Scribner, Robert

Interviewer: Bob Steck
Place of Interview: Scoville Library
Date of Interview:
File No: 83 A-D Cycle:
Summary: Selleck Hill, salisbury 1920-1930, Academy School, Grove Street School, Salisbury Main Street changes, Lakeville Main Street changes

Interview Audio

Interview Transcript

17 Cobble Rd.

Salisbury, Ct. 06068

Dec. 26, 2012

J. McMillen

Scoville Memorial Library

38 Main St.

Salisbury, Ct. 06068

Dear Jean,

After reading the copy, which you said you had permission togive to me on 12/4/12, of “MEMOIR of Robert Scribner”, Transcriptof a taped interview, in 1991 & 1992 of the Buildings andHistory of the Main Streets of Salisbury and Lakeville of yearsago, I found the following errors in spelling by the transcriber.

p.18 (way down the page) as typed Mrs. Byrdshould read: Mrs. Bird

p.18 (little below this): as typed Miss Lesleyshould read: Miss Leslie Emmet

p.20 (5 way down the page) as typed: know ifshould read: know it

p.20 (3/4 way down the page) as typed: Mrs. Byrd

should read; Mrs. Bird

p. 40 (about way down); as typed: His wife was a should read: His wife was Sandy Gillette

p. 40 (3/4 way down) as typed: He married Chase

Should read : He married Mary Chase

p. 38 (3/4 way down) as typed: Paul Argyllshould read: Paul Argali

p. 45 (5 way down) as typed: was going with Aniva Turnershould read: was going with Eva Turner

p. 45 (next line) as typed: Aniva Turner*there.

should read : Eva Turner there.

p. 45 (same line as above) as typed: Aniva Turner was his wife,should read: Eva Turner was his wife.

Thank you very much for making the above corrections. Thank you alsofor “my” copy.


Bertha Scribner (Mrs. R. H. Scribner)


MEMOIRofROBERT SCRIBNERTranscript of a taped interview

Narrator: Robert Scribner

Tape*: $3 A to D

Date: April 30, 1991 and January 10, 1992

Place of interview: Scoville Memorial Library, Salisbury Interviewer: Robert Steck

Mr. Scribner is a native of Salisbury. His home, until his marriage when he moved to Sharon, was on Selleck Hill, a section of the town where many of his family lived. He recalls what life was like in town as he was growing up in the second and third decades of this century. Of special interest is his description of a school day. He attended first and second grades in the Academy building and then attended the Grove School where third, fourth and fifth grades were combined in one classroom. A large part of this long interview is about the homes and businesses along Salisbury’s and Lakeville’s Main Streets, pointing out changes that have occurred and recalling the people who worked there.


Property of the Oral History ProjectSalisbury Association at the Scoville Memorial Library

Salisbury, Connecticut 06068





Steck: This is Robert Steck interviewing Robert Scribner on April 30, 1991.. Welcome, Mr. Scribner. May we have some family background?

Scrib: Thank you. I was born Robert Hollister Scribner on Selleck Hill inSalisbury on July 4, 1910. I lived in Salisbury until I was about thirtyyears old.

Steck: Let me interject this, since you were born on July 4th. I can’t helpbeing struck by that. You were an Independence baby. Has it everbrought any attention?

Scrib: Only when they had celebration sometimes on the 4th of July.Well, I always said that everybody celebrated my birthday.

Steck: Right. OK, let’s go back then. You were born on July 4, 1910, onSelleck Hill.

Scrib..: In the little white house about half way up the hill, by the brook. Ifirst went to school at the old Academy, here in Salisbury. It was thefirst and second grades. I started school in 1917.

Steck: Would you tell us what the old Academy was? When was itstarted, if you know, or what was the nature of the school?

Scrib..: Well, I can’t tell you the history of the Academy. The only thing Ican say is that when I was a boy, it was used on the first floor for thefirst and second grades. There was a lady by the name of Miss Hortywho was the teacher there. I remember it very well because it wasduring the first World War in 1917, and we learned to knit there. Weused to knit khaki squares. Which I understand afterwards, they wereabout six inch square, that they were sewed into blankets for thesoldiers. We also did what they called “snipping” which was cuttingcloth for bandages.

Steck: Was that both boys and girls?

Scrib..: Oh, yes, that was both boys and girls. We all learned to knit. Afterthat, I went to the old Grove School.

Steck: Just before we leave the old Academy School, where was thatschool specifically?

Scrib..: The building is now, I believe, what they call the Court House. It’sacross from the Town Hall, a little way up the street. In fact, it’sjust this side of the post office, the U.S. Post Office.

Steck: And how many grades did they cover?

Scrib..: Just two, the first and second grades.

Steck: OK. Thanks.

Scrib..: After that I went to the Grove School, which is now gone. It’s been torn down. It was up on Under Mountain Road, just beyond the White Hart Inn on the opposite side of the road.




Steck: Where the book store was?

Scrib..: No. It’s a vacant lot right now. It’s on the Under Mountain Road.

Steck: Oh, on the other side.

Scrib..: That’s right.

Steck: I gotcha.

Scrib..: Just across from Conklin Lane, if you know where Conklin Lane is. Almost across from it is a vacant lot and that’s where the old Grove School was. It was a two-story building. Third, fourth and fifth grades were on the first floor. They were taught by a Miss Clark, Emma Clark. Clark was an old family here in Salisbury. On the second floor were the sixth, seventh and eighth grades, taught by a lady named Miss Butler. She was from out of town. She came from Maine, actually. So, as I said, I spent six years in that school.

Steck: What was a day like in school? Could you describe one? You say you got there at what time in the morning?

Scrib..: We got there at nine o’clock in the morning.

Steck: Your first class was what, as you recall?

Scrib..: Well, if you were in the, say, the third grade, – the third, fourth and fifth were on the first floor – you probably were first. You might have arithmetic, you might have history, you might have spelling, you might have reading. They would vary.

Steck: So your grade… Were all three grades in the same room?

Scrib..: All three grades were in the same room.

Steck: What did the other grades do while you were studying?

Scrib..: Well, they were supposed to be studying. Supposed to be, I say.

Steck: There wasn’t any interference? Did they talk among themselves?

Scrib..: No, oh, no. If there was any talking, the teacher would really get after them.

Steck: What kind of punishment would she use if any?

Scrib..: Use a ruler.

Steck: Over the head?

Scrib..: No, on the hands. And the building was heated with pot stoves. There was one on the first floor and one on the second floor. I remember them very well because some of the boys were trappers. They used to trap up on the mountains and once in a while one of them would catch a skunk and he would come to school in the morning. They’d have to send him home, that’s all. You couldn’t stand it there with the heat on.



I know the floors were always oiled. They were very oily, and they used to oil them several times a year, just covered with oil. I suppose that was thought to be the way to preserve them.

Steck:Now, you started at nine o’clock. Did you have a recess?

Scrib..:Oh, yes. We had a recess in the morning and we had an hour at


Steck: Did they provide lunch?

Scrib..: Oh, no. You carried your lunch. That’s right. You had to bring your lunch. Three o’clock was the end of the school day. Of course, everybody walked to school in those days. You didn’t have busses. You had to walk.

After that I went to school for a short time in Lakeville, in the old high school which was where the post office is now. I went there in September and I stayed there until April. Then I went away to boarding school. I went to Mt. Hermon up in Massachusetts. The minister in the Congregational Church advised my mother to send me up there. So, in April 1926, I entered the Mt. Hermon School and I stayed there until 1930.

Steck: How many years did you do in the Lakeville School?

Scrib…: Just part of a year, from September 1925 to April 1926. Then I went to Mt. Hermon and I stayed there for the four years. I graduated in 1930.

Steck: Who was the Congregational minister you mentioned?

Scrib..: Roger Eddy Treat, a very nice man. In fact, I joined the Congregational Church here when Dr. Treat was the minister. Nort Miner joined with me. We joined at the same time.

Then I came home from Mt. Hermon in 1930 and it was hard to get a job at that time, very hard. The White Hart Inn was owned by some local people. There was a Mrs. Lansing and Blanchard Rand and a few others who owned the White Hart at that time. They gave me a job there. I started as a bus boy and I worked as a headwaiter there in later years. I worked as a night clerk, a day clerk. But around 1934 it closed.

Steck: What kind of salary did you get? Do you recall?

Scrib..: Yes. As a bus boy I got seven dollars a week plus tips.

Steck: How many hours were involved?

Scrib..: You could work any number of hours. You might start out early in the morning, if someone wanted to go out early. You might be there until late at night even. If some party wanted to come in, they could come in at nine or ten o’clock at night and you still worked there.




Steck: How many days a week?

Scrib..: Every day, seven days a week.

Steck: Now, what about the rest of your life?

Scrib..: You had afternoons and I did have time at night. The first manager there, whose name was Captain Kaiser, an army man, was there for a couple of years. Then they changed managers and they got a man from Great Barrington, Massachusetts. He used to be in the old Berkshire Inn. He was an interesting person, in a way, and he was an Irishman. But he was interesting because any job that you wanted to make money was fine. He was very particular about your working, but if you got a job outside to make money, that was fine.

Well, at that time I happened to be playing in a dance band. In fact, I played for quite a number of years.

Steck: What instrument?

Scrib..: Drummer. I’ll tell you later why. He was very lenient. He would let me out, as long as I was going to make money doing that. He would let me out early in the evening and I could go and play

Well, from there – the hotel closed in about 1934, I believe it was. I went to work for an auto repair shop in Millerton, New York. It’s not in existence anymore. It was run by a man by the name of Blanchard, A.W. Blanchard. I worked there for, well, let’s see, until 1936. In 1936, I was asked to go with the old Connecticut Power Company in Canaan. So, I went to work for them. A man by the name of Frank Whiting was the manager then. I stayed with the Electric Light Company until 1975. It changed various companies. It was Hartford Electric Light. I went to work as a mechanic, repairing ranges and doing refrigeration. I did refrigeration…

Steck: Where did you get your training for that, on the job?

Scrib..: They trained me on the job, that’s right.I told the man who

wanted me to go with the company, I said, “I don’t know anything about it.” He said, “I don’t want you to. I want to train you.” So, I really got a good training in all lines.

Steck: Before we leave the Depression years that we were on a moment ago, was there any reflection in Salisbury of some of the national goings-on, like unemployment councils and marches on Washington? You know the new program that Roosevelt was building? What was the feeling about Roosevelt?

Scrib..: Well, no. I don’t recall very much here. Of course, I do remember they had the CCC camps around. Most of those were in New York State. There were none in this particular area. There was one in Norfolk for




a while, but mostly it was over in New York State. It was up near Copake. In fact, I used to play for dances there, in the CCC camp up there for several years. But other than that I don’t recall very much around town here regarding that.

Steck: What was the feeling here in terms of Roosevelt versus Huey Long? Was there anything like that? Who else ran against him before Thomas Dewey, oh, Hoover? Was there any feeling politically around here?

Scrib..: No. I think as far as Roosevelt was concerned, most people were interested, really liked Roosevelt pretty well. As you probably know, Mrs. Rand, Ellen Emmet Rand, painted Roosevelt’s portrait.

Steck:Oh, I didn’t know that.

Scrib..:You didn’t know that?

Steck: No.

Scrib..: In fact, I can remember when she was painting it because she was a great one to – while she was painting – to ask people in to look at it, no matter who you were. It didn’t make any difference. You might be the gardener or somebody else. She’d ask you in to look at it and give your opinion on it. I knew the Rands fairly well because I played with the…. She had three sons and I used to play with the boys once in a while. So she asked me one time to look at it and I remember seeing it. She lived up on Hamlet Hill then, a big rich house up on Hamlet Hill. She was quite a well-known artist at that time. In fact, I think there are some things here by Ellen Emmet Rand [portraits in the Scoville Library, ed.].

