Oral History Sheet
Interviewee: Mrs. Reed Williams
Place of Interview: her home at 52 White Hollow Road, Lime Rock, Ct.
Date of Interview: Dec. 30, 1986
Summary of talk: family background, to Lime Rock at 19, Art School in Philadelphia, horses and Model T. local families: Goodwins, Richardsons, movies, the iron works, buildings in Lime Rock, ethnic background, Marcello family, church activities, locations of post office, her work, marriage, one son (Owen Williams), the race track, Carrie Richardson’s house-lnstitute of General Semantics, school house, bandstand, foodstuffs, several area artists including Jim Worthington’s father and Bernard Wall, C.B. Falls, fun and recreation, French Canadians.
Side B: the Academy, Lime Rock fire, 2 Barnum houses burned to ground, her job in NYC & commuting, relations between nationalities, hopes and changes in Lime Rock, history of Trinity Church.
Property of the oral History Project, the Salisbury Association at the Scoville Memorial Library
Salisbury, Ct. 06068
BS:This is Mrs. Williams at her home on White Hollow Road, Lime Rock. Ct. on Dec. 30th, 1986. Let’s
start, Mrs. Williams what is your full name?
RW: Reed is my first name, but my very first name is Anna.
BS:What was your maiden name?
RW: I was an Owens, Reed Owens. I used the name Williams ever since I was adopted by Mr. Williams, my uncle.
BS:How old were you when you were adopted?
RW: About three or four.
BS:Have you lived here all your life?
RW: No, I lived in England.
BS:What part of England do you come from?
BS:How old were you when you came here?
RW: I came back here just before the end of the war, 1917 we came back.
BS:Were you born here?
RW:I was born in Philadelphia.
BS:Oh you were born in Philadelphia, and you went from Philadelphia to England. When you came
back in 1917 what part of the United States did you come to?
RW: First we went to Geneva, New York, and then back to New York. Daddy had a business there.
BS:In the city?
RW: In New York City; he had had a stroke, and he just couldn’t manage it. His partner died in that flu epidemic at that time. So I guess the business just went like that, and we came up here in 1921, I think it was.
BS:What kind of business was he it?
RW: He was a jeweler and optical material.
BS:Was it also in England before he came here?
RW: Yes, he opened his own business in England. He worked with the Standard Optical Company when he went over there, but they objected to his coming back and forth with his wife to visit the family when someone died, you see. Her father died so she went over and he went with her. They said he shouldn’t have left his post.
BS:How old were you when you went to England?
RW: They took me when I was about four.
BS:Do you remember your original parents?
RW: No, just my mother once in bed. They took me upstairs; I was about three I guess. She said, “Oh, my baby.” I was standing at the foot of the bed. I was not allowed to go any closer.
BS:Have you learned anything about them? Who they were? What they were?
RW: Oh yes I know them.
BS:What kind of work did they do?
RW: My father was an undertaker in Philadelphia. My aunt didn’t like that business; she thought it was very bad. She always said he lectured; but he did, he always instructed younger men, too on the business.
BS:Any brothers or sisters?
RW:Yes, I had a brother and a sister; they were older, and they have both gone.
BS:When your parents came here with you to Salisbury in approximately 1921, what did they get
RW: I don’t think they were involved. Daddy just lived here and enjoyed himself with the chickens.
BS:Oh he retired when he came here?
RW: Oh yes. You see he had had a stroke in England, and he wasn’t very well.
BS:Your mother didn’t work; they both retired.
RW: No, mummy was on the telephone trying to get all the ends and pieces together, always.
BS:Did they come immediately to Lime Rock, in this area?
BS:So that would have been, how old were you when you came to Lime Rock?
RW: I was nineteen.
BS:Oh, you were nineteen when you came here to Lime rock.
RW: We lived in Kew Gardens for a year or two. Or maybe three, now I don’t know, before we came here.
BS:This isn’t the house you lived in when you came here? (52 White Hollow Road)
RW: Yes, this is the barn. This was the barn, the horse stalls. This was the horse stall. That was the ice house. The living room was the carriage house. When my mother came up here and they found this place, and they thought…She said,” Oh yes, we could make a nice house of this.” The burned out ruins are down there you see.
BS:That was the main house?
RW: That was the main house, and this was just the carriage house, horse stall and all that. So that is what they did as you can see. It all came over from England and that is why these cracks are in it.
