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8/13/06   Gilford’s Historical Society gets ready for Old Home Day

The volunteers at Gilford’s historical society are putting the finishing touches on preparations for the town’s Saturday, August 26th Old Home Day (OHD).

2006’s OHD theme “Gilford Goes Country” is certain to be reflected in the annual parade, which will set out from Town Hall at 10:00 a.m.

Again this year, preparations for Thompson-Ames Historical Society’s float are being coordinated by volunteers, Mary Chesebrough, Carolyn Brown, Diane Mitton, and Carol Anderson. They’ve been keeping mum about the exact nature of the float, but they assure us that there will be enough vibrant adults and children participating to make the float come alive during the parade..

Meanwhile, along Gilford Village’s red brick sidewalk, there has been a buzz of activity as volunteers have been making ready the three museum buildings, which will be open to the public beginning at 9:00 a.m.

On Old Home Day mornings, as the public mills around awaiting the arrival of the parade, the Grange Museum Building is a certain attraction. Mary and Don Frost, Ed LaSala, and Joan Nelson are always ready to greet visitors to the Hallway of Historic Signs, the 1800s Homestead Room, the 1940s Grange Kitchen, and the 1857 vintage Historic Store, from 9:00 a.m. until noon.

The building will resound with a lively beat when Dick Duckoff pops in on Old Home Day, as he always does, sits down at the old piano in the Historic Store and tickles the ivory as only he knows how to do.

Repeating last year’s big hit, in front of the museum building, Gerald Knight will be on hand to offer cold, sweet watermelon, at $1/ a slice.

Up the street, at 24 Belknap Mountain Road, the 1834 Union Meetinghouse is certain to be abuzz with activity when the doors open at 9:00 a.m. The first guests to arrive will be those folks who are quick to say, “The best place to view the passing parade is sitting on the terrace in front of the Meetinghouse.” As in years past, Lloyd Ekholm, Dave Pangburn and Dale DalPan will be on hand to set up the Society’s vintage wooden folding chairs.

Under a tent at the Meetinghouse is where this year’s raffle items will be on display. Dot Pangburn will be on hand to talk about the quilted wall hanging “The Potter Hill Farm”, an 1860 view, and “Hannah”, the raffle doll reflective of Gilford’s 1920 history.

Shirley Glines will be on hand before and after the parade to act as hostess in the Meetinghouse where a special display will feature “The People on the Home Front and the War Front” during the 1939-1945 years of World War II , which the Wright Museum’s Di Simpson calls “The Greatest Generation”. This is a one-day opportunity to see photos and memorabilia, reminisce, swap tales, and even record some memories to be shared with students who will be studying about WWII.

After the parade, Carol Anderson will replace Dot Pangburn in the tent where not only the raffle tickets but also doll clothes and wooden toys, made by volunteers, will be for sale. Also, 11:00 – 1:00, Stan Piper will demonstrate use of an antique wood lathe as well as how to carve wooden toys of historic design.

Also at the Meetinghouse, after the parade, there will be an opportunity to inquire about local genealogy. Diane Mitton and Clifford Leslie will have on hand a variety of historic materials, including the Gilford Cemetery Project, which received impetus through the Eagle Scout efforts of David Perry. Also available will be a sampling of genealogy forms, etc. Anyone with family information pretaining to Gilford is invited to share information with us.

The third museum site along the red brick sidewalk is the c. 1838 Benjamin Rowe House, at 88 Belknap Mountain Road, a must for all OHD-goers, whether they begin the day there, or end the day there, or sandwich it in during the day. Kathy Lacroix will serve as hostess on Old Home Day. Joining her for Rowe House Tours of the Parlor, Bedroom, Dining Room, Kitchen and Pantry, and Upstairs will be Terry Bobseine, Carolyn Brown, Susan Colburn, Jennifer Eldridge, Nan Fay, Nancy Fischer, Cindy Kupetz, Jerry Lacroix, Greg Lemay, Dot Panburn, and Priscilla Puleo.

Outdoors Herb Riley will set up a croquet set, with directions available. Nearby will be a round picnic table where shade provided by an umbrella offers a perfect spot to sit and quench your thirst by sipping some lemonade while nibbling a cookie.

After the parade, Kathy Salanitro and her oxen will stay at the Rowe House for a short spell to give visitors an opportunity to see the oxen up close.

Herb Riley will have on hand a display of antique family tools that still prove useful doing things that had to be done on a farm before the advent of motorized tools.

There will also be an opportunity for visitors to try their hand at a task that would prove challenging in any age: to move a hefty granite slab without the use of draught animals or machines.

Speaking of machines, after the parade, Jim Colby will have one of his old tractors set up with a saw rig, which he will demonstrate.

Old Home Days have been celebrated in New Hampshire dating back to 1899 when Governor Frank Rollins was trying to encourage New Hampshire-born people to return to the town of their birth and celebrate their past, with the hope that they would then purchase abandoned farms as summer homes.

Times and circumstances have changed, but one thing has not: having a good time on Old Home Day! Gilford’s historical society helps make Old Home Day special by spot-lighting the cultural heritage that the 63-year old society has helped to preserve.