Steck: Yes. Do you happen to know what happened to that portrait?

Scrib..: Yes. At one time it was in Hyde Park. I believe now it’s in Washington, in the White House, I guess. I saw it in Hyde Park one time when I was out at the Roosevelts’ home there. It was there still. So, I think the feeling in this town was pretty much Roosevelt.

Steck: We had gotten to the Connecticut Light and Power where you were a mechanic.

Scrib..: Yes, that’s right. I went from there into stock and repair work after some years. I went into the sales department and from there I went into electric heating, house heating. I was in that for quite a number of years. I used to figure the new houses, figure the heating for them and all of that work. Then, eventually, I got into management. I was in management when the old office in Canaan was there. Then after that closed we had an office in Falls Village, which only ran for about a year. And then that closed and I was sent to



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Torrington: as assistant to the District Manager. I was there until1975 when I retired. Of course, in the early days of the ConnecticutPower there were offices in each town. Sharon had an office. In fact,my wife worked in the office in Sharon. There was an office inLakeville where the real estate man, I can’t think of his name now.Well, anyway this is the old office of Connecticut Light and Power.Actually, Lila Nash who was the Town Clerk worked there. She wasthe head of that.

Steck: Was that before she was Town Clerk.?

Scrib..: Oh, yes. In fact, she worked there until they closed the office.

They finally closed these offices.

Steck: What was her job there?

Scrib..: Well, I don’t know what you’d call it. She had to take in the money

Steck: Oh, I see a clerk’s job.

Scrib..: That’s right, because they had them for all the towns, separate.Norfolk had one. Then they finally closed all of those offices andbegan to consolidate things. Of course, now it’s… In fact, quite awhile before I retired, Northwest Utilities came in. Of course, that’sreally more or less a holding company.

Steck: Let me take you back now to when you were growing up here onSelleck Hill. Firstly, could you describe for us what a day in your lifewas like? Choose any kind of day. When did you get up, chores etc.?

Scrib..: All right. I’ll give you the idea on Selleck Hill. In those dayspeople had a horse, of course, chickens and a cow. My father had. Butmy father died when I was 12.

Steck: What did your father do?

Scrib..: My father was a painting contractor. He died when I was justtwelve years old, as I said. Of course, I was left with the horse totake care of, the cow to take care of. In fact, I don’t know if you’refamiliar with the house George Kiefer lives in.

Steck: I know where it is.

Scrib..: There’s a barn up in back and the cow…. We kept the cow in thebarn because my great-aunt owned that house at that time, whereGeorge is. Anyway, my job in the morning, I got up around fiveo’clock, go up and milk the cow up in the barn and bring the milk backto the house, then go out and feed the horse and clean the stable, feedthe chickens and come in and have breakfast and then go to school.

S t e c k:What did you have for breakfast?


Scrib..: We varied. We ate oatmeal a great many times. Sometimes we had pancakes. I can remember when my uncle came up from Waterbury we usually would have pancakes. And my mother used to make pork gravy. They made it of salt pork and that’s something you don’t see anymore, it was good, very good. That and maple syrup. Of course, maple syrup wasn’t expensive, in those days and everybody had maple syrup.

Steck: Did you start out with orange juice or anything like that?

Scrib..: Nope, no. We didn’t have orange juice.

Steck: Just the main – milk or anything?

Scrip..: Yes, oh yes, we had plenty of milk and cream and butter. We made our own butter. That was another job I used to get, churning the butter churn.

Steck: Did you have brothers and sisters?

Scrib..: I had one sister who was older. She was six years older than I.

She was an organist, a pianist and organist, actually.

Steck: At one of the churches here?

Scrip..: Yes, she played in the Congregational Church here in Salisbury when she was a young girl, and she also played in Norfolk in the Congregational Church there years later. She was organist in the Episcopal Church in Canaan for quite a number of years.

Steck: All right. So we have you through breakfast now. Let’s see, any chores after breakfast?

Scrip..: No, not as a rule. I did have a job for a while there. There was a lady over on the Lime Rock Road, Salmon Kill they call it now, where Gus Pope lived.

Steck: He doesn’t live there anymore.

Scrib…: He doesn’t? Anyway, there was a lady there, a Miss Broget. She was a pianist, also retired, and she had a companion with her. i worked there, cutting wood for the wood stoves and then I would come up to town here and get water at the kettle, drinking water for her, and take it back down, i remember I had an express car they used, with jugs on it and I used to have to come up and fill the jugs and then take them back down. That was the only outside work, except on weekends I used to mow lawns.

Steck: The fountain here [next to the Town Hall – Ed.) was called the kettle?

Scrib..: We always called it the kettle. Actually, I suppose the cast iron one was the kettle originally, but the name stayed on and we still kept this name as the kettle. By the way, on the kettle there used to



be a big ball where the water comes cut, a big stone ball. It’s been missing for years. I don’t know whatever happened to it, probably got knocked off. ‘Cause that was out in the middle of the road and then they moved it in. The water for that comes from a spring which is up on Selleck Hill actually and that originally fed the library, I believe, here and it fed the town kettle. It also fed a big tank for the railroad. Just beyond the railroad station down here there used to be a big water tank, a big wooden water tank.

Steck: .Where was the railroad station?

Scrip..: You know where the last house is down here?

Steck: You mean on Library Street?

Scrib..: It’s the last house on the right. Just beyond that was the railroad station. The railroad went through, as you probably know, where that place to walk is now. The station was very much like the one in Lakeville. They were all the same design. I can remember hanging from the eaves on the north side was the name “Salisbury” and on the south side was another sign telling the height Salisbury was above sea level. I can’t remember exactly what it was. Twelve hundred and something I think it was. Yes, I remember the station very well because…

Steck: When did that go, approximately?

Scrib..: I don’t know exactly, but I would guess somewhere in the twenties, probably.

Steck: Oh, as early as that?

Scrib..: Well, it might have been a little later. No, it couldn’t have been the twenties. I’m wrong on that, because when I went to school, I used to take the train out of here. They had one of those Budd cars then. I used to go to Hartford on it, so it must have been in the thirties, rather than in the twenties.

I remember the station itself. Mr. Bishop was the station master first, and then Ed Ashman was there after him. I was always fascinated to go in there and listen to the telegraph ticking. They had a big pot-bellied stove in the center inside, and everything smelled of soft coal because they burned soft coal in it. I can remember the station masters. They had a regular, you might say, uniform. They’d be in their shirt sleeves and they would have one of these green eye shades, always wore green eye shades. And they had these elastics up on their sleeves to hold their sleeves up. So that was almost a uniform for them.




Of course, just below there, as I say, going towards Lakeville was the water tower where the fender used to fill with water going in either direction just beyond that was a little spur and they kept a handcar there in a little building where they kept all their tools for repairing the railroad. Across from the station, where the TV building is now, that was an office where the E.W. Spurr Company of Lakeville….

Steck: What company was that?

Scrib..: E.W. Spurr. Now E.W. Spurr in Lakeville was where Community Service is.

Steck: Were they a hardware..?

Scrib..: Oh, yes. They were hardware, lumber, coal, everything. This was an office. In the back of the office where all those buildings are were their coal sheds. At that time, they were the E.W. Spurr & Company coal sheds. Farther down that street, where the antique shop is, that was a little, more or less factory. It was the Oxy Christine Co.

Steck: What did they produce?

Scrib..: They bottled this medicine which I guess was a tonic of some kind, called Oxy Christine. In fact, they used to ship out cases of it every day and a man by the name of Mortinson ran it for a good many years.

Let’s see, I got to the railroad station. There used to be a road over from the railroad station, over to – well, you know where Hairport, over toward Shagroy, that long building where Hairport and the flower shop are – that was a freight station originally, or there was a smaller building there. It’s been built over and increased in size and everything. But it was a freight station at one time. Of course, Shagroy wasn’t there and it was just the street down there at that time.

Well, going from the railroad station into the main part of Salisbury, there used to be a path walk. It wasn’t big or anything. It was just where everybody walked. At that time the addition to the Congregational Church was not there, the new addition on the back. That was not there, but there was a house there. It belonged to a Satre, I believe, the last owner of it, and that’s beyond my time. I’ve forgotten who owned it when I was a boy. But, anyway, the pathwalk went between the back of the church and that house. That was a shortcut into the main part of Salisbury. You went by the little red building there, which was a law office at that time. It was Don Warner, had an office there and J. Mortimer Bell, Judge Bell and Judge Howard Landon. They all used that building at that time. Then going



beyond there, you come to the Academy, which I’ve already spoken of. The post office was not there at that time, of course. The post office and the drug store were in the one building which is there now. The post office was this side and the drug store was the other side. Of course, drug stores in those days handled drugs and that was about it. They didn’t handle everything.

Steck: Was that the Whitbecks in there at that time?

Scrib..: No, Sam was working there but it was a man by the name of Champagne that had the drug store and I think before him there was a man by the name of Dickinson that had it. Several different ones had it. But the post office was on this side and William Stone was the postmaster. He worked there with his wife, Emma Stone. Now Will Stone was a Connecticut State champion drummer and he’s the man that I took lessons from and also Jimmy Du Bo is, you may know here in town. He took lessons from him, too. Jimmy was with the Salisbury Band for a good many years. He’s the oldest member, I believe, living. I went into dance work and theater work, as I say, and I played pit in theaters.

Steck: At local theaters?

Scrib..: I played in Lakeville a few times, yes and I played in Poughkeepsie, in the pit. Those were days when some of the movies were silent, you know. They were not talking movies, and you had a regular score to play.

Steck: What did they charge to get into the movies?

Scrib..: Oh, gosh, I don’t know. Thirty-five cents?

Steck: Oh, as much as that!

Scrib..: Yes, sometimes. Some of the big shows. I guess the other shows were cheaper than that. I think fifteen cents for some of the shows. I remember in the Stuart Theater in Lakeville. I remember Ed Stuart very well, that ran the Stuart Theater. That’s gone, of course, burned.

Steck: Where was that?

Scrib…: That was across from the health center there, or the old railroad station there in Lakeville. It was right across the road from it. There was a building there. The theater was on the second floor and an A&P store was on the first floor.. There was a little colored fellow that used to work at taking tickets, Ernie Games, and Madeline Garrity used to play for most of the regular movies when they didn’t have any orchestra or anything. She would play the player piano and Glad Bellini, Harry Bellini’s first wife, also played there some of the time. Ed Stuart used to run a series of movies. He had that theater. He had




a building in Lime Rock where he ran movies and one in Ccpake where he ran movies and one in Norfolk where he ran movies. So, he had a regular set-up there.

Scrib…: Coming back to Salisbury Center…

Steck: Before we do that, there are a couple of things that I want to ask about. You were talking about that path that went back of the church, the Congregational Church. Someone mentioned in an interview that at one time there were stables or horse stalls back there, ‘was that in your time?

Scrib..:Not there. I’ll get to that in just a minute.

Steck:And the other question is. You mentioned that there was a black

ticket taker at the movie.

Scrib…: Yes, he was from Lakeville.

Steck: Were there many blacks here?

Scrib..: Down Farnam Road there were several families. There was a Branch family and the Games family, very nice families.

Steck: Did they fit into the community?

Scrib..: Oh, yes.

Steck: There was no problem about….

Scrib..: Oh, no. There was no feeling here, not that I know of, anyway, because everybody liked Ernie.

Steck:And they all came to the lake along with everybody else?

Scrib..: Oh, yes. There were no feelings that I know of. They were very well liked, nice families. As a matter of fact, most of them are still there.