BS:That’s good. You live amongst many antiques. You were 19; then you attended school in
Philadelphia as well as England before coming here.
RW: I went to high school down on Long Island. For one or two months I went out to private school in New Jersey. I hated it. So I couldn’t go back to school. I went down to Philadelphia and went to art school. Philadelphia School of Design- then in those days. Now it’s the Institute of Learning or something like that, or Art & Science.
BS:Not the one in New York City?
RW: No, Philadelphia the big one. But we hadn’t received the 6 million or something like that at that time when I went to school. We had a real nice happy little red brick building that we had our lessons in.
BS:What part of the year did you spend in Philadelphia and what part of the year did you spend
RW: Winter in Philadelphia and summers here.
BS:Can you tell me what you did while you were here in Lime Rock? What did you see? Any
experience that you had here?
RW: Well, my mother had a horse and wagon. She used to take us. She rode it. She always had a horse when she was young, when she was first married. So she was very comfortable with it. 1 wouldn’t know anything about it. Until we got our Ford, I enjoyed doing, running around with that old crazy yellow thing.
BS:A Model T?
RW: Model T.
BS:That’s what I started with, too. What do you remember about the area? Just physically, was it
much different from what it is now? What was here?
RW: No, it was a very lovely town. The Richardsons were up on a hill right across the way there. They were very, very lovely. They had a daughter Marjorie who was a few years younger than myself. She was very pleasant to have someone like her. They were ever so lovely to us. They took us around and made us very comfortable in this community. The church, (Trinity Church) everybody in the church opened up. Miss Goodwin, Julia Goodwin was so good in every way. Miss Goodwin was very happy to know. She was very nice.
BS:The Richardsons, were they the owners of the factory? Who was Julia Goodwin?
RW: Julia Goodwin is Hezekiah Goodwin’s aunt (see tape 41 A/B/C). Hezzy is really and truly a very nice boy, but he loves to put on an act. He comes from a very nice family, but he just wants to be a hayseed, that’s all, and it makes me mad.
BS:I know him a bit. His family dates back, if I recall correctly, to 1600 or 1700.
RW:Yes, he was taught that his father had pushed that rock down from the mountain that you go
around to get to the house. That was his favorite, but of course he didn’t.
BS:So you grew up then with Julia Goodwin, the Richardsons and Hezekiah? All of you were of an
RW: Oh yes.
BS:What were some of the activities around here at that time?
RW: We had moving pictures in that building that is at the foot of the Richardsons’ property there. (The Casino is a large white building, 418 Lime Rock Road.) It was called… (Redman or Rudman Hall.)
BS:That’s the red house up there isn’t it? The Richardsons lived where the gabled kind of house is,
the big house up there?
RW: That big white house; it’s torn down I think. (Milo Richardson’s house, the father)
BS:Oh, it’s torn down.
RW: Their house you can see from my house across here.
BS:The Richardson house? (The son’s house, not Milo’s house.)
BS:Could you place that for me in relation to the Inn? Or the Sheldon Glass Works?
RW: It’s just above Sheldon Glass. (At this time Sheldon Glass was at 371 Lime Rock Road. It has since moved down and across Rt. 112 to 432 Lime Rock Road behind a little white building with a sign “Lime Rock General Store” on it and a blue “Imagine Home Garden” sign by the driveway.)
BS:Oh on the same side as Sheldon Glass?
RW: Across the street, at the top of the hill.
BS:Now there’s that red house up there; that was the movie house? (418 Lime Rock Road)
RW:Yes, that is further on, that is right on the main street, isn’t it. That’s where we had our movies.
It was a Redmen’s Hall.
BS:It was called Redmen’s Hall.
BS:What kind of movies did you see? Do you recall? Tom Mix, does that ring a bell?
RW: No, that same kind of movies that they had in those days, I suppose.
BS:The iron works, were they still then?
RW: Yes, for a couple of years they were still working down there. Then suddenly, I have forgotten the year, but there was a big fire (See tape 32 A/B Bart Perotti) the blaze went up and everything was burned.
BS:But the iron works place itself burned?
RW: Yes, the foundry.
BS:Now where was the foundry? (Site of foundry is where present bridge over Salmon Kill on Rt.
RW:All those nice little houses that are down there now were part of it.
