister Collection, pre-Revolution to the present
  • Those Griswolds, founding father and descendants

As iconic buildings disappear from Coleraine Village (most recently the Blue Block), the Colrain Historical Society remains a historic presence and a bright spot of activity As we embark on some long-term heavy lifting, won't you help us with a generous donation? We are grateful for gifts of any size for the support and encouragement they represent.

Further, we entreat your active participation in our activities as we head into the new era.

Thank you,

CHS Board of Directors
Belden Merims, Joan McQuade, Ken Noyes, Ken Shearer, Debby Wheeler, Phil Sherburne, and Janet Umphress

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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:

Friday, November 16, 2018

Painting Exhibit: Colrain Scenes

The Colrain Historical Society is making plans for a fundraiser art exhibit of Colrain scenes painted by local and visiting artists since the early 1900s. Colrain artists will include Hale Johnson, Donald Greason, and Marshall Looman, among others. Visiting artists will include Gardner Symonds, Lester Stevens, Steve Maniatty, and more.

A view of the center of Colrain, by William Lester Stevens.

The show will include landscapes from all over town as well as village scenes from various vantage points. The exhibit will be at the Buckland-Shelburne Community Center on Saturday and Sunday, April 13 and 14, 2019.

 Looking down the North River toward Shelburne Falls from behind Fishlein's Market in Shattuckville, by George Gardner Symons

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Tavern Table Raffle

Among the many documents and objects in the Colrain Historical Society’s collection which explain our local history is an 18th century Connecticut River Valley type tavern table with turned legs separated by box stretchers. Its plain skirt has a center drawer and the original top with “bread board” ends has never been turned --unusual to find in a table of its age. A replica of this table is being newly created by well-known furniture maker, Kenneth Noyes of Colrain. The table top of Noyes’ table is made from a single piece of old growth pine.
The original 18th century tavern table in the collection of the Colrain Historical Society.
Raffle Tickets

Raffle tickets for the replica table are priced $10.00 each or three for $25.00. They are available at Boswell's Books and Sawyer’s News on Bridge Street in Shelburne Falls. Tickets will also be available during the Crafts of Colrain Tour, November 10 and 11, at Pine Hill Orchards and at Ken Noyes’ workshop on Jacksonville Road. They can also be bought on Bridge Street at Moonlight Magic in Shelburne Falls on Friday, November 23, 4 pm - 9 pm. The winning ticket will be drawn at the close of Moonlight Magic.

Background of Colrain's Historic Tavern Table

Taverns, simple or elaborate, dotted early America in the days before trains and motorcars. They tended to be located close enough to each other on the network of dirt roads where travelers, whether by horses, oxen, or by foot could find rest and refreshment. They also served as gathering places for a community’s locals. The men and women who managed these establishments required licenses for selling liquor and providing services.

In Colrain, one such tavern was the Fox and Goose on Call Road, run by Thomas Fox. His wife, Patience Cannon, who was previously a widow on Catamount Hill, joined him in this enterprise upon their marriage in 1791.

Furniture used in taverns needed to be suitable for the constant use of serving meals, playing cards and activities common in taverns, and a style of table evolved with a broad top referred to as a “tavern table”. When the top of a tavern table became worn and scarred from use it would be turned over and the fresh underside became the new table top.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Ikeys Crossing Benefit Concert

Ikeys Crossing, a duo composed of Colrain native Martha Hollister Aschmann and her husband Jamie, will offer a rollicking evening of Irish Music to benefit the Colrain Historical Society Saturday, October 20, at 7 p.m. at the Community Center in Shelburne Falls. Sponsoring the event will be Colrain’s Stoneman Brewery, West County Cider and Catamount Country Store, whose beverages will be available. Emcee for the event will be the irrepressible Kevin Hollister, Martha’s brother.

After retiring from farming in upstate New York in 2011, the Aschmanns were able to devote more time to music and art, founding Ikeys Crossing in 2015. James had been performing for some 30 years with a colleague around the North Country, most prominently at the Irish Fest in Watertown, NY. The son of a classically trained pianist and a professional singer in Broadway shows, he comes naturally to the musical stage. Martha grew up in a similarly musical family. Her father played piano and organ, and her parents got her first guitar with Green Stamps. “We get great joy making music together and feel the momentum building,” she says.

For information about the event call 624-8800.

Tickets are available at:
  • Hager's Farm Market
  • Catamount Country Store
  • Boswell's Books
  • Nancy Dole Books & Ephemera