PRESERVING THE PAST FOR THE FUTURE.
VOLUME 53 Winter/Spring 2023
Berlin Falls House Museum Dedication A Smashing Success
On Saturday December 10, 2022, the Berlin & Coos County Historical Society dedicated its newest museum building, the Berlin Falls House, honoring Berlin’s ethnic and industrial history. That morning at 10 am a ribbon cutting ceremony was held to officially open the museum. Mr. Raymond N. Patry, former owner and longtime Funeral Director of the Fleury-Patry Funeral Home did the honors of cutting the ribbon. Pastors Dean Stiles and Jesse Arsenault graciously gave invocations and blessings to the new museum venture honoring the past, present and future. Honorable Mayor Paul Grenier was also on hand for the festivities. The dedication ceremony was made even more special with the presence
of the Androscoggin Valley Fish & Game Board of Directors.
Upon entering the museum, visitors were serenaded by flutist, Aimee Bousquet. Her concerto, consisting of a variety of well-known melodies, added an element of grace and charm to the joyous setting. The open house was well attended by over 350 visitors from near and far. Displays chronicling Berlin’s ethnic, social and industrial past make up an impressive array of exhibits in what was formerly known as the Fleury-Patry Funeral Chapel. The folklore of our area comes to life through the varied displays of photographs and personal effects. The pride and fortitude of our ancestors is prominently
displayed as a testament to our cultural legacy. Aspects of Brown Company’s history, detailing our logging and paper making past, the Brown Family’s legacy, with the inclusion of our ethnic diversity, conjure up a perfect recipe for a unique melting pot success. To top everything off, the works of local artists embellish the diversity of the museum. Among these creative works is a hand-carved carousel horse, which was exquisitely and realistically detailed by local artist, Mr. Ed Solar, which was created as a tribute to his late daughter. Additional exhibits of interest include a tribute to the Northland Dairy Bar and Restaurant, Berlin’s veterans, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, and Berlin’s First Responders.
Upon entering the museum from the School Street entrance, visitors are greeted by an historic antique post office counter which once graced the old Milan Post Office on Main Street from 1957 to 1997. Prior to 1957, the post office counter was located at the Cascade Post Office. The vintage facade is certainly a testament to yesteryear with stained glass windows highlighting antique brass window cages. Special open house postmarked envelopes continue to be available for purchase at both museums. Many thanks to all of you who made the grand opening such a memorable event.
Moffett House Sports
On December 10, 2022, the Moffett House Genealogy and Sports Museum held the grand opening of the sports museum featuring the New Hampshire Legends of Hockey Hall of Fame, Berlin Inductees. Over 110 visitors attended and enjoyed walking
among the 40 “Legends” of Hockey from the Berlin area, reading their hockey biographies and viewing their photographs. This hockey space also contained Berlin’s Hockey History from 1903 to present day, featuring significant events throughout this period. Those events included the 1957 Notre Dame High School New England Champions, the 1967 Berlin High School New England Champions, and the Berlin Maroons’ three Senior Amateur Hockey Association National titles. Other sports’ exhibits are unified basketball, women’s sports, the Nansen Ski Club, basketball, powerlifting, and boxing, among others.
The visitors enjoyed perusing the circular clothes rack examining the many championship jackets from women’s and men’s sports that go as far back as 1932. Among those attending that day were Hall of Famers John Normand (Player), President of New Hampshire Legends of Hockey, Richard Roy (Player) and Pierre Belanger, inducted as a Hockey
Official. The concept of the hockey exhibit began almost two years ago with a discussion with Hall of Fame goalie Rod Blackburn. His dream was to remember current and future Hockey Hall of Famers. This concept carried into other Berlin sports. Rod’s dream has come to fruition.
Update on PastPerfect
Museum volunteers began entering and cataloging artifact information into the PastPerfect software at the beginning of June 2022. To date, they have entered information for approximately 2,100 items – objects, photographs, books, documents and taken 4,600 pictures of those items. Entering artifact information into the software will allow the museum to maintain accurate and up-to-date records and details about each item, such as condition and location, classification, measurements, etc.
As the museum’s software renewal date arrives in May 2023, the Board of Directors has approved the additional licensing of the web module of the software, which will enable the viewing of artifacts via the museum’s website. Visitors will be able to take virtual tours of artifacts located at either the Moffett House or the Berlin Falls House. Stay tuned for more information on the development of this new and exciting phase of the museum’s PastPerfect implementation.