BS:Our house on Old Furnace Road was part of it, the complex.
RW: Oh yes, we’re down there too.
BS:The foundry building itself was it close by here, or further up?
RW: I imagine it was a little bit behind the hotel, which is…
BS:The Inn here? (Lime Rock Lodge)
BS:Oh it was in that area.
RW:It was back behind the hotel on the right there. It was all in that area, lots of little buildings.
BS:There are still some in there. I took a ride through (Forge Lane)
RW: Yes, some have been made into houses.
BS:Now if we were to walk, let’s say, starting from the Inn then the foundry would have been in the
back. Now there is a building with a high porch with a Country Real Estate sign. What was that building? When you go past the Inn (Lime Rock Lodge) on the right side, there’s that road that goes to those houses in back (Forge Lane) then there’s this big place with a high porch just before the Sheldon Glass Works.
RW: That was our old store. The stairs went up on both sides to the front porch. (369 Lime Rock Road)
BS:A general store. (Amundson ran it. See tape 119 A Alice Gustafson, or 32 A/B Bart Perotti)
RW:They had the best cheese in the world, down there in their basement.
BS:They didn’t make the cheese here, though. What was it, a general store?
RW: Mr. Amundson, do you know the name?
BS:No I don’t. Would you spell it?
BS:Just as it sounds.
RW: Mr. Boardman was a partner in it, so it was Amundson & Boardman had that whole building there which is now used as an apartment house. That was our store. We’d go down there every day over the bridge which was a hop, skip, and a jump practically because the roads were.
BS:Now just across from that and perhaps a little to the left, there is a place that was an antique
store until recently. (362 Lime Rock Road)
RW: That was the office (of Barnum & Richardson).
BS:That was the office of the foundry. Then there’s a little sort of a one room house next to that.
RW:I don’t know what that was. (It was the library.) I know somebody wanted to buy that, but they
put such a price on it that they didn’t get it.
BS:Did two young ladies from Millerton buy it, or they didn’t buy it recently?
RW: I don’t know who did.
BS:It wasn’t sold.
RW: I haven’t the faintest idea what has happened down there.
BS:We met two young ladies that are in printing; one an Italian young lady and a friend of hers from
Virginia. They said they were negotiating for it. Then as you go up on the left side then there’s the movie house and the Richardson, that big house a little further beyond that still on the left with all the area around it, and there’s still a house.
BS:Old Mr. Barnum. Now Mr. Barnum was partners with Mr. Richardson.
BS:What about the Casale house? Do you know the house where the Casales live? (413 Lime rock
Road) Andy Casale?
RW: I know the name so well.
BS:Well, let’s come back to the Sheldon Glass Works. What was that building? Was it always?
RW: That was the old barber shop. (371 Lime Rock Road)
BS:OK the Sheldon Glass Works was the old barber shop. Now when you go past that barber shop,
there’s just a little house where Elsa Brenner was until recently.
RW: All those houses were built for the working people, (at the Barnum & Richardson Company) just like these down this road here.
BS:On White Hollow Road?
RW:Yes, for the working people.
BS:And just like where we are on Old Furnace Road; I bet they were also working people. The
people who lived in the area, what ethnic background were they?
RW: I think they were just plain good Americans.
BS:But you came from England. Did they or their folks?
RW: 1 came from Philadelphia.
BS:Were the Richardsons and Barnums?
RW:Mr. Richardson had been in college with my brother-in-law, as a matter of fact.
RW; Yale. I think Mr. Barnum was more political than anything. I don’t know.
BS:Yes, I understand he ran for senator, was it?
RW:Yes, but I don’t know anything about their family, very nice people, but I don’t know them.
BS:The people who worked in the foundry and the iron works, what national background were
they? Of course we’re all Americans.
RW: I don’t really know. I never met them very much; I scooted by as you can imagine, a young girl of 19 or 20. They were all in that building there that is now the hotel.
BS:Oh they lived in that building.
RW: That was used for men who didn’t have wives; the working men.
BS:I know that in the house we’re in on Old furnace Road, it was an Italian family. They worked in
the foundry. Marchello (see tape 40A/B Lorenzo Marchello). Did you know anything about those people? Did you have any contact?
RW: Oh yes, their son was a tall man now, Cilio. He was wonderful. He used help Mommy, come to fix the furnace and take care of it until Daddy died. He was so careful of it and took care of it. She was alone a great deal because I went down to school in Philadelphia. As soon as it was closed, I was up here for my summer holidays.
