Founded 1972 - 206 School St., Putnam CT 06260 - tel: 860-963-0092
News & Upcoming Events!
Cady Copp Cottage Restoration Project
Recent photos - Click each photo for larger size
The Aspinock Historical Society would like to thank The Last Green Valley for their assistance in securing a grant and also all those who donated to our Annual Appeal fund raising drive!
Aspinock Historical Society Ramps Up Boxcar Improvements With Major Donation
The Aspinock Historical Society’s Gertrude Chandler Warner Boxcar Children Museum rehabilitation project just ramped up substantially with a generous and significant donation from National Seating & Mobility of Pomfret. A can’t miss new feature has been added; a handicap accessible ramp installed to provide accessibility to all visitors.
Fred Hedenberg, long-time member of the AHS Board and Boxcar Museum founder, credits the kind and generous gift coming from his conversation with NS & M’s and Putnam resident, Robert Baumuller, the gentleman that he has been working with closely with during a project in his own home.
The Boxcar project, including materials and labor is valued at over $9,000. Hedenberg has difficulty putting gratitude into words, as the rehabilitation project has been ongoing all year, with many unexpected challenges along the way. This was an unexpected surprise of the best variety.
National Seating & Mobility’s mission is to create personalized solutions to individuals with mobility challenges with industry-leading expertise, uniquely engineered systems and breakthrough technologies. Their vision goes beyond being a preferred provider of mobility solutions, as they reach out and touch lives with a genuine compassion that begins deep within their hearts. It is what will continue to drive them to build lifelong relationships with clients, honoring their journey of independence with ingenuity and excellence that helps them move through life. Mission and goal accomplished in this one swift act of kindness.
As the Aspinock Historical Society continues to their annual appeal goal of a modest $15,000 to aid in continued rehab of both historical landmarks in town; the Gertrude Chandler Warner Boxcar Children Museum and the Cady Copp House, this donation is a major assist. AHS hopes that the community continues this kindness and keeps paying it forward by donating to the annual appeal. Any amount is appreciated and will be put to good use. Send to AHS, PO Box 465, Putnam, CT 06260.
Boxcar committee members (L-R) Patricia Hedenberg, Gerry Tetreault, Sandra Ames, Joy Lizotte enjoying the ramp.
Missing from photo are committee members: Mary Ellen Ellsworth, Renee Boutin Tsanjoures, Debra Carabina, Frederick Hedenberg, as well as Robert Baumuller and friends that installed the ramp.
Q: Why did Sean Sullivan of The Crossings Restaurant & Brew Pub cross the railroad tracks today?
A: Because they were there - and so was Greg Morissette of Trackside Restorations, working away at the very large task of repairing the Boxcar Children Museum. (And when we say "working away" we mean VOLUNTEERING away! Countless hours spent on this mission.)
Sean's offering this free of charge lunch to a fellow hard working guy is a GREAT gesture in these trying times for our restaurants and small businesses in the Town of Putnam and beyond.
Kindness - pass it on in any way that you can.
Greg Morissette & Sean Sullivan
Sean Sullivan, Greg Morissette & Bill Pearsall
All Aboard: Boxcar Museum Seeks Help To Complete Restoration
The Aspinock Historical Society (AHS) is seeking the community’s assistance as the final stages of restoration of the Boxcar Children Museum are rounding the bend.
Covid-19 has been quite a disturbance to our lives this year and distancing requirements would make managing visitors difficult, so the Boxcar team has used the time wisely to reinforce and re-do the structural body of the boxcar. This steel is heavy and the work is specialized. The time taken to do this extra work will pay off for a long-lasting final product.
Greg Morisette from Trackside Restoration has been the conductor of the heavy-duty structural steel framework of the project, and has volunteered endless hours to rehab the rusted body. With that specialized work behind them, Greg and the Boxcar Committee are ready for a helping hand from the community.
Every Saturday, starting on July 25, from 9 am to 1 pm (weather permitting) volunteers are needed. If you have simply an hour or two, please lend a helping hand. Many hands together will make fast and fun work. No tools are necessary, just wear old clothes and plan on getting dirty. The rewards will be endless.
In addition to the physical help, Aspinock Historical Society needs a few very specific items to put the Boxcar back together again:
• Exterior steel door with window. To meet ADA requirements. Door openings shall provide a clear width of 32 inches minimum and a maximum of 48 inches. Clear openings of doorways with swinging doors shall be measured between the face of the door and the stop, with the door open 90 degrees.
• Single or double hung window, or possibly a sliding window. There are no more specifics, just a standard size and NO picture windows please.
• Two energy efficient air conditioner. Size needed is not specific, standard window units.
AHS asks that you contact them at AspinockHistoricalSociety@gmail.com if you have items that fit the description(s) or if you would like to donate funds to purchase the items. Please do not drop off any items without talking to someone from the historical society.
If you can’t volunteer but still want to help, donations are always accepted and can be mailed to AHS, PO Box 465, Putnam, CT 06260.
