Winter 2015 issue - Pound Ridge Historical Society

The Newsletter of the Pound Ridge Historical Society
& the Pound Ridge Museum
Winter 2015
Joyce Butterfield,
Jo Ann Langham Dann,
Vice President
Joyce Matern,
Melissa Verdier,
Recording Secretary
Ruth de Sola Mendes
Corresponding Secretary
Matthew Bromley
Larry Brotmann
Xenia D’Ambrosi
Susan Grissom
Denis Harrington
Regina Kelly
Curtis Lew
Mary Miranda
Timi Parsons
Jennifer Stahlkrantz
Josina van der Maas
Alan Wechsler
Ebie Wood
Jane Wood
Ed Condon,
Town Historian &
Liaison from the
Landmarks & Historic
District Commission
Richard Major
Donald Spaulding
Jay Harris
Edward Hand
Volume XXXIV Number 1
February 7-28
The Pound Ridge Historical Society will host an exhibit and sale of quilts from February 7 through 28.
The quilts have been made by Barbara Glab, Judy Gignisi, Nancy Mirman, Sonhild Rodney and Judy Simek, all
members of the Northern Star Quilt Guild. The quilts range from a contemporary style to the traditional type of
quilt that has been part of the American heritage for centuries. The Museum will be open for viewing and sales
from 1 to 3 P.M. on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from February 7th to the 28th.
A quilt is a three-layer “sandwich” with a front that is usually decorated’ a back, and filler in the middle, usually
called batting. These three layers are held together by small stitches (called quilting) or by tying thread or wool
through the layers. The front can be appliqued — a layer of fabric sewed onto another layer of fabric — or pieced,
where two fabrics are sewn together by hand or machine. Initially, quilts were utilitarian covers for beds. Often
they were made from patches of clothing — hence to term “patchwork” to describe a quilt. As the populace
became more affluent, fabric was purchased to make quilts and the quilts themselves became more decorative and
less utilitarian. In the late 1800s, intricate quilts called Baltimore Albums were made, crazy quilts (made with
decorative hand stitching) became popular and fabrics other than cotton — such as silk and wool — were used.
Then, during the Great Depression when money was scarce, feed sacks were used to make quilts.
While quilting has always been popular, the Bicentennial of 1976 spurred a renewed interest in the craft. New
tools such as a rotary cutter and the cutting mat made the work much simpler and faster, and quilts started
appearing on walls as well as beds. Today, many quilters still make traditional quilts for beds, but the wall quilt has
become very popular. Techniques such as beading, painting, and stamping have joined with stitching to create an
almost new genre, the “art quilt.”
This area of the country has been very fortunate to have the Northern Star Quilt Guild, which was started in
1981. The Guild hosts a quilt show, The World of Quilts, the first weekend in May (May 2-3, 2015), has a speaker
at the monthly meetings and sponsors quilting workshops throughout the year. The education provided by the
Guild has been instrumental in the journey of the five quilters who are exhibiting at the Museum.
The 150th Anniversary of the End of the Civil War
Remembered on February 21 & 22
Commemorating the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War, the Pound Ridge Historical Society is
pleased to present a program by Ed Isaacs at the Pound Ridge Library from 1-3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday,
February 21 and 22. The presentation will feature a display with a Civil War diary.
Mr. Isaacs, a retired fire fighter from Norwalk, Connecticut, came into possession of the diary of his greatgreat-grandfather, George E. Dixon, born in Poundridge. During the Civil War he was stationed in Washington,
Dixon was a Civil War sergeant in Company C of the 14th Regiment Veterans Corps, the regiment that was
assigned to guard, and eventually take part in the executions of several of the Lincoln assassination conspirators in
1865. Just prior to his discharge, he was present to witness first-hand a chronicle of American
history. During his final service in Washington, D.C., he served as sergeant of the guard at the
penitentiary in Washington where the people implicated in the death of President Abraham
Lincoln were kept, and later was in charge of the guards at the execution of Mary Surratt, Lewis
Payne, George Atzerodt and David Herold, who were involved in the assassination plot. In one
excerpt he describes:
“I was in the court room during the day while the witnesses were being examined. I saw the
bullet that killed the President, also the pistol and two carbines, Booth’s photograph and the
boot that was cut open to take it from his broken leg by Dr. Mudd.”