BS:Apart from movies, were there any other activities that you participated in in the area? How did
you spend your time?
RW: We had dinners, they came from the church; all the women of the church would put together a dinner. They would bring their dishes over, and we’d have everybody in town over in the red house upstairs.
BS:Now what were some of the church activities, for instance for the young people?
RW: Well, they were trying very hard. There weren’t many young people.
RW:Mr. and Mrs. Athoe lived down at the foot of the hill here; she had two sons and two
daughters. They had gone; one was a nurse and the other one married a very nice man. I’ll think of it later.
BS:Did the church have any socials for young people, dances or other things of that kind?
RW: They tried, but it wasn’t very successful. Mostly they went up to the town hall.
BS:Where was the town hall?
RW: That big red building (Casino or community center)
BS:Oh that was also the town hall as well as the movie house. When did everything disappear?
The store went, the post office went.
RW: The post office kept going for some time. Mrs.you would have to go see that lady; she’s down there on the route towards the big white house, that big farm down there.
BS:On White Hollow?
RW:No, the main road, on 112.
BS:Going toward Rt.7?
RW: Yes, you know the big farm there, the big house that has the big red barn.
RW: She is right over here. They were the Lorchs; they used to own that place.
BS:What’s her name?
RW: Mrs. Lorch, she could tell you; she kept the post office going ’til the very end. She might be able to tell you.
BS:Which building was the post office?
RW: It was first in the big building that is now an apartment house, you know with the porch going out. That’s where everybody met. It was a grocery store, post office, everything. Then this man came and he opened up a building that is down there about opposite where Mr. Dorset used to live. Right across the street from where the Dorsets lived. Do you know where they lived?
BS:No, I do not.
RW: Well there are three or four nice looking houses there, and the store is right opposite that white building.
BS:The Inn is here, right, then where the grocery store was…
RW: You go up the hill.
BS:So you go up the hill.
RW: The Richardsons’ property comes down to the road, then there’s the Surrey Inn, (422 Lime Rock Road) the house and then the inn, and then the post office.
BS:Is that the one with two show windows are, and they are all filled with crockery?
RW: Yes, now it’s an antique store.
That fixes that.
RW: That was our post office for a long time. After we moved to another building that is now the apartment house. We had both side, we would go in and met there noon when they brought the mail in.
BS:When you came, Trinity Church was already here? (Corner of Lime Rock Road and Dugway Road)
RW: Oh yes
BS:Do you recall anything which might be of interest relating to Trinity Church, a Pastor?
RW:We had a great many; they have been very enjoyable people. We have a new man now.
BS:I like him; I’ve met him.
RW: For 15 years before that we had Father Howden; he has gone to England with his wife. I can’t think of anything particular.
BS:Did you work in the area at all?
RW: Oh for a little while when Mr. Wallack, do you know Mr. Wallack was here, I was downstairs in the sales rooms so I was there.
BS:Now is that Rolph Wallack?
RW: No, that was his son.
BS:I knew his son in Wingdale. So I gather his business was the same as theirs, importing linens.
What did you do there?
RW: I was in the salesroom. He had all these things, all kinds of things in there.
BS:They were all foreign imports.
RW: Yes, he had scarves that he printed himself and materials. They had materials by the yard that was hand blocked. That was one thing, but then all the other things were imported, curio things that people would stop in and buy, imported from Germany.
BS:Did you ever do anything with your art? Did anything ever come of that schooling?
RW:I worked in New York for a fashion artist until I married. It was late in life I was around thirty
when I got married, no I was nearly forty, I guess. When I look back on it, it was pretty long.
BS:Was your husband from this area?
RW: It was Mr. Williams, the uncle who took me over to England, it was his nephew. I had always liked Arthur for many years. Arthur had a mother too whom he was looking after. When my aunt died, .who was my mother, then he started calling on me. That was really a disruption, I think.
BS:Did he live in this area?
RW: No he was on Long island. Then he moved up here.
RW: He went back and forth for a long time. He lived down there and went to work for the Warren Webster Company. Then he was taken very ill, and went to the hospital down there. He had TB, and they cured him very well. He lived to be 75. So he came back up here.
BS:Did you have any children?
RW:I have a son.
