HHS President Ken Minkema was interviewed earlier this week by Q30 about progress on restoration of the Jonathan Dickerman House, damaged in the May 2018 tornado. Check it out by CLICKING on the photo at left.
The Hamden Historical Society continues to make progress in restoring the historic Jonathan Dickerman House on Mount Carmel Avenue.
We're determined to do it right and get it back to where it needs to," historical society president Ken Minkema said. We have had progress. I’m really happy to say that.
"That progress includes a restored eave and a now-covered roof, both of which were severely damaged during last May's tornado." But as Minkema explains, a lot more still has to be done.
"I think right now (the biggest hurdle is) going to be tackling what's remaining with the Dickerman house, then the mill the cider mill, which probably has to be completely dismantled or nearly so." Minkema said.
"That involves taking all off the roof and the sheathing off the siding. And then dismantling the post and beam frame."
The Dickerman House is a nationally registered historic site located just feet from Quinnipiac's main campus. It belonged to the Dickerman family in the late 18th century, and has served as a glimpse into Hamden's past ever since.
"It's really to understand that and keep alive the legacy," Minkema said.
But doing so won't be easy, or cheap.
"Historic structures, you need to restore them with original materials and all of the historic specifications," Minkema said. "We're probably approaching a quarter million (dollars) for everything.
With a heavy bill bolstered by specialized contractors and period materials, Minkema says the Hamden Historical Society has been relying on donations to pay for the restoration.
"We don't have a great deal of assets," he said. "But we've received some significant and very much appreciated help and support from the community."
If all goes as planned, the Dickerman House will be open by this fall. But that's only if donations and support from the community continue throughout the year.
"Any help that people can give us will certainly go toward the Dickerman house directly and go to help keep the historical society alive," Minkema said.
He said that anyone is welcome to get involved in the project, either by lending their time to physically rebuilding, or by offering financial assistance. If you'd like to help out, you can reach out to the Hamden Historical Society.
This photo, donated several years ago by a retired member of Hamden Public Works, was labeled on the back with the year and location. The history room volunteers were amazed to see where this was taken. The street is still there, of course, as well as the reason for the bridge, which has been replaced. Any ideas?
Classic Brock-Hall Dairy signs donated to the Society.
April 23 - Stan Troski, Heidi Richetelle, and Gretchen Ferri - CLICK TO ENLARGE
Henry and Lyndell Betzner lived on Maher Avenue. For 35 years, Mr. Betzner was greens superintendent at New Haven Country Club. Mrs. Betzner, who was an avid tag sale attendee, enjoyed collecting ice skates, and other interesting items.
The Betzners' daughters, Heidi Richetelle and Gretrchen Ferri, recently held a tag sale of their own, featuring many of their mom's collectibles. Their grandfather had worked for the railroad for many years and a model train set was among the tag sale items advertised.
Enter Stan Troski, a model railroad enthusiast, who was lured to the tag sale by the train set, which he bought. Afterward, he spotted these two signs with a significant connection to Hamden history. He purchased them from Heidi and Gretchen and this week presented them to the History Room archives.
Thank you, Stan, Heidi, and Gretchen - and also Mrs. Betzner, who had the presence of mind to acquire and preserve these wonderful Hamden artifacts.
Stan Troski and Heidi Richetelle with the sign for "Clover Wreath Farm, " the principal dairy farm that supplied Whitneyville's Brock-Hall Dairy. CLICK TO ENLARGE
With the Dickerman House well on its way to complete restoration, Bob Zoni is now zeroing in on the Talmadge Cider Mill Barn. Last May's tornado nearly destroyed it.
Wth warmer weather coming, Bob is dismantling the barn in order to repair the main structural components. He will then reassemble the components in much the same way as was done 25 years ago, when the barn was moved to its present location from West Woods Road.
This photo was taken by the prospective buyers of the plot of land on the other side of the street in anticipation of constructing an iconic Hamden landmark. The landmark has been gone for more than thirty years, but the building it housed has been re-purposed and still stands today. Hint: Some of the other buildings in this 1939 photo are still around.
Scroll down to see this same view as it was on February 2, 2019.
Before he and his wife relocated to their new home near Buffalo NY, Mr. Leonard Corwin, formerly of Patterson Road, recently presented the Hamden Historical Society with three pieces of antique furniture from the Corwin family.
Hamden Historical Society Researcher Paul Saubestre is researching the origins of Hamden's street names. In conjunction with the recent Presidents Day holiday, Paul investigated the origins of those streets with the same names as former U.S. presidents.
Hamden Historian David Johnson chonicles the story of the senseless 2019 destruction of Hamden's "Door-Tree," the ensuing world-wide news coverage, and how the vandal was caught. Links to related articles included.
Julie Hulten, a Wallingford school system retiree, has been one of our history room volunteer researchers for several years. For a post-graduate course, Julie recently completed a thoroughly researched outline of Hamden history that encapsulates nearly three-hundred years of Hamden history highlights. Enjoy this great read!
Paul Saubestre's research provides insights into the origins and the present locations of the surviving highway Milestones. All but one of Hamden's milestones have survived along Whitney Avenue - same for Hartford Turnpike.
In a book borrowed from a friend years ago, local historian and Hamden Historical Society researcher Anthony Griego first learned of four skeletons disinterred from what had been the cemetery at the former St. John's Roman Catholic Church, adjacent to what is now Yale-New Haven Hospital. Reporter Liz Teitz interviewed Tony for a September 9, 2019 article in The New Haven Register, which sheds some light on the mystery surrounding those four skeletons - one of them resulting from a judicial hanging.
A couple of Hamden churches, a firehouse, the floor above a hardware store, and even the building that housed Hamden's first telephone exchange, are among the former locations of Hamden's earliest public libraries. Check out Dave Johnson's tour of Hamden's libraries from the turn of the last century to the present.
The late Henry and Lyndell Betzner lived on Maher Avenue. Mrs. Betzner was an avid tag sale attendee. When the Betzner's daughters held their own tag sale years later, some of Mrs. Betzner's Whitneyville memorabilia was included. A couple of the items were purchased by Stan Troski, which he generously donated to the HHS last year. Check it out.
In April 2019, Quinnipiac University junior Shayla Colon and fellow student Joe Torgerson visited the Al Gorman History Room at Miller Library to conduct research for Ms. Colon's project, "Revisiting Hamden." From vintage photos and interviews with longtime Hamdenites, Ms. Colon has painted a portrait of a town that has evolved from the tiny agrarian community of colonial times to a vibrant municipality of more than 60,000 individuals, perhaps on the verge of "cityhood."