As we all sit down in the evening we are constantly reminded that we are living in historic times. The covid lockdown and reopening and the construction and reconstruction of bridges and buildings in Putnam are creating new history daily. But what about the history that came before, especially the people? This year has been one of major loss for all of us. We lost the guiding force of the historical society. With Louise Pempek’s passing a spark was extinguished. Louise was a charter member and former President. She had great vision and the ability to convince others to follow that vision. She could make the most mundane tasks fun and exciting. She saw the future through the past. She realized that we all must keep history alive for the future. One of her projects was the Cady Copp Cottage. She could trace her heritage back to the building and she realized that the people who had come before her had blazed a path in American History. They were like each of us but they shared their gifts so that others could also achieve greatness as she had.
We are at that point in the year where Louise would be asking the fundraising committee to prepare for the future. She would, within a night, write our fundraising letter putting her heart and soul into it. Because she did so well we have been able to survive and present historical programs sharing history with the community. Just last year she presented the history of all of the schools in Putnam. It was important to her that everyone knew that education is the key to our success and that Putnam always considered it important. This year we would like to continue her ideas and ideals. We are asking again for your support so we can plan for a future that includes programs based on our past that will lead us into a new future. We want to make sure that Louise is remembered. We know that she felt very strongly about the Cottage, the Boxcar and our new home. She wanted each of them to reflect the greatness that is Aspinock’s history. We ask that you consider making a donation so that we can continue her legacy and continue to make history.
Thank you for your help.
The Fundraising Committee,
Annual Fundraising Letter
DAR Grant Awarded to Aspinock Historical Society
The Aspinock Historical Society (AHS) recently received a community grant for historic preservation from the Daughters of the American Revolution.
The DAR (www.dar.org) Historic Preservation Grants provide financial assistance for projects that preserve historic resources, sites and other history-related projects.
The guidelines for the grant application fit the ongoing restoration of the Cady-Copp Cottage. The building was gifted to the historical society many years ago with no means for upkeep of the building, let alone vital restorations needed.
This welcomed news from DAR came with bittersweet feelings, as the late Dr. Louise Cutler Pempek wrote the grant before her passing at the suggestion of members of Deborah Avery Putnam Chapter DAR in Plainfield, CT.
Dr. Pempek is a direct descendent of Manasseh Cutler. He was tutored in the Cady-Copp Cottage and went west to influence U.S. History immensely. He helped build the first permanent settlement in the Northwest Territory, and was instrumental in creating the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. While there, he also founded Ohio University. His son, Ephraim Cutler also played a major role in early U.S. History. Details can be found in David McCullough’s popular book, The Pioneers.
Bill Pearsall, former AHS president and Town of Putnam Historian oversees the Cady-Copp restoration project and is pleased to receive the grant. However, Pearsall reports that at least $30,000 more is needed to complete the restoration work. The sooner the funds are secured and the work is done, the better. Once the exterior is restored, the interior work will begin as another phase of this project.
AHS is always looking for volunteers, members and donations to support the history of Putnam. Questions can be emailed to AspinockHistoricalSociety@gmail.com
Donations are always accepted and can be mailed to AHS, PO Box 465, Putnam, CT 06260.
The Aspinock Historical Society (AHS) paint party at the Cady-Copp Cottage was a splashing success on Saturday, October 24 due to the many volunteers that responded to the call to action.
Like days of old, the Putnam community always pulls together when needed. Bill Pearsall, former AHS president and Town of Putnam Historian, oversees the Cady-Copp restoration project and sends a tremendous thank you to the volunteers on behalf of AHS. History fans showed up and painted like pros, insuring the successful preservation of the exterior work completed this past summer by contractor Luke Walker.
The Cady-Copp Cottage is still a work in progress. Additional musts include a driveway in to the historic home from Liberty Highway - a big-ticket item. The interior restoration is still in the planning stages and must meet all historical guidelines. Pearsall estimates $35,000-$50,000 is needed to do this right.
The Cady-Copp, with many unique features, was donated to the Aspinock Historical Society many years ago, but with no funds for upkeep. The challenge of rehabbing an historic home and then keeping it up to snuff has been ongoing for the small, volunteer only and member/donor based organization. But AHS is as determined as the generations that have persevered before them and have a vision of what Cady-Copp will become – a living museum and a walk through different eras as you pass from room to room. Potential for local students and community members to visit will be priceless, and it will be another attraction for visitors to our area.
Cady-Copp is valuable because Manasseh Cutler was tutored in the Cady-Copp Cottage and went west to influence U.S. History immensely. He helped build the first permanent settlement in the Northwest Territory, and was instrumental in creating the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 allowing no slavery in the territory. While there, he also founded Ohio University. His son, Ephraim Cutler also played a major role in early U.S. History. Details can be found in David McCullough’s popular book, The Pioneers.
Donations of any amount are welcome to help complete this project as swiftly as possible. AHS will also accept donations of materials that may be of use to this project as well. Questions can be emailed to AspinockHistoricalSociety@gmail.com. Donations can be mailed to AHS, PO Box 465, Putnam, CT 06260.
AHS Cady-Copp Paint Day Splashing Success