Steck: Yes, I interviewed one of them, a nurse. I’ve forgotten her name now.

Scrib..: Oh, Branch? She worked in the Sharon Hospital.

Steck: Yes, I think that was her name.

Scrib..: Oh, I remember her.

Steck: OK, so now that’s clear. You were talking about – keep going on your journey.

Scrip..: I was going up Main Street. We got past the drug store. Now I come to the horse sheds that you spoke of. it was between what now is the Salisbury Bank and the drug store, that alleyway. it was a road that went down in back and there were the horse sheds in back of what is now the Salisbury Bank and the drug store. They were semicircular sheds, roofed and the back end was filled in. But they were open on the sides and on the front. They were made into stalls so that when you came down with your horse and wagon, which I did many



times from home, you could drive in there and hitch your horse up. There were rings in the back where you could hitch your horse and leave him for whatever you were going to do in the town.

Back of the drug store, i believe now it’s the ice cream par! or, just the back end of the drug store. It was a separate building and that was then a plumbing shop with a man by the name of Wanger ran it. A lot of people have heard of the name of Bill Dempsey. They probably remember Bill here. Bill worked for Wanger. That’s where he got into the plumbing business.

Going on up the street, the next building is the bank, of course. That was George Clark’s dry goods store. He sold dry goods, notions etc. I remember particularly because there was a candy case in there, of penny candy, and the kids all used to go in there and buy candy. There was a lady there, Carrie Conklin, was in charge of it and everybody was crazy about her. She was a very nice person.

The next building, a little building there, was the barber shop. A man by the name of Chet Thurston was in there at one time. Now, there were several barbers there, but I remember when Chet Thurston was there. Then he moved to Lakeville and had a barber shop there.

The next building is the old grocery store. What’s the name of it now? It was just this side of the Episcopal Church That was George Clark’s grocery store. It’s a clothing store now. [Connecticut Yankee – Ed) I remember that very well and I particularly remember the smell in there.

Steck: The smell?

□crib..: What you smelled was a combination of cheese, kerosene, molasses, various things because everything was sold by the bulk in those days. In fact, if you came down and you wanted to get some milk, you had to have a milk can of your own. If you came down and wanted kerosene, you had to have a kerosene can. If you bought coffee, they weighed it out in a paper bag. You could have it ground or you could have it whole, either way. I remember there was a man there by the name of Grant Tanner, who worked there for a good many years. He was the clerk but it was owned, as I said, by George Clark. Now, just beyond the Episcopal Church what is now Ragamont, was Maple Shade. There was a man by the name of Will Russell, who ran the hotel. I think he was the owner of the White Hart Inn and the Maple Shade.

Steck: The Maple Shade was a restaurant?

□crib..: No, it was a hotel.




Steck: Oh, a hotel.

Serio..: And he ran the White Hart Inn in summer, in winter, he would close it and move everybody to the Maple Shade. It was a smaller building and he would run that in the winter.

Steck: Oh, that was the reason.

Scrib..: But, then, as I say, after he passed away, some of the townspeople took over the White Hart and the Maple Shade was sold. I don’t know who the first owners were. I can’t remember who they were. But I know that was sold.

Let’s see, there isn’t much else I can remember up that street, particularly. On the opposite side of the road from the Episcopal Church, ‘way up on the hill, what is now a large apartment house: that was a single family house. There were two ladies who lived there, the Sanford sisters. They were great travelers. They traveled all over the world and they would pick up objects. They had a whole houseful of things that they picked up and they used to come to the school, to the Grove School, every once in a while and spend an hour or two with the students and show all these things that they’d picked up in foreign countries. I know we were always crazy to have them come there because we were interested in those things. Since then, of course, it’s been made into an apartment house, I believe.

In the main part of Salisbury below that and on that side of the street there is a sort of a shop where they sell athletic equipment, skis and things like that. That was not there. All of that was built later and the house up in back was down there. It’s been moved up there. There was no road up in that area at all but that house belonged to a man by the name of Charlie Warner, Charles Warner, who was a deacon in the Congregational Church. He had two children, Elizabeth and Edward. Edward is no longer living. Elizabeth married a fellow by the name of John Hoffman. John and I both graduated from Mt. Hermon the same year. He was, well, his middle name is Norton. He was related to the Norton family of Salisbury.

That house, as I say, was down by the road. Up in back there, between the old cemetery just to the right of the old cemetery, was what they called the old lock-up. It was a little brick building, a little square brick building. I think it had just one cell in it. I don’t remember just exactly what the inside looked like. They finally tore it down, worse luck. I wish it was still there. But, anyway, it had a stove and it had a table and chair and it had a bed in there. Well, there’s a funny story that goes with that. There was a man in town




here, a drifter more or less, Jackie Holder. I guess ‘most everybody knows about Jackie Holder. But, anyway, he was a great one for drinking a little bit too much and becoming under the weather and the Selectman would take him up and put him in the jail for overnight until he sobered up. Weil, he got to the point where when he would get in that condition, he would come to the Selectman and ask for the key and he’d go up and lock himself in.

Steck: Ha, ha, ha.

Scrib..: In later years they gave him the key and he lived there until he passed away.

Steck: Now, you said ‘Selectman’. There was no sheriff or policeman or…

Scrib..: There was, yes, but I think the Selectman was really the one. As I recall it was George Selleck was Selectman at that time. As I recall, he was the one that did it. They didn’t care who did it. Holder was a harmless person, but he just had to have it, a wino I guess you’d call him. I don’t know.

Steck: No other kinds of criminal cases in the area?

Scrib..: I don’t remember it ever being used for anything, no. As I say, they finally tore it down.

Steck:Nothing like, let’s say, the Duntz case or something like that?

Scrib..:Oh, no. Not that I know of. There was a case in town here. I don’t

recall too much of it. But there was a case where a, I believe, a woman who worked to the White Hart Inn…. She was a black woman, I believe, and as I recall it, she was murdered on the Cobble Road. But I don’t think they ever proved anything, as I recall it. That’s the only case I know of, anything really in town that happened and I don’t know much about it. I just heard the story of it, that’s all.

Yes, by the Town Hall, the old Town Hall, of course, was there at the time. Facing the Town Hall, to the right of it just a little way was the old unit they used to use in fires. I never knew of its being used but it was still there when I was a boy. What it was, was two posts in the ground with a cross piece across the top and a chain hanging down. The chain was connected to the rim of the engine wheel, a railroad engine wheel. It was round and it had a piece cut out of it. Beside it was a small hammer on a chain and when they had a fire they would hit that and call the people out. In my day that was not used. They were using the bells. There was a bell up Factory Street, or Washinee as they call it, on the old cutlery shop ‘way up. There was a bell there that they would ring in case of fire. There was


Scribner, ROBERT

a bell in Lakeville that they would ring in case of fire. I guess they would ring any of them, even the school bells,, if they had a fire.

Oh, the old Bushnell Tavern. The Bushnell Tavern when I first knew it, it was near the road, it was not set back as far as it is today: it was quite close to the road. It was owned by a man by the name of Anson Williams and Anson Williams ran a livery stable. He had a livery stable in the back. I don’t know if he ran a tavern there or what. Steck: Or whether he ran a tavern.

Scrib…: He may have…

Steck: They’re called tavern but not necessarily…

Scrib..: No. He may have taken people in for the night and things like that. I really don’t know, but I know he owned it and he owned all the land up one side of Selleck Hill, on the left hand side going up quite a ways.


It was part of his stable there. Anyway it sold finally, of course, to Don Warner, or Don Warner’s family. They took some of the barns down in back of the house and moved the house back from the road. One of the barns was moved by a man by the name of George Melvin. He moved it up the street, towards Canaan and it’s one of those houses along to the left there on the road to Canaan. That was made from the old barn, Bushnell Tavern. The land beyond Bushnell Tavern, I believe, it’s called the Stiles Field now.

Steck: Oh, yes. I know where it is.

Scrib..: I remember there was a tennis court in there, way back,that went with the Bushnell Tavern property at the time.

We might go up Main Street.

Steck: Yeah.

Scrib..: At the corner of Selleck Hill Road and Washinee Street, Washinee Street at that time went between the house and a factory which is no longer there. It didn’t go up over the hill, as it does now.

Steck: What kind of a factory was that?

Scrib.: That was at one time a bicycle factory and it was also a rubber factory at one time. And they did wood work there. I believe they had the Salisbury Artisans at one time. They did various things, but in the early days that I remember, it was a bicycle factory. One thing they made there was bicycle spokes, because we used to see them in the brook there. They were twisted. They were like the, I don’t know if you know these, what they call icicles at Christmas time that you put on the tree.




Steck: Oh sure.

Scrib..: Well, these bicycle spokes were made similar to these. And they ten me – I don’t knew this for a fact – but they say that when it was a rubber factory, they made heels, rubber heels arid they also made bulbs for atomizers. Now, that is just hearsay, as far as I know. I mean, I was told that.

Steck: Do you know approximately when they went out of business, which decade?

Scrib..: Well, the bicycle factory was still operating when I was a boy, so that would be operating probably into 1920, ’21, {early} probably. I don’t remember when it burned.

S t e c k:0 h, it burned down?

Scrib..: Yeah, it burned one night and I don’t remember because I was home at the time it burned.

Steck: And they didn’t reopen the business?

Scrib..: They didn’t rebuild it all there, you see. All you see now is just the stone wall where it was.

Steck: I’ll have to take a look at it.

Scrib..: But, then going up Selleck Hill, the first house up there was a family by the name of Squires, a lady and her daughter. Mr. Squires was no longer living. The daughter was a librarian, I believe, in New York. She used to come up weekends, Lizzie Squires. Everybody called her Lizzie. Lizzie still owned that after I graduated from school and was living back at home again, but I don’t know when she left. Of course, later after 1945 I was in Sharon, so 1 kind of missed what went on after that in town . Beyond that, of course, is George Kiefer’s. ‘Well, George Kiefer’s house was my mother’s family, the old Hollister family. It goes back to, in fact, my grandfather, Charles Augustus Hollister, was there. My great-grandfather, Charles Augustus, the first was there and before him was the man who built the house, James Pierce. He would be rny great, great-grandfather, 1 guess.

Steck: We’re talking about a family that came here when, to Salisbury?

Scrib..: In the early, well, going back to the Hollister family, Isaac- Hollister came from Glastonbury, Connecticut where all the Hollisters came from and that would be the early nineteen hundreds, [narrator probably means eighteen hundreds – Ed.) He had a son named Julius. In fact, up Washinee Street or Factory Street, there is a place up there that belonged to a man by the name of Decker. It’s the house that’s really under the road. The road goes up, well, you can see the roof of




the house, and that was the Decker place. Now, Isaac and JuliusHollister were gunsmiths and had a gun shop up there in that, wherethat house… They rented that house. And they also rented the shopthere and according to the town records, they had a trip hammer andgun shop there.

How i got interested in it is through the Sharon Historical Societybecause we have a gun collection over there that originally belongedto a Ned or Edward, Hollister. And that got me interested and so Istarted tracing it. Edward Hollister, who originally owned the guncollection, was the son of an Egbert Hollister who lived in GreatBarrington. Egbert Hollister was the son of this Julius Hollister, whohad the gun shop. So, putting two and two together, I surmise thatprobably some of the guns in the Sharon collection came from the oldgun shop up there on Washinee Street.

Steck: Just before we leave this, on your father’s side, when did theycome to Salisbury?

Scrib..: My grandmother bought the house about 1864. They came fromNortheast, over in New York State, over here near Millerton.

Steck: What ethnic background were the two families? What country didthey come from originally?

