Thursday, November 8, 2012

Annual Pot Luck and Guest Speaker


Our guest speaker will be William McKone author of Vermont Irish Rebel.

The Springfield Art and Historical Society will feature Civil War re-enactor and author
William McKone who will transport the audience back 150 years, telling about the “surge” of new soldiers called up by President Lincoln in the summer of 1862. 

The meeting at the Miller Art Center begins with the pot-luck meal at 5:30 PM. (Bring a dish to share.) Afterwards Liam McKone in uniform will portray Captain John Lonergan, an Irish-born officer from Vermont caught up in these momentous events.

McKone is the author of Lonergan’s biography, Vermont Irish Rebel, and will have copies on hand for sale after the talk. He serves on the governor’s Sesquicentennial Commission and is president of the 18th Vermont Regiment, a living history and preservation unit that is organizing commemorative events around the state.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Empty Bowl Dinner Tonight

The Springfield High School Arts Academy and River Valley Technical Center Culinary Program Cordially invite you to attend the fifth annual

Empty Bowl Dinner

November 7, 2012 5:00 – 7:00pm
At the Springfield High School Cafeteria 303 South Street, Springfield, Vermont

Soup – Pasta – Bread and Beverage 
with a hand crafted ceramic bowl $20.00
Meal alone $7.00
Children under 3 are free
Art Exhibits and Musical Serenade

Pottery and Craft Sale
Dessert Bar benefits the SHS class of 2013

Followed at 7pm by a 
Concert in the Auditorium 
Featuring the SHS Chorus, Madrigal Singers, 
Concert Band, and Wind Ensemble

Proceeds of the Empty Bowl Dinner will benefit the Springfield Family Center Food Shelf and the Springfield Art and Historical Society

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Ghost Hunt at the Miller Art Center

Have you ever wondered if that big mansion on Elm Hill was haunted?
Now if your chance to find out!

Join us on October 27, 2012

Two investigations
8:30 pm to 10:00 pm - $15.00
10:30 pm to 1:00 am - $25.00

Space is limited, to sign up please call 802-885-6228

Please note - No Ouija boards, summoning, seances, or ceremonies. Must follow the instructions of the leader. Cameras, recorders, and any other ghost hunting materials are permitted.

Daylight Ghost Tour

Join Us for a Daylight Ghost Tour
October 27, 2012
11:00 am
Admission: Adults $5.00, kids under 13 $3.00

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Apple Festival 2012

It's that time of year again! Stop by and see us at the Vermont Apple Festival at the Riverside Middle School in Springfield, Vermont. This Saturday from 9:00 to 4:00, admission is free. The Springfield Art and Historical Society will be set up outside near the farmers' market. (In past years we have set up in the cafeteria.) 

Weather permitting, we we display our WWII "Wall of Honor" created for the 2010 exhibit "Hub of the Universe - Springfield in WWII." The is a list of service members from Springfield who served during the Second World War. Chat with our student interns and volunteers who will be dressed in fashions from the 1940s.
WWII Springfield, Vt "Wall of Honor"
We will have books, postcards, and raffle tickets for sale. Do you have your membership for 2013? Stop by and pick one up!
Student Inters at last years Apple Festival

Still haven't seen our exhibit "A Love Story in Paintings & Letters?" Better hurry! This exhibits end this weekend.

Spencer Hollow School Added to National Record of Historic Places

Congratulations to the Friends of the Spencer Hollow School for their efforts in having the Spencer Hollow school added to the National Record of Historic Places. Built in 1781, and located near the intersection of Spencer Hollow Road and Skitchewaug Trail in Springfield, Vt, the Spencer Hollow School is the oldest one-room brick school house in the state of Vermont.

