Franklin Historical Society
Sweltering, stifling, possible even described as scorching by some, the summer heat has descended upon us. In July, a month dominated by the celebration of the country’s independence, the Society asked its members, instead of having a monthly meeting, to explore New Hampshire historic sites, venues, and attractions. With photos taken, accompanied by a descriptive narrative of the explorative sojourn, any who took advantage of this “challenge” would then comprise the presentation portion of the August meeting. So on Thursday, August 1st at 7 pm, at the Society’s museum (21 Holy Cross Road, Webster Place), the Society’s program will be the “show and tell” of these adventures, in the members’ own words and pictures. The event promises to be illuminating and is open to all. Light refreshments will be offered after the program and before the regular business meeting, to which all attendees are cordially invited.
Despite not having any official gathering since the first week in June, activities in and around the Society never ceased. The Annual Plant Sale occupied the last Sunday of that month and the Society has been open to the public every Saturday, 10 am to 2 pm. To the volunteers and donors who made the plant sale the success it was, the Society extends its deepest thanks. The donors of plants, tools, and accessories were Leslie Ervings, Ken & Judith Ackerson, Dan Darling, Steve and Mary Foley, and Lucilla Sokol; donors and sale day volunteers were Annette Andreozzi, Rita Norander, Sally Bussiere, Nita Tomaszewski, Elizabeth Jewell, Sandra Burney, Rosemary Mellon, Mary Foley, and Karen Darling. In particular, the Society wishes to especially acknowledge the enormous contribution of co-organizers Annette Andreozzi and Elizabeth Jewell, with special thanks to Karen Darling for helping to pick up, and pot, outside plant donations.
Earlier in the year a letter had gone out to members emphasizing the importance of “being there” when the Society needed assistance. The response for the plant sale was exemplary, and a shining example of volunteerism in its purest form.
The number of tools to be offered for next year’s sale was expanded by a generous gift including shovels, rakes, a sledge hammer, and broom from the Webster Lake Association’s annual yard sale. Thank you!
Referring to gifts recently donated neatly segues to the subsequent topic of items offered to enhance the Society’s collections, the flow of which continues unaffected by any change in meeting schedule. An incalculable amount of thanks are due to the multiple parties listed here for their incredibly generous and significant gifts. The Society appreciatively acknowledges Carlton Ham for 100+ vintage Franklin and area postcards (30+ from Tilton, which unfortunately no longer has a Historic Society to store their treasures) and others from surrounding towns, which will make their way to their respective societies crediting Carlton as their donor; Patty Robichaud for two commemorative ceramic church plates, a 1995 church cook book, souvenir glasses from the reunions of Franklin High School classes of 1936 and 1941, and two (initially) mysterious objects later identified by the Society’s curator, Annette Andreozzi, as loom shuttles (for which the Society already had in its collections bobbins, heretofore unrecognized as such, which fitted perfectly!); Becky and Shannon O’Dell, who found several interesting articles in the house for which they are the latest stewards, relating to a previous owner named George W. Drake, and including sheet music, letters, business receipts (from the late 1800s and early 1900’s), advertising literature and calling cards, a straw hat (a little worse for the wear), and an example of a wooden crutch of which Mr. Drake was the manufacturer! (his shop on Depot and Anderson burned in 1906); Rita Norander, for a photo and typed history of the Webster Lake house known as “Oak Knoll”, to which her family had a strong connection; Clifford Picard, for ten c. 1910 Christmas postcards addressed to the Blake family, found during renovation work; Karen Bunch (of Dublin NH) for a letter dated November, 1850, written by Daniel Webster to his farm manager John Taylor, complete with Webster’s wax seal and free frank signature; Kathy Fuller for a “Frontier Days” cap (from a box of brand new hats found in the Chamber of Commerce kiosk in Marceau Park), a Webster Inn poster and menu, a 1989 city directory, and a binder with more than one hundred Franklin related postcards, including an RPPC (real photo postcard) not seen before of the Kenrick Farm; Kathy Keegan Malsbenden, for an amazing amount of Franklin material and photos, including family related images of friends and classmates over different generations, a great shot of the Stevens mill on East Bow Street (see this month’s photo) and an 8 x 10 of the 1948 Class Day Parade shot near Central and Prospect streets, memorabilia and photo from the Girl Scout Trip to Washington DC in 1966, a series of color snapshots of the buildings then belonging to the Sisters of Holy Cross (from 1988), 1800’s photos of local stores, a metal “chamber pot” and soapstone “foot warmer” brick from her ancestors home on Franklin street, three “Keegans” basketball jerseys, FHS class of 1926 memorabilia, a 1945 Knights of Columbus anniversary booklet, a 1919 reception booklet honoring WWI veterans at the Pastime Theater, two Bessie Rowell School “Student of the Month” pennants, and much more ephemera and unidentified CDV’s and photos; Audrey Lanzillo for a 2007 proclamation signed by Gov. John Lynch declaring “Daniel Webster Day” found in Memorial (City) Hall; Alvin Schaut (of Wisconsin) for a vintage postcard of the old high school; Sheila Rainford for a box of vintage glass wire insulators, collected by her father Ray Woodhouse around Webster Lake in the 1980’s; Jim Jones for a 1960’s era poster heralding a rock and roll concert, the proceeds of which were to help build a structure to house historic firefighting apparatus; and an anonymous gift of two silver plated warming dish serving rings/stands, also from the Webster Lake Association yard sale.
To say the last several weeks really added to the Society’s wealth of historical material, would be a monumental understatement. Again, the Society reiterates its most sincere gratitude and appreciation for these gifts and the thoughtfulness that brought them to our door.
Lastly, the Society wishes to once again extend its thanks (this is not the first time) to Hannaford’s Market for inclusion in its “Hannaford Helps Reusable Bag” program. For every Community Bag purchased during the month of August for $2.50, $1.00 will go the the Franklin Historical Society. Please consider supporting not only a local business which continues to give back to the community it serves, but also helping to preserve the past to ensure Franklin’s future, by giving to your Society.
[This month’s photo comes from Kathy Keegan Malsbenden and is a rarely seen view of the Aiken (then Stevens) mill on East Bow Street and its bell tower. Upon close inspection of the wagons lined up in front, the horses have “blankets” with the name Walter Aiken, dating the image to 1893 or before, as the mill was owned by Walter Aiken until his death in that year. After which his sons ran the business until selling it to M.T. Stevens in 1904. Local legend has it that the bell was removed from the tower when the mill closed in 1970 and transported to the Smithsonian in Washington DC. As yet, despite attempts to find information online, this tale has not been confirmed. Any information to support the claim would be most welcome. Contact Leigh Webb at 934-8222.]
Franklin Historical Society-- Franklin, New Hampshire