Hope Historical Society

Meeting of September 16th 2008


A business meeting was called to order at 9:30 AM at Hope Historical Home. Present were: Bob Appleby, Hope Chase, Jean Connon, Tom Hardy, Faith Hart, Herb Hart, Lois Hebb & her guest from Milton MA, Bill Jones, Dorothy Kimball, Ann Leadbetter, Barbara Ludwig, Arthur Small and Ron Smith.

Draft minutes of the August 19th meeting were distributed, amended and approved.

Treasurer Faith Hart reported that the bank balance at the beginning of the 2-month period since our last business meeting was $9,048.13 and, as of the last monthly statement, it was $6,652.03. She reported the income and expenditures over the period, notably the large amount for heating oil. In response to a question, she reported that the Society has 4 certificates of deposit that come due next year. The report was approved as presented.

The Nominating Committee reported that, since officers are in the middle of 2-year terms, no nominations are needed.

Programs have been scheduled in an ad-hoc manner lately (following guidelines set by the Program Committee).Hope Chase (Publicity Committee) and Bob Appleby for the Website Committee noted that they were not getting adequate information about programs in a timely manner. It was decided that, since we had almost come to the end of the programs planned by the Program Committee, it was time for that committee to meet and, furthermore, that plans should always be reported to Hope Chase and Bob Appleby as soon as they were firm. Ann Leadbetter arranged for the Program Committee to meet next Monday (September 22nd).

For the Building Committee, Herb Hart reminded that, despite improvements in drainage, our basement is still damp and several sills are weak, causing floor sagging. Faith Hart reminded that we would like to have a handrail between the barn & the ell, and a back porch. Herb will get the Building Committee to come up with cost estimates for these 3 projects

Bill Jones reported that he conducted a representative of our insurance company around the building. As a result, Ron Smith helped us by replacing an old taped junction in the basement with a box, bringing the wiring up to code as the insurance company asked, and taking out wires no longer used. The insurance company's letter also asked for work on the dormer roof, something not mentioned during the tour. Jones surmises, and the Building Committee confirms, that the inspector saw interior water damage from old leaks that occurred before we last fixed the roof. These repairs and assessments were reported, belatedly, by letter and e-mail to Allen Insurance by the president after jogging by Faith Hart.

Memory Garden & Grounds Committee: Lois Hebb & Bill Jones passed on from Barbara Carver how much easier her mowing is now that Herb Hart is doing a more thorough job on edging and on the Memory Garden. Barbara would like to get a fairy rose for the garden in memory of Jimmy Carver. Herb has placed markers on the plantings indicating what they are. It was recognized and agreed that we should get permanent markers that also indicate to whose memory the plantings are dedicated. Evelyn Ludwig has the map. It would be good to do this this winter. Faith Hart volunteered to remind the committee members as appropriate.

For the Cards Committee, Barbara Ludwig reported that she is sending them to elderly members.

For the Finance & Fund-raising Committee, Lois Hebb distributed an annual letter she drafted approved by Faith Hart & Ann Leadbetter. The meeting accepted it. With Florance Merryfield's help, it will be sent the day after annual meeting.

On the Website, Bob Appleby reported that hits continue to run over 50/day. People occasionally bring errors and omissions to his attention; he wishes that more people would help in this way. Donovan Bowley (N. Appleton) reported to Bob on a project he is doing for Appleton Historical Society cataloguing and matching old photographs, inquiring whether Hope would also be interested. We agreed that Bob should find out more about Donovan's project.

On returnables, Faith Hart reported that we chalked up more than $100 in June and July alone and are running way ahead of last year. Bottle & can donations have fallen off recently however because of Chris Jocelyn's dugout project.

Bill Jones reported for Mary Ireland on the 1st 8 Historic Signs that they are all ready to install and that he would like help. They will memorialize Hope's 7 one-room schools and the consolidated Hope school (1938-86). The committee will not consider further historical signs until these are installed.

The President reported: 1) that there is no news on saving South Hope School; 2) that Tim Pearse has volunteered to help us move the beautiful old town safe from the basement of the town office to our barn & that he will ask for volunteers when the time comes; 3) he thanked Ron Smith for his help on the electrical problems; 4) he asked HHS to find a SECRETARY; and

5) announced that Tom Hardy is editing his mother's History of Hope, Maine , adding a chapter, and will republish it. Tom explained his project, his research, and his finding the diaries of Joseph A. Pierce, the local agent of the Ten Associates, among his papers donated to and stored at the Massachusetts Historical Society.

The business meeting having taken until about 10:20, the surprise program on the history of apples in Hope was shortened. The president explained that he had hoped to preview next summer's programs on summer camps (We hope to review the histories of Alford Lake Girl's Camp, Hatchet Mountain Boy's Camp, and Merestead/Bishopswood Camp.) with a brief slide show on his Hatchet Mountain Boys Day Camp (1958-1961). He hadn't found the slides however. Ex-camper Tom Hardy, however, is one of Hope's two remaining apple farmers.

Jones's May 2001 monograph Apples in Hope (produced as part of our Jay Leech Using the Land -- Making a Living; Hope in 2000 project and available on hopehist.com) was reviewed. The Hardy orchard on Church Street is a strong candidate for oldest commercial orchard in Hope because of its excellent site with good air drainage.

After the great freeze of 1933/4, most of Hope's apple trees, then heavily Baldwin and Ben Davises, died. Barbara Ludwig's family's orchard was wiped out. The few trees that survived in Hope were mainly Northern Spies, Russets and Wolf Rivers. Bill & Anna Hardy, Tom's parents, started replanting in 1938 with help from Lyle Littlefield, horticulturist at the U. Maine Orono experimental farm where Bill Hardy had worked. Hardy pointed out that apples were never the family business; blueberries and Christmas trees were. The orchard now consists of about 80 dwarf trees, mostly of recent vintage, with a mix of traditional and recent varieties.

Trends in town since 2000 were reviewed. There are now only two part-time commercial apple farms in Hope: Tom & Leslie Hardy's and Brian & Emily Davis's Hope Orchard. Government regulations have put Dave & Donna Rich's Apple Squeeze cider press out of business. Everett & Wayne Smith's new plantings at Hatchet Mountain and Barnestown Roads were of other fruit trees, made to complement Hope existing apple farms. This farm has not yet reached commercial dimensions. Their grandfather/great-grandfather Everett Hobbs may have planted the first peach trees in Hope in 1936.

Hardy discussed apple growing and took questions and historical comments from the audience.

The meeting was adjourned for refreshments at about 11.

October 21st will be the Society's annual meeting. Ron Smith will give a video presentation on his solo bicycle trip from the northwest to the northeast corners of the USA to raise money for glaucoma research.

Respectfully submitted,

Bill Jones, Acting Secretary