The Barkhamsted Historical Society was very busy during the month of May 2009.
May 8th was the culmination of this years educational outreach lecture series. Local historian Paul Hart gave an excellent oral presentation on the history of Barkhamsted Center. Mr. Hart described the history of what was, not only, the geographic center of Barkhamsted, but also the municipal and community center of town. Combined with a Power Point slide show, Mr. Hart described many of the historic buildings and places that collectively made up the Barkhamsted Center. Some of these included the Town Hall, Merrill Tavern, Center School, Center Church, The Cash Store and Hotel, The Constitution Oak, Animal Pound, Cemetery and the Militia Parade Ground. Mr. Hart also describe some of the many historic events that took place in Barkhamsted Center such as the Barkhamsted Centennial celebration and the impact the construction of the Saville Dam had on the community and town center. The program was well received and well attended with about 40 people in attendance.
Paul Hart - History of Barkhamsted Center Program
History of Barkhamsted Center Program - Barkhamsted Senior Center
On May 16th, The Barkhamsted Historical Society participated in Barkhamsted's first volunteer day. Barkhamsted Volunteer Day was sponsored by the Barkhamsted Lions Club and was designed to provide an opportunity for Barkhamsted organizations to solicit and recruit new volunteers. The event was held at the Elementary School on Saturday, May 16th 2009. The Historical Society is in need of volunteers in a number of areas. Our most pressing need is for docents, or museum tour guides for Squires Tavern and the Center School House. Complete docent training is available. Docent trainees will be paired with experienced docents until they are comfortable on their own. Volunteers are also needed to participate on the two archaeological digs the society is involved with this summer. Opportunities also exist for researchers, education outreach coordinators, website maintenance personnel and writers.
Charlie Lynes and Bob Judd staff the booth during Barkhamsted Volunteer Day
May 17th marked the opening day for the much anticipated Legend of the Barkhamsted Lighthouse Exhibit. The exhibit features the facts and the legend behind the famous site where James and Molly Chaugham's cabin once stood. Molly a woman of European decent and James a Narragansett Indian man, married and then fled to the northwest hills of Connecticut in the late 18th century. The Lighthouse and the community that grew up around it was located on East River Road between Pleasant Valley and Riverton and was excavated in 1990 by Dr. Kenneth Feder, an archaeologist from Central Connecticut University. In December 2008 the Lighthouse was designated as an Archaeological Preserve by the Connecticut Historic Preservation Council.
A full house was on hand for the unveiling of the exhibit. Archaeologist Ken Feder presented a lecture and slide show on the background of the Lighthouse community. After the presentation Dr. Feder led the attendees on a tour of the lighthouse community and described the various sites and the community life that existed at the time. The exhibit opening and tour were very well received with over 40 participants in attendance. BHS would like to thank the LeGeyt Bus Company for providing the transportation and also Selectmen Bill Downes for driving the bus. The exhibit is open to the public for the remainder of this year during regularly scheduled hours at Squires Tavern, 100 East River Road.
Archaeologist Ken Feder presented a lecture and slide show on the background of the Lighthouse community
Archaeologist Ken Feder
BHS would like to thank the LeGeyt Bus Company
Dr. Feder led the attendees on a tour of the lighthouse community
Friday May 29th, the Barkhamsted Historical Society hosted the Barkhamsted Elementary School third graders for an all day Barkhamsted History Day field trip. The students were divided into small groups and rotated between various historic locations around town and participated in a number of activities. Squires Tavern was the location for several activities. Students were taken on a tour of the Tavern by local historian Paul Hart. They learned about life at the Tavern as well as the early history of Barkhamsted. Each student also took part in two different craft projects. A sewing project and a tin art project, both of which were sent home as a reminder of the day.
The Center Church was the location for several other activities. Students created potpourri bags and played games outside. The students were allowed to shoot sling shots and rolled large hoops using sticks. There was a lot of laughing and fun happing at the church. Students were also shuttled over to the Barkhamsted Center Cemetery where they were told about the history of the cemetery and the Soldieries' Monument which is located there.
One of the highlight of the day for the students must have been the authentic one room schoolhouse lesson at the Center Schoolhouse by professional schoolmarm Susan Webb. Mrs. Webb did an outstanding job describing and illustrating what a typical school day would have been like for children in the 1800's.
Paul Hart led students on a tour of Squires tavern
Tin art activity at Squires Tavern
Students enter the one room Center Schoolhouse for a lesson
Professional schoolmarm Susan Webb give a geography lesson
Old time hoop and stick game at Center Church
Additionally, Barkhamsted Historical Society also hosted several out of town visitors. Jackie Slade Leach, from Cape Cod Massachusetts, visited to do additional research on the Slade family and to visit the site of a former Slade homestead. Bob Hart, of Avon Connecticut, visited his families old home-site not far from the historic Barkhamsted Center. Mr. Doug Hughes, from Saratoga Springs New York, visited the Tavern in search of gemological information about his Barkhamsted ancestors, Sylvester and Benjamin Andrews. Connie Lizak, of Fort Myers Florida, visited the Tavern with her husband Ed. Connie's father was Raymond B. Church, twin brother of Richard, and brother of Kenneth. Their father was Frank Jerome Church, who served as a representative in the CT House, 1921-1923 and 1937-1940. Frank's parents were Orville Church and Ellen Emily Case. Connie's uncles Richard and Kenneth both contributed to and published in 1975, The Barkhamsted Heritage. Connie was interested in anything we had in our collection relating to her family.
Paul Hart (left), Bob Hart (center) and Fred Fenn (right)
Photo of the "Old Hart Homestead" on location just outside of Barkhamsted Center.