George E. Dixon resided in Poundridge. He was well-known to the people of Stamford, and
was the driver for an old mail and passenger stagecoach line for many years. Born in Poundridge
on December 2, 1834, he attended the schools in that district.
This program provides an unusual opportunity to become acquainted with a unique event in
George E. Dixon Diary
our American and local history.
Third Grade Heritage Bus Tour
Exploring the barnegat.
Pound Ridge Elementary School third graders were treated to an extended
Historical Society bus trip in November that included a stopover at one of thel
landmarked properties along the route.
The homeowner kindly guided the students through the cemetery, his home,
the barnegat and even the outhouse on the grounds. They learned that a barnegat
(Dutch for “fire hole”) is a kiln, in this case used to make lime out of shells.
They then continued along the oldest roads in town to their final stop at the
Pound Ridge Museum exhibit, where Maureen Kohl explained what the Trailside
Museum in the Pound Ridge Reservation was all about.
Jason Klein, curatoar of the Trailside Museum, spoke at a later date about the
history of the reservation to the fifth graders when those students took a walking
tour to the Museum.
Many thanks to our Historical Society volunteers who have made this
outreach program possible.
Landmarks Panel to be Installed in Our New
Research Corner at the Museum
Our new interactive permanent exhibit board in the Pound Ridge Museum — envisioned by President Joyce
Butterfield, and designed and mounted by Lucien Leone, who created our permanent exhibit in 2002 — shows
the landmarked houses, sites and cemeteries of Pound Ridge. The focal point of the “Research Corner,” the panel’s
screen will show photos of each landmark with the year it was built, whether it was a Hiram Halle renovation
and/or restoration, plus one interesting piece of history related to each structure, site and cemetery. As houses
continue to be landmarked, they will be added. Early maps of the late 1800s and early 1900s will accompany the
Become a Member of the Pound Ridge Historical
Society and Share Our “Pride of Place”
Preserve the past, invest in the future!
“The mission of the Pound Ridge Historical Society is to discover, collect, preserve and transcribe material
about Pound Ridge and its environs; to make such information available to the public; to bring together people of
similar interests; and to promote and share the accumulated knowledge through publications, programs, exhibits
and the operation of the Pound Ridge Museum.”
Join online at — you can use PayPal or credit cards. Or send in the
membership form on the back page of this newsletter.
Be sure to “Like Us” today and check out the interesting pages to see fun, vintage
photos and to stay current on our latest exhibits and acquisitions. Among the latest
postings are photos of interiors of Hiram Halle’s bedroom in 1939 and now.
Oral Histories
Among the activities of the Society is the collecting of oral histories of our community members. One
of our members would be happy to meet with anyone who has a family history, etc., which they would like
to become part of our archives. Photos are most welcome to enlarge the visual history of our town. The
PRHS is frequently called upon for help with genealogical research. These first-hand records are invaluable
to developing our mission of preserving and sharing our community heritage.
For more information, please contact Joyce Butterfield, President, at the Museum number 764-4333, or
email her at [email protected]
The Halle Effect
This spring, the Pound Ridge Museum will host
a new exhibit focusing on the many facets of Hiram
Halle, a man many consider our town’s greatest
benefactor. Halle’s name can be linked to everything
from our local fire department, elementary school,
and library to a 38-acre land preserve on Trinity
Pass and the vintage charm of our hamlet.
A bachelor businessman and inventor, Halle
arrived in Pound Ridge in 1928, a time when the
struggling farming community was in economic
decline. He bought and restored an old farmhouse,
and then he bought a second. Recognizing the
satisfaction that came from remodeling these
structures, he kept going until he had transformed
dozens of houses and outbuildings and owned more
than 700 acres of land in Pound Ridge and Bedford.
Halle had an eye for the eclectic and a particular
sense of how homes should look, more than a drive
for preservation. Victorian details and porches were
removed and imported windows and mantles were
added. The conservative facades of the white
cottages and Colonials that currently dot the hamlet
hide a multitude of unexpected
architectural embellishments
and reflect what locals now
consider the look of Pound
Halle’s own home was
north of the hamlet on Trinity
Pass. He created a workshop on his property where
his team of 60 laborers worked tirelessly to make the
magic of his designs come together.
Working for Halle during the Depression was a
godsend due to the fact that unemployment was
rampant. As the largest employer and landowner in
town, Halle even went so far as to pay locals to
rebuild the stone walls and perform other needed
repairs in town, when his worksites were already
fully staffed.