BS:Is he still living in Lime rock?
RW: Yes, he’s living here with me.
BS:What kind of work does he do?
RW: He works in Canaan, one of the places up there.
BS:What type of work?
RW: I guess he’s doing more of the art work.
BS:So he followed you.
RW: He finds it very interesting, things I could never do; all these papers and things, much like a secretary.
BS:Were you here when the race track came in? Were there any objections to the race track at that
RW: There was some. Some people didn’t want it, but Mr. Vaill said, “Well, you’re going to have it!”
BS:Who was Mr. Vaill?
RW: Mr. Vaill bought that property down there, I guess. He was using it as a gravel pit for a long time.
BS:Oh it was a gravel pit before it was a race track.
RW:Yes, when it was going, it made an awful racket. It wasn’t very pleasant, but he…We let him
used our fields to grow corn and run the fence back; again as a race track.
BS:When you objected, didn’t the town listen to your objections, at all?
RW: No, they didn’t listen to us.
BS:Were there petitions to the town or anything like that?
RW: I don’t know. We just didn’t want it, but he…We had a meeting I remember there was a meeting. I don’t remember if I got there or even go to it. It was at night, and I don’t often go out. They had a meeting against it. Mr. Vaill said, “You’re going to have it; so that’s all there is to it.”
BS:Why did he have so much power?
RW: He had the property.
BS:But the town had to give him permission, right?
RW: I suppose so. He ran his races up there. This was just a dirt road. Now it is double width and wide enough to go in and out.
BS:We are not too much bothered where we are. But I know some people in Falls Village are, and
on a Saturday the Casales whom we used to visit couldn’t hear a thing. How do you find it here?
RW: Well, it got so much better. At the beginning I don’t think we had so many trees growing, it would hit the mountain and come right down on us. We just simply came in and stayed in the house. Now either we’ve got accustomed to it or something, but these people are really making more noise.
BS:They’re making more noise?
RW: They’re making a lot of noise.
BS:They’re trying to increase it now too.
BS:The house that is up on the corner where you turn onto White Hollow Road.
RW: The white one?
BS:Yeah where they are now terracing behind the house. What was that?
RW:That was Carrie Richardson’s house.
BS:Who was she?
RW:She was Mr. Richardson’s aunt. She’d never been to a movie. I couldn’t believe it.
BS:Do you mean that she went through her life without going to a movie?
RW: There weren’t very many movies around in those days.
BS:What happened when she gave up the house?
RW: She died. Then it was taken over by the Semantics for a while.
BS:That was an Institute of Semantics. Was that successful?
RW: I don’t know. They were very close about that. They put a fence around themselves. Now these people have taken the fence down so you can see around the corner as you are coming round, no more big accidents.
BS:What was the Semantics? Was that a school?
RW: I haven’t the vaguest idea. Every time you asked, they said,” You wouldn’t understand.”
BS:Did Lime Rock have a separate town council, a separate head of government?
RW: No, we’re Salisbury.
BS:Always part of Salisbury, there was a school over here in Lime Rock over on 112, a one room
school; did you know anything about that? As you come out of White Hollow Road, you turn left, on the left hand side. (At the foot of Old Furnace Road near a small cement bridge)
RW: Oh you mean the school house. That was a dress shop. At first a school for all the children around here; anyone in town could go to school.
BS:Then it became a dress shop? You were probably here when they started the high school?
RW:Yes, my mother wanted it very badly here, but I am glad they put it where it is. It is much
BS:Oh it is a nice place.
RW: It’s a big place.
BS:Yes, it is spacious. What else do you recall about Lime Rock? Are there any things that stick out
in your memory?
RW: No, except one amusing little thing that Marjorie Richardson was being kidded about living in a small town. She said, “It was a lovely place to watch the characters go by.” There was the bandstand…
BS:Where was the bandstand?
RW: It was opposite the entrance to the red building is.
BS:Where the movie house is. How often did the band play?
RW: When I was here they had stopped by that time. It was torn down later. I was sorry to see it go. The men enjoyed doing it, playing the different instruments.
BS:You never heard a band concert there?
RW: No, it was already gone.
BS:Now you would have been here during one of the big events in our history which is the
Depression, in the 1930’s the Great Depression. Do you recall at all how that affected the area?
