Sunday, May 12, 2019

NCCHP OPENS FOR THE SEASON ON SUNDAY, MAY 19, 2019

The Noble & Cooley Center for Historic Preservation, located at 42 Water Street, Granville, Massachusetts, will open for the 2019 season on Sunday, May 19th, and will then be open the 2nd and 4th Sundays of the month for June thru October. Museum hours are from noon to 3 PM.

The museum is also available to groups at other times by appointment.

For more information about NCCHP please visit www.ncchp.org 




Saturday, May 11, 2019

NCCHP'S ANTIQUE GRADER TAKES TO THE ROAD



NCCHP has an antique grader on long term loan from a museum member. This ingenious piece of equipment was used in the late 19th and early 20th century to grade roads, before roads were paved. It was typically pulled by horses and had large adjusting wheels connected to gears and levers that would raise, lower or tilt the blade as needed to make the road smooth and create a crown to facilitate water runoff.

This latest addition to the museum's collection of equipment got its first trial run today (May 11, 2019) after repairs to various parts that had deteriorated over the 100+ life of the grader. 

Stay tuned for more and better videos of the grader in the future.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

NOBLE & COOLEY MODEL T UPDATE: MAY 2019

The lettering on the Noble & Cooley Model T has now been restored to its original color and design, and looks great! The truck, which was purchased new in the 1920's by the Noble & Cooley Company, is running well and expected to make several appearances in 2019, including at Granville's 4th of July Parade.

The Model T has been fully restored mechanically and will retain its original "patina" rather than be restored cosmetically. As the expression goes, "It's only original once" (even if most of the original green paint is gone!).

Thanks to Socha Signs of Chicopee, MA. https://www.sochasigns.com/ for the superb work, which duplicated the original lettering. They used a special technique to make the lettering look aged so it is consistent with the rest of the truck. The lettering was made possible by Bruce Socha.

Here's a preview:


Right side of Noble & Cooley Model T. Lettering kindly donated by Socha Signs, Chicopee, MA.

Left side of Noble & Cooley Model T. Lettering kindly donated by Socha Signs, Chicopee, MA.

Friday, February 22, 2019

NOBLE & COOLEY MODEL T PROGRESS REPORT

A picture is worth 1000 words!




The Model T, purchased new by the Noble & Cooley company, is no longer topless. A beautiful new wood-framed top has been installed and further improvements have been made to the body in general. The truck is running and stopping well too.




Next steps are new tires and some work to the steering and front suspension components. A new water pump has also been installed to make sure the truck will be able to make an appearance at the 2019 Granville 4th of July Parade without overheating.

The plan is to keep the appearance "rustic" but create and attach a clear panel with a reproduction of the original Noble and Cooley signage to the sides of the truck.

NCCHP welcomes any donations to help defray the expenses of getting the museum truck up and running: NCCHP Donation Page

Saturday, January 19, 2019

UPCOMING EVENT: NCCHP ANNUAL ICE HARVEST, FEBRUARY 2, 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 ( www.ncchp.org ) 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.

DEACON ALLYN'S LAST RIDE- JANUARY 4, 1860

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 Ancestry.com)
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.