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  • Barkhamsted Recreation Summer Camp Week

    Town Diary - July 2007

    Barkhamsted Recreation Summer Camp Week   

    This is what summer is all about.  For a week in July over one hundred Barkhamsted kids come together for games, crafts, music, dancing and swimming.  Welcome to Summer Camp Week hosted by the Barkhamsted Recreation Commission. 

    It all starts on Monday and goes five days.  Kids get dropped off at the pavilion at People's Forest for a morning of fun, then shortly before noon they are transported by bus to Goose Green beach on Lake McDonough for lunch and water-oriented activities.  At 3:00 p.m. parents drive in the long, winding access road to Goose Green Beach and pick up tired but happy children.

    The summer camp has a fairly long history.  It started in the mid 1980s as an event covering several days.  In the early years the camp focused on one topic: Molly Chagum and the legend of the Barkhamsted Lighthouse.  In the mid 1990s it expanded to a full week and traded Molly in for more traditional summer camp activities.  From the vantage point of the children it is a fun week that many have attended year after year.  It is open to pre-kindergarten children (no younger than age 4) on up to grade six.  The pre-kindergarten kids go for just half a day from 9:00 a.m. to noon while everyone else attends both the morning and afternoon sessions.  What the kids don't see (or care about) is the planning that goes into camp week.  The Recreation Director, currently Debbie Brydon, has in place a well oiled machine: time-tested planning and a trained support crew under her direction to carry out those plans.  The result weaves together a loose, friendly fun-filled atmosphere with an organized structure that delivers a steady variety of activities, keeping short attention spans firing on all cylinders.  

    Each day starts out with the campers forming a welcome circle and each person  is greeted.  Debbie fills everyone in on the planned activities for the day.  Then the campers split into groups by age: pre-kindergarten and kindergarten kids in one, first and second graders in another, third and fourth in another and finally the fifth and sixth graders.  In 2007 there are so many third graders that for some activities their group splits into two.  The camp is limited to a maximum of 125 kids in order to keep things manageable.  This limit has been reached in several years, resulting in some kids being turned away.  In 2007 the limit was not reached.  A total of 110 kids were signed up and a few more added at the last minute.

     Camp day starts out with the Welcome Circle.  Each camper is greeted and Rec Director Debbie Brydon (center of photo, in blue) outlines the days activities.
     Debbie gets the whistle ready to signal the groups of campers to rotate to the next activity.  Debbie wears mouse ears because today's theme is favorite animal day.

    Director Debbie Brydon and a small team of adults (including a nurse) are assisted by numerous counselors.  The counselors are older children or young adults, most of whom are camp veterans.  Children just a year or two beyond the sixth grade are "Counselors in Training" (CIT).  The next age level are "Junior Counselors".  Tenth graders and older are full counselors.  There is one counselor for every eight or nine campers and at least one adult (or one of the oldest counselors) is present at each camp activity.  One week before camp starts the adults and counselors meet to plan and organize the details.  All the children who are registered are assigned to their groups and a telephone and health record is established for each child.  Before camp starts, counselors telephone each child to pass along general camp information.  After the first day of camp, the adults and counselors meet again to review how things went and iron out any issues that may have come up.

    During camp week, each day has a general theme.  In 2007 the themes were:

    Monday - Favorite Animal Day
    Tuesday - Caribbean Day
    Wednesday - Rock and Roll Day
    Thursday - Pirate Day
    Friday - Dress Your Counselor Day

    Campers are encouraged to wear clothing/costumes reflecting the day's theme.    For example, on Rock and Roll day some of the counselors wore uniforms reminiscent of the Beatles' Sergeant Pepper.  In addition, one or more activities during the day are tied in to the theme.  On Friday, "Dress Your Counselor Day" requires the Counselors to wear clothing brought in by the campers.  Of course the intent is to embarrass the Counselor to the fullest extent possible.  This year as in previous years, the shortest path to successful embarrassment focused on cross dressing, especially for the older male counselors.  Campers chose such things as painted nails, boas and head gear topped with fruit as the favored tools for the task at hand.