RW: No the only time when the man that came over here with a wagon with meat. He had a meat wagon and he would drive right up to the door. Then there was another man who came around with groceries and vegetables. We would buy from him too. They have all gone. They don’t come around anymore.
BS:They did that even though there was a general store in town.
RW: There wasn’t anything in the general store.
BS:Oh there wasn’t anything; it had already…
RW: It was a store but it didn’t have vegetables in it; it was more of a post office where everybody met.
BS:Do you recall when the general store went out of business?
RW: Well, 1 think it was a Fourth of July and they all ate some spoilt turkey, I think, the son-in-law didn’t eat it. Mr. Lyons who ran the store I don’t know if he died from that or not. They were all very ill from it except the son-in-law. The son-in-law ran the store for quite a while after that. He was very good; then they closed it.
BS:Would that be in the 1930’s?
RW: Yes, it was very hard.
BS:Do you recall anything else about the Depression hitting this area? Was it hard times here as it
were in the cities?
RW:I was away; I started working in those days. I came up every weekend.
BS:The person next to us a little way down the road is Mrs. Worthington, Jim and Grace
Worthington, Jim died. Their uncle was an artist. I understand that in the late 1920’s there were a good many artists in this area? Could you tell me about that?
RW:Yes, I’ll try to. Now what was his name, that brain of mine, I try to think.
BS:Was he an artist in the area?
RW: Yes, he was a very fine artist.
BS:Would that be the man that I am referring to who lived on Old Furnace Road?
BS:I don’t remember his name. Somebody gave me his name, but it has slipped my mind. He was
an uncle to Jim Worthington who then took over the house. I have seen some of his paintings, by the way.
RW: Bernard Wall.
BS:Bernard Wall lived in Falls Village and died, but formerly lived. His father lived in this area, and
RW: In the same house, James lived in his father’s house.
BS:His father was also a well know artist.
RW: Yes, he was.
BS:So there were many artists, why did they leave that area?
RW:Well, there was a lady Mrs. C. B. Falls who is in Falls Village. Her husband was a very well known
artist, too. They came, then there some other people here. They opened a business of printed materials. He had all that going, but he went, too. That was Mr.Mrs. Falls is down in New York, and she isn’t very well. She is sort of pulling through down there. He died many years ago. He was C.B. Falls. Then there was another artist, a number of artists.
BS:Why did so many artists come here?
RW: I guess the same reason as why we came. My father wanted to find a place to live, and they came up into this neighborhood and liked it. That’s all, so maybe they did too. We all sort of felt we were the original.
BS:When you were in your late teens when you came up, were there any games that you played, or
was the lake available at that time?
RW: Oh yes.
BS:Did you do a lot of swimming and boating, things like that?
RW: Well, I didn’t because I was never fond of water. My mother enjoyed getting young people together, and she’d get everybody around this table, playing games. It was the loveliest thing. Now looking back on it, I wonder how in the world she did it.
BS:What kind of games were they?
RW: Hearts, Old Maid, card games, all the young people would get together, and then we would turn the Victrola on, and roll up all carpets and dance. My cousin was here, and she was a live wire. I’m not
like her at all. She’d get every boy and girl around in a few minutes. I’m not that type. We had lots of fun.
BS:A few years ago there was an incident; somebody burnt a cross of some property like the Klu
Klux Clan used to do. Are you acquainted with that?
RW: No, I didn’t hear about it.
BS:I am trying to trace that, (see Martha Chavous tape #42). I heard about that; I’ve never gotten
the straight of that. Another question I have is how have things changed in Lime rock since the time you came about 50 years ago?
RW: People have come and gone. That little community down there by the hotel is really a community building now. It is very nice.
BS:That is going now?
RW: Yes, you know down there are lots of little houses.
BS:Do you mean behind the Inn?
RW: On the lower level down there; there any number of houses.
BS:Do they have activities?
RW: No, they just seem to come here and live quietly. They go racing to Lakeville or Salisbury or Canaan. There was a time when a man came around with a meat wagon and another one that came with groceries. It was really very nice when they did that.
BS:Came right up to your door. That was convenient.
RW: Yes, it was convenient.
BS:Was there much participation at any time by yourself or your neighbors in Town Hall activities?
Did you go to Town Hall meetings or things like that?
RW: We used to put on little shows sometimes. I sang “Yes, We have no Bananas” with an Italian black moustache.
BS:Where did you do these shows?