Scrib..; Oh, they’re both English.

Steck: Both from England.

Scrib..: Uh, yes. I can go back to Benjamin Scribner, who was the emigrantin Norwalk, Connecticut.


Steck: What year, approximately what year?

Scrib.: We don’t, have a record of his corning over, because we can’t find it.That’s normal. But anyway, he was living in 1640,’50 in Norwalk.Some of the time he lived in Huntington, Long Island becauseHuntington and Oyster Bay and that area were part of Connecticut atone time.

Steck: They were part of Connecticut?

Scrib..: They were part of the state of Connecticut, believe it or not.

And then he was a weaver by trade and he was given, land inHuntington if he would stay ten years there and weave for the people.

Steck: So then they went by boat?

Scrip..: Yes, they went by boat but eventually he went into Norwalk and, ofcourse, I can trace the family up from Norwalk. Charles Scribner &Son, the publishers, were off the same branch of the family. They’reanother branch of it. I had to trace right through to my family,naturally.



The Hollister family is much easier because there’s a Hollister genealogy which has been written and that goes up to Julius, as far as Julius Hollister. And, of course, from there on I can come up to my mother. They., as 1 say, were English also. The original Hollister was Lieutenant John Hollister of Glastonbury, Connecticut. In fact, if you go down to Glastonbury today, the old house is still there, dating back to the early 1700s. And the ferry that crosses the river there is called the Hollister ferry because the Hollister family ran it for a while there. Of course, a lot of the English people, you can trace the families in England, but you can’t trace their crossing necessarily because a lot of these people really didn’t have the money to pay for passage and, what they did, they acted as sailors on the ships coming across. But there were a lot of books written. Hutton has written a

lot of books which show the passenger ships, the passengers who were on these ships etc. But there are a lot of families that cannot, just cannot trace.

Now, going back to Selleck Hill, the Kiefer house; or the Hollister house as I sometimes call it was sold in 1901 to a Mrs. Bird from Great Barrington.. Now, Mrs. Bird was in the family because she was a sister to my grandmother who was a Hollister. So there are wheels within wheels there. But, anyway, she bought that house and lived there until she passed away in 1922. She left the place to my mother and then my mother sold it to Miss Lesley Emmet. Miss Emmet was a sister to Mrs. Rand and she was an artist, also. She did a lot of art

work until she passed away and then it was sold to George Kiefer, bringing it up-to-date. There’s another house up there belonging to a Mrs. Potter, I believe, who owns it now. It sits way up in back and that belonged to a cousin of mine, Mrs. Helen Cushman, at the time when I was a little boy. Well, originally, it belonged to George Nelson who was a painter. In fact, my father learned painting from him. Then the Cushman family moved in. They lived there for quite a number of years. In later years, Mrs. Grant- Do you know Penny Grant?

Steck: Oh Penny Grant’s family lived there. I remember Penny telling me that.

Scrib: When I was growing up, Penny & her sister were little girls. They lived there for quite a while. We lived next door: my grandmother had bought that house. I sold it because my mother



Mother & then my sister passed away. I finally had no use for keeping the house so I sold it and to tell you the truth, I don t know who lives there now. I have no idea.

Steck: when you go up that hill on the right hand side the Hewats have this big house. Is there any history to that one?

Scrib..: Oh., yes. That was my uncle’s house. We were mostly family on the hill in those days.

Steck: You had a large family.

Scrib..: Well, that was the Selleck family. At the time when i was a boy, James Selleck owned that house and his wife, Mary Selleck, was a Hollister. She was my mother’s aunt. Yes, that was a big dairy farm. He was a Representative from the Town of Salisbury for quite a number of years in Hartford. He had this large dairy farm. He had about a thousand acres, I believe. He went all the way from Lincoln City up to the top of Mt. Riga. I can remember quite a bit about it. Of course, the house originally, before Don Hewat had it, was more or less like Kiefer’s. It was one of those houses with a central chimney and three fireplaces around, and so forth. Then he had a great big shed out in the back. I can remember that, out in back of the house, where he kept his milk. Of course, he was a dairy farmer and they had these milk cans that were in ice water, up on like a shelf along this shed… Some of those had a spigot at the bottom. You could run the milk off until you came to the cream and that was the type of separator they had in those days. Of course, in the mornings you’d see the wagons go down or the sleighs go down with the milk cans to the railroad station down here. There was a milk train that came through every day, twice a day, one in the morning and one at night and he would ship his milk that way. I remember years that we had Thanksgiving dinner up there. Aunt Mary Selleck was a great cook. You wouldn’t want to eat there today because there was butter and cream and everything else.

Steck: Plenty of cholesterol.

Scrib..: I can remember the Thanksgiving dinners she had. There would be maybe twenty people, different ones of the family, George Selleck and some of the others. Anyway, you always had turkey, chicken pie, pork roast, sweet and white potatoes, all kinds of vegetables and all kinds of pies for dessert. Gee, talk about a loaded table. They had ’em in those days.

There’s another road that goes up beyond George Kiefer’s. There’s a little side road that goes off to the right. Probably you’ve never




noticed it particularly, but it goes up quite a ways. There’s a housethere on the left. I don’t know who lives there now. Mrs. Hall, whowas Selena Selleck, she lived there when my uncle had the farm.Across the road from it was the cider mill. It was built like a barn, arectangular barn and it had a first and second floor. The first floorwas built like a huge trough, a wooden trough with a space at the endwhere the cider would run out, be caught in things. Through thecenter of the building was a great big steel screw and it came downthrough the second floor and there was like a capstan on the top.What would happen, they would lay the apples and I guess they usedburlap: they used to use some kind of cloth and layers of the chopped-up apples. And then the men would go up to the second floor and walkaround and turn the screw down and there was a big wooden pieceover the top. That’s the way they would squeeze it. I remember lotsof times I was up there, a little boy, and when they were making ciderwe’d take a straw, lie on our stomachs and suck the cider in as itcame out.

It was quite interesting, because he had a horse motor therethat…I don’t know it you’ve ever seen one.

Steck: No, I haven’t.

Scrib..: They’re like a treadmill and they’re connected up to a big wheel

that had a belt on it, a belt drive. They’d put a horse in the stanchionand the horse would walk and the treadmill would go around and runthe wheel. They used that with a chopper to chop up the apples. Theyused to use a particular grade of apple and I can’t think of it now.Even when I was boy we had an orchard below our house. It belongedto Mrs. Bird, who owned the other place. There were about thirty orforty trees there.

Steck: What kinds of apples were grown around here?

Scrib..: Oh, northern spys and sheep’s nose and greenings, all kinds really.Russets were the ones that they used for cider.

Steck: What kind?

Scrib: Russets. We always had several barrels of apples that we put inthe house every fall.

Past the old cider mill there was a pond on the left which was theice pond where we used to get ice. I know when I was a boy…

Well, going back to the Selleck place, they sold it to a ColonelLansing, finally. He was the one, the Lansings were the ones whorebuilt the whole house, changed everything there. They had threechildren, two boys and a girl. The oldest boy is still living.




Livingston Lansing lives cut in New York State somewhere. I used to see him once in a while. Billy, the second boy, was killed in. the war. He was lost at sea. The girl, I don’t know whatever happened to her. She went with Howard Hughes for a while. He used to come up in an airplane to Lakeville Lake, take her back. She ended up owning property, I believe, in Bermuda. She moved out of here. I don’t know whatever happened to her.

I was going to say, going back up to the Hewat place, up that side road, there was this ice pond. There was a boy who worked for Lansing. His father worked for the Lansings. He and I used to go to school together with a fellow named Walt Matheson. We had a raft up on that pond and we used to go up there and have a wonderful time in the summer. Beyond that, there used to be another farm, a farmhouse and barn, long since gone. When I was a boy there was a Berganti family, an Italian family, who rented that and lived there. They used to cut railroad ties. They cut the old chestnuts. The chestnuts were still good, still sound. They would cut the chestnuts and they had a man there who would hew them. He’d straddle the logs and hew them out. Then, down past George Kiefer’s there on the flat they would pile them up. I remember them ranked up, oh, twelve feet high along there. Then later on they would take them down to the railroad.

Later they used to cut witch hazel. That was another thing they did. There was a lot of witch hazel up in the woods there. They would cut that. They’d cut the brush and they chopped it up. Down here at the railroad station they put it in box cars and send it away. That’s what they made witch hazel of. As I say, that was long ago.

Farther up on the main road there was a house. A Berganti lived there and he had a small farm. The house is gone now. It burned one night. It was vacant at the time, but it burned and I think Mrs. Hamilton lives up there now. Beyond that, at the end of the road is the Julia Pettee house. That’s as far as you can go now. The road used to go up on the mountain. You used to be able to continue right on and go up to Hr. Riga. You’d come out somewhere near the Mt. Riga cemetery. That’s all closed now. There are no bridges across the brook or anything, so you can’t go up there. I went up there as a boy, used to go up there a lot and I don’t think you could even walk up there very well now. There are probably a lot of trees down and everything.

Oh, I was going to say, in the winter time on Selleck Hill, the firemen used to do the plowing of the roads. They had one of these big wooden V-plows, a homemade thing. They’d hook the horses to it and



plow down to the street. If the snow was too deep, they’d hook the oxen to it because horses ‘won’t go through snow it’ it’s up near their bellies. They will not go. But oxen – I think they’d go if it ware over their heads. They’ll do almost anything. But anyway, they would clean off the roads and, of course, that left a little snow on the bottom, for sleighs and everything. That would become glazed. We had Flexible Flyer sleds in those days. In fact, I still have one. We used to go up the hill there and come down and we’d go so fast we’d end up here on Main Street.

Steck: Wow that must have been a ride!

Scrip..: Uh, it was quite a ride. It didn’t take long. Anyway, we had to put padding on our sleds because coming down there were “thank you mams” every little way. We’d take off on those and just come down. I know that when I was home, somebody coming down I could hear them all the way up in the woods Corning down they’d be banging on one of those “thank you mams”. That was a great sport in those days. Kids used to come up there weekends and slide down. You never had to worry: there were almost no automobiles in those days. You didn’t worry about cars. You might hit a horse and wagon, but you’d turn off then. It was a time of no cars.

Steck: Somebody mentioned in one interview a legend of the Ancram Scream [Screamers – ed.] that they presumably heard on Selleck Hill. Are you acquainted with that legend at all?

Scrip..: No, I’d be interested to know what that is.

Steck: We don’t have enough information on it. I just wanted to mention it.

Scrip..: Ancram Scream?

Steck: Yes, that’s what they called it, the Ancram Scream. It reminded one of the Genesee Valley story.

Scrib..: My grandfather was in Ancram at one time, I lived in Ancram.

Steck: What if you went up to Mt. Riga? Did you have acquaintance with that area when you were growing up?

Scrib..: Very little. We walked up there sometimes but nothing particular. I never did much of anything up on Mt. Riga. I got stuck up there one time. I had a Model A Ford. It was one Easter. I decided, in the afternoon I’d been working on the car, that I’d take it for a ride. I went up to South Egremont and then turned off there and came up over the mountain. Boy, it was all mud and I just dropped right out of sight. I had to leave the car there and walk home There was an




Italian family that lived up on the mountain at that time and I knewthem. He had a tractor, so he went up and pulled me out.

Well, of course, roads in those days were realty something. EvenMain Street here in Salisbury in the spring was nothing but mud. I

remember driving down with a horse and wagon. My mother was withme. We had this, eh, well it was a wicker thing, sort of a quartercircle and you put it over the wheel so that when they got out, theywouldn’t get their dress against the wheel. Oh yes, the streets wereall mud in the spring and Selleck Hill, even after I had the Model AFord and that was after 1930, it was still a dirt road up there. I’d getstuck once in a while, have to jack up the back of the car and throwstones under the wheels to get home.