    During camp week, a steady line of cars descend on the main area at People's Forest just before 9:00 a.m.  Parents drop off one or more children, over one hundred in all.  The kids stream into the meeting area laden with backpacks stuffed with snacks, lunch, swimsuits and all the necessities of a day at camp.  Shortly after 9:00 a.m. Recreation Director Debbie Brydon gets things started with a couple of blasts from her whistle and the campers form up into the welcome circle where greetings are handed out and announcements made.  Camp day is off and running.  The morning is spent at People's Forest.  The counselors gather their assigned campers and each group begins the first activity of the day.  Several activities are going on at the same time and each group of children rotates between them.  On a given day the morning activities might be include such things as:  1) games, including kickball, relay races or a hoop and ball game; 2) music and dancing; 3) tie-dying a t-shirt; 4) planning and constructing a flotation device to be used in a water race.  Debbie, keeping an eye on the time, uses her whistle to signal the groups to rotate.  At mid-morning the groups come together for a snack.  As Debbie pours out the liquid refreshment to the campers, she addresses each by name.  This turns into a game as the children hope she will not remember their correct name.  Maybe this time she will call me Jake instead of Jack!  But to the delight of the children, Debbie rarely slips up. 

     This is pirate day and Camp counselor Chris Rood is dressed for the part.

    At about noon the groups congregate once again, this time under the People's Forest pavilion.  It is time to board the two school buses for the ride to Goose Green Beach (located on Lake McDonough).  The afternoon activities will be held there.  The children are quiet as they sit at the pavilion picnic tables.  The group that is the most quiet and well behaved will be dismissed first to board the bus -- an honor that all strive for.

    At Goose Green, the first order of business is lunch.  Campers head toward the same picnic table that they staked out on the first day and eat lunches brought from home.  At Goose Green the camp routine is a little more relaxed.  After lunch, the activities include swimming, hiking and just hanging out.  The time is less structured and the groups break up into smaller units, but still with at least one counselor.  In addition to these activities, there are also three special activities at Goose Green, and each camper chooses to participate in one of them.  They are the wiffle ball tournament, the sand sculpture contest and the arts and craft activity called boondoggle which is the weaving and knotting together of flat plastic strings called "gimp" into simple objects like a friendship band or more complex, artistic creations.  The sand sculptures are works of art made from the beach sand and can be worked on all week if desired.  The sculptures are judged and a prize awarded on Friday, the last day of camp.  The wiffle ball game is actually a tournament: five games in five days.  The competition is keen between the same two teams (the Cincinnati Heaters versus the Cleveland Beavers), each vying to win the tournament and the trophy, which is presented on the last day.

    The name game...Debbie pours out lemonade for two campers.  While serving the lemonade, she greets each camper by name.  Pretty amazing since there are over 100 campers!
    One of the camp activities: tie dying t-shirts.  Here the t-shirts are being hung up to dry.  This activity is on the grounds of the Squire's Tavern at People's Forest.  At the end of camp week when the t-shirts are done, each camper will have counselors and other campers sign their shirt with indelible ink pens.

    As three o'clock approaches, the parents start to trickle in to pick up the campers.  Debbie blows her whistle and has everyone form a circle for the ritual performed at the end of each day.  This is the "Humpty-Dumpty" song.  The tune is the same for each verse and the words are supplied from a variety of nursery rhymes.  It is rhythmic, almost like rap, and each verse ends with "ain't that funky now!".  The kids really get into it.  This brings to a close a typical day at Camp.     

    Throughout camp week there are special events scheduled.  This year one such event (on Tuesday) was the "Island Rhythm" band, a high energy, rapid fire group that belts out live music simultaneously with a variety of activities such as dancing and ball bopping.  The band is excellent and they know how to get the campers revved up.

