Vaughan Woods & Historic Homestead Newsletter
September/October 2015

History Mystery
Behind Closed Doors  continued  . . . 

Pictured here is a door to a closet in the loft of the barn. The barn is original to the 1794 Homestead, although it did undergo exterior renovations at the turn of the 20th century when much of the Homestead and grounds were revitalized by a fourth generation descendent of its first resident. 

Behind old skis, sleds, and snow shoes, the purpose of the closet is revealed:

Do you know what is it?  Hint: It makes noise. 

Historic Granite Crane Erected

Purchased by William Warren Vaughan for his bridge building pursuits in Vaughan Woods, the crane has been housed in the Homestead barn for over a century. During the Timber Framers Guild Weekend Gathering in mid-September, Guild members erected the crane, technically called a "guy derrick" because it is held up by guy wires (replaced here with yellow strapping) instead of solid arms. 

The crane is believed to have been used for several of the smaller bridges in the Woods, such as the three under the main trail to the dam, known as the Corniche trail.  

Does it still work? Absolutely! A 12-year old was able to lift several Guild members on the boom without breaking a sweat! 

Program Highlight
Little Known Stories of War: Readings from the War  Papers of the Vaughan Homestead Archive
From the team who brought you the Women's History Tour of the Homestead in March come stories and readings from the wartime diaries, letters, and memoirs housed in the archives of the Vaughan Homestead. Starting with William Oliver Vaughan's militia company's muster at the Homestead and march to Wiscasset in the War of 1812 and ending with Diana Vaughan Gibson's World War II Red Cross service following Patten's Army across Europe, the war papers span more than a century and offer a rare lens through which to view these trying times. 

In honor of Veteran's Day, the program will take place in the Homestead on November 11 and will be followed by an optional house tour. The program is free but reservations are required. 


October - November
Antique Fan Exhibit at Hubbard Library in Hallowell.  

November 11
Veterans Day Program & House Tour
July/August History Mystery

In our last newsletter we presented one of 14 doors in the back hall of the Homestead and asked if you could identify its contents. 
One reader who responded via facebook guessed correctly - it's an elevator!

Looking down the shaft from the second floor.

Installed in 1932 for William Warren Vaughan, this hydraulic Otis elevator is connected to the water main and does not require electricity. It remained operational until the 1950s when the family stopped using it because city water had become too expensive. In theory, it could still be used today, although it does not meet modern safety codes. 

Why W.W.Vaughan would install a hydraulic elevator in 1932 when electric elevators had far surpassed them in popularity by 1905, remains a mystery. One guess, though, is W.W.'s fear of electricity. We have found references to his concern about electrical fires in several different documents. And when he finally allowed electricity to be installed in the upstairs bedrooms in June of 1928, he wrote in the house diary,  "Electric wiring for lamps at bedsides completed and lamps lighted. May they give use and no harm." Could he have chosen hydraulics because he had yet to fully embrace electricity, or was there some other reason? 
Volunteer Recognition 

2015 marked our third year of participating in the local Day of Caring. Sponsored by the United Way of Kennebec Valley, the program partners schools and businesses with non-profits and community groups to create volunteer projects for students. This year, Hall-Dale seventh graders returned to the Homestead and Woods to spread chips on the trails and pick and press apples. A great big "thank you" to the students, teachers, parents and VWHH volunteers who participated! 
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