Saturday, November 20, 2010

Comments please!!

Everyone has a story, so they say. We know you have one too! I have the GHS stories here for you to read and it is linked to Facebook so you get a shot one way or another. What I am wondering is, don't any of you have a comment to add? It would be nice to know if you are enjoying what you read and maybe you have some suggestions of what you would like to see on the blog. You may even have something to share that I can put on here. "This blog's for you". Just click on the comment box at the bottom of each article and a box will open for you to type in. It's free and easy.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Going the Extra Mile

Family history has it rewards, not only the research one does that brings to light an ancestor of your own, but helping someone else find theirs is just as rewarding. I recently had the experience of helping a family find a fellow who had been killed in an explosion of a steam boat, Jenny Lind,  in California in 1853. His body had been returned to Guilford a few years later. John Bradbury, Caleb Winsor and Benjamin Twitchell were all out there and had been buried out there. Ben's wife Sophia decided she wanted her husband returned home for burial and paid to have all three brought back. Newspaper articles were a great source of this information. The researcher, I'll call her Claire, of the Bradbury family had no idea that John had died in that explosion. I just had to let her know and tell her where he ended up. Since then so much more has happened as a result. Claire finds more information everyday as to where they were interred in San Francisco and more articles that describe the explosion. Now one good turn...well Claire was in touch with a Becky. Becky had purchased a musketball 10 years ago on ebay. The musketball had the following attached inscription:
"This iron ball within must be very old - Charlton and a carpenter found it embeded into timber when they were working on the Mickle farm house (upon the hill) from Mt. Upton. They found it years ago."
Claire gave Becky our email and Becky donated it to the historical society. If this ball could only talk!!
Here's a photo of the farm from whence it came.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Rockwell Mills Cerificate

Here is the certificate. It took over 3 years to get all the research done. Many hours at the county office building researching deeds but look what has happened. The first historic district for the Town of Guilford. Congratulations to GHS and the Town!!!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Facebook-We are there too!

Be sure to check us out on facebook.
We are anxious to gain friends and members. Help us to gain 250 members by the end of the year.
Just print and fill out the attached membership form and mail to Guilford Historical Society
Box 201
Guilford, NY

Hamlet of Rockwell Mills on the National Historic Register

Guilford Historical Society and the Town of Guilford are proud to announce that the hamlet of Rockwell Mills is now the first historic deemed district for the Town of Guilford.  The entire project took over three years to complete with researching deeds and the history of the mill and the area in general. Tom Gray, Guilford Town Historian, took on a great deal of the research and with the help of a $2000 grant from the Preserve New York Grant Program part of the Preservation League of New York State, Jessie Ravage was hired as a consultant to complete the nomination documentation. On the 13th of September a letter was received by GHS from the New York State Office of Parks and Historic Preservation that as of August 30th Rockwell Mills was declared an historic district on the State and National Register of Historic Places. The National Register is the nation’s official list of properties worthy of preservation.
Such a designation recognizes the importance of these properties to the history of our country and provides them with a measure of protection.  In addition, owners of income producing property may qualify for federal income tax benefits. Properties owned by municipalities and not-for-profit organizations are eligible to apply for state historic matching grants.
With this announcement, GHS is celebrating the above at our annual dinner and you are cordially invited to attend on Oct. 7, 2010, 6 PM at the Old Mill Restaurant on Route 8.
Dinner Menu: Cheese and Crackers, Salad Tray and Assorted Rolls. You also have the choice of the following entrees: Chicken Old Mill, Coconut Shrimp, Honey Mustard Pecan Chicken, Broiled Haddock, Ham with Pineapple. Your waitress will ask for you choice of entrée. No need to indicate your choice before the dinner. Dinner includes dessert, coffee and tea. Other drinks separate.
Following the dinner there will be short presentations highlighting this great designation for a hamlet of the Town of Guilford.
Please reserve your place by calling (607) 895-6532, email: or call (607) 334-4155. We request your response by October 4th, 2010.
Rockwell Mills-today looking East on Rt. 8
An older view of the hamlet when rt. 8 was a dirt road
The State and National District Map

The Old Mill Restaurant

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Rare Photos to be Displayed at Fun-Fest

by Tom Gray Town Historian

A number of rare photos of businesses that existed in the hamlet of Guilford will be on display at Guilford’s Fun-Fest Day Aug. 21st from 9 AM to 3 PM by the Guilford Historical Society in the large tent on the lawn on Main St. For over five years committee members have been researching the growth of the hamlet and the other hamlets of the town collecting photos shared by residents and others to add to the town’s archives.

