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!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018


May is Membership Month and NCCHP Needs Your Help!

The best way to support the NCCHP museum is to make a donation, join, and/or renew your member-ship on Tuesday, May 1st (TODAY!)...because ... it's Valley Gives Day and all online renewals recorded today day will increase our chance to win some awesome cash prizes being randomly awarded throughout the day.

What if you're reading this tomorrow? That's OK, you can still use the information below to donate and/or renew your membership.

Why Donate To NCCHP? 

The museum budget is totally dependent on the generosity of members and friends of NCCHP who believe in our mission. Each year we determine which lectures, musical programs and events we can accomplish with the proceeds of the membership drive and Valley Gives Day donations. You have been generous in the past and we hope we can count on you again this year.

To go straight to the NCCHP donations page, click here

For general information about the annual Valley Gives Day event, click here.

Simply click on the link, enter the appropriate donation information and you are done! Simple and easy. Note: providing the (optional) demographic information will help the museum qualify for more prizes (most new donors, donors in multiple age categories, donors from the most towns, etc.), but is not required. Your tax receipt is emailed to you by GiveGab upon the successful processing of your donation. To claim a deduction on your US taxes, please retain your e-mail donation receipt as an official record.

After making your donation, please e-mail, FB or Tweet your friends, family and followers telling them how easy it is to make a small donation that can help the NCCHP museum in a BIG way!

As museum donors and members you are our greatest asset to help spread the NCCHP story to potential members and encouraging people to donate just $10 to help the cause. Last year NCCHP was awarded $750 in addition to the $3500 received in donations and memberships. Our goal this year is to raise $5000 and hopefully benefit from another random award.

Thursday, April 26, 2018


This year Valley Gives Day will be on May 1st. Please mark the day on your calendar or ask Alexa to remind you, or whatever your high or low tech reminder system is!

Valley Gives has been hosted by the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts since 2012. The goal of Valley Gives is to promote greater giving to support and grow a vibrant nonprofit community that enhances the quality of life in the Pioneer Valley area.

The Valley Gives Day campaign is important because it makes additional funds available to participating nonprofits like NCCHP. As a result, your donation or membership dues payment when made on May 1st via NCCHP's Valley Gives online page will count toward the possibility of matching funds. Our success will be determined by member and donor participation on May 1st.

STAY TUNED for more information and a donation page link as May 1st approaches!

Thursday, March 22, 2018


The joint effort between NCCHP and the Granville Public Library Historical Room has reached a new milestone with the addition of many digitized images from the Historical Room collection, to Digital Commonwealth's massive state-wide repository of historic content.

The initial upload to Digital Commonwealth consisted of over 300 digitized historic photos from the Historical Room.

You can view all 322 (!!) by CLICKING HERE.

We wish to thank the talented people at the Boston Public Library who made this possible.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018


Over 600 historic Granville images have now been digitized and added to the Granville Historic Image Library! They include people, places, houses, events and many other subjects. 

As of today we have added our first oral history recordings consisting of a 1992 presentation by Ralph H. Hiers covering the various mills of Granville, along with extensive Granville history. The three-part presentation is a fascinating look at old Granville. CLICK HERE to link to the audio.

The project has also kicked off an effort to collect and digitize old family photos that are in the collections of people with a Granville connection (residents, former residents, descendants of residents, etc.). This was shared with town-wide via the March issue of The Country Caller. CLICK HERE to go to the Country Caller; refer to pages 8 and 9. 

Your photos and/or documents can be loaned to the library for digitization purposes then returned to the owner, or donated to the library's Historical Room. May Nobbs brought in some great photos that are in the process of being digitized and will be available for viewing on the site in a few days.

The Granville Historic Image Library project is made possible by a partnership between NCCHP and the Granville Public Library Historical Room. It is an all-volunteer, no-cost effort.

"Cheers!" A mystery photo from the Historical Room collection.
Does anybody know what this is all about?

Sunday, January 28, 2018


A transcript of the Honorable James Cooley's Daily Record for 1850 until his death on September 20, 1851 was recently discovered in the Granville Library Historical Room. The transcript was typed by Avola Hiers around 100 years after James Cooley wrote the original entries. Avola was the wife of Ralph Hiers, the 2nd great grandchild of James Cooley. The transcript is now online thanks to a joint effort of the Granville Library's Historical Room and NCCHP.

This is a significant historical document recording life in Granville in the 1850's. Because James Cooley was a local attorney and state legislator he was closely involved with the lives (and deaths) of many Granville families. Those who have read the journal say they felt like they had been taken back in time.

Although most days reflected normal business and farming life, the journal has it's moments of drama, tragedy and humor. James remarks sadly on the death of an infant in one family, the child being "a fine, fat boy." In another instance a woman showed up at James' office expecting to be given her inheritance and upon being told she would need to wait for the estate to be settled she attacked him, screaming and pulling his hair and ears until he finally had to pay her $2 just to go away. He was later advised by her family that she was "given to fitts." On another day he paid off a debt to a local widow, saying he was "glad to be out of her clutches." Then there was the relative of his wife who committed suicide, "a miserable and intemperate man." Not to mention the court case involving "bastardy" (look that one up) which determined, as Maury Povitch might say, "You ARE the father!" All in all, not much has changed in this world!

James Cooley was 72 when he died and although he had an active law practice he was also a hard working farmer and good citizen who was generous with his time and labor. Right up to his death he was helping neighbors trim their apple trees and painting fences around the North Burying Ground.

He was also the father of James Parsons "J.P." Cooley, who with Silas Noble would found Noble & Cooley in 1854. Present-day NCCHP officers Matt Jones, Liz Smith and Jay Jones are the 3rd great grandchildren of James P. Cooley.

To view the typewritten transcript CLICK HERE.

To view the original handwritten document CLICK HERE.

Hope everyone is planning on attending the 10th Annual Ice Harvest on February 3rd!

Saturday, January 6, 2018


On February 3, 2018 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 event is being co-sponsored by the Suffield Historical Society, the Suffield Land Conservancy and the Granville Cultural Council. It's been a c-o-l-d winter so far and if the trend continues ice conditions should be excellent.

Dennis Picard, former director of 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 program will run between 12:00 PM and 3:00 PM. Visitors may participate anytime between those hours. A video on ice harvesting in New England will also be shown continuously in the NCCHP Museum. The museum will be open for tours that focus on 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.

Plan on visiting the ice harvesting demonstration on Saturday, February 3rd. There is no charge for the event but donations will be gratefully accepted. For pictures of last years event CLICK HERE.

For last minute information on ice conditions and status of the harvest visit the museum website ( ) or call 413-357-6321 on February 2, 2018.

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 and Suffield 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.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Deacon Allyn's Last Ride- January 4, 1860

Today we travel back 158 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.