Photographs of Norwich residents in their gardens

Wallis.summer.2012Chad Finer’s exhibits at the Norwich Historical Society document a particular aspect of life in our town. Our current exhibit features Norwich gardeners and their gardens. Chad’s camera captures the heart and soul of each one. Over 70 photographs were part of two exhibits, along with a historical retrospective of life on a Norwich farm of the past – the Metcalf farm on Dutton Hill Road. Tools from the NHS collections are interspersed through the exhibit halls.

Years ago Norwich was a village filled with farms but today, they are few and far between. For those who have lived here a long time, the Metcalf family was legendary. The two brothers Fred and Paul with their sister Abbie lived together on the Dutton Hill farm on which they all grew up. Fred was the musician playing the organ for both St. Barnabas and the Congregational Church; Abbie left the farm to pursue a career as a librarian but then returned to the farm and the Thayer School library and then the Norwich Library. Paul was the farmer, working the land inherited from their family.

Paul kept wonderful diaries through the years, and the Historical Society is fortunate enough to have some of them in our collection. Excepts like the following help us understand and appreciate this careful, thoughtful man:

Saturday, July 14, 1934 ~ Thunder shower in the afternoon. Transplanted turnips & cabbage & cauliflower & set up some wire for some tall peas.

Tuesday, December 11, 1934 ~ Cold & windy. Aunt Abbie sent Austin Huntley the pay for the wood. $10 a cord of chunks &

$10.50 for a cord of split wood. I got a new vest from Sears Roebuck. $2.19, size 40. Hauled 4 loads of wood with the mules. Pat and I drove Fred’s car over to Quechee Gulf and back tonight. 26 miles

Special thanks to Mary Ann Hankel and Margaret Spicer who curated this exhibit finding the common threads between the old and the new, and, of course, to Chad Finer for continuing to help us to learn more about today’s history and our neighbors.