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Current Topics

  • Open House at the Barkhamsted Center School

    On Saturday, September 20, 2008 the Barkhamsted Historical Society held an Open House at the Barkhamsted Center School.  Historical Society member Mike Day was on hand to greet visitors and discuss a typical school day in the early 20th century and before.  Mike had on hand a number of school text books and games used during this period.  Over 30 visitors stopped in to see the building and the displays.

    The Center School was one of 12 schools located in Barkhamsted during the 19th and early 20th century.  In those days the town was split into this many districts, each with a school, so that children could more easily walk to class.  The Center School was moved in 1980 by the Historical Society from its original site on the west side of the Barkhamsted Reservoir.  The building was with a hundred feet of the edge of the reservoir, and had been used as a maintenance building by the MDC until the Historical Society moved it.

    The schoolhouse was built in 1821 as a two story structure.  In 1880, repairs were made and the building was converted into a one story structure.  Most of the first floor was removed at that time.  The current classroom had originally been the second floor.

    Photo above - Historical Society volunteer Mike Day greets visitors to the Open House on September 20, 2008 at the Barkhamsted Center School.

    Photo above- busy "students" at the Open House, Barkhamsted Center School.

    The Barkhamsted Center School- it was a beautiful day on Saturday, September 20, 2008 for the Historical Society's Open House.  Over 30 visitors stopped in to take a look at the building and exhibits.

     

  • Locally Grown History

    The Barkhamsted Historical Society is proud to be participating in the first annual, "Locally Grown History - It's In Your Backyard" program. The program is designed to promote historical resources as well as agricultural assets located within Litchfield County. The project is being led by Robert Forbes, an assistant professor of history at the UCONN Torrington campus. Forbes has organized a group of educators, directors, curators, and volunteers from many local historic and cultural organizations to collaborate on the event.

    Since Litchfield County is geographically large, the project packages the area’s historical assets (historical societies, museums, historic sites, and traditional artisans) and agricultural resources (vineyards, orchards, farms, farmers markets, and farm stands) into a “trail” so that visitors can easily move from one to another as a day or weekend destination.

    The idea is for participants to travel to the various venues with a "Locally Grown History Hunt Passports" and have the passports stamped after visiting the site. Visit 10 participating sites for a chance to enter a prize drawing. Visit 15 participating sites for a chance to enter the grand prize drawing. Prizes include: Bed and Breakfast getaways, Jewelry, Ski Passes, Fine Local Wines, Memberships to Historical Sites, Dinner for Two, Tickets to the Warner Theater and many more.

    Locally Grown History Maps and Passports are available at Squires Tavern or any of the other participating sites. Stop by to have your passport stamped!

    The program culminates at the UCONN Torrington campus on Sunday, October 19th, 2008 with a forum, "Locally Grown Stories: Context and Connections".  A keynote address will be presented by Carl Nold, President of Historic New England and then move into concurrent forums focused on the following topics:

    • From Hills to Mills: The Power of Geography in Connecticut History
    • Religion's Role and Impact on Connecticut History
    • Immigration in Connecticut
    • Stories Told Through Letters

    Between sessions forum attendees will be able to view table top displays from participating sites. The forum will conclude with a Round-table discussion, "Teaching with Local Treasures: The World In Your Backyard", moderated by Walt Woodward, Connecticut State Historian.

    For more information please see the Locally Grown History Website. Be sure to check the events page for specially scheduled venue events and links.

    Posted Sep 17 2008, 09:15 PM by Richard with 1 comment(s)
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  • Archaeology Volunteers Sought

    The Barkhamsted Historical Society in cooperation with the Colebrook Historical Society is actively seeking volunteers who are interested in working on an archaeological dig. The Revolutionary War era Richard Smith forge is of significant historical value because of its role during the Revolutionary War. The forge, built in 1771, was one of the first in the Colonies to produce steel. Steel was used to produce drill bits capable of drilling the barrels of canons used during the war. Production of steel was a British secret which Richard Smith carried with him from England. Iron was also produced at the forge. 

    The dig is being led under the direction of archaeologist Marc Banks and is being cooperatively financed by Barkhamsted Historical Society, The Colebrook Historical Society, The Colebrook Land Conservancy, and The Farmington River Coordinating Committee. The site is located just over the Barkhamsted line in Colebrook. The project is dedicated to the memory of Walt Landgraf.

    Attached at the bottom of this post, as a PDF file, is the 2007 Archaeological Investigation Interim Report for more information.

    Below are some photos of the artifacts recovered from the dig.


    The Still River provided the power to turn wheels used to operate the hammers and bellows of the forge. A race on the other side of the rock outcrop in the right of the picture diverted water to wheels on the west side of the forge.


    Lamp glass (upper left) and various bottle glass shards


    Iron Fragments


    Kaolin Pipe Fragments


    Shoe buckle fragment

     
    Cuff link


    Wrought nails




    Fleur-de-lis cuff links and base




    This is not the actual coin found as it is still being cleaned. Marc Banks removed some of the dirt from the coin and while it is very corroded, it appears to be a variety minted between 1746-1754 (GORGVIS on obv.).  This photo is of a British half penny of that vintage.

  • Archaeology Volunteers Sought

    The Barkhamsted Historical Society in cooperation with the Colebrook Historical Society is actively seeking volunteers who are interested in working on an archaeological dig. The Revolutionary War era Richard Smith forge is of significant historical value because of its role during the Revolutionary War. The forge, built in 1771, was one of the first in the Colonies to produce steel. Steel was used to produce drill bits capable of drilling the barrels of canons used during the war. Production of steel was a British secret which Richard Smith carried with him from England. Iron was also produced at the forge. 