RW: Up on the stage of the community house. We had dances up there. People were a lot more around here. We had a band; whoever had bands in those days, I don’t know who
BS:Were they local people?
RW: Most people had an instrument, I suppose.
BS:I was told there was a French Canadian group that worked in the foundry who used to live
behind us on that hill. Did you know anything about that? They used to sing at night and build fires up there.
BS:I think it was Cilio that told me about that.
RW: Oh Cilio would know.
End of side A
BS:The select girls in Salisbury, did you know anything about that?
RW:No, I know there used to be a camp, but I didn’t know it was for girls.
BS:Apparently it was a school for the girls.
RW: No, I didn’t know that; I know it was called the Academy, that brick building.
BS:You mentioned the big fire here in Lime Rock. Can you place the date of that approximately?
RW:One of the presidents died that night. I don’t know which one it was. I know we heard about it.
BS:Was it shortly after you came up here or much later?
RW: About eight years or so.
BS:So it would have been in the late 1920’s, or thereabouts. It is interesting; we’ve had a group of
fires recently, don’t we?
RW: There were 2 fires that night; the building that the Barnums had used, one of Barnum’s buildings; not our building-this is the son’s, and he sold it to us. We didn’t have a fire, but we have the ruins. The other Barnum house burned down, (see Bart Perotti tape #32A/B)
BS:Where was that?
RW: The same night, both houses burned the same night. We were at one of those lovely big parties that we so often had and dances and things. When they went home, they changed and were noticing the barn, the big red barn down there at the crossroads at 7 and 112. That burned down that night, too. They both went the same night.
BS:Where was the Barnum’s house that burnt?
RW: It is an open field, no it isn’t an open field; they’ve built another long building. (438 Lime Rock Road)
BS:Oh yes, that’s near where that antique store is. Did they ever find the cause of the fire?
RW: Oh you know the stories that go around.
BS:What were some of those stories? Do you remember any of them?
RW: They said that a certain old person did it. He had been paid to do it, all that kind of stuff.
BS:Was there any bad feeling about the Barnums and the community?
RW: I don’t think so. All I heard was that somebody burned it down. Maybe it was, well you hear all kinds of things.
BS:We do now too.
RW: Insurance running out and things like that. I don’t think so; I don’t know.
BS:It might have been accidental.
RW:It was a little mean to burn the barn too. The two of them at the same time, it was a terrible
thing.People going home from our house saw them, you see, or what or how it happened.
BS:I suppose there was a volunteer fire department at that time.
RW:In Lakeville, the same one. You wrote a letter to the Lakeville Journal, that’s how we learned
about you. What was that letter? You had some history in it about the area. What did you cover in that letter?
RW:I don’t remember. I was so surprised, but I remember doing it now when I wrote to the Journal.
BS:Mrs. Haeberle was very impressed with it and showed it to me, but I’ve forgotten the contents
RW: I’d like to be able to do things. I wasn’t very good; I haven’t enough will power to go through with things, and get going.
BS:What did you want to do?
RW: As I say, I wasn’t good.
BS:But what was it that you hoped to do?
RW: Like anything, like being an artist or anything. It wasn’t very satisfactory when you get down to New York and become a drudge, working for pattern houses and things like that. I did find a very nice man down there who had, it was in the “Times”, in the news every day, about that much. It had a little drawing, how to make socks, and how to make embroidery. I did that for years.
BS:So you actually commuted from here to New York?
RW: No, I only came up on weekends. I was down there during the week.
BS:How did you commute? Was there a train? Where was the station?
RW: There was one over at Falls Village sometimes. It is right down that road where Mr. Tales lives. (Lime Rock Station Road right after you cross the bridge on route 7 by the high school)
BS:Place that for me, I don’t know…
RW: There was a station house there; that’s where my mother and father came to when they first came to this place.
BS:Is it right in the village, at Falls Village?
RW: Right on the railroad tracks right there, when you are going over the bridge, you turn to the right.
BS:The bridge on 7.
BS:Oh yeah, it goes up towards Music Mountain, up that way? Oh yes, I know where that is.
RW:The station was right there, until it burned down. It’s gone now. So you came up to Falls Village,
not Falls what is the one that is down before- Cornwall Bridge.
BS:Oh at Cornwall Bridge.
RW: I’d come up there and have someone meet me.