    Another event was a visit by world champion lumberjack competitor Mike Sullivan from the nearby town of Colebrook.  Mike has competed nationally and internationally and has won world titles many times in his career.  He still competes, but now does fewer competitions.  For the campers, he demonstrates competition wood chopping.  After a short demonstration of just how sharp the axe is (it cuts a piece of paper like a razor), Mike chops through a pine log, his powerful swings producing huge chips.   Then for the saw cutting demonstration he brings out what looks like an ordinary chain saw.  In nine seconds he saws through a 12 inch pine log.  The campers are impressed and applaud the display.  But wait -- that was a setup!  Mike now brings out his actual competition saw...the "Super Saw".  It is black and it is BIG.  It has a snowmobile engine for a motor and when he fires it up, it fills the whole valley with its roar.  Mike has the campers cover their ears and shout out the count down as he prepares to saw the log:!  In a blink of eye the log is cut as the saw dust flies.  Done in 1.5 seconds! 

    Another special event is the float race.  During most of the week the campers (in groups) have been working on their floats as a teamwork activity.  Each group is given the same materials to construct a float, including long flotation "noodles".  On the last day of camp, the various float creations are put to the test.  The race involves two floats in head to head competition.  They start at the beach, going out to a buoy located in deeper water, and then back to the beach.  After the first round, the winners of each race take on each other.  The overall winner this year was one of the groups comprised of sixth graders.

    Also on the last day of camp, two other awards are handed out: one for the sandcastle competition winner and one for the team winning the wiffleball tournament.  The trophies are designs carved out of Catalpa wood by Mike Sullivan, using a chain saw.  Just this year (2007) he has donated the castle trophy used for the sandcastle competition (see photos of both trophies).  The wiffleball competition came down to the wire.  Over the first four days of the week the teams had each won two games.  The tie was broken with the fifth game on Friday and the Cleveland Beavers were the victors.  The sandcastle competition was judged by the two lifeguards (both MDC employees; it just so happened that these same two lifeguards had judged the competition last year).  The judges were so impressed by the quality of the sandcastles that they could not identify one single winner.  The trophy was awarded to the artists of all seven entries to the delight of the campers (the trophy will be displayed at Town Hall).

    The busy Friday brings to a close another year of Camp Week.  This will be the last one for Debbie Brydon as Recreation Director.  After 11 years in that role she is stepping down.  Over the years she has worked hard to improve the camp experience for the kids and has done it successfully.  It is easy to see why over 100 campers attend, and keep coming back year after year.  Debbie has done an excellent job planning, organizing and directing the activities.  It is very apparent that she enjoys the week and her enthusiasm spreads to the counselors and campers, helping to make it an enjoyable experience for all.  On Friday the counselors and adult staff showed their appreciation of not only Debbie's years of service, but also her spirit and good humor.  They provided a gourmet lunch for Debbie and later, with the area decked out with large balloons, they presented her with a flower bouquet.  After a speech with kind words, Debbie was thrown into the warm waters of Lake McDonough.  

    Boarding the bus at People's Forest for the trip to Goose Green Beach.  Each year the LeGeyt Bus Company generously donates without charge two buses with drivers to meet the transportation needs of the campers, thus helping to keep the cost of camp week low (camp week costs $115 per child).
    Island Rhythm Band belts out some dance tunes and gets the campers (and Debbie) hopping at the pavilion at People's Forest.  
     The sawdust flies as lumberjack Mike Sullivan demonstrating the Super Saw to the campers.
     Mike Sullivan compares his competition "Super Saw" to a regular chain saw.  Can you tell which is which?
     Mike Sullivan's demonstration of his  lumberjack skills is one of the highlights of camp week as these eager autograph seekers can attest.
    Goose Green Beach is where afternoons are spent during camp week.  Two MDC lifeguards keep an eye on the campers in the water.
    Beach wiffleball.  Trash talking is exchanged as campers vie for bragging rights and the tournament trophy (best of five games).  A ball landing uncaught in the water is a home run.  A ball hitting the trash can behind the batter is a strike.
    Trophies for the sand sculpture competition (left) and the wiffleball tournament.  These were made for the campers by Mike Sullivan.
    Rec Director Debbie and some of her crew, posing here with Mike Sullivan. 

    From the left (front row)- Kelsey Lamoureaux,  Brendan Fritch, Chris Parrott, Kyle Fritch, Alex Lamoureaux.
    Back row from left- Chris Rood, Josh Seibold, Dannielle Lamoureaux, lumberjack Mike Sullivan, Debbie Brydon.