Spencer Hollow School, Springfield, Vt

A recent article from the Vermont Journal

"230-Year-Old Schoolhouse Added to the National Register of Historic Places

SPRINGFIELD, VT -The local organization “Friends of the Spencer hollow School” is pleased to announce the addition of the “LITTLE RED SCHOOL HOUSE” to the National Record of Historic Places. This elevation to National Register status greatly enhances our opportunity for future Grant awards.
  Historically, public school was kept at the schoolhouse from 1781 to 1926. From the early 1930’s the building was used by the “Spencer Hollow Club” as a general meeting place for local folks to enjoy social events, various local club meetings, and even church. Such activities continued into the late 1970’s after which the building was abandoned and left open. Significant damage and theft occurred in the ensuing period.
  In 2007 a local group formed “The Friends of the Spencer Hollow School” and immediately started restoration projects. Four years, several hundred hours of volunteer labor and some major assistance from many local contractors later, great progress has been made. Several major projects remain however; among which include roof stabilization, foundation stabilization, inside wall restoration and kitchen restoration, to name a few. Meanwhile, we continue our efforts at Grant support, contractor support and general support from the community at large including designated gifts.
  Also, we have heard many interesting comments regarding the fun times people have had at one or more of the functions held at the building. If you have a story regarding any person you know that attended the school or had a fun time there yourself we would like to hear from you. Please contact Don Whitney at 802-886- 2863 or Bill Mitchell at 802-885-5068
  The Friends are extending an invitation to the public to attend an Open House, Saturday, October 20, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., to see the progress being made and to sense what a one room schoolhouse of the 18th century was like."

Monday, September 24, 2012

Springfield Town Library Garden Dedicated to D.J. Fusonie

It was with heavy hearts that we received the news in December 2011, that Springfield Art and Historical Society trustee D.J. Fusonie had passed away. D.J., along with her husband Alan, had been long time trustees and supporters of the SAAHS. Indeed, Alan continues to show his support for the historical society as well as other organizations in town.

On Thursday September 20, the Springfield Town Library along with the Friends of the Springfield Town Library dedicated a garden in memory of D.J. and her work at the library. The garden is located between the Springfield Town Library and the Furman’s building on Main Street in downtown Springfield.

The Springfield Town Library dedicated a new garden on the south lawn in memory of Donna Jean “D.J.” Fusonie.
The article below is from the Rutland Herald, September 22, 2012

"New garden dedicated in librarian’s memory

SPRINGFIELD — Donna Jean “D.J.” Fusonie by all accounts loved libraries and loved books.

Her husband, Alan, on Thursday said the quality of the Springfield Town Library was a deciding factor when the Washington, D.C., area couple — professional librarians — retired and moved to Vermont in 1994.

Alan Fusonie said he and D.J., as she was universally known, loved the library, and it was natural that a small garden was created along the south lawn of the library in her memory.

On Thursday, a group of the Fusonies’ friends and colleagues gathered at the dedication of the garden, which was built by Shannon Stevens of Springfield.

The garden includes many perennial and annual flowers, a small flowering crab apple and other blooming shrubs.

“She brought her extraordinary library skills, extensive experience and love of helping others to the library,” said the library’s director, Russell Moore. D.J. Fusonie worked part time as a reference librarian. “She was a very accomplished reference librarian,” Moore said.

Moore said D.J. Fusonie had an accomplished professional life, working as a librarian for the Smithsonian Institution, the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, and as director of the Reference Center for the Economic Research Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Moore said after the ceremony that Fusonie had started her career as a children’s librarian in Maryland.

D.J. Fusonie died suddenly last December after a short, shocking illness, said Moore. She felt sick one day at work, shortly after Christmas last year, and within two days, she was gone, he recalled Thursday. She was 66.

The garden space was filled with blue myrtle and pink lily of the valley, butterfly bush, purple coneflower, Siberian iris, and day lilies and peonies.

Moore said the space, which creates a pocket park between the library and the Furman’s building to the south, was once hidden from Main Street by a large crab apple tree.

But Moore said the tree had grown too big for its location and its roots were starting to invade the neighboring buildings. Its removal in the spring created the opportunity for the memorial park, he said. There is a bench in the small garden for reading and contemplation.

Moore said Stevens had designed, planted and maintained the garden, and she had spent countless hours as a volunteer to create it. Funding for the garden was provided by the Friends of the Springfield Town Library, as well as donations in D.J. Fusonie’s memory.