Steck: Oh, my!

Scrib..: We had no electricity up the hill at that time. Electricity didn’tcome up until the late twenties, I believe. We had a telephone, ofcourse. It was the old type. It started that way and then we had aregular phone. It wasn’t dial, of course. You just lifted the receiverand you got the operator. I can remember in the winter time thetelephone poles. Of course, they were all chestnut poles in those dayswith cross arms. And they had iron wire, two wires on the top andthey were iron wires. On a windy day, how they would sing! You couldhear those wires sing as you walked along the road. Our telephonewas 109 ring 2.

Steck: Aha.

Scrib..: There were twelve rings on that street. Of course, the telephonecompany at that time was in Lakeville. I don’t know who has thebuilding now. As you go up the hill there, across from the oldWononsko House, the last building there on the left was the oldtelephone office.

Steck: The Lincoln Hill Street?

Scrib…: No, this was down in Lakeville.

Steck: Oh. You said, go up the hill.

Scrib…: Well, you go up…. Lakeville’s another town. There’s a lot of history in that town too. Well, where the old Holley Block was, you go past that and the last building up on the left was the old telephone office and that’s where all your telephone calls originated.

I don’t know if we’ve covered all of Salisbury or not, most of it.

Steck: Let’s see, one of the things I wanted to come back to was in one interview someone also spoke about the blacks in town, but said they


tn cn tn tn



had difficulty getting their hair cut here. That they couldn’t cut theirhair cut at the local barber shop.

Scrib..: That’s news to me. I never knew there was any feeling there.

Steck: That’s news to you. I just picked that up. Oh, now, you’vementioned several factories and I presume…What was the majorwork? It was still farming, right, when you were growing up? Or,was it not?

Scrib..: Well, yes, but there were several factories running. The knife

factory, Holley Manufacturing Company. Of course, that was justabout out of business. There was a man by the name of Shaw whoworked there and he did sharpening and cleaning up of knives andthings. He did beautiful work. But the knife handle factory upWashinee Street, that’s since gone. That was running in my time.They made knife handles. They used primarily cocobolo wood or stag.

Steck: What?

Scrib…: Cocobolo or stag, stag horn. In other words, those were the twothat they primarily made up there. You know where the grist mill isup there, the old Selleck grist mill?

Steck: Yes.

Scrib…: While I’m on that subject, I might say that George’s father, Albert,ran the mill for a good many years. He was killed in the mill there.He got caught in one of the belts and it carried him around. He hit hishead against one of the posts and he was killed there. George ran itfor years after that, I guess up until the time George died. I don’tknow if it’s still running or not. I used to take the corn over there forthe chickens, and have it ground when I was boy.

Well, anyway, the knife handle factory was farther up on the left-hand side. There was a flat area there. There was a big factory there,

where they made the knife handles. That burned also. I can’t tell youthe year just when it burned, but I know it did burn.

Of course, Phil Warner started the Salisbury Artisans. You may befamiliar with that. They made salad bowls, pepper mills and things ofthat type, out of exotic woods. In fact, I have a few of their things athome now.

Those were primarily the factories in Salisbury. I can justremember when the ore mine was still running. That was in the …, Iguess. I remember going by with my father. We used to go toMillerton in a horse and wagon. After that, I guess most of thefactories closed down. Of course, there was a factory started up in



Lakeville, Keuffel and Esser. You know, where the Holley Block, Holley Manufacturing Company is? You know the business across from it?

Steck: Yes.

Scrib…: That was a factory that started making plastic rulers and instruments of different kinds. I believe that’s closed now.

Steck: I believe it is closed, yes.

Scrib…: But that used to be the site of the Chinese laundry. When I was a boy there was a Chinese laundry there. Lakeville has changed a lot.

Steck: ‘What did you do for fun when you were growing up? What kind of games did you play? ‘What was fun?

Scrib…: Well, we didn’t really have too much. We played baseball some. I know I played baseball and I played football. We started up a team in grammar school up at the Grove School. We used to go up and play Indian Mountain School and we played football with them in the fall. We played baseball amongst ourselves sometimes. Other than that, I don’t think we played too much. Of course, we didn’t have a lot of time.

Steck: A lot of chores?

Scrib…: We had a lot to do, after school and before school. But then, evenings at home my mother was a great one to read to the family in the evening. After dinner at night, we used to sit in the dining room and Mother would read. Books like The Deerslayer and books of that type

Steck: She read to the family. Nice.

Scrib…: Of course, we didn’t have radio, we didn’t have television. Radio didn’t come in until about the early… I remember I used to build radio sets in 1922, right after my father died. I was building crystal sets and everything else. That was the age of radio. Now there are so many things to watch. Of course, we went to the movies. We used to go to the theater. There were two theaters in Lakeville.

Steck: The Lakeville movie?

Scrib…: Yeah. There was the Best Theater, or the one I was speaking of was across from the railroad stop. Ed Stuart ran that and then, where the Chinese restaurant is now, was a big grocery store, Roberts store. It was a three story building and, oddly enough, the theater was on the third floor. The first floor was groceries and all kinds of things.

Steck: Did you ever get over to the Lime Rock Theater? The movie house?

Scrib…: Yes, I took tickets there at one time. That was the McNeil house or something like that.



Steck: It became the Wallach house [a large red house called the casino – Ed.}

Scrib…: Wallach, that’s right. In fact, the ticket window, I think, is still in that building. As I recall, the last time I was in it, the ticket window was still there. I remember taking tickets there when Ed Stuart was running it.

But, as I say, the second floor of the Roberts building there were dentists’ and lawyers’ offices. I can remember the first floor particularly. The store there, when they had groceries and dry goods. They were the first ones I ever saw that had this system where they’d make out the bill, and if you paid with more money than the bill came to, they’d put it in a little container and it went by a little trolley. I don’t know what they called those.

Steck: I remember that.

Scrib…: It had one of those systems there. And then it would come back with the change. It was a change-making system there. Yeah, Lakeville was quite a place in those days, too. There are a lot of changes there.

Steck: is there anything else on Salisbury that you can think of? Anything that we may not have covered?

Scrib…: Well, I might say that, speaking of where George Kiefer is, when my grandfather was there, he was a cabinet maker and he had a water wheel. You can see where the water wheel was. There’s no brook there now. The brook is gone. Apparently, there was a brook that went down through there and he had a water wheel. George knows where it is. He can see it there and if you go up in back of George Kiefer’s you can see where there was a big brook at one time. It’s all rock where the brook came down through. As I say, it’s all gone. You go up to the end of it and all you see at the end now is what we used to call a boiling spring.

Steck: A boiling spring?

Scrib…: There’s a spring up there that boils up out of the ground and it’s all white sand. There used to be a barrel around it and I know we used to go up there and have picnics when I was a little boy. Mother and the family would go up there. Ice cold water comes up out of the ground there. I think probably the water is way underground now. Of course, your water table has dropped so terrifically from what it used to be. Now, up by my house that brook was a fairly good-sized brook at one time. I used to fish in it. I used to get beautiful trout there. Now, it’s just a little stream, that’s all. Then, of course, my mother used




to tell me about the year they had the freshet. That was in the eighteen hundreds.

Steck: They had the what?

Scrib…: What they call a freshet. The dam broke up at Mt. Riga and Salisbury was flooded. I guess a lot of brooks changed their courses at that time. I have an idea that’s when that brook went. But it’s no longer there.

Do you know a man by the name of Zacchea?

Steck: No, I don’t know him.

Scrib…: I’m just curious because he went to school with me. He lives in Torrington and he’s about my age. He and I went to school together. His father was one of the best wood carvers that I’ve known. There’s supposedly a mantel piece at Don Hewat’s that Zacchea’s father hand carved. It’s said that it had leaves and grapes and everything else carved in it. I saw it when he was making it, but I’ve never seen it since it’s been up there, so I don’t know.

But why I mentioned Zacchea is the fact that I had to come in here one day. Jinny Moskowitz was here and she called to me to come in. This fellow Zacchea was in with her, was telling her about some of the things and gosh, we hadn’t seen each other since we were kids.

Steck: She may have his phone number.

• Scrib…: She might have it. You can find it in the Torrington directory. I think there’s only one Zacchea, something like that. I know he’s in the phone book and his first name is Felicianno.

Steck: All right.

Scrib…: But you can mention my name if you talk with him, because he and I, as I say, went to school together for a good many years. You probably have Jimmy DuBois up here. Of course Jimmy and I went to school together.

Steck: OK That was great.



Steck: I am Bob Steck interviewing for the Oral History project January 10, 1992 at the Scoville Library. I’ll start by asking you to give us your full name.

Scrib: Robert Hollister Scribner.

Steck: Thank you. All right Today we’ll follow the same procedure. We’ll walk through Lakeville. You did such a wonderful job walking through Salisbury.



Scrib; Well, I made notes. I thought it would be simpler. In fact, I wasgoing to mention the place where David Minton is, the real estatedealer. In fact, that was Bill Raynsford who was a State Senatorhere. His grandfather owned that house and his grandmother was mgaunt. I used to go down there, cross lots from Selleck Hill in themorning, on Saturdays and mow the lawn for them for twenty-fivecents for a day’s work. Back of Mintons, up on the hill is the placethat Dwight Cowles used to live, Dwight and his wife. He had a truckgarden up there. That was before he went with Community Service.He used to have a little stand, a fruit stand and a vegetable standdown by the road. Let’s see. Beyond that, later the CommunityService was built. It’s now a kitchen place.. Beyond that, of course,was the area where the Davis Ore Bed buildings were. There werequite a few buildings in there. There was a railroad track and asiding that went off.

Steck: Is that where Community Service is?

Scrib….: Just beyond there. It’s really where the motel is, in that area.

Just this side of there was a siding that went off, a railroad siding,crossed the road and went up to the Davis Ore Bed, which was way upin back. Well, the apartment house that, I believe, Jimmy Vaill hasnow, the apartment house and a little antique shop, just beyond themotel, on the same side of the road. That was Charlie Perkins, BettyHaas’ father, who lived there. Charlie and his wife lived there. Hewas retired from the Ore Hill mine. He was a supervisor over at theOre Hill Mine, retired and he had a little shop there, near where theantique shop is now. He sold gasoline and repaired batteries andtires. He vulcanized tires. I can remember we’d stop theresometimes back in… Let’s see, my aunt had a model T Ford, 1917model T Ford. My mother drove it and we used to stop there to havesome repairs, etc.


Steck: I remember the model T.

Scrib…; Well, across the road from there, there was a private school, MissStuart’s. Private schools were, well, more or less for the wealthierchildren in town.

Steck: Boys and girls?

Scrib: Boys and girls. Yes.

Steck: That school was there about when? What years are we talking about?

Steck; Do you know when it went out…





Scrib…: No, I don’t. I wasn’t here then. I was away in boarding school.

Steck: Was that for teenagers or for younger children?

Scrib…: It was for younger children. I k now Torn Wagner and a couple of those people went. Don Warner. I don’t know the others, but I remember there were some who ’went there from town.

Going towards Lakeville, the hill going down into Lakeville from the undertaker’s building…. That was Burdick when I was there. Mr. Burdick was the undertaker for quite a few years. We used to call that hill Dodge Hill.

Steck: Were there any families named Dodge in the area?

