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Jim Bolton, the Outhouse man, at Chester Town Farm

In the old days, everyone had a privy. Whether you lived in the city or country, a privy of some sort is what you had. A privy was also called an outhouse or backhouse. While they come in many forms, … Continued

The blacksmith


The blacksmith was an important tradesman in the old days. There were blacksmiths who were farriers. Others made iron strap hinges, rims for wagon wheels, or tools. All could make or repair most anything. The iron they used in those … Continued

Working a team

The largest ox in the world in Bellows Falls in 1908.

In the old days, heavy work was done by horses or oxen. Oxen were slow but powerful animals. The Chester Historical Society has many photos of oxen at work. Some of these photos are drawing massive loads of talc or … Continued

Irina Ohl

The Irina Ohl label from the Chester Historical Society

For several years, I have been interviewed by Green Mountain High School seniors regarding John Butler. Most years I meet with two or three seniors. Bob Ulbrich encouraged John to leave his money to Chester Academy Scholarship. This was a … Continued

Yosemite history

1904 photo of W.R. Spaulding sitting on the hand-pumper at Yosemite with his team of white horses. Photo provided by Ted Spaulding

Among the many donations, Ted Spaulding has made to the Chester Historical Society are many photos, documents, and records regarding Yosemite Firehouse. Ted’s father Ed was a fireman at Yosemite. I found this entry in the Yosemite ledger the historical … Continued

My neighborhood

Alice Bliss from the memories of little Ronnie Patch

Below are a few of my memories of growing up on High Street in Chester in the 1950s. At the intersection of High and Grafton streets is where Joe and Jackie Krupsky lived. Harry Milkman lived here later. Joe worked … Continued

America’s first plastic

Thermoplastic case open showing Lysander and case label

In recent articles I’ve written some about antique photography. This article is about the “Thermoplastic cases” that housed those antique photos. Many people confuse thermoplastic with gutta-percha. Gutta-percha is made from India rubber. In 1854, Samuel Peck received his patent … Continued

District 20 Schoolhouse


Below is a brief history of the stone schoolhouse at the end of School Street in Chester. It was built in the summer of 1848. In my collection is a 20th School District Clerk’s ledger beginning Sept. 24, 1847. These … Continued

Nathaniel Fullerton

Nathaniel Fullerton albumen and tintype historic photographs

Last week I wrote some on the subject of antique photography. That article was about ambrotypes. In that article, I mentioned the ambrotype was replaced with the tintype in the 1860s. From my collection are the two photos you see … Continued

Antique photographs

A cased ambro with lace and watch paper

One of my areas of expertise is antique photography. I have studied and dealt in antique photography over 40 years. The camera was invented in 1839 with the daguerreotype. The ambrotype photograph replaced the daguerreotype in the mid-1850s. Many of … Continued

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