Monday, July 30, 2012

Albert Gutterson Wins Olympic Gold in 1912

Article by Lisa Champagne - "University of Vermont - UVM's Albert Gutterson Won Olympic Gold Medal 100 Years Ago Today"
Albert Lovejoy Gutterson, native of Springfield, Vermont, winning the broad jump at the 1912 Olympic Games held in Stockholm, Sweden. Gutterson set a new Olympic record. Photo UVM athletics
"BURLINGTON, Vt. - Former University of Vermont track and field standout Albert Gutterson (Class of 1912) won a gold medal in the broad jump at the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden 100 years ago today (July 12, 2012).  Click here to see a photo album of the memorabilia from his Olympic achievements, including the gold medal on the UVM Athletics Facebook page.

Gutterson set a new Olympic record with a leap of 7.60 meters (24' 11 3/4").  Gutterson's Olympic record stood until 1928, when Edward Hamm jumped 25' 4 3/4".  The current world record is held by Mike Powell at 8.95 meters.

Gutterson, who was inducted into the UVM Athletic Hall of Fame in 1969, was a native of Springfield, Vt. At the University of Vermont where he was a member of several campus honoraries, Gutterson spent four years becoming the greatest track athlete in the school's history. His most impressive achievement came in a dual meet against the University of Maine: posting victories in the broad jump, high jump, discus, low hurdles and two sprints, and one second place finish, for an incredible 33-point performance.

But the Olympics capped his great career. As he once put it, "That was a great meet I never will forget. The best athletes in the world were there, the field was wonderful, competition was keen, many records were broken, and I made many friends." When he returned home, he began a long a distinguished career with Springfield's machine tool industry, culminating in his election in 1950 as president of the Lovejoy Tool Co. in Springfield.

Albert Gutterson at the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden. Photo Wikipedia
Gutterson was a University Trustee from 1954 to 1960, and has been honored by his alma mater with the "varsity letter in life award," and the Distinguished Alumni Service Award.  The hockey arena (Gutterson Fieldhouse) is named to honor his achievements and his generosity and service to his alma mater. Gutterson passed away in Burlington on April 6, 1965.

Sports Illustrated selected Gutterson as one of the Top 50 Vermont athletes of the 20th Century. The magazine's editors composed a list of the "Top 50 Athletes" in each state in its December 27, 1999 issue to commemorate the millennium. Gutterson ranked fifth among the Top 50 Vermonters."

Albert Gutterson during the long jump competition at the 1912 Summer Olympics. Photo wikipedia
For additional information on Albert Gutterson, please see the article - "A Flying Leap - Remembering Vermont's Summer Olympics gold medalist" by Thomas Simon

Photo by Matthew Thorsen
For additional photo please see the photo album of the memorabilia on Facebook

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Article about our new exhibit from "The Shopper"

“A Love Story in Painting and Letters” Eldredge Summer Exhibition at the Miller Art Center”

