Historical society revitalized

Lauree Hickok (standing, right) presided at the annual meeting of the Canaan Historical Society. Photo by Ginny Nightingale

CANAAN—Lauree Hickok presided at a reconstituted and revitalized Canaan Historical Society during its annual meeting and the final of its 2021 summer program series.

Jerry Grant spoke about the Canaan Shakers at the society’s 1829 Meeting House at 13 Warners Crossing Road.

President of the Canaan Historical Society Mrs. Hickok reported on the completion of a new roof using historic materials to protect and preserve the building and its contents, the CHS collection. The building will be 200 years old in 2029. The new roof was supported financially by two local foundations, HRBT Foundation and Veillette-Nifosi Foundation, along with donations from friends of the organization.

“Historic preservation carpenter and master craftsman, Kurt Hoelter, has pro bono repaired openings in the building and with an 80 foot lift on premises is repairing cornices, fascia boards, and the bell tower itself,” Ms. Hickok said. His is an ongoing labor of love.

Nancy Johnson, Dodie Gearing, and Jennifer Ambrosio brought in 85 new members and reached out to life members for participation and continuing support. As could be seen during the talk following the meeting, the interior has been cleared of debris along with cleaning of the nave and collection cases by Ms. Gearing, Ms. Ambrosio, Liz Chapman, Nancy Jackson, and Kathy Bott. Two of William Henry Warner’s uniforms from 1836 and the 1840s are on display.

Brenda Adams, treasurer, presented a positive financial report along with a proposed budget for August 31, 2021 through September 1, 2022. Total assets excluding the Meeting House are $33,435 versus $17,165 last year. Operating income was $9,214 and building income was $29,345 for a total of $38,559. Operating expenses were $5,123 and building expenses were $17,545 for a total of $22,668. The 2021-2022 budget was approved unanimously.

Officers elected for three-year terms include: President Hickok; Vice President Ambrosio; Treasurer Adrian Doherty; Recording Secretary Nancy Ordman; and Corresponding Secretary Susan Connolly. At-Large Directors elected were Ms. Adams, David Botti, Peter Flierl, Ian Hooper and Marlene Tuczinski. Honorary lifetime memberships were awarded to Mr. Hoelter for his pro bono master carpenter preservation work and to Bill Wallace for his pro bono architectural report on the 1829 Meeting House.

Following the annual meeting, Director of Research at the Shaker Museum, Mr. Grant, gave a talk on The Shakers of Canaan, Upper Family, Lower Family. He detailed the extent of manufacturing done by Shakers using palm leaf, two layers, to produce table mats in the tens of thousands. As Mr. Grant observed, an idyllic life is not idle nor ideal.

To learn more about Canaan and its history visit www.canaanhistoricalsociety.org, a new website created by Mr. Botti and Ms. Ambrosio or email .

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