Saturday, January 19, 2019


On February 2, 2019 the Noble & Cooley Center for Historic Preservation (NCCHP) will re-create a small scale ice cutting on the pond at 42 Water Street, off of Route 189 in Granville, Massachusetts. The program will run between 12:00 PM and 3:00 PM. 

Dennis Picard, former director of the Storrowtown Village Museum, will organize the harvest. Picard owns a complete collection of antique ice cutting tools. During his presentation he demonstrates the finer points of ice cut­ting and explains how to use the specialized tools. 

Visitors will also have an opportunity to join Mr. Picard on the ice to use an ice-saw or pike pole and learn first-hand about a harvest that provided an extra cash crop for local farmers.

The NCCHP museum will be open for tours that focus on 19th century technology in the Pioneer Valley as well as the skills and art of drum making. We hope to bring people together to rekindle the community spirit of the farm communities and industrial villages that were common in most of New England. The Noble & Cooley Center for Historic Preservation invites everyone with an interest in “living history” to join us at the museum.

There is no charge for the event but donations will be gratefully accepted. For past event pictures CLICK HERE.

For last minute information on ice conditions and status of the harvest visit the museum website ( ) or call 413-357-6321.

Additional historical information:

This area of New England has a long history of ice harvesting and produced a great deal of natural ice during the early 20th Century. Commercial ice harvesting in Southwick began right after the Civil War ended. Prior to that time the Hudson River was the major source of ice. For several years the polluted Hudson produced poor harvests and the ice companies looked around for a new source. The Congamond Lakes, favored with good rail transportation on the nearby New Haven-Northampton railroad line, offered a unique business opportunity. The spring-fed Congamond Lakes produced a pure, high quality ice that found a ready market. It wasn't long before the ice harvesters were cutting big blocks and loading them into boxcars for shipment to New York. The Congamond operation became the largest ice harvesting operation in New England from 1900 to 1925.

In addition to the large commercial ice operations, many local farmers harvested ice from their ponds for personal use or as a source of extra income.


Today we travel back 159 years to look in on James P. Cooley, co-founder of Noble & Cooley, as he recounts the day's events in his Journal. Typical daily entries make note of the weather, crops, Granville social events, and life as a local farmer/entrepreneur. But a quick glance out the window of his home on Maple Street (now Main Road) turned the day into anything but ordinary (transcript provided below the original image):

"Wednesday, January 4, 1860. 16 above zero... Snows some. About 3 PM Deac. Allen [Allyn] of Montgomery stopt at Rev. Mr. Mills a few moments and started for W. Granville. When he passed our house his head was leaned back over the sleigh. Horse was trotting along. The horse was stopt near the school house, the man taken out. Did not breath but once, was carried to Treats at 7 AM in morning."

"Thursday, January 5, 1860...Mr. Allen's [Allyn] corpse carried home today."

"Deacon Allen" referred to in James Cooley's Journal was Deacon David Allyn, Jr. (1791-1860) of Montgomery, Massachusetts. Married in 1813, he was a farmer and the head of a large family. Deacon Allyn owned over 200 acres of land and left an estate valued at nearly $4000 which was a goodly sum in 1860.

Deacon David Allyn, Jr.
(Photo from
The good deacon's father, David Allyn, Sr. (1759-1841) was a Sargent during the Revolutionary War, first serving as a Minuteman immediately after Lexington and Concord. His militia marched from Colchester, CT. in April 1775 to join in the Siege of Boston which eventually drove out the British forces. Allyn enlisted in the Continental Army when Washington arrived in Boston from Philadelphia with the news of the formation of the Army.

Allyn, Sr. was also serving under the traitor Benedict Arnold when Arnold betrayed his country and joined the British. According to his pension documents Allyn and his fellow soldiers received word from Washington of Arnold's act of treason, countermanding Arnold's battle plan. One can only imagine the shock, dismay and disgust Allyn and his fellow patriots felt at Arnold's despicable act of betrayal.

"History is a big bowl of spaghetti" (having just made that up) with so many stories and histories intertwined, and as if we need proof, consider that at the same time Deacon Allyn's father was marching from Colchester to Boston, Silas Noble (1733-1775, the great-grandfather of Noble & Cooley co-founder Silas Noble, 1824-1888), was also a Minuteman marching to Boston from the Westfield area of Massachusetts. Sadly, Silas Noble died in July, 1775 at the Siege of Boston shortly after Washington's arrival.

James P. Cooley continued writing in his Journals almost daily until his death in 1889. He died in the office at Noble & Cooley with his wife Celia by his side. His business partner and company co-founder Silas Noble died a year earlier in 1888.

As we return to a very cold and snowy January 4, 2018 it is worth reflecting on the expression, "May you live in interesting times," and consider what must have been truly amazing times. It makes a lot of what we consider "interesting" today look pretty tame. But there has been one constant since 1854: the presence of the descendants of James P. Cooley at the helm of Noble & Cooley.