BS:Oh there was a railroad station at Cornwall Bridge?
RW: Yes, where the covered bridge is. There was a railroad station there.
BS:Oh it went right past there.
RW: And then on down to Kent. I used to come up that way sometimes, until I found the other one over to Millerton. I’d get someone to meet me and take me home.
BS:And now we don’t have that either. Is there anything that we have not talked about in the area
or the history of the area that comes to your mind?
RW: No. Yes, this town has kept us, its feeling very nicely. It’s a nice little town, and with interesting people in each one.
BS:What kind of feeling is that that you are expressing when you say it has kept its feeling?
RW:Well, they are all very dignified most of the people we have. To me the charm of the place is still
there. Everyone lives quietly on their own.
BS:Is there much social mixing, much friendliness?
RW: I guess there must be. I’m not so very friendly.
BS:Do you find that expressed through the church in town here?
RW: The church is growing. It’s spewing in all directions; I don’t know where they are coming from.
They’re coming all around, some road too.
BS:Are there many young people in the church?
RW: I don’t think so.
BS:No, I don’t think so either. I don’t know that we have too many young people in the area.
RW:The trouble is the very young go to school here, and they love to be with their companions. They
will take their parents away from our church to go to a church in Salisbury to be with their group. In a way they want to go to the church school they have there to be with their friends as in school. I’ve noticed it; we used to have lots of little tots with lots of fun. Mrs. Richardson and I would take the children outside play all kinds of games behind the church. There was a little building back there that was burned down; so we got rid of that, that was a park then.
BS:A question occurs to me; I understand from some of the interviews that I have had that many of
the people worked in the iron smelting place were largely Italian. Was there a kind of a separation between let’s say you and the Richardsons and the Italians? Was there a feeling of you work there and we work here?
RW: Only in a social way, I think. That’s about all. It’s like you are fond of certain people and you find them.
BS:You tend to go…
RW: That’s right. The Tennings found their….and yet I …Cilio’s sister was the sweetest little girl, I always think of her, and she’s grown up and she’s so beautiful, so lovely.
BS:Is she in the area here?
RW: No, I think she’s in New York now.
BS:When you had your dances and your games then, they would be with the Richardsons, Barnums,
but not the…
RW: The Barnums weren’t here anymore.
BS:Oh, the Barums weren’t here anymore.
RW: Mr. and Mrs. Richardson were here.
BS:Your group of friends would be, kind of, you’d have your own activities, and the Italians or those
who worked in the foundry would have their activities.
RW: We did have a d— when the church was still there. We used to have it in the Redman’s Hall, it was called.
BS:The movie house.
RW:Yes. Redman’s Hall…
BS:Redman’s Hall, the movie house was just the in…
RW: We charged so we could have a fire escape put upstairs. I believe that’s torn down now.
BS:I would assume that most of them, if they were Italians working in the foundry, were in the
RW: Yes, I think so.
BS:But you did come together for let’s say at the movie house, for instance.
RW: Oh yes.
BS:Movies and some of the activities in Redman’s Hall? They’d be for the whole…
RW: They were for everybody; Concerts from 1 to 2:30 and dances, they were good times.
BS:What would be your hopes for Lime Rock? Has that ever crossed your mind? Things have
changed physically here. Do you feel there is a good community and charm, and all that has been…?
RW:Yes, I think so but you find people, I think you find friends slowly but surely.
BS:How would you like to see the town develop or would you prefer not? Would you like to see
the Post Office and grocery store come back or are you satisfied that that has gone?
RW: Sometimes I think it would be fun for me to have it. I think they are just as happy with the big stores that they have now; some go to Millerton and some go to Canaan and some to Salisbury to Shagroy.
BS:Now when were you born?
BS:Good for you; you look in great shape. It’s good to stay healthy in your older years. Is there
anything else that you would like to put on this tape that I haven’t asked you or you’ve thought of?
RW: Hezekiah’s father gave that corner property to the Trinity Church to be built. They put windows in and the altar is, the pulpit is in memory of one of the family. Lilly Bauman has, for a number of years that she lived, in lilies all over it in designs. You’ve seen it?
BS:Yes I have. Do you know which year Trinity Church went up?
RW:It is very likely it is right on the corner in the stone marker.
BS:I think I’ve even seen it, but I don’t recall.
RW: It has been 100 years, I think.