    From the left (front row)- Kelsey Lamoureaux,  Brendan Fritch, Chris Parrott, Kyle Fritch, Alex Lamoureaux.
    Back row from left- Chris Rood, Josh Seibold, Dannielle Lamoureaux, lumberjack Mike Sullivan, Debbie Brydon.

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  • Barkhamsted People - Joan Markure


    Town Diary - June 2007

    Barkhamsted People - Joan Markure

    Long time Barkhamsted resident Joan Markure is an employee of the town and works in the Town Hall, at least she did until the end of June 2007.  After June, if you have business on the second floor of the Town Hall you won't see Joan's smiling face because after 18 years working as a bookkeeper and for 10 years as an administrative assistant for the First Selectman, Joan is leaving the position and looking forward to some free time and the summer off.


    Photos above: at left, Joan Markure will miss her job but is looking forward to some free time and a summer off after18 years  as a employee of the Town of Barkhamsted.  At right, Joan discusses an issue with First Selectman Mike Fox at her office in the Town Hall.

    Joan first worked at the Town Hall as a volunteer.  Back in June 1988 the Town Hall building was moved to its current location.  Prior to the move, Joan was a volunteer helping to pack up files and assisting with the move to temporary quarters in the Barkhamsted Elementary School.  Town business was conducted in the school while the building was moved and renovated.  Soon after, First Selectwomen Camy Lattizori hired Joan as a bookkeeper assisting the town treasurer.  Joan has worked in this position for 18 years, primarily in the area of recording town expenditures.  Ten years ago she also took on the duties of administrative assistant to Camy, a position which Joan continues in now (to current First Selectman Mike Fox).  In addition, over the years Joan has filled in as needed for short term periods at other areas of the Town Hall including the assessor's office and the zoning office.

    Joan has seen changes during her tenure.  When she started as bookkeeper the town held much more debt, having borrowed for the Town Hall renovation and also for a major expansion and renovation at the Elementary School.  Over the years this debt has been substantially reduced to a very low level, currently putting the town in a much more stable position financially.  Another area of change is the workload from a variety of ongoing grant projects.  In past years the town has retained an outside administrator to handle some grant operations (for example, construction at the Senior Center).  In an effort to save funds, much of the current grant administration work is done in the First Selectman's office.  Joan has helped to administer the Small Town Economic Assistant Program grant to the Barkhamsted Historical Society, the Riverton Streetscape grant and the municipal fade improvement grants.

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    Posted Jun 20 2007, 10:55 AM by Paul with 2 comment(s)
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  • Third Grade Local History Day


    Town Diary - May 2007

    Third Grade Local History Day

    Wednesday, May 23, 2007 was a special day for third graders at the Barkhamsted Elementary School.  This was a day devoted to the study of local history and instead of staying in the classroom, the children spent the day visiting four historic locations in Barkhamsted.  Forty-two children, comprising the classes of Ms. Lavieri, Mrs. Bowler and Mrs. Hudkins, were transported by bus to:

     The Squire's Tavern

                 The Barkhamsted Center Church

                 The Barkhamsted Center Schoolhouse

                 The Barkhamsted Center Cemetery  


     The kids were split up into seven groups:  one at the cemetery, one at the schoolhouse, two at the church and three at Squire's Tavern.  A bus was used to rotate the groups every two hours so that each group visited the activities at each site.  The weather was warm and sunny, the blue sky providing a cheerful tone that added to the excitement of a day spent outside the classroom.

     In the days leading up to the outing, the students had completed a number of classroom lessons that provided background on Barkhamsted history.  The lessons covered topics that included the Barkhamsted Lighthouse legend and the people of the Lighthouse community.  Background on the one room schoolhouses in Barkhamsted was also covered.   Much of the schoolhouse information was written by Harriet Day Bouteiller and was based on her personal experiences as a student at the Barkhamsted Center schoolhouse.  The children studied the 12 school district arrangement used years ago by the town, and located the schoolhouse they themselves would have attended if the clock were turned back to that earlier time.