Scrib…: No, not that I know of. I don’t know why. At the foot of the hill, just beyond, let’s see at Orchard Street, there were the first four doctors in a row. Dr. Peterson had the first house, that double house on the right. The next house, with the fence around it, was Dr. Simmons. He was an eye doctor. Then, going across the brook was a little house that’s gone now. It’s part of the bank extension. That was Dr. Tuttle and then just beyond that, when the bank wasn’t there, was Dr. Bissell’s same house, Dr. Will Bissell. That house, of course, has been moved back as you go up past the bank, up Bissell Street. It’s the first house on the right. I believe it’s a furniture store now, but that was Dr. Bissell’s old place.

Following on, on Main Street in Lakeville we come to what is now the drugstore. That was Rudman’s market at one time, a grocery store. Beyond that is the liquor store and that was Bauman’s plumbing shop.

Wait a minute. I skipped one thing in there. I skipped the post office, of all things! Where the post office is, was the school. There was a grade school on the first floor and high school on the second floor. Of course, they owned all that lot. The law office in back wasn’t there. I believe the post office has been fifty years in there. But I went to school, high school there, from September to April. Then I went away to boarding school after that. I was upstairs in the school building. After they built Regional, of course, they tore that down.

Steck: They had all four high school grades?

Scrib…: Yes. And they had the grade school downstairs…

Steck: Now, that high school then was not a regional. It just simply served the immediate community.

Scrip..: Well, no. Ir. just served the Salisbury area.



Let’s see, we go to Bauman’s and after Bauman’s plumbing shop we come to what is now the Chinese restaurant. Of course, that was Bert Roberts’ store, a huge store, a three story building. On the first floor they had groceries and dry goods. On the second floor were law offices and dental offices. On the third floor was a theater, believe it or not, a movie theater, then going up the hill.

Steck: Just before you leave that movie theater, you went to that movie theater. Here again, what years are we talking about?

Scrib…: That would be probably in the twenties, early in the twenties, or even a little before that. Because I went to boarding school in 1926, so it would be before that.

Steck: Do you remember any of the movies you saw?

Scrib…: I don’t remember.

Steck: Did they have a player piano with it?

Scrib…: Oh, yes. I don’t know who played there. I know in the other theater, but I don’t know that theater. In fact, I played in the pit for Ed Stuart in the old Stuart Theater. I played drums. In fact, I was in a dance band for about ten years. I can remember playing for the silent movies. I can remember some of the movies. “The Iron Horse” we played for.

Steck: “The Iron Horse”.

Scrib…: I can remember that, and that was a silent movie. I can also…. Let’s see, Charlie , I believe that was Mary Pickford, if I remember rightly. I think we played for that. Those are the only two I remember.

Steck: Do you remember what they charged for the movies?

Scrib…: Oh, gosh, no.

Steck: I remember back in Rock Island…

Scrib…: Thirty-five cents or something like that.

Steck: It must have been less than that. I remember we were paying a nickel then they went up to a dime.

Scrib…: I don’t remember. I never sold tickets.

Well, going on up the hill from Roberts, just this side of, well, the Farnam Tavern was up there, but just this side of what is now an apartment house was the old Farnam Tavern. I’ll come to that first. Bill Perry ran that for years. But, just this side of that was a garage, run by a man by the name of Smith. Smith’s Garage. I remember we used to stop there too, stop and get gasoline sometimes there. I remember when you put gas in the car in those days, you used to put it through a piece of chamois because it wasn’t clean… And the old


cn co co co co



model T, of course, the tank was under the front seat. You had to getout of the car, lift the seat up to fill the tank. Anyway, Smith waskilled in that garage. That must have been probably in the earlytwenties. He had a sort of house on wheels. It was a manufacturedthing and he had a gasoline stove in it and he lit the stove and it blewup. He was burned to death and there was quite a fire there.

I can remember later on when I was in high school, no just before

1920 because when I went to high school which was in the earlytwenties there was a bowling alley in there where the garage was.We used to go up there and bowl after school. I think, now it’s aparking lot, a parking lot for the apartment house. I’m pretty sure itis.

Then, going beyond that, of course you come to the Holley WilliamsHouse, Margaret Williams lived there.

Steck: She was part of the Holley family.

Scrib…: Yes, she owned the house there. And then, beyond that on the sameside of the road, was the old Wononsco House which was a large hotel[later called the Gateway Inn – Ed.]. You can see the foundation of itnow. It was a large hotel there.

Steck: Just beyond the Holley House?

Scrib…: Yes, just beyond their property.

Steck: Now, there is a house just beyond that, where Betty Schmidt livesand that’s not the one.

Scrib…: No.

Steck:It was before that?

Scrib…: Yeah. You can see the foundation in there, now. There was a largehotel there, but they finally tore it down.

Steck; Now, a large hotel, that suggests that as early as that people werecoming here as a resort.

Scrib…: Oh, yes. There used to be a lot of people who came here to stay,stay all summer. It wasn’t here today, gone tomorrow. They wouldstay for a period of time. There were quite a few hotels for them.

Steck: Now, the Farnam apartment, which is this side of the Holley House,that was a resort place?

Scrib. : That was a regular hotel and restaurant. Both of them were good-sized hotels.

Going the other side of the road, just as you come up the hill, thebuilding on the left was the old bank building, where McNeil is row,McNeil Insurance. That was the Robbins Burrell Trust Co. at that time. The hasI guess they had it as the Salisbury Savings also, but it went by the



name of the Robbins Burrell Trust Co.(Salisbury Savings as well Ed.) I know I used to have a savings took that said the Robbins Burrell Trust Co. on it. I wish I had it today. Then, going on farther, of course, was the old Holley Block which was a large building. I think that’s a park now. [Bicentennial Park & parking lot – Ed.]

Steck: Now, that’s above?

Scrib…: That’s above the old bank building, going towards Millerton. There’s sort of a park in there. That was a three story building, huge. Downstairs a druggist, Dr. Leverty. You’ll hear a lot of stories about Dr. Leverty. He never cracked a smile. He was the most solemn man I think i ever saw in my life, but he drew a big crowd from Hotchkiss School. The boys used to like to go in there and kid him, etc. because he never would crack a smile.

Steck: They’d try to get him to do that?

Scrib…: Yeah, they tried for years. He was there for, well, a good many years. I guess he was there almost until they tore the building down. Then, beyond that I think originally was Borden’s store. It was a grocery store.

Steck: Past that, on the way to Millerton?

Scrib…: Yes, in the same building. It was divided. The first floor was divided and there was a grocery store there, Borden’s store, and then later I think Bauman’s Plumbing Shop came in there from the other place. The second floor was apartments, second and third floor were all apartments.

Steck: What happened to the building?

Scrib…: It was torn down. Then just beyond there we had a barber shop. That was a barber shop ever since I could remember. A fellow named Chet Thurston, big, fat fellow. He was the barber there for years. I used to go there to get my hair cut. I can remember him just as well. He was so fat that he wheezed.. He’d be cutting your hair and you’d hear him wheezing away. But he was a good barber. He was there for a good many years in that building. I think that building is still…. Well, I guess not now, but it was a barber shop up until just recently. Bob Fiengo was there.

And, let’s see. Beyond that was the Lakeville Journal office.

Steck: Who was the editor of the Lakeville Journal?

Scrib ..: Ben Jones. I think he owned it at that time. I think he was the owner and the….

Steck: Had he originated the paper?



tn tn


Scrib…: No. As I recall it, it started out as The Connecticut WesternThere was a man in The Connecticut Western named Charlie Pease. Heended up in Canaan. But there’s a picture somewhere of the oldSalisbury Town Hall and because the newspaper was published fromthere – The Connecticut Western was published from there at onetime – I think there’s a picture of Charlie Pease standing in thedoorway. But, as I understand it, I think they split and ConnecticutWestern went to Canaan or something like that and then the LakevilleJournal started in Lakeville. I’m sure that they were connected at onetime, were one paper. I can remember Ben Jones, because I can seehim now, sitting in the office there. He had an old oak desk chair andhe would sit there with a big cigar in his mouth, smoking away. Awell-known person around town.

Steck: Did the newspaper cover only local events or bring you news of allkinds?

Scrib…: No, just local.

Steck: Local.

Scrib…: Just a local paper, at that time, just the town here. In fact, itdidn’t cover Canaan or Millerton or any of those places, especiallySalisbury.

Let’s see, next to that building was the old telephone building. Infact, that’s the last building up on that side of the street, before youcome to some houses there. The telephone office, of course, wasupstairs where the operators were. In those days you had…. Of courseyou didn’t have dial or anything else. I can remember at my house ourtelephone number was 109 ring 2. There were twelve or thirteen onthe line and I can remember when you wanted to call somebody inanother part of town…. The first one we had, we had cranks. You’dcrank it and the operator would say, “Operator” and you’d give her thenumber that you wanted and she’d put you through. Later on, you justhad to lift the receiver and the operator would answer. You didn’thave to crank them. Then if you wanted to call somebody on the sameline. If you wanted to call someone on 109 ring 3 you would ask herto “three on the line” and you would hang the receiver up and it wouldring and you could pick up. That was quite a way of calling somebodyon the phone.

Past the old telephone office in Lakeville was a barn and I thinkthe barn is still there. That was a livery stable. A man by the nameof Ablehadrian ran that for years. He had a car, not a limousine, buthe had a car that he would take people around in.



S t e c was not a horse?

Scrib…: No. It wasn’t a horse as I know, it may have been before, but I don’t know. There’s nothing up that street, particularly that I remember.

Steck: Now, the name Ablehadrian suggests some possible Eastern background?

Scrib…: Yes, I think so. I don’t know where he came from. But he wasn’t an American as such. He wasn’t English or anything like that.

Steck: Some other background, immigrant background.

Scrib…: Yes. Well, let’s see. Go back to the bank, and start down I believe that’s Allen Street. Going down Allen Street, well, on the right, just in back of the Holley Block, there was another building, a meat market. I’m trying to think who ran that. I can’t remember now but I know there was a meat market there. [Goderis – Ed] And then right in back of the Holley Block was a little apartment house we used to call the Beehive. Two or three families lived in it.

Steck: It would appear then, that the center of Lakeville was distant from where it is now.

Scrib…: No, it just expanded up. There was a lot more down in Lakeville, too, than there is now. All the way around, there was a lot around that area. Now, going down farther, where the factory is…. I guess it’s closed now, the K & E.

Steck: What’s it called?

Scrib…: K & E, across from the Holley Manufacturing Company building, there’s a factory in there. K & E ran a factory there. They manufactured drafting instruments. I think they moved to Millerton, part of it is in Millerton. They’re closed, have been closed now for quite a while. But they built that building. Before that there was a little Chinese laundry there, right beside of the road and, of course, across the road was the Holley Manufacturing Company. I don’t remember when that was running. The only thing I know about it is that when I was a boy there was a man by the name of Shaw. You could take your knives there and he would repair them or sharpen them, polish them up. They did a beautiful job. But if you gave him a stainless steel knife, he’d throw it out the window. He had no use for stainless steel. If you gave him a real steel knife, he’d do a beautiful job on it.

Steck: Did they produce anything excepting knives?

Scrib…: Oh, yes.

Steck: What other?



Scrib…: Scissors, razors, straight razors. In fact, i have a couple of scissors that were manufactured there. I have a couple of knives and a couple of scissors. I don’t have a razor from them but I know they made razors at one time. Their steelwork was marvelous. And then, of course, a lot of their pocket knives. The handles were made up in Salisbury at the knife handle factory. There they used to make cocobolo and stag and everything else.

