Franklin Historical Society-- Franklin, New Hampshire
Einstein had his theory of relativity, and most experienced elders have theirs: as a child, time moves inexorably slowly, whereas when older age inevitably supplants youth and vitality, time speeds up exponentially. All of which is to say that June is suddenly upon us! From an unusual spring with much cooler temperatures than expected, we find ourselves quickly on the brink of summer, with a wonderful program being offered by the Society. Author Michael Bruno will present the subject of “NH Historical Markers” in the Webster/Tay meeting room, 21 Holy Cross Road (directions on the Society’s website, franklinnhhistoricalsociety.org) , at 7 pm on Thursday, June 6th. Mr. Bruno is not only familiar with all the markers that dot the historical landscape of NH, educating all those who take the time to stop, read, and absorb the numerous stories that these signs relate, but was actually the author of the marker honoring Frances Glessner Lee, an innovator in the study of forensics. He is a native to the Lakes region, an Army veteran for more than 23 years, and a JROTC instructor at the White Mountains Regional High School. The program is free, and open to all.
June also offers the opportunity to “stock up” on plants for your garden, as the Society’s 4th Annual Plant Sale will take place on Sunday, June 23rd from 10 am to 2 pm (rain or shine, but preferably with favorable weather!) on the front lawn of the Society’s Webster/Tay building at Webster Place. The Society is looking to expand the sale from just plants of all varieties to garden tools (hand implements, shovels, rakes, pruners, etc.) and even lawn ornaments (pedestals, urns, and one can never have too many flamingoes or gnomes...) and is asking donors of such items (must be in saleable condition) to contact Annette Andreozzi at 934-8222. Arrangements can be made to pick up donations, or they can be dropped off up until, and including, the morning of the sale.
The Society’s museum is now open every Saturday, from 10 am to 2 pm, offering free guided tours of the exhibits, and sales of books on the history of Franklin, postcards, and other merchandise, as well as membership information and snacks—ice cream, drinks, and trail mix bars! If you are using the Rail Trail, stop in and learn how rich this area is in legacy and lore.
As is the norm since the Society obtained its permanent home, more folks have sought out wonderful and sometimes unique items from Franklin’s past from attics, closets, and basements, and generously donated them to enrich the Society’s archives. This month’s list includes: from Leonard and Rachel Downes (via Brenda and Dan Johnson): glasses case with pince-nez glasses from Dr. James Shaw, OD, latch needle boxes from both Acme Knitting and Franklin Needle), Giles Dairy Bar glass ashtray, wooden ice pick from Webster Lake Ice Co., 1957 Cookbook “Kitchen Secrets of Franklin, snapshots of Acme Knitting, Howard’s Bike Shop, Laroche’s Market (see below), small envelope from C.P. Stevens Hardware, and milk bottles from Giles and Franklin Dairies; from Carlton Ham: more postcards, pamphlets, newspaper clippings and (of particular interest to the president and curator who attended that university) a 1931 letter on UCLA stationery to Carlton’s father, referring to the campus, an earthquake, and flooding around her family’s rented house, which the writer says “was never built to last” (the small, single story Mediterranean-style home still exists today in West Los Angeles and is currently appraised at $2 million!); from Steve and Mary Foley: 1886 book “Town Officer”, updating laws from 1878 detailing the governance of towns and cities, and an 1811 pamphlet of a speech by NH Governor Langdon to the state Legislature, just prior to the War of 1812 (which, with the permission of the donors, has now been passed on to the NH Historical Society); from Linda Denoncourt of the Salisbury Historical Society: newspaper articles, three postcards, Republican Bridge photo, and letter (no date unfortunately), from Hattie E. Webster (of Danbury) about attending school in Franklin (the Franklin Academy?) mentioning her roommate Rosa Shepard and an “Indian woman skeleton in a glass case” in one of her classrooms (!); and from Nancy Jo Chabot, Hopkinton Historical Society: two bags of 1930’s and 40’s era clothing from the Starie family (Dorothy Richardson Starie, Franklin Public Librarian from 1935-43, and her husband John H. Starie, a teacher in Tilton). It is always very gratifying to receive items from sister societies, a courtesy the Franklin Society returns whenever an artifact or piece of ephemera is discovered in our collections that is best suited to another venue. To all our donors, the Society most sincerely extends its deepest thanks.
Come learn about NH’s historical markers and beautify your gardens, all in the same month!
[This month’s photo is a composite of a “then” and a “now” photo of Laroche’s Market, once located on Central Street some 70 years ago. Laroche was Rachel Downes’ maiden name, and the market was her family’s.]