    The dig is being led under the direction of archaeologist Marc Banks and is being cooperatively financed by Barkhamsted Historical Society, The Colebrook Historical Society, The Colebrook Land Conservancy, and The Farmington River Coordinating Committee. The site is located just over the Barkhamsted line in Colebrook. The project is dedicated to the memory of Walt Landgraf.

    Attached at the bottom of this post, as a PDF file, is the 2007 Archaeological Investigation Interim Report for more information.

    Below are some photos of the artifacts recovered from the dig.


    The Still River provided the power to turn wheels used to operate the hammers and bellows of the forge. A race on the other side of the rock outcrop in the right of the picture diverted water to wheels on the west side of the forge.


    Lamp glass (upper left) and various bottle glass shards


    Iron Fragments


    Kaolin Pipe Fragments


    Shoe buckle fragment

     
    Cuff link


    Wrought nails




    Fleur-de-lis cuff links and base




    This is not the actual coin found as it is still being cleaned. Marc Banks removed some of the dirt from the coin and while it is very corroded, it appears to be a variety minted between 1746-1754 (GORGVIS on obv.).  This photo is of a British half penny of that vintage.

  • Historical Society Program on CCC and Visit to Camp White

    On July 19, 2008 the Barkhamsted Historical Society hosted a program on the Civilian Conservation Corp in Connecticut, and toured a CCC camp that was located in Barkhmasted.  Marty Podskoch was the featured speaker.  Marty is currently gathering information on the CCC program in Connecticut and gave a slide show and talk at the Barkhamsted Senior Center.  About 30 people attended the program, which covered CCC life and the many CCC camps located in Connecticut.  After Marty's program, we toured Camp White, located about a mile up the road from the Senior Center, in American Legion State Forest.  There are still remnants of the buildings and parade grounds that can be seen at Camp White, which was opened in late 1933 and closed in early 1942.

    Photo above- Marty Podskoch discusses the Civilian Conservation Corp in Connecticut on July 19, 2008 at the Barkhamsted Senior Center.  Marty is currently researching the topic and plans to publish a book on the CCC.  After the program the group toured Camp White, a CCC camp that was located in Barkhamsted and was active from 1933 to 1942.

     

  • Connecticut Open House Day - Saturday June 14, 2008

    Connecticut Open House Day - Saturday June 14, 2008 
    Connecticut Open House Day is a special state-wide event sponsored by the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism.  On Saturday, June 14, 2008 a variety of cultural organizations and tourism attractions throughout the state will be open to visitors, inviting them to discover Connecticut's fascinating world of art, history and film.  The Barkhamsted Historical Society will participate with special hours on June 14.  The Squire's Tavern will be open from 12:00 noon until 4:00 p.m. and will have a special exhibit of photos by Paul Kramarchyk.  The photos are of historic houses from Pleasant Valley up to Riverton (mostly on West River Road).  Our 1846 "friendship" quilt will also be on display.  In addition we will have docents available to provide guided tours of the Squire's Tavern.  Refreshments will also be available and there is no admission charge.  Please include us on your visits to the variety of participating museums and organizations on Connecticut Open House Day!   

    Posted Jun 05 2008, 06:22 PM by Paul with 2 comment(s)
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  • 2008 program series completed.

    2008 program series ended May 9, 2008.  Hope you didn't miss them! 
    The Historical Society wrapped up our annual program series for 2008.  Held on the second Friday of the month from February to May, the programs were well attended and we hope you were able to make it to at least some of them.  The program were all at the Senior Center in Pleasant Valley, about a mile up West River Road from the bridge.  This year topics included: 

    Friday, February 8, 2008
    Colebrook Forge Archaeology.
      Dr. Marc Banks discussed the Colebrook Forge and the archaeology work done on the site located near Riverton. The forge was built in 1771 and operated for about 40 years.  Pig iron was brought to the forge from an iron furnace in Salisbury.  The iron was then further refined at the Colebrook forge and made into a variety of products including ship anchors.  The site also was one of the first to produce steel in the colonies.
     
    Friday, March 14, 2008
    The Forgotten Town.  Erik Landgraf presented the story of the community in Barkhamsted Hollow where farms, businesses and a small village were located before the Saville Dam was built, creating the Barkhamsted Reservoir.  Those crossing the Dam can look to the north and wonderful scenery including water, trees and mountains.  Erik will show us what was there before the water.
     
    Friday, April 11, 2008
    People of Wattunkashausep.  Cynthia Griggs covered the culture of Native Americans living in the area of the Farmington River Valley.   The Farmington River has been a wonderful resource over the years, drawing recreational users and providing water power for early mills.  Cynthia discussed the residents of the river valley living there in an earlier time. 


    Friday, May 9, 2008
    Colonial Herb Gardening.  Mike Day used potted herb plants in a discussion of how they were used historically for a variety of purposes.  Those attending had a chance to smell or taste the herbs and learn the many uses of these plants in the daily lives of colonial Americans.  

    Posted May 01 2008, 06:20 PM by Paul with 1 comment(s)
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  • Tag Sale - May 17, 2008

    Tag Sale - May 17, 2008
    The Barkhamsted Historical Society held our annual tag sale on Saturday, May 17, 2008 on Route 44 at the Town highway garage near the entrance to the regional recycling center.  The event started at 8:00 a.m. This is our main fundraiser and we hope were able to stop by to check out the furniture, tools, collectibles, books and other items that were for sale.  Funds raised from the tag sale will help us do our work preserving Barkhamsted history and culture for your enlightenment and for future generations to enjoy.  

    Thanks to all those who donated items and/or worked at the tag sale.

    Posted May 01 2008, 06:02 PM by Paul with no comments
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