Across from the Holley Manufacturing Company, where the Forge Pond is…. The Forge Pond used to be right up to the road. Some years ago they moved it way back. There’s a grass space now between the pond [and the road]. Originally it came right up beside the road. Going up Forge Pond towards the area where they have the Salisbury, I can’t think of it. [Town Grove – Ed] there used to be a bridge across Forge Pond from the side toward the lake and the other side toward Millerton Road. It was a swinging bridge, they called it. It was on wires or cables. There was lattice wood at the bottom, but I can remember as kids we used to get on there, and you know, jumping up and down, we’d get it going, swinging back and forth. We had a lot of fun with that. Then, of course, the place I was thinking of was the Grove. That belonged to a man by the name of Timmins at one time who started it. It was a private grove. I believe the town bought it after Timmins.

Steck: Was it used for swimming and sailing?

Scrib…: Oh, yes it was. It was a private grove. In other words, you paid to make use of boats and things like that. As I say, I was back to where to Holley Manufacturing Company was. Then going straight on you had to cross the railroad track. The railroad went across there and the passenger station was on the left-hand side, where it is today. It’s a health center now. That’s where it was. But on the right-hand side, that lower road that went over to the grove wasn’t there just the upper road. Two roads go over there now, upper and lower road. The road by Forge Pond was not there. But just beyond the intersection there was the freight station.

Steck: A passenger and freight station?

Scrib…: Right, with a road going in between them, Allen Street. Then turning around Allen Street, going down towards Montgomery, of course, there’s where the old Stuart Theater was, about where the pizza place, I think, is now. It was a two story building. The theater, oddly enough, was on the second floor. The first floor was an A & P


store, with a man by the name of Charlie Miller who ran the A & P store there for years.

Steck: So there was an A & P store, another grocery on the way to Millerton and a meat store. Do you know what the population was at that time?

Scrib…: Gosh no, I don’t. I wouldn’t have any idea what it was. But it was a busy town in those days. Yes, Charlie Miller was there and the theater. Ed Stuart ran that theater. That’s where I played there too. I can remember some of the people that worked there. They had a player piano in the Stuart Theater, which they used for most of the movies. Madeline Garrity was the one that usually played and the other one was Gladys Bellini, Harry Bellini’s first wife… Then there was a little black boy, Ernie Games.

Steck: Games?

Scrib…: Ernie Games, G-A-R-N-E-S. He was not a cripple but his legs were bad, I know. But he worked there as sort of a custodian and he took tickets. He did various things. Everybody got to know him. He was one of the local ones that everybody knew. He was a heck of a nice little boy, too.

Steck: Were there very few black people in the area?

Scrib…: There were a few. They were down Farnam Road. There was the Branche family, particularly, and the Games family and the Fowlkes.

Steck: The Fowlkes were there then, too?

Scrib: Yes, three families and they were all nice families that lived down on Farnam Road. I don’t know if they are still there.

Steck: The Fowlkes are still there. I did get some history there. They came up with the Warners from Florida. I don’t know how the others got here, the Games etc.

Scrib…: I don’t either. In fact, as far back as I can remember they were all here. I know one of the Fowlkes was a nurse in Sharon. She was a marvelous nurse and one of the best nurses they had, I think.

Let’s see. We go from there down Earn am Road. Where Community Service is now… I don’t know if they call it that.

Steck: They do still.

Scrib…: That was the E.W. Spurr Company in those days.

Steck: What did they do?

Scrib…: They had the same kind of thing. They had lumber, grain and coal in the sheds over to the left and then they had a store to the right and they handled hardware, paint. I know my father bought paint there. My father was a painting contractor. He bought paint there a lot.



Corning back to Main Street, there was an overpass, the railroad used to go over the top of the road there. You can see where it went. It was an underpass, really, on Main Street there. The railroad went past the Community Service lumber yard and then over the top of the road up by the station. I can remember that underpass very well because it wasn’t too high and one day, I happened to be in Lakeville, there was a load of cars that came through. They didn’t have the same type of trailers for new cars in those days and it was up pretty high. They were Army cars and the fellow came down the hill from the Sharon road into Lakeville and he took the top cars right off the trailer. He just cleaned them right off, because he was too high to get under the underpass.

Steck: Now, the tracks went to where the visiting nurses are now or the health center?

Scrib…: Yes, yes.

Steck: Where did the train go from that part of Lakeville? Did the tracks continue or was that the end of the run?

Scrib…: Oh, no. They went to Millerton. They went right along Lakeville Lake, right along the shore. You know, as you go to Millerton there are some houses down into the left?

Steck: Yes.

Scrib…: Well, it was really right beside the lake, down past those houses. In fact, I guess the people who owned the houses were delighted when the railroad went out. It went right along over to Millerton. Of course, in Millerton there were several branches. You could go to Chatham; you could go to New York, well, various places. I know one went to Poughkeepsie. You see, that line actually went from Millerton to Hartford in the other way because I used to ride it to Hartford. When I was going to school, I’d take a train from Salisbury and go to Hartford, then take a train north from there.

Steck: We were going down Farnam.

Scrib…: Oh, yes. I skipped one place which might be of interest. Coming down Montgomery Street from the Catholic Church to Farnam Road, about half way down on the right there was another garage, Heffernan’s garage. About half way down there’s a house there and’ a barn out in back. I don’t know who is in there now. But out in the barn in back was the garage and a man by the name of Heffernan owned it and Ward Finkel worked for him. Ward eventually married the daughter. Heffernan had two daughters and Ward married the youngest one. Later on, Ward Finkel had a little garage, just past the … Weil,



on Main Street you’d go under the underpass and on the right well It’s.part of what’s the gas station there now, the first part. He had alittle garage right there on the right. Beyond that, there was a littlebuilding which was the A &. P liquor store on the right. Of course,that’s gone. Beyond that was the Heaton store. the old Heaton-Barnettdry goods store. That was a big store. It was Heaton’s originally andthen Barnett went in with him. Then, finally, it was the Ben Franklinstore. Darwin Miller had the Ben Franklin store there for quite awhile. They tore that down. That’s gone now.

Steck: What did the Ben Franklin store sell?

Scrib…: It was more or less like a Woolworth, that type of store. Thenbeyond that was another building. We’re going toward the center ofLakeville now. Down in the basement of that building was a smallrestaurant, Bessie’s Lunch. That’s where a lot of the working peopleused to eat. We used to go in there for coffee lots of times, evenafter I was working for the Connecticut Power/Electric LightCompany. We used to stop there in the afternoon, have a cup of coffee.That was Darwin Miller’s mother. She ran that for a good many years.

Then upstairs there were two places on the main floor. It washigh, you had to walk upstairs to get to it. On the right was a barbershop. That was Paul Argyll ran the barber shop there. On the left wasthe telegraph office.

Steck: So we had two barber shops.

Scrib…: That’s right. That building is gone, of course. They tore that down.All of that area is gone. Just beyond that was another garage, a biggarage, Dufour’s garage. That was a good sized garage, almost on thecorner. Then just as you go around, just beyond that, was what theycalled the Hub. That was a coffee shop, too. Les Dufour and Mrs.Dufour used to run that and Les Dufour lived upstairs, it was rightnext to and a little beyond the garage. That building finally ended upas a jewelry store and has been moved. It’s on Porter Street now.They sold it and moved it out of that corner. You see that was rightnext to where Danny Lafredo’s place was. The jewelry store right onthe corner. I think they’re making an apartment house out of it, by thelooks. It’s off Porter Street near where the doctors are, Dr. Kirberand young Dr. Curtiss.

Steck: And Danny’s shoe store was already there?

Scrib…: Of course. That isn’t too old. Danny built that, had it built. It’snot an old building. He worked there until he died, I guess. Of course,he was an old landmark. Everybody knew Danny.



Steck: He sure was.

Scrib…: I skipped across the road there where the fire company is. That building has been added to, a lot larger than it was. Just beyond that there’s a little white building, belongs to them. There’s a little side road goes up there and then there’s a little white building. That white building was my cousin’s building, E. Ray ns ford and son. They were contractors. Ed Raynsford and his son, Bill, had that for years.

Steck: Building contractors.

Scrib…: He was a building contractor. That was where they had their saws and things like that. When Bill passed away, young Bill who was my second cousin, he was a State Senator for years, when he passed away he gave it to one of his workmen and his workman sold it to the fire company. They own it now..

I’m trying to think if there’s anything else particularly up Main Street. You go past that jewelry store. There used to be another restaurant in there too. I can’t think of the man’s name. I remember eating in there. It was a nice restaurant.

Where Robinson Leech is, that was the old Connecticut Power Company. In fact, 1 was in that office a good many times. Lila -Nash kept that office. She worked for the Connecticut Power before they moved out. Connecticut Power in those days when I was first working for them, had an office in Lakeville. Their main office was in Canaan, but there was an office in Lakeville, an office in Sharon and an office in Norfolk. There was a girl in each office. In fact, my wife was in the Sharon office. Lila was in the Lakeville office and then there was another girl, in fact she’s still living in Norfolk, she was in the Norfolk office. But then, around 1940 they sold all the offices except Canaan. Then Lila got a job as the Town Clerk. But she was with the company for quite a number of years.

Steck: That’s interesting. I’m glad to hear that because we have a tape on her and I don’t think they got that early history.

Scrib…: Well, Lila was a nice girl. I knew her for a good many years. Weil, I don’t know if there’s anything else. You go on to Bostwick Street and the old Raynsford house, E. Raynsford house he built He and his father built that big house on Bostwick Street, the first house as you go in on the left there. That was the old Raynsford home and they built that and they moved there. It was built around nineteen hundred Someday I’ve got to write that up, too. I’ve got a lot of history of Ed Raynsford, when he went into business. He started jotting down some things and it goes from year to year. He tells what house he worked on, what



house he and his father built etc. It’s just notes, but I’ve got to write that up, give it to the town so they’ll have that on record

Steck:Now, what business was he in?

Scrib…: He was a contractor.

Steck: He was the contractor that you mentioned. That’s your cousin?

Scrib…: Yes, yes. Well, I’ll tell you. Bill Raynsford, no let’s go back. William Raynsford, Sr. the older William Raynsford, who lived where Leech is, his wife was Ellen Scribner, my aunt. They had a son, Ed Raynsford, who built the house in Lakeville. Ed had a son, Bill. They had only one son, Bill. In fact, he was the last of the children. It’s died out now. Bill was, as I said, the Senator, he worked with his father and he kept the place going until he passed away. Then that was the end of it. So, let’s see, Ed Raynsford was my father’s nephew. It was odd because they were about the same age. He was my father’s nephew.

Steck: Which makes him a cousin

Scrib…: Which makes him a cousin So, Bill Raynsford would be my cousin once removed.

Steck: And you have notes?

Scrib…: I have notes on Ed Raynsford, yes. He left a lot of notes. When they died, they sold the place, broke it up there. They gave me some of his things. A lot of it’s his wife’s. His wife was

from Lime Rock. The

family from Lime Rock. Yes, I know there’s nothing been said much about Ed Raynsford. His family was a fairly old family in town. Let’s see, his great grandfather, I think, came from Marlboro, Massachusetts.

Steck: Bill was Ed’s son, you said. Did Bill have any children?

Scrib…: No. No children.. He married Chase from up in Egremont. No, he had no children. So they say that was the end of the line.

Steck: One of the things I had here, was interested in. Where the Chinese restaurant is and where the theater was at one time, what happened to that building?

Scrib…: It burned.

Steck: Oh, it burned.

Scrib…: I just can’t tell you the date.

Steck: Now, that was more recently, before the Chinese restaurant. There was a grocery store there wasn’t there? Where was that grocery



store in Lakeville? The man, I forgot his name now. Remember there was a grocery store there, prior to the Chinese restaurant.

Serio…: Oh, Roberts



[Several lines deleted – inconsequential, Ed ]

Steck; Let’s go back to the Farnam Tavern for a moment. I have a note that the Farnam Tavern at one time was a girls’ school and library. Do you know anything about that?