SPRINGFIELD, VT -A love story between two artists, their art and careers during the early1930s plays out on the walls of the Springfield Miller Art   Center’s summer exhibition of paintings which opens on
Thursday, July12, 2012 and continues through Monday, October 8, 2012.
  Entitled ‘A Love Story in Paintings and Letters’ the works on display depict the burgeoning art careers of Springfield artists Stuart Eldredge and his wife to be Marion Schumann during the years when they
first met as students in New York in the early 1930s and entered the art world.
  Marion was born in Brooklyn in 1903, she graduated with a bachelors degree in Costume Illustration from Columbia University Teacher’s College in 1924 then worked as a fashion artist at Bergdorf Goodman. 
She met Stuart while taking night courses at the Art Students League.
  Stuart was born in South Bend, Indiana in 1902, he graduated from Dartmouth College in 1924 with a degree in English. He returned home to work in art and design for Wyman’s Department Store owned by his family. Many of his paintings are landscapes of the Mid-West showing farming activities. But he wanted to study in New York and subsequently enrolled at the Art Students League where he met Marion
and their friendship began.
  The couple’s letters were discovered in a box, tied with ribbon, when their daughter Betsy and her husband Denis Rydjeski were insulating the attic of the family farm in Springfield. The Eldridge family has
retained a number of their parents’ early works and from the letters matched them with the paintings and illustrations the artists discussed and were working on in the early 1930s.
  Excerpts from the letters are exhibited alongside the works so visitors can read of progress, or lack of, trouble painting trees -- Stuart admires Marion’s expertise, Stuart taking his paints out in a boat and the time taken for oils to dry. Some illustrations in the letters show how work progresses; visitors can then view the finished piece.
  Their work is prolific; Marion has several portraits and paintings of people and trees. Stuart paints still lifes, landscapes and nature. Stick insects and praying mantis interest the couple, caterpillars and
chrysalis. In 1932 Stuart received a Fellowship at the Tiffany Foundation in Oyster Bay, Long Island. The couple wrote to each other almost every day and the letters follow their friendship as it develops.
  Their styles also develop with both artists painting abstracts. Stuart began work on advertising for New York stores and received commissions for book jackets, a couple of which are on display.
  They were married on Christmas Day in 1933.
  Stuart taught at Cooper Union and the Art Students League, he had studied at the Beaux Arts Institute of Design Mural Atelier and painted murals for private homes and offices. He also painted for the textile building of the 1939 New York World’s Fair, later the mural of Springfield at the current Employment Office and the circus mural at the Springfield Library.
  The Hood Museum at Dartmouth is home to one of his paintings as are many public and private collections. He was a member of the National Society of Mural Painters, Academic Artists, and the National Watercolor Society.
  The couple moved to Vermont where they painted, farmed and raised their four daughters. Marion recorded the growth of their daughters in drawings and paintings, but she also painted Vermont landscapes,
flowers from her garden and belonged to the Southern Vermont Art Center where she exhibited as well as other galleries throughout the region.
  Not to be missed at the exhibit in a small upstairs room is Marion’s 1924 Columbia Yearbook when she was Art Editor of the Year.
  Visit the exhibit to learn and appreciate more about the art and lives of this Springfield couple.
  The summer opening hours for the exhibit are: Thursday evening 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Fridays through July, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturdays 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For viewing by appointment call 802-885-4826
or the Miller Art Center 802-885-2415."

This article is from "The Shopper" and can be found here. The photos below are from the opening reception held on July 12th.

Friday, July 13, 2012

1789 Tavern License

An original manuscript from Springfield's early history recently came to our attention here at the SAHS. It was sold on Ebay back in May. Sadly we were unable to purchase the document due to a lack of funds. However, we were able to obtain some excellent color copies which have been added to the our collections.

The document, dated Springfield [Vermont] March 29, 1789, nominates Captain Abner Bisbee and Captain James Martin as suitable "persons to keep Houses of Publick Entertainment in the said town ... ". "Houses of Publick Entertainment" or public houses, were terms used to refer to taverns or inns in the 18th and early 19th centuries providing food and drink to travelers. Individuals were required to have a license from local officials in order to operate such establishment legally. The document below was signed by town officials in approval of Bisbee and Martin's tavern.

Captain Abner Bisbee (1734-1805), as some may know, was an important leader in the early history of the town of Springfield. He was one of the first settlers, and served as an officer in the French and Indian War and the American Revolution.

This document is roughly 6" x 8 1/2" and made of laid paper.

"Springfield March 29th, 1789

We the Subscribers Being the Magistrates Selectmen Constables and Grand Jurors of the town of Springfield Doth hereby Nominate Capt. Abner Bisbee and Capt. James Martin Suitable persons to keep houses of publick Entertainment in the Said town for the Insuing year.

Simon Stevens
Sam'l Cobb - Magistrates

Abner Bisbee
James Martin
Jothan White - Selectmen

Roger Bates - Constable

_amness Whitney - Grand Juror"

Friday, May 25, 2012

In Honor of Memorial Day

The Springfield Art and Historical Society would like to take a moment and say thank you to all our men and women in uniform. Thank you for your courage, your service, and your sacrifices.