     Now it was time to visit the four historic sites and take in the sights, smells and history of each location.  The students were dressed in old style clothes to help set the appropriate atmosphere for the day.  At the Squire's Tavern, three separate groups concentrated on different topics.  One group was treated to a tour of the Tavern by Historical Society President Walt Landgraf.  The students learned about how the Tavern was operated, and how the Tavern was actually just one part of a large farm operation that included hay fields, pasture land, livestock and outbuildings.  Of particular interest to the students was the newspaper account of John Ullmann's death on the farm after being tossed in the air by an enraged bull in 1924.  Another group learned about the early American occupation of tinsmithing and actually worked a piece of tin, punching indentations to form the shape of a schoolhouse.  The rat-tat-tat could be heard throughout the Tavern as the students completed their task.  A third group at the Tavern worked on a toy that was popular in the 19th century.  It was called a thaumatrope, and is comprised of a card with a picture on each side.  When the card is attached to two pieces of string and rotated rapidly with your fingers, the two images appear to combine into one in an early form of animation.  The students completed their thaumatrope using the images of a spider on one side and a web on the other side.

    Photos above- At left, Walt Landgraf points out features in the front parlor of the Squire's Tavern to third grade students.  At right, students work on a tin smith project in the ballroom of the Squire's Tavern.

    Meanwhile, two student groups enjoyed activities at the Barkhamsted Center Church.  The outside group participated in a variety of old time games, including marbles, walking on stilts, shooting a slingshot, and two early baseball-type games called "peggy" and "bases".  Inside the church building, a group learned about the history of the Center Church.  They also studied herbs and the uses of herbs.  The children combined several herbs and produced a "moth chaser", a cloth pouch filled with a mixture to keep moths away from clothing.

    Photos above- At left, students sample old time games including walking on stilts.  At right, a lesson at the Center Schoolhouse.

     At the Center Schoolhouse, the group of students sat at the old school desks surrounding the large woodstove and learned about school life in the old days.  Mrs. Webb conducted this session.  She is a professional schoolmarm specializing in presentations on early school programs.  She introduced her pupils to the old time traditions including: boys on one side, girls on the other; bows and curtsies to the teacher; old text books; spelling and recitation lessons; quill pens; classroom discipline and stories.  The Center Schoolhouse is a great environment for this presentation.  The Historical Society has restored the building inside and out to appear as it did years ago, which helps the current students take in the flavor of the one room schoolhouse experience.

     At the Center Cemetery, the students inspected different sections and gravestones.  They learned about the settlements in the area now covered by the Barkhamsted Reservoir, and how several cemeteries there were relocated to the current site.  Some of the graves moved were unidentified.  These were all put in the "Unknown" section of the Center Cemetery.  The students learned about some of the early settlers of Barkhamsted such as Peletiah Allyn, and about prominent citizens including Dr. Amos Beecher and Reverend Ozias Eells, first settled pastor of the Congregational Church.  And of course the group visited the gravestone of Rachel Mack, whose stone is inscribed "DIED Feb. 31, 1831".

    Photo above- Students learn about the history behind the Barkhamsted Center Cemetery.

    The day was fun and informative; the children took in a slice of Barkhamsted history and early traditions.  The students had a snack of lemonade and cookies in the morning and at lunch time opened their old style lunch pails and baskets to eat outdoors, either on the grounds of the Church or at the Squire s Tavern.  By the end of the day each student had experienced sights and lessons at each location and was bussed back to Barkhamsted Elementary, and back to the 21st century.   

    Posted May 23 2007, 09:36 PM by Paul with no comments
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  • Rock Garden Near Saville Dam to be Resurrected


    Town Diary - December 2006

    Rock Garden Near Saville Dam to be Resurrected

    Photo above- this scenic overlook is part of the improvement project of the MDC and is located just above the rock garden.  What a great view of the Saville Dam.  The gate house roof is just barely visible at the top of the dam and just behind the tree branches.  The waters of Lake McDonough would normally be visible in the center of this photo, however the water has been drawn down and released down the Farmington River during the winter months.