Scrib…: That would be before my time.

Steck: Probably before. By the way, were you born in this area?

Scrib…; Oh, yes, I was born on Selleck Hill in Salisbury.

Steck: On Selleck Hill, right.

Scrib…: I lived here until I was thirty years old.

Steck: Then you left: then you came back again.

Scrib…: No, I’m not back. I’m in Sharon now. I got married in 1941 and we were looking for a place to live. We ended up in Sharon because we couldn’t buy a place here that we wanted, so we’ve been in Sharon ever since. Oh, 1945. We bought the place then. I lived in Salisbury, on East Street for a while down in Lakeville.

No, I was born on Selleck Hill, lived there all my life, all my young life until 1926. Then, as I say, I went to Mt. Hermon School up in Massachusetts and I was there four years. Then I came back here and I went to work at the White Hart Inn.

Steck: Yes, I recall your mentioning that.

Scrib…: I worked there for several years. Then I worked in a machine shop over in Millerton. At that time I was playing in a dance band. Of course, those were Prohibition days. We were playing in speakeasies all the way from Millerton to New York City, everywhere down through there.

Steck: Right.

Scrib…: People say there were hard times from 1929 on. They were but certainly for amusement those speakeasies were busy.

Steck: With all those people coming here as a result, what kind of amusement, apart from the swimming and sun was there for them?

Scrib…: I don’t know if there was anything much. I don’t remember much around here until the Satre boys came and they started skiing.

Steck: The which boys?


Scribner, ROBERT

Scrib…: Satre. They started skiing in this area. Before that…. Of course that would be the late…], probably, that they were here. I know they were here in 1930, the year I came back.

Steck: They built the ski run up here?

Scrib…: It was built in honor of John. John was killed in an auto accident, the older brother. I believe that was built in memory of him. But there were quite a few brothers and there were .some other Norwegians who came here, too. it was quite a ski area and they had cross country roads for people and everything else.

Steck: So, this was a winter resort, as well as a summer resort, a year- round resort. And the people came mostly from where?

Scrib…: New York.

Steck: Boston?

Scrib…: I guess there were some from Boston.

Steck: Now, why did that kind of disappear? Do we know?

Scrib…: I don’t know. It got to the point where people staying over. When I was working at the hotel, there were three or four families…. No; not families. There was one lady with a maid who stayed year round. There was another couple, a lady with a companion and she stayed year round. There were several like that.

Steck: Were they generally families, husband working, coming weekends?

Scrib…: No. There was a Miss English, who stayed there with her maid. She

stayed at the hotel. Miss Beaumont with a companion stayed there. No, there were no relations at all. I don’t know what they ever did, particularly. There were a lot of transients who came there. Primarily, a lot of the Hotchkiss people came there. Henry and Edsel Ford used to come there all the time. They had two boys [sons of Edsel – ed.] at Hotchkiss at that time.

Steck: The library is, I think, named…

Scrib…: Named after Edsel, yeah. Edsel was quite a man. I got to know him fairly well. He was a very shy person, believe it or not. He would register at the hotel. I was the night clerk there for quite a while. Edsel would come in, check in, have his supper. He would go up to his room and you wouldn’t see him. if there were people in the lobby, you wouldn’t see him at all until about 11 pm. When the people had all gone to bed, he used to come down and he’d come into the office and sit and chat with me. He was a very interesting man, very interesting.

Steck: Kind of informal?


Scrib..: Yup He was very worried about his boys because they weren’t doing very well at Hotchkiss. They were having kind of a tough time. Henry Ford was entirely different. He wouldn’t have anything to do with anybody.

Steck: Did he come up here?

Scrib…: Oh, yes. Once in a while he used to come. But there was quite a difference. Edsel would come in a Ford car and Henry would come in a Lincoln with a chauffeur. He had his meals up in his room,, usually. You wouldn’t see much of him. There was quite a difference between the two of them. But Edsel was a very interesting man.

Steck: Edsel’s wife? Was she an informal kind of person?

Scrib…: I don’t know. I don’t remember her whatsoever. I don’t know if she ever came.I don’t remember her coming. I remember Edsel

particularly. He came down one night, I remember. The next day he was supposed to go somewhere and supposed to give a talk. But when he came down, he’d say, “Now what will I say about this?” or “What will 1 say about that?” He was a very down to earth person.

Steck: Where did they stay? Which place did they stay at?

Scrib…: The White Hart.

Steck: Oh, yes, the White Hart. Now I have a few things I want to ask you about here. According to this, The Lakeville Journal , I guess, started “For many years the 1866 building was the home of the area’s weekly newspaper.” So it was way back then.

Scrib…: Yes.

Steck: There’s a note here about the John Hubbard house. Do you know anything about that? [in Salisbury, next to the Ragamont – Ed.] I guess that must have been much earlier.

Scrib…: No, no, I don’t know anything about that. The only thing I knew about schools like Hotchkiss and Salisbury, that Salisbury School was Doctor Quayle’s School originally.

Steck: Which school was that?

Scrib…: Salisbury. Salisbury Prep School, that was Quayle’s school.

Steck: Now, who was Quayle?

Scrib…: Well, Dr. Quayle was the Episcopal minister who came from Staten Island. He had run a military academy on Staten Island and he came up here and started this school, the Salisbury School. But it went under the name of Quayle School. Fly father did a lot of work up there. He did all the work for years, the painting, paper-hanging, all the work like that. He got to know Dr. Quayle very well. Dr. Quayle was very



nice, an awfully nice man. I don’t remember him. Now, Hotchkiss i don t know who was there in the early days.

Steck: Currently, they’re saying there’s a Mr. Godding, that I’m going to be interviewing, who worked at Hotchkiss. All right, I have a Bill Kelsey here.

Scrib…: Bill Kelsey, he’s my brother-in-law. He knows a lot about Taconic. Steck: Oh, good.

Scrib…: I think he’s moving up to Noble right now. You might catch him up there if you ‘want to. A lot of the old fellows are going. I just read about Nort Miner. I see he just passed away. Nort and I joined the Congregational Church here at the same time, 1924. I used to know him very well.

Steck: Are there any other people you could recommend, besides Bill Kelsey, that might be helpful?

Scrib…: I don’t know. I’m trying to think of who was in my grade school. There’s a fellow in Torrington, Felicianno Zacchea I know he was up here one day. I happened to meet him in here when Jinny was here. She called to me, “Come in here a minute.” He was here and I hadn’t seen him in probably thirty, forty years. He was in grade school with me. His father was a cabinet maker, did beautiful work. He was a wood carver, too. He could carve fireplaces and anything like that, did beautiful work. I just happened to come in that day. I’rn trying to think if there’s anybody else here that…. i don’t know if there are any of the Moreys around.

Steck: We have one.

Scrib…: Was it Clayt?

Steck: I don’t remember.

Scrib…: I went to school with Clayton. Earl was older but I don’t know if he’s still living or not. Let me think. Oh, Jimmy DuBois. Jimmy lives here. He’s up Grove Street

Steck: He may be on our list.

Scrib…: Jimmy was in my class, too. Jimmy knows a lot about – he’s with the Salisbury Band, you know, the drummer with the Salisbury Band. Jimmy and I took drum lessons from the same man, from Will Stone, who was postmaster in Salisbury.

Steck: Will Stone?

Serio…: Will Stone was postmaster.

Steck: In Salisbury?

Scrib…: Yes. I think I said something about Will and his wife when we did the other part. Jimmy and I both took drum lessons from him. He was



Connecticut state champion. Jimmy went to band work, I went to dance work.

Steck:You mentioned the

family in Lime Rock, do you know much about them?

Scrib…: I don’t know much about them. I don’t know if I have any information or not. As I said, I have a lot of the old Raynsford papers and there might be something in there. Sandy Gillette was Ed Raynsford’s wife. I’ll look and see if I have anything and I’ll let you know.

Steck: Another thing I was asked and we want to include now is the…

Scrib…: I worked at the Academy over here and there was a scrapbook there which I was interested in because it had my uncle, Fred Hollister, who’s since died, of course. It was way back when he was going to a dance and he was going with Eva Turner or rather he met Eva Turner there. Eva Turner was his wife, was my aunt, and it told about the dance that they went to, where they met. I was quite interested in making a copy of that sometime. You see, I’m involved in genealogy, my wife and I are quite involved in genealogy. In fact, I’m past president of the Connecticut Society of Genealogists.

Steck: I think you mentioned the part of England that your family came from. Did you?

Scrib…: Yes, I think I did.

Steck: What was that? I think we have it on the other tape. I’ll check that out.

Scrib…: Where the Scribner family supposedly came from we don’t know for sure. Because Benjamin Scribner was my emigrant ancestor. He settled in Huntington, Long Island when part of that was Connecticut. Huntington belonged to Connecticut at that time and eventually he went into Norwalk. All the Scribners that you find today are down around Wilton and Norwalk and that area, what are left of them…

Steck:Now, Benjamin Scribner came around wha11ime?

Scrib…: Well, the first we know of him was around 1670, 1680, somewhere in there. We know he owned property there, but there is no record of his coming across. I can’t find anything of that. Lots of times you can’t find records of people coming across because you know a lot of them didn’t have the money to pay the passage and they acted as a sailor on the way over, just to get here. Some of them we do have records of because they were sponsored by somebody else. There were a lot of apprentices, a lot of them, and those we can track those



pretty well, but there are a lot of them we can’t. So we don’t actually know whereabouts in England he came from, but we know there were a lot of Scribners and Scribners in England at that time. And that’s about the only country which had them by that name. Scrivener was the most common name then.

Steck: Does that suggest clerk or writing?

Scrib…: That’s right. Well, that’s where the name apparently originated. They apparently were writers.

It’s interesting, but somebody said, “V/hen are you going to stop?’” I said, “There’s no end to it. You never get there.” It’s funny you can find a lot of things. I can go back in the family, but I can’t go back in my grandmothers’ line. I had a grandmother by the name of Owens, Lavina Owens. She was born over here in Northeast, New York. I can’t find her parents. I’ve gone through census records. I’ve gone through everything I can think of. I have her death certificate from Salisbury here. She died in Salisbury and when it says ‘Parents’ it says, ‘Don’t know, don’t know.’ That’s only going back to the 1800s and I still can’t find her. You see. New York State records are terrible. They are really terrible. They didn’t keep birth certificates for years. When my father was born over there, no record of a birth certificate whatsoever. We know when he was burn, but we can’t get a birth certificate because there weren’t any.

Steck: Or else they get lost. Mine was lost and I had two birthdays, therefore. I was born in Rock Island, Illinois and when I was going to Europe I had to get a passport. Apparently, Dr. Williams had failed to report the correct date. He went through his records and gave a date different from the one we had always celebrated by one year.

Scrib…: Oh, dear. Well, I guess those things happen. Of course, my mother was born in Chicago. I was lucky out there. I wrote out there and got a copy of her birth certificate. It was hard because I finally found out from some old records where they lived. My uncle, who lived up here where George Kiefer lived, that’s the old Hollister home, my mother’s home, goes way back in our family. It’s Pierce who built that house. He would be my great, great grandfather. So we can go back in that. I found some old records that told where my grandfather took his family to Chicago. He was doing picture framing out there. My mother was born there and her sister, too. I got copies of the birth certificates from there because I found out where they lived out there,

Steck: And your mother carne back to this area?


Yes. My grandmother drove all the way back from Chicago with two babies, back to Salisbury. I don’t know how they did it in those times, but they did.

Well, it’s interesting but it’s time-consuming, I’ll tell you that!