January 2018 NewsletterFrom the President . . . Rosanne “Bunni” Putnam
The petition: We have the 360+ signatures we need to be on the March Springfield Town ballot
for our special funding request. Now, if you are a Springfield voter, we need you to be sure to go
and vote. This money is critical to continuing to preserve the historical collection.
Things to do: There is a never ending list of things to do beyond cataloging and maintaining the
collection. We have the January, February, and March monthly programs lined up. With the goal
of drawing new visitors, we will be hosting the monthly Chamber of Commerce mixer in February.
Then, to help celebrate their 105th Anniversary, the Hospital has asked us to prepare a program
describing The Springfield of 1913 and 1914, when the original hospital was formed and opened.
The collection: Bill Lashua delivered seven boxes of negatives to us (about 14,000). They are
primarily photographs his father, Bernie Lashua, took of machines, etc. at J &L. John Hunter, who
is a J&L retiree, has agreed to review the archive to see what it actually contains. We really
appreciate John’s willingness to take on this massive project.
New equipment: To help facilitate viewing negatives, with the funds from a grant from Vermont
Telephone, we have purchased a new 14 x 18 inch “light table.” This is a vast improvement over
holding the negatives up to the ceiling light.
Also, as the result of a grant from the Bryant Foundation, we have purchased a professional grade
photo and negative scanner. In addition to the recent Lashua donation, we have 1000s of other
negatives, both film and glass slides, some as large as 8” x10”, which we will now be able to view
and document. Some of the glass slides are over 100 years old and due to their age some of them
are dirty, so we plan to contact the glass slide archivist at the Vermont Historical Society (met her
a conference in October) to see if we can, or should, clean them.
Monthly ProgramsJanuary 20: The Railroad Doctor, Edward Sanborn French.
Mr. French came to Springfield in 1920 to save the Springfield Terminal Railroad. He stayed and
built a large home on Summer Street. Walter Wallace, railroad enthusiast, will relate French’s
interesting life story which included becoming president of the B&M Railroad, serving on the
board of the Federal Reserve, and later becoming president of J & L. This is a fascinating story of a
local man who, up until now, had literally disappeared into the pages of the town history.
February 17: Shem Kentfield, Tory, and his Gun.
Kentfield was born in 1750 in Northampton, MA. He joined the Continental Army in 1775, and was in Charlestown, NH by 1780. Then his life took a turn and he became a Tory. Eric Bye, historian, will
present the story of Mr. Kentfield and how he met his ultimate demise with the written approval of George Washington. The Whitney family, who acquired his gun when Kentfield was captured near Tory Hole, has donated it to the society and it will be on display at the program.
March 17: The Hurricane of 1938.
Eighty years ago in September, a massive hurricane came up the East Coast. Normally skirting the coastline, hurricanes are not generally not much of a threat to interior New England. This hurricane, however, came up the Connecticut River. The society has recently discovered, in its archives, many Springfield photographs of the aftermath of this storm. Hugh Putnam will present this program describing the storm and showing many never before presented photographs.
Hope you have your copy! They are still on sale at the usual places. If you come to the Historical Society to buy it, we will give you a 2017 Calendar (for the pictures) free.
Gearing up for Benches
An Appeal from Springfield on the MoveDo you have any old gears or other metal artifacts that came from the machine tool businesses in
our town? Springfield On The Move (SOM) is working with an artist and metal worker to create
benches for Springfield’s Downtown that embrace our machine tool heritage. The project will use
items from the factories that once thrived in Springfield to create the frames for the benches.
Informational signs about these companies are also being planned. If you have items to contribute,
contact Buddy Dexter at the following e-mail address - BudDexter@vermontel.net
New Display Cabinets: The wall cabinet on the left (which contains our wonderful
collection of Springfield Souvenir Pottery) and the display cabinet on the right (with the dresses)
are the two new cabinets we were able to purchase with the funds from a generous grant from the
We will be changing some of the displays at the end of the month so we can focus on the
businesses of the town for the February Chamber Mixer. Therefore, the Joe Henry paintings will
be coming down and some of the other items on display will be changing. So if you have not seen
the current display, be sure to come by before the end of the month or you will miss them.
Quilt Raffle Fund Raiser: “Glowing Stars”
Priscilla Petraska, of Chester, VT has very generously donated this beautiful and vibrate quilt to the society as a fund raiser raffle. These photographs really do not do it justice--you really need to see it in person. It is on display at the Society. It measures 63” square and has a donation value of $355.
We have a few tickets left. The ticket price is $5.00 each and we are limiting the number of tickets to 100. So be sure to get your ticket before they are gone. If you want to enter by mail, send your check with a note “for the quilt” and we will fill out a form for you. When the last ticket is sold, we will draw the winner who will then be notified directly and it will also be announced on our website, Facebook page, and in the newsletter following the drawing.