One of several notable Halle renovations was
the Horatio Lockwood house, originally built in
1833 and purchased and remodeled by Halle a
century later for his friend Emily Shaw to run as an
inn. Emily Shaw’s Inn, now
known as The Inn at Pound
Ridge by Jean-Georges,
became a legendary meeting
place for locals and
celebrated stage and screen
personalities from as far
away as Manhattan.
Outside of Pound Ridge, Halle made an impact,
as well. The upcoming exhibit, which opens to the
public on May 2, will also highlight his
accomplishments as an inventor, co-founder of the
University in Exile — an extension of the New
School for Social Research — founder of Riverside
Development Laboratory, president of Universal Oil
Products, and as a humanitarian.
~Jennifer Stahlkrantz
“Hiram Halle, a man
many consider our town’s
greatest benefactor”
Hiram Halle 2015 Exhibit —
Preview Saturday, April 25th
On Saturday, April 25th, from 1-5 P.M, there will be a preview of this exceptional exhibit
presenting the legacy of Hiram Halle’s many contributions to Pound Ridge in particular. The
exhibit will open on May 2nd and will run through November 29th.
The regular Museum schedule is Saturday and Sunday, 2-4 P.M., and by appointment.
A Preview of the Program for the Pound
Ridge Historical Society Annual Meeting,
Sunday, April 26
Louis Halle Carriage Barn, Front elevation
The Pound Ridge Landmarks and Historic District Commission has been asked to present a special program at
the Pound Ridge Historical Society’s annual meeting on Sunday, April 26, 2015, at the Pound Ridge Library.
Tying into the concurrent exhibition on the life of Hiram Halle and his impact on the town’s architectural
culture, the afternoon’s presentation will focus on the recent renovation, restoration and additions by local
architectural firms of two historic Halle buildings – the Louis Halle House Carriage Barn and the Hobby Barn.
The Commission hopes that a by-product of this program will be a clearer understanding for homeowners of
the realities of landmarking their homes, and will demonstrate that appropriate changes to landmarked homes can
keep their properties relevant to current living needs.
Pound Ridge Town Historian, Ed Condon, will begin the presentation with an explanation of the history of
each building. Next, the homeowner and/or the architect of each house will speak about their project – discussing
the various challenges due to site conditions, existing design features, etc., and will show before and after photos to
illustrate the process of the new work and how it contextually applies to the original.
Questions will be answered after each project presentation.
• The Louis Halle Carriage House c. 1920. Landmark building
210 Trinity Pass
Recently restored and renovated by Rudi Elert of Rolfs Elert Office
• The Hobby Barn – 100-year-old cow barn when Hiram Halle bought it in the 1930s.
270 Stone Hill Road
Recent additions and renovations by Carol Kurth Architecture
Landmarks and Historic District Commission
Carol Cioppa, Chairman
the Pendulum
is published by
The Pound Ridge Historical Society
P.O. Box 51
Pound Ridge, NY 10576-0051
[email protected]
Editor • Ruth de Sola Mendes
Exhibit & Sale of Quilts
These quilts have been made by members of the
Northern Star Quilt Guild: Barbara Glab, Judy
Gignisi, Nancy Mirman, Sonhild Rodney and Judy
Postal Patron
Pound Ridge, NY 10576
Wednesdays, Saturdays & Sundays
from 1 – 3 PM
February 7th through 28th
Preserve the Past, Invest in the Future!
Make a connection with the past and present history of YOUR town.
JOIN FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS, already members of the Pound Ridge Historical Society,
and explore the variety and uniqueness that are Pound Ridge. We have a variety of activities and
programs, all aimed at keeping you in touch with Pound Ridge and its fascinating roots.
Join us and call us at 764-4333.
Please send your membership dues check payable to The Pound Ridge Historical Society to:
Membership Chair
Pound Ridge Historical Society
P.O. Box 51, Pound Ridge, NY 10576
Thank you!
For membership year January 1 through December 31, 2015
Mr./Mrs./Ms./Dr. ______________________________________________________________
Mailing Address ______________________________________________________________
Town__________________________State/ZIP _________________Phone (
■ Individual (thru 62) $25 ■ Individual (over 62) $20
■ Family $40*
■ Sponsor $100
■ Sustaining (Individual) $250
■ Life (Individual) $500
■ Patron $50
■ Business $40
* Youth Membership is included for children up to 18.