Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Never Too Busy for You

As a Real Estate Agent with Prudential Connecticut Realty practicing in East Hampton and surrounding communities such as Marlborough, Glastonbury, Portland, East Haddam, Colchester, Haddam and Middletown and eastern Connecticut, I want you to know, I'm never too busy for any of your referrals.

New Telephone Technology

Today it seems as though almost every teenager and certainly most adults have cell phones, and rapidly I-phones or Blackberries are replacing these as talking is just one limited method of communication. New technologies let you text, email, even pay your bills and as the ads say, do about 75,000 other things. But in 1953, the new technology was the rotary telephone. Do you remember the round 10-holed dial and a local telephone number with only 5 digits? Our local exchange was “7” followed by your 4 digits. The “AN” or”26” was not added until the 1960s and our area code only used for out of state dialing.

But the new technology allowed you to dial yourself. Heretofore, an operator placed your call. An operator station and office was located on the2nd floor rear of the East Hampton Bank & Trust Co at 66 Main Street. Operators such as Beverly Fuller Beecher and Ruth Jacobson Hollings handled the calls patching you through to your party.

With the rotary telephone, you could directly dial the person to whom you wished to talk. But this new fangled self-dialing came with some minor issues – party lines! Back in the 1950s, multiple households shared a single telephone line. You would distinguish whether the call was for you by the number of rings. If two rings were for your house, then you answered. If three occurred, your neighbor answered. It also made for some tense situations where your neighbor listened into your telephone conversation. Of course, you would never listen to theirs.

We take for granted the mobility of telephone and communication services now. Up until the 1970s, telephones were hard-wired and owned by SNET Co. Litigation in the late 1960s deregulated telephone service which allowed us to purchase our own phones. I can remember comedians joking about telephone service in foreign countries such as France where installation of a home telephone could take up to nine months. Here it was usually a few days.

In 1996, on a business trip to South Korea, cell phones, with immediate activation – something we’ve all become accustomed to - were the rage because land lines took a year to install. As the saying goes, “we’ve come a long way baby!” and I have no doubt we will be going a lot further yet.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Alice Conklin Bevin - East Hampton - Artist of the World

As I was driving over Barton Hill the other day, I was struck by the wonderful restoration of the Philo Bevin 3 story Second Empire style mansion constructed in 1872 situated at the crest of the hill. I grew up across the street in the 1960s, where my parents owned the Dutch colonial gamble roofed home built circa 1770 owned by William Barton, the founder of East Hampton’s Bell Industry. But what I remember fondly was my neighbor and friend - Alice C. Bevin.

Philo Bevin House at 26 Barton Hill owned by Ms Franciene A. Lehmann

Alice Bevin was an East Hampton Born Parisian Artist who painted throughout the world from the Arctic Circle to the boarder of the Sahara Desert. In her own words from a 1940 Hartford Courant article, she stated “The people I have painted throughout the world .... have not only impressed me by the contrast of their various types but they have shown me many sides of life hitherto unknown. What knowledge of life one gains painting people. From all the portraits and studies I have done how much more I have learned beyond mere composition and the bare technique of painting that each new subject teaches us.”

“Much has been written about the artist’s ability to read the souls of his sitters. He does so undoubtedly, whether consciously or not. Invariably, the sitter becomes confidential while posing in much the same way the patient confides in his doctor. The artist, listening with only half an ear as he mixes the flesh tones, gradually gains a knowledge of the character of his subject. Sometimes it has happened that in painting portraits of friends whom I thought I knew intimately, I