GAR stands for "Grand Army of the Republic", the veterans' organization formed for veterans of the Civil War. Springfield Library photo collection
Sons of Civil War veterans, SAHS colletion - Springfield Library photo collection
The photos below are from a Memorial Day service held in Springfield, Vermont c. 1900.

 Citizens of Springfield and veterans of the Civil War gather in town to celebrate Memorial Day.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Springfield High School Vintage Prom

It's spring time! And that means prom season. On Saturday, May 19th Springfield High School will hold its 2012 prom at the Harness House. The Grand March will take place at 7:00pm.

Here is a look at some vintage prom dresses that are part of the SAHS textile collection. All three of these lovely dresses were made by Marion Eldredge for her daughters.

The first is a lovely pink cotton gown made by Mrs. Eldredge for her daughter Anne to wear for her junior prom in 1954. The gown is shown below modeled by student intern Julia during our vintage fashion show last fall. The next two gowns, also by Mrs. Eldredge, were made using Vogue sewing patterns. Interns Abby and Jenn are shown modeling the gold and green gowns.

Above photos by Hannah Lille, 2011
The gold dress was constructed using Vogue Paris Original pattern #1082, view B. Mrs. Eldredge made this for her daughter Betsey for her Springfield High School graduation ball in 1962.

Vogue Paris Original pattern #1082
Vogue Paris Original pattern #1082
Vogue Paris Original 1082
The green satin gown was constructed using Vogue Couturier Design #919 by Mrs. Eldredge for her daughter Dorothy's 1956 Springfield High School prom.

Vogue Couturier Design 919
Photo by Hannah Lille, 2011

Tag Sale May 19th

~ Parker Hill Community TAG SALE ~

This Saturday, May 19th from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm
~ Rain or Shine ~
 To Benefit the Parker Hill Association and Springfield Art & Historical Society 
Location:  789 Parker Hill Road, Springfield, Vermont


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Thank You to H.B. Plumbing and Heating

The Springfield Art and Historical Society would like to extend a special thank you to H.B. Plumbing and Heating for donating their time and equipment to remove a sapling from our chimney! We truly appreciate their help in maintaining our historic "mansion on the hill"!

Don't forget our Opening Reception for the annual Student Art Show is this Thursday, May 10th, from 5:00 to 7:30pm
Come out and support your local student artists!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Anne Miller's Mink Coat

Donna Welles, the grand niece of Anne Miller has graciously donated her aunt's fur coat to the Springfield Art and Historical Society. It was the Miller family who, in 1956, donated their family home to the town to Springfield. The building is now known as the Miller Art Center and is home the Springfield Art and Historical Society.

The coat, dating to the 1950s or 60s, is made entirely of mink and is in beautiful condition. It has a maker's label which reads Holt Refrew. The coat, along with other new donations, will be on display at the Miller Art Center beginning in June.

Donna Welles wearing her aunt's mink coat
 Here is the history provided by Ms Welles of Anne Miller and her coat.

"Anne Miller was born on Jan 2, 1912 in Perkinsville, VT to Grace Spencer and mechanical engineer, Edward Whitney Miller who worked with Fellows Gear Shaper from 1898-1968. She graduated from Springfield High School before going on to study Italian at Wellesley College. Anne married David "Dave" O. Collins of Hingham, MA and they lived in Hartford, CT until WWII began.

          Dave took his saxophone with him to the European theater where he served as a combat medic in the 63rd Infantry Division of the 7th Army under General Patch. He helped repel the German Offensive called Operation Northwind. After the war, the couple returned to Vermont where Dave worked at the Fellows Gear Shaper plant.

          Never having any children, Anne and Dave explored artistic interests by listening to classical jazz - they saw every great act that came through New England. Highly intelligent, Anne collected art and Hester Bateman Silver. The two of them were genuinely happy until Dave died in 1981. Anne lived another 20 years until September 2001.

