Friday, September 01, 2006

Friday Wrap

Quite early this morning, flagging appeared around paver areas in front of Mac's and the Laundromat. Sealant was suspected, and by mid-afternoon the process of brushing some sort of foamy-looking liquid (not soap!) onto the bricks was in progress in front of Morgan's Hardware.

South of the village, the first section of retaining wall is being constructed. The bricks - which look like rough-cut granite - are being very precisely laid, and the final effect will no doubt be as attractive as any such wall can be.

The most exciting activity of all was at the corner of Park Place and Sanger Avenue where, it appears, a Decision has finally been made and sidewalk beds were being dug!

It'll be busy everywhere, on Tuesday morning!

Readers are enjoying pictures from the archives of the Waterville Historical Society. This Schoolhouse was built in 1815 and stood at the corner of White Street and Stafford Avenue South, facing White Street.

The Blogger will be away for several days. If internet access is available, there may be a few postings, but - otherwise - I'll be back on Wednesday. Have a Safe and Fun Labor Day Weekend!

It's Fish Fry-Day!

48 degrees, chilly and Fallish.
Nice for the moment, but it's going to be sort-of soggy, here, over much of the Labor Day Weekend.

If you're travelling to the Southeast, the Weather Channel provides a Hurricane Ernesto Tracker.

If you're a tennis fan, it was worth staying up half the night to watch Andre Agassi Win at the US OPEN and RedSox fans were similarly rewarded with their team's 6 - 4 win over Detroit.

In Waterville, people are keeping score on which parts of which construction projects are on schedule: now that the D. O. T. Highway Reconstruction Project is nearly wrapped up, all eyes are on those at both the Memorial Park School and at the Madison Street Middle- and High School building. If there are any students or parents who either hope (or fear) that the Opening next Thursday will be delayed: no! that won't happen! Just keep shopping! (We understand that between "must have" lists of supplies sent from schools and "must have" lists chalked up by the students, themselves, the total can be quite astounding!) Oh, for the Good Old Days!!!

The Schoolhouse at Hanover
date unknown - probably c. 1880
Courtesy the Waterville Historical Society.

Remembering "First Day of School" essentials in Western Massachusetts in the late 40's: a new plaid woolen skirt, perhaps a sweater, knee socks and "saddle shoes" plus a new three-ring binder in a case that zipped all the way around (we didn't have "book bags," back then) and a new zipper pencil case with some yellow pencils. Most of my classmates walked home at lunchtime, but those who stayed at school could buy a little bottle of Milk for 5 cents to go with their home-made peanut-butter or egg salad sandwiches.

What do YOU remember? Email the Writer

(Click to enlarge Snapz and Photographs.)

Area History Online Archives

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Thursday Afternoon

Good News!

  1. Madison, the errant chocolate lab, has found her own way home and - after an overwhelmingly warm reception - now finds herself being inexplicably, irrevocably grounded!

  2. Power Line has been reinstalling or reactivating the sensors for the Fire House corner traffic light!

More "carving" of frontages took place on lawns South toward Sangerfield and some very precise cleaning of paving bricks was in progress in front of Mac's and the Laundromat. (Perhaps the sealer coat is coming, soon?)

We took a short "ride in the country" today, back to Pratt's Hollow, especially to take a photograph of a little front yard farm stand we noticed last Sunday and buy some home-made pickles!

The Yankees beat Detroit by two, this afternoon, and sportsfans will be watching the US OPEN tonight!

Have a nice evening!

Emergency Help requested!

The Fitzgeralds, on E. Bacon Street, ask for help in locating "Madison," a chocolate lab, who is AWOL!
She was seen last evening on W. Bacon Street and on Babbott Field. Anyone catching sight of her is asked to call Emily Fitzgerald, right away, at 269-1856.

Thank You!

Thursday morning - Garbage Day

44.4 degrees; not raining!

It's "Big D & the Pickle" at Michael's, tonight, from 7:00 - 10:00.

Tennis, anyone?
On "Monument Park" before there was a monument, probably around 1890.

(Click to enlarge Snapz and Photographs.)

Love that US OPEN Tennis?

The Yankees won one and lost one; the Redsox lost and are now 8 GB NY.

There was activity all up and down the construction stretch, yesterday: uptown, a great deal of green "carpeting" was laid at Monument Park and the tree belt along Madison Street across from the Park is plush.

Mrs. Lloyd was having lunch at Michael's with her daughter, Wendy DeWaine, and grandson, Robbie (a Ravioli treat for him, before going back to school!) and gleefully announced, "I have a lawn!"

Down across from the Allen Acres building, more earth is being carved away for retaining walls that will front two or three yards, and all along the route cleanup was in progress: bits of blacktop at the ends of driveways were removed and swept up in preparation for the Final Paving, which is due to take place next week.

Mrs. Gurdo and Mrs. Hart, also dining at Michael's, had questions: "Where are we supposed to cross the street?" and "Is there something wrong with the timer or sensor on the stoplight at the Firehouse?" (The same questions are asked over and over again by many Main Street pedestrians and Putnam Street motorists who are frustrated by an extremely long wait when no other cars are in sight. If there are answers, I don't know who has them!)

And there are always questions about Local History, the answers to which are most often found in the Area History Online Archives.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Wednesday A.M. Add-on

A number of people, searching for arguments against the Power Line, have asked if there are any especially rare or endangered plants in the Swamp. I, personally, don't know of any, HOWEVER .......
about thirty years ago, the late Minford "Pete" Peterson and his friend "Syd" Erickson took me with them on one of their frequent Explorations. We went to an area north of Hubbardsville and just to the Southeast of the Sangerfield River at the area called "the Stillwater" where, according to Pete, his old friend Ted Townsend (please correct me, if anyone knows differently!) had made a considerable study of prehistoric Indian artifacts dating from 2,000 to 5,000 years old found during several earlier "digs" there.

I recall that logging had been going on in that particular area, but "digging," as well, as indicated by numerous heaps of overturned earth and small collections of ordinary rocks and pebbles discarded by other "treasure hunters" The three of us set to with our trowels and three-pronged scratchers, and within no time were unearthing pieces of flint or other rock that clearly showed signs of human shaping. I brought home two pieces of flint that we concluded were broken attempts to shape arrowheads and one very surprising tool that might have been used for scraping skins: it could be held comfortably in either left or right hand and had been worn smooth and shiney with use!

(Click to enlarge Snapz and Photographs.)

As Pete told it, according to Townsend, the site had been a summer gatheringplace for years - even centuries. Native Americans from the South coming annually to trade fishing nets that they'd made for furs brought there by Indians from the North. (It sounds like a setting for a Jean Auel, "Clan of the Cave Bear"-type book!)

About ten years ago I spoke with a professor of archaeology at Colgate about this site: he was familiar with it, but did not seem to find it terribly interesting. Perhaps, in view of the Power Line proposal, that "dig" has gained importance!

I'm sure that many other people must be aware of its existance, but - just to make sure - we'll take these three "keepers" down to the Rogers Conservation Center for their collection.

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Wednesday morning

It's just under 60 degrees at 6:00 A.M. and very foggy, down here in "Whiskey Hollow." If you've got a morning commute, you might need a few extra minutes.

If you're planning on traveling to the Southeast.............

There's an article in today's Observer-Dispatch about the Old Tannery in West Winfield
that will be of interest to some Watervillians!

And it turns out that more villagers than I'd have thought are following the US Open and watching Andre Agassi in his final tournament.

The Yankees' game was rained out, last night and Boston, losing to the A's 2 - 1, is now 7.5 GB and seems to simply be going down the drain.

An article in yesterday's Post-Standard caught our eye:

A citizens group opposed to a 200-mile power line will give a tour Sept. 10 of Brookfield's Nine Mile Swamp, through which the line would cross.

Most of the swamp is accessible only by canoe or kayak. A group opposed to the line, STOP NYRI Inc., and Colgate's Outdoor Education Program and Rogers Environmental Education Center will sponsor the trip through the swamp. The cost is $5 per person. Boats and life vests will be provided. One tour will leave from Sherburne at 9:00 a.m. and another from Colgate at 10:00. To register, call the Rogers Center at 607/674-4017."

I imagine that there will be a limit to the number of people that can be accomodated, so if you want to be part of the tour you should probably phone now!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Tuesday tie-up

A big, blue flatbed truck reading "Blue Sky" delivered more rolls of turf, and - by late afternoon - Sanger Avenue was nearly completely glowing with new lawn! (Except for the corner of Park Place and Sanger Avenue, where the sidewalks don't meet!)

The Western side of Park Place is beautifully "lawned" but someone noticed the the old steps leading from the roadway to the Brunswick have disappeared in the process.

Across the way, in the Park, Hydroseed has been spread and a hay mulch provided.

Farther down on Route 12, there are finally signs that the retaining walls will soon be put in place and, probably, sidewalks will then be poured.

Tuesday morning

67 degrees, and it's been raining just about all night. Not a torrential sort of rain, but steady enough to make sure that the new sod in the village and everything else won't need any more water for the next seven days when predictions for at least four of those days are calling for "sunny" weather!

WKTV News Channel 2's forecast begins: "Dreary followed by Delightful!"
Today: Rain...through midafternoon... then scattered showers. High 65.
Tonight: Mostly cloudy early. Partly cloudy. Low 55.
Wednesday: Partly sunny. High in the low 70's.
Thursday: Partly to mostly sunny. High in the mid 70's.
Friday: Mostly sunny. Some increase in cloudiness late. High in the mid 70's.
Saturday: A chance of rain. High in the low 70's.
Sunday: A chance of rain. High in the low 70's.
Monday: Partly sunny. High in the mid to upper 70's.

The SMILE of the Day is from former Rotary Exchange Student Noa Arito, in her Thank-You note to the members of the Waterville Rotary Club, her hosts last year.

Windmills are in the news, again, with "Spring Farm Cares'" proposal to put up three wind turbines on their property upsetting their neighbors.

About the new sod: several people have wondered what grass seed is used and an equal number hazzard a guess (which is just that, but a reasonable one!) that it is Batavia Bluegrass.

In Tennis, Andre Agassi survived three tie-breakers. Find the schedule of today's play "US OPEN" and watch it all on the USA Television network!

Make sure to check the schedule of events at the New York State Fair!

With Manny Ramirez nursing leg injuries and David Ortiz heading back to Boston with an irregular heartbeat, the news on the field wasn't any better as the Red Sox lost to the Athletics, 9-0, on Monday night.

(Click to enlarge Snapz and Photographs.)
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Monday, August 28, 2006

Later On.....

A TENNIS FAN alerts me to an omission from the blog: information about the "US OPEN" which began this morning at 11:00. Andre Agassi is scheduled to play at 7:00 P.M. (weather permitting) and we'll be watching on the USA Television network!

Many readers, too, are studying the schedule of events at the New York State Fair!

A mid-day check of activities in the village: quiet and peaceful. Topsoil was being spread and smoothed around the edges of the Park, along the sidewalks and in all the areas that had been roughed up by heavy equipment. Perhaps the sod truck will come tomorrow morning.

Out in the country, roadside bouquets of goldenrod, Joe Pye weed and jewelweed are at their best and the less-attractive shrubs in hedgerows are heavily draped with wild Clematis, or "Virgin's Bower."

(Click to enlarge Photographs.)

A few miles North of the village, at "Hubbard's Corners," Project Manager David Staley watches as two of six employees of the New York State Museum conduct an archaeological dig. Barring the discovery of significant artifacts, the New York State Department of Transportation will move forward with its plans to reconfigure the intersection of State Route 12 and Summit Road.

A few miles North of the village, at "Hubbard's Corners," Project Manager David Staley watches as two of six employees of the New York State Museum conduct an archaeological dig. Barring the discovery of significant artifacts, the New York State Department of Transportation will move forward with its plans to reconfigure the intersection of State Route 12 and Summit Road.

During my conversation with Mr. Staley, he asked if I were familiar with the names of either William Henry Burleigh or his wife, Celia. I was not. They had, according to his research, once been residents of the Hubbard House and in 1870 had listed their occupation as "Literature." But there was more to it than that, he explained, and - completely intrigued - I came right home and did a little Googling of my own. Celia Burleigh. Tomorrow I'll try to get to the Library and the microfilm index to see if there are any references to either of the couple's activities in the Waterville area.

Monday Morning!

It's 62 degrees at 6:00. Garbage Day! And the count-down is on to the long Labor Day Weekend and then SCHOOL!

It may be a very quiet day, as far as the Highway Project goes. Other favorite entertainments are winding down for the season: tonight is the last night of Utica Monday Night, and there are only two more performances at Glimmerglass: today at 1:30 "The Greater Good" and tomorrow at 1:30, "Jenufa."

Gardening and Golf should be possible, today;

but baseball fans will have to wait 'til evening for their daily dose: the Yankees have a 6.5 game lead over Boston and play Detroit tonight at 7:05 with the RedSox in Oakland at 10:05 P.M.

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Sunday, August 27, 2006

Nearly a hundred miles later....

...... our Ride in the Country took us on more back roads than we'd intended, but it was fun!

We started out heading West on Route 20 and turned N. (right) onto Route 46. Before we'd gone a hundred feet, we swung left onto Pratt's Road. Unless you're really looking for Pratt's Hollow, you could miss it. It's a quaint little cluster of houses at a crossroads.

The church on one corner has a sign that reads "Geographical Center of N.Y.S."

(Click to enlarge photographs.)

and diagonally across from the church is a large old grayish building which we have been told was the famous "Coonrod's!" We, regretably, never had the pleasure of spending an evening at the bar, there, but we know several Watervillians who will certainly perk up at the memories they have of the establishment.

One of the attractions was that it didn't look like a bar: I mean, who - looking at this sign - would guess it from the outside? Professors from Colgate and Hamilton used to love going there to "get away from it all" and the clientele made a point of never recognizing anyone that they saw there.

Peterboro isn't very far from Pratt's Hollow, but we spent quite a good deal of time (inadvertently) exploring several lovely country roads getting from one place to the other.

(On a gray day it's a good idea to have a compass at hand and, if your vehicle has such a device mounted nearly in front of your eyes, it's a good idea to remember to consult it now and then!)

Peterboro is in the Town of Smithfield, whose Community Association has an excellent website filled with fascinating bits of history!

The community, neatly centered around an oblong parade ground or "village green," was the home of the famous Abolitionist and Human Rights Advocate Gerrit Smith whose recently restored office building is a National Historic Landmark.

Elizabeth Smith Miller, Gerrit Smith’s daughter, was a leader in the 19th century drive for women’s rights, suffrage, and dress reform. She developed a new clothing style for women that consisted of loose fitting pantaloons, that were popularized and became known as Bloomers.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who was Gerrit Smith’s cousin, spent her summers in Peterboro, where she met her husband, abolitionist Henry Stanton.

Together, these two women changed the role of women in America!

Across the "Green" from the Gerrit Smith Estate we spotted this maple tree, proudly declaring herself the first to wear the bright colors of Autumn. And we could not help but admire a lovely old home that has been beautifully decorated and is a Bed & Breakfast called "The Charlotte Amelia Inn."

And then off to Fenner, where we had thoroughly intended to spend more time and take more pictures than we did.

There are just so many windmills, and they seem to go for miles. Our one bit of serious concentration was to come to a full stop, roll down the windows and listen ........ and we concluded that you can only hear the rotation of the blades if you're really trying to!

We made a point of reaching Route 5 in Chittenango, to see how their Highway Reconstruction Project was coming. It appears to be in about the same stage as Waterville's - another layer or so of paving is needed before all the orange and white barrels and orange pylons can be removed. Chittenango, however, has one thing that Waterville does not have: a "Yellow Brick Road!" Actually it's a yellow brick sidewalk, but it pays honor to native son Frank Baum, the author of the "Oz" series of children's books.

After lunch in Sherrill, we headed home, making one last stop --- atop Hanover Hill at the Shanley Road crossing --- to take this picture of of one of Sally Zweifel's four glorious petunia patches!