    It is December 2006 and the Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) is about half way through their project to bring back the rock garden area just below the Saville Dam in Barkhamsted.  During the 1950s and 1960s the rock garden was a very attractive feature in the area surrounding the dam.  The flowers and other plants there were well maintained by an employee on the MDC maintenance crew (Joe Tarter).  During the spring and summer months the site was colorful and often photographed by visitors.  However over the last few decades the rock garden was not kept up.  The flowers gave way to weeds, the shrubs and other plants declined.  In the summer of 2006 that started to change when the first phase of the improvement project began.  The MDC hired a landscape architect (Stephanie Fuss Associates LLC of Glastonbury, CT) to design the overall plan.  Contractor True North Enterprises started work in the summer to implement the plan. 

    The access to the area has been improved with new stairs leading from the parking lot on the west end of the dam.  The MDC wanted not only to improve the access but also to redirect visitors off the old path which had been along the west side of the dam.  Erosion issues were a concern along with the temptation by visitors to stray off the path and onto the face of the dam, which is not open to the public.  The new path to the rock garden will be more direct and will lead from the parking lot on the spillway side of the dam (west side) through a small wooded area.  Work completed so far includes brush removal, tree thinning, fencing, stairs and railings on this path and paving of the path itself.  Work still to be done in the spring includes the actual planting of flowers and shrubs as well as the reconstruction of the stairs leading up through the rock garden.

    It is hoped the project will be completed by May 2007 and the some or all the area may be closed to the public until that time (if not the entire area, than at least the stairway up through the rock garden).  When the work is finished it will be a major improvement to the landscape around the Saville Dam and will be enjoyed by the many visitors to the site.   

    Photo above- Contract workers from True North Enterprises dismantle an old water tank and remove it from the area just off the path from the parking area to the rock garden.
    Above-a portion of the path and new stairs leading to the rock garden.  The water tank being dismantled is the green object at far left.
    Above- the path leading to the rock garden, which is located just of the photo to the right.  The small maintenance building was built long ago and will continue to be used by the MDC.

    Shown above is the main area of the rock garden.  In the spring work will commence to reestablish the flowers and other plants here.  The stairway leading up from the road to the scenic overlook area will be reconstructed and open to the public in the spring of 2007. 
    Above- looking north toward the Saville Dam.  The rock garden is on the left and if you look close, the stairs leading up through the site can be seen.

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    Posted Dec 13 2006, 09:29 PM by Paul with 2 comment(s)
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  • Riverton is getting a makeover


    Town Diary - August 2006

    Riverton is getting a makeover.

    Throughout the spring and summer of 2006, and especially in the month of August, the Riverton section of Barkhamsted has seen lots of construction work relating to the Riverton Streetscape project.  The Streetscape project involves the installation of 3,000 feet of granite curbing, 3,000 feet of sidewalk, the installation of antique replica street lanterns, attractive crosswalks, and the planting of trees and other landscaping work.  The project is expected to be substantially completed by September 2006.  The hope is that the Streetscape project will give the village of Riverton an economic boost by attracting more visitors- visitors that will hopefully patronize the shops there.  The completion of the project will be one piece of good news for Riverton which is still dealing with the loss of the Hitchcock Chair Company and its retail store, which had been almost like an anchor store for the village.

    The Streetscape work was made possible by a $500,000 grant from the Small Town Economic Assistance Program of the State Department of Economic Community Development.  The grant was announced in September 2004 and about a year later the paperwork was pretty much completed and plans were made for the project.  Work started in the spring of 2006.  First Selectman Mike Fox and administrative assistant Joan Markure have worked hard to secure the grant,  complete the paperwork and attend to the many details involved in the administration of the project.

    This is not the first time Riverton has seen an improvement project such as this.  Rebecca Ransom reported in the Squire's Tavern Quarterly on the "Riverton Village Improvement Society" which operated from 1894 to 1923 and worked various projects to make Riverton a nice place to visit. 

    The photos below show some of the work being done during August 2006.

    Photo above- Progress on the Riverton Streetscape project- a contractor digs out the area where a driveway will cross the sidewalk nearly opposite the Riverton Grange.  The granite curbing shown in the photo had been put in place in May 2006.