          In 2004 Donna Welles, Anne's great niece, took this coat with her to Russia where she spent a year at St. Petersburg State University, before graduating Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Texas in Dec 2005" 

Update 7/13/12: Here are a few photos of Anne Miller's coat on display in one of our smaller galleries. This beautiful coat will be on display for the remainder of our 2012 season.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Opening for the 2012 Season - New Hours

The Springfield Art and Historical Society will host an opening reception for the annual Student Art Show on May 10th from 5:00 to 7:30pm. The show will be on exhibit from May 10th to May 31st. 
Come out and support your local student artists!

Please note - Due to staffing and financial restraints, we have changed our hours of operation for this year. Starting May 10th we will be open Thursday nights from 6:00pm to 8:00pm, Friday 11:00am to 4:00pm, and Saturdays 11:00am to 3:00pm. From mid June to mid October we will be open on Saturdays only. If you are coming from out of town we strongly suggest you call ahead. We can make special arrangements to be open for appointments.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
Thank you.

Plein Air Workshop with Peter Granucci

The Springfield Art and Historical Society at the Miller Art Center is proud to sponsor a six week plein air workshop taught by New Hampshire artist Peter Granucci. Peter is an accomplished portrait, figurative, and landscape painter who studied at the Paier School of Art in New Haven and graduated in 1975 from the School of Visual Arts in New York. Peter lives in Gilsum, New Hampshire and teaches a variety of classes and offers individual instruction.

The first class will meet Saturday, June 23rd from 9am to 1pm at the Miller Art Center in downtown Springfield. Each class thereafter will be at a different (though nearby) location so students can focus on a specific natural feature. This series of classes will provide a period of instruction in techniques specific to the day's topic, followed by a period of practice under the guidance of the artist, and concluded with a group discussion.

The size of this workshop is being limited to 12 individuals to allow for individualized instruction, and is open to all skill levels. Individual styles are encouraged and the class will look at various approaches and methods that will enable you to develop your skills as well as your own style.

Registration closes June 1st. The cost for this series of six courses is $300 ($50 per class). Please register by contacting Teresa Janiszyn at, or by calling (802)376-9737.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Brief History of the Miller Art Center

History of the Miller Art Center, home of the Springfield Art and Historical Society, from Fred Richardson's Nineteenth Century Springfield and A Touch of History: Historic Sites and Trails, Springfield, VT.

View looking towards Elm Hill.
"The Miller Art Center sits on a site which, over the years, has seen many changes. The first house was built on this site in 1827, a wooden structure owned by two Whitcomb brothers, Perez and Prentiss. Included with the property at that time were several acres on top of Elm Hill. A road leading from the house to the rest of the farm can still be seen although not in use today. Over the years, parts of the farm were sold and today the remaining property consists of six-and-a-half acres of wooded land.

The original wooden house was replaced between the years of 1861 to 1865 with a brick two-story structure having six gables and a center cupola, also owned by one of the Whitcomb brothers. At the front entrance, which looks down onto the center of town, steps led to the carriage road which began at the carriage house then located at the top of Elm Hill.

In 1883 the mansion and surrounding property, mostly on hillsides, were sold to a John K. and Emma C. Ford. They had some fine racing horses which were kept in stables on what is now Hillcrest Road. Mr. Ford was a major stockholder in several rubber manufacturing companies.

Downtown Springfield, mid 19th century
In 1898, the firm of Gilman and Son purchased the property which was transferred, a year later, to Wilbert F. and Nettie Gilman. They lived there until 1912 when the property was again sold, this time to Walter W. and Tirzah Slack who extensively remodeled the house and added the porch and the pillars in 1917. After a major remodeling, including the addition of the front pillars, the Slacks sold the property, in 1928, to Edward W. and Grace Spencer Miller. Mr. Miller held many positions in The Fellows Gear Shaper Company, becoming its president and chairman of the board. He held over 100 patents relating to machine tool design.

In 1956 the Millers transferred the property to the town of Springfield to be used as the home for a permanent art, craft, and cultural center. He stated that 'The practice and display of all the arts and encouragements of the other related activities contribute to the cultural prestige of a community and also are important to its business life.'

The Miller Art Center is now home to the The Springfield Art and Historical Society."

Collection of Springfield made doll carriages and other Springfield artifacts

The Miller Art Center, home the the Springfield Art and Historical Society as it looks today

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