The first business to open on Main St. was Dibble’s Tavern in 1808. This was expanded to be the Guilford House, a tavern and hotel in the 1850’s. A glass negative from the Civil War period that has been digitally converted captures this time period. Other interesting old photos on display reflect the present buildings that remain on Main St. such as the Bunnell estate, the Episcopal and Methodist Churches, Dr. Clark’s residence, the old Town Hall, the Merchant and Cable properties to name a few. Other photos include the Sherwood, Totman, Scolfield, Drachler and Burlison general stores.

It was Niram Merchant and Andrew Bradbury who formed a partnership in 1845 and opened the first foundry on Furnace Hill Road. The growth of the “Iron Works” and its inventions and resulting US Patents issued propelled the growth of new enterprises that never existed before “iron came to Guilford.” Metal waterwheel gearings, plows, stoves etc. made in machine shops and sold in stores on Main St. were now available. New farm machinery resulted as well as new wagons; sleighs and cages were just a few of these new products that produced area economic development.

With the arrival of the railroad in 1870 other businesses grew. Clothing and drug stores lined the busy Main St. and two hotels welcomed guests that now arrived by train. The milk and dairy industry grew as well as the feed and coal businesses, as the O & W trains arrived to transport Guilford’s products throughout New York and other states. These changes can be seen in the photo collections that will be on display. Also included in the society’s displays will be rare photos of old farms that were the backbone of Guilford’s growth throughout the centuries.

Stop by our tent on Aug. 21st and share with us our fascinating history. If you have any old photos, bring them along. We will have a scanner available so you can keep your treasures but, know you added to our town’s history. One mystery that has not been solved concerns the Guilford Iron Works. Only a sketch in an old newspaper shows the building that contained a two story machine shop and adjacent to it the “Furnace” structure where the crude iron was processed. The first photographer of Guilford was Purley Merchant, brother of Andrew Merchant who owned the Iron Works after his father died. Purley made the glass negatives of Main St in the 1860’s but where is the photo of his family’s business? The Iron Works endured until 1919 but no photos of it have surfaced. If you have a photo of the foundry, bring it with you to share with us and you will be the first one who solved the mystery and bring home a free gift from our society.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sorry, Computer malfunction

Walter Cronkite

Fred and Portland Allen

Leo Carrillo...AKA Poncho

The Old Mill Restaurant

Rockwells Mills

I feel really bad that I haven't updated since last August. I haven't been able to get on the blog. I could bring it up but not sign into our account. So, today I am on the laptop. Hurrah!! Access.

Now for the update.

What do Leo Carrillo, Fred Allen and wife and Walter Cronkite have in common?

Answer: They all came and ate at the Old Mill Restaurant. In fact Fred and Portland helped lay the corner stone when an addition was added to the building. How cool is that? You may ask how do you know that? They signed the guest book and photos of Fred and Portland were taken with the divider stones which appeared in local papers. Of course only us oldsters would remember those famous people, but we know the Old Mill in Rockwell's Mills. And speaking of Rockwells Mills, the GHS received a grant to help put the hamlet of Rockwells Mills on the NYS historic register. It's a tedious process. We have been researching deeds to provide information of who may have owned the homes before the Civil War up until the mill closed in the early 1900's. Then a comparison to be done of the names of those folks who owned the property to who may have been mill employees. So, if and when you may be or live in the area stop at the Old Mill Restaurant. They will be open in April. As you enter, you are entering the portion that was part of the original mill. Then begin to reminisce of days gone by. If your not a history buff and even if you are you will still be delighted with the delicious meal and the excellant service, just as the old timers above were. To learn more of this history contact us about a book "The Mill and the Mansion" written by Tom Gray, Guilford Town Historian. GHS, Box 201, Guilford, NY 13780.