It Takes a Volunteer…
…to maintain and operate a historical society. Like the buildings and artifacts that comprise the historical society, its volunteers are priceless, as they perform all the behind-the-scenes tasks needed to keep the doors open, the buildings in shape, and the grounds maintained. The Berlin & Coos County Historical Society is fortunate in having a very dedicated and energetic group of 48 volunteers. With the implementation of the PastPerfect software system in June of 2022, we now have the ability to track the number of volunteers and the hours they put into making the historical society a vibrant and relevant part of our community. The numbers for 2022, listed below, are not all-encompassing as we only began tracking in PastPerfect in July, but they are still amazing.
|Barn & EBay Sales/Support||2150.25||Barn Sales, EBay & Marketplace Sales, donation pickups, item sorting/cleaning/pricing/display|
|Collection Intake||1529.25||Data entry of Artifacts into PastPerfect; artifact storage; exhibit setup|
|General Museum Support||1966.50||Administrative tasks; guides/tours of facilities; grant funds solicitation|
|IT Support||141.75||Technical tasks related to infrastructure for internet, digital storage, data security|
|Physical Campus Upkeep||730.75||Mowing, snow removal, painting, general building maintenance, moving items|
|Total Hours||6248.50||Avg per Volunteer – 130 hrs|
Volunteers and their spouses/significant others were feted at a dinner in recognition of their efforts on November 17, 2022, sponsored by Ann Marie Blackburn Bills. The Board of Directors of the historical society would like to thank these dedicated, hard-working individuals for all of their efforts throughout the years.
A benefactor is defined as a person who gives a large amount of time/help and/or significant financial resources to a cause. BCCHS recognizes the many individuals who brought the Historical Society to where it is today. Past, current, and future benefactors are/will be inscribed on plaques that are on display in the Moffett House and the Berlin Falls House. The names on each plaque are relevant to contributions made at each location. Some individuals are inscribed at both locations. BCCHS benefactors are those who contributed a significant amount of time over the past many years gathering,
organizing, and creating displays related to our history, writing grants, maintaining the various properties, among other duties. Some benefactors provided skilled licensed services saving the Society thousands of dollars for electrical work, legal advice, architectural knowledge, among other things. Some wrote books on our local history that brought in significant revenue over the years, while others provided considerable financial resources when needed the most. Moffett House benefactors are Mary McKee Moffett, Ann R. Mckee, Don and Odette Leclerc, Maurice Lavertue, Raymond Daigle, Paul “Poof” Tardiff, Walter and Jacklyn Nadeau, Renney E. and Louise B. Morneau, Josephine Routhier, S. Melvin Rines, Roderick H. Blackburn, Ann Marie Blackburn Bills, Martha L. Taylor, Kenneth Ernest White, Kenneth Neil White, Lawrence Richards, Donald and Betty Oleson, Bertram Judson, and Msgr. Eddy Bisson. Berlin Falls House benefactors are RJE Properties, Robert Lafrance, Roland E. Olivier, Esq., Roger Dignard of Dignard Architectural Services, Roderick H. Blackburn, Ann Marie Blackburn Bills, S. Melvin Rines, Martha L. Taylor, Kenneth Ernest White, Kenneth Neil White, and Bertram Judson.
Please Consider Making a Lasting Gift
Consider becoming one of the many people who have chosen to make a lasting gift to the Berlin & Coos County Historical Society. As our mission of preserving the past for the future continues to grow by leaps and bounds, your financial commitment enables our organization to continue its task of preserving our rich heritage. Our museum campuses are popular destinations to visit and tell the story of our proud community and the people who built it. The Berlin & Coos County Historical Society is a 501c(3) non-profit organization. Whether your preference be in the form of an annual gift or perhaps by remembering the Society in a future bequest in your estate planning, our organization would be extremely grateful for your thoughtfulness and continuing our community’s lasting legacy. For more information, please call the historical society at (603)752-4590. Many thanks. This year’s dates for the barn sales held at the Brown Company Barns, 137 East Milan Road are: May 27, general, June 24, featuring gardening and 4th of July items, July 22, Household items, glass and dishes, August 19, Books, September 9, Holiday items, and September 30, general. All sales are from 9 AM to 3 PM.
BCCHS WEB SITE
There is a lot of activity on our web site. The Brown Bulletins have been especially very popular. It’s a great way to research relatives’s activities who worked in the mills. Some articles are very amusing while others are informative. You can now explore the many Berlin Neighborhoods. By clicking on a particular neighborhood, you read about its history. Check out our website at www.berlinnhhistoricalsociety.org.