Friday, December 14, 2018

PROJECT UPDATE: NCCHP Preservation of N&C's 1924 Ford Model T

In September 1923 the Noble & Cooley company purchased a brand new 1924 Model T Ford panel truck. It served the company well for many years and was eventually retired from service. Unfortunately it was sold and seemed to be gone forever.

Many years later Jay Jones received a call from someone who had taken a tour of NCCHP. The tour had impressed the caller, who explained that a few years after the tour he was looking for a Model T and had stumbled across a Model T with the faded lettering on the side, "Noble & Cooley Company." He reported that he truck was sitting in a field in Eastern MA., and maybe NCCHP might want to rescue it.

A deal was struck with the owner and the truck was quickly brought back to NCCHP where it has slowly been worked on with the goal of getting it running again.

In 2018 Brian Guarco of State Line Propane in Granby, CT. made a substantial contribution toward work on the old truck, which was then taken to Ralph Hermann at Antique Auto Service in Centerbrook, CT. Ralph now has the Model T running and driving. Jay recently drove down to Centerbrook for his first ride in the truck, which he estimates has not been run in at least 60 years.

NCCHP greatly appreciates Brian Guarco's generous contribution, and the fine work done by Antique Auto Service to bring the Noble & Cooley Model T back to life. 

Here's the progress so far!

Stay tuned for more reports on this important NCCHP project, as well as ways you can help keep the T rolling.

Sunday, November 11, 2018


Today is the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, marking the end of World War 1. The Armistice agreement brought hostilities to an end on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. After over 4 years of indescribable carnage on the battlefield the world was ready to celebrate the end of it and Granville was no exception.

The good people of Granville gathered to celebrate Armistice Day, 1918, with an abundant supply of drums.
(Granville Public Library Historical Room Photo)

More celebrating in front of Gibbons' Store, Armistice Day, 1918
(Granville Public Library Historical Room Photo)

Wednesday, September 5, 2018


Bring family and friends for an enjoyable evening of music trivia as the seven musician "Premier Swing Band" performs their popular TV music theme program.

What do Mr. Ed, Dick Van Dyke, Wyatt Earp, Laverne and Shirley, the Secret Agent Man, Howdy Doody and Donna Reed all have in common? They all have very recognizable theme songs! You'll hear some of these and many more at the performance so get ready for a memorable, magical trip to "TV land."

Test your memory and music skills... name the shows and characters. Join us for a fun evening on September 20th at 6:30 PM, at NCCHP, 42 Water Street, Granville, MA.

The Premier Swing Band will be at NCCHP on September 20th

Note: Living History programs are open to all. They are free to NCCHP members and donations are gratefully accepted from non-members. Light refreshments will follow the program.

Saturday, June 16, 2018


NCCHP's first Living History program for the 2018 season will be on June 20th from 6:30 to 8:00 PM featuring Anne Barrett, award-winning storyteller, presenting the story of Charles Lindberg's dream to offer luxury passenger service from coast to coast.

Anne's Great Aunt Grace left a diary of her experiences as one of the few passengers (including Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindberg) on the Transcontinental Air Transport Company's inaugural air and rail cross-country trip that departed from New York on July 7, 1929. 

Imagine an airplane with wicker passenger seats and cabin attendants shouting through megaphones to be heard over the engines. Come learn about all the events leading up to this groundbreaking enterprise, and what happened after!

A historical footnote: The Ford Tri-Motor airplane that was part of the cross-country adventure still exists and is being restored. For a short video about the plane CLICK HERE.

Ford Tri-Motor. Note Pratt & Whitney engines and Hamilton Standard props. Only the best!
(Photo: Liberty Aviation Museum)
NCCHP's monthly Living History programs are free to museum members, and free to the general public but donations are always appreciated. Light refreshments will be served after the program.

NCCHP's Living History programs are supported by the museum and in part by a grant from the Granville Cultural Council.

The presentation will be at the NCCHP museum, 42 Water Street, Granville, MA. We hope to see you there for an enjoyable and interesting evening!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018


Valley Gives Day 2018 was a success! 10,482 donors supported 408 area non-profits, raising over $1.6 million in just 24 hours. An amazing result! Thank you so much for your generosity.

NCCHP is especially grateful to the 52 members and friends of the museum who donated $5,140 during the event this year. These funds will help the museum continue to host quality Living History programs and continue building new exhibits that highlight the historic people and places in our area.

REMINDER: May was Membership Month! If you haven't had a chance to join NCCHP, or renew your membership, simply visit to make an online membership donation, or print the membership form and mail it in.

Thanks again for your continued support and for supporting NCCHP's mission to keep the drumbeat of history alive!