    Photo above- Concrete is poured into the sidewalk forms near the Riverton Post Office (first building on the left).


    Photo above- Employees of contractor Martin Laviero of Bristol work on the the sidewalk near the Riverton Post Office.


    Photo above- Workers bull float the newly poured sidewalk to smooth the concrete.



    Photo above- Finishing off the sidewalk- another section almost done.  The space between the sidewalk and the curbing will be filled in with brick.



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    Posted Aug 16 2006, 09:01 PM by Paul with 2 comment(s)
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  • Parking Lot Expansion - Barkhamsted Elementary School


    Town Diary - July 2006

    Parking Lot Expansion - Barkhamsted Elementary School

    As soon as school got our for summer in June 2006, employees of the construction contractor David Curtiss, LLC (of Barkhamsted) began work to expand the parking lot at the Barkhamsted Elementary School in Pleasant Valley.  The project involved excavating a portion of the hill to the west of the school, grading, the installation of drainage and will eventually involve expanding the asphalt surface.  The work will greatly expand the parking at the school.  Parking at the school was limited even during normal school days to say nothing of special events such as elections, meetings or programs at the school.  The work will be completed before school opens at the end of summer.  The land used for the expansion had been acquired by the town in 2001, when a parcel of one and a quarter acres was purchased for $28,000.

    Photo above- Work to expand the parking lot at the Barkhamsted Elementary School in Pleasant Valley (for another point of reference, the top of the bridge over the Farmington River can just be seen over the roof of the school).


    Photo above- Parking lot construction work, looking south.


    Photo above- Adam Lozier, employee of contractor David Curtis, LLC grades processed gravel for the parking lot expansion project at the Barkhamsted Elementary School in Pleasant Valley.


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  • Glassblower Peter Greenwood Converting Former Hitchcock Chair Museum


    Town Diary - May 2005

    Glassblower Peter Greenwood Converting Former Hitchcock Chair Museum

    It may not be evident from the exterior but the former Hitchcock Chair Museum in Riverton is undergoing extensive renovations to the interior of the historic building during the month of May.  Glassblower Peter Greenwood bought the building in January 2005 for $97,000 and plans to open his studio and gallery there in the summer of 2005.  Greenwood is a Hartford native and has had a studio in Farmington since 1981.  He is a nationally recognized glassblower, and has had exhibitions of his works of art from glass in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and New York.  The stone building was owned by the Hitchcock Chair Company which used it to display early American furniture, especially chairs, many of which were made in Riverton by Lambert Hitchcock.  The museum closed and in 2003 the exhibits were removed.  Greenwood will operate his studio on the main floor and a gallery in the second floor loft.  Visitors will be able to watch the artist at work from the vantage point of the loft.  Greenwood plans to retain the character of the historic building which was built in 1830 as the Union Episcopal Church.  Lambert Hitchcock was a member of the church and was married there shortly after construction was completed.  In 1966 it  was closed as a church and later bought by Hitchcock Chair.  Sensitive to the history and character of the building, Greenwood plans to retain the church organ in the studio.  Welcome to Barkhamsted Peter Greenwood!

    Located in Riverton, the former Union Episcopal Church, former Hitchcock Chair Museum is 
    currently being renovated as a studio and gallery of glassblower Peter Greenwood.

    Above left- section of split lath wall near rear door.  Above right- portion of the original 
    floorboards with rope caulking.  Beam lying on board was removed for cement pad; 
    shows notches for floor joists.                       

    Stain glass window on back wall.  Portion of first floor removed to install cement
    pad for glass furnace.  Blue tarp is covering the organ. Photo take from balcony.

    Above left- another view of the first floor modifications.  Above right- cellar and back wall where the first floor has been
    removed (taken from the first floor).

    Above left- Floor joists and supporting bean for the first floor.  Above right- Cellar view of  stone supports
    quarried near Big Spring in Peoples Forest, Barkhamsted.

    1) "Museum Changes Hands", Joyce Peck, Waterbury Republican-American, January 21, 2005.
    2) Photos by Walt Landgraf, May 2005.

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    Posted May 18 2005, 07:50 PM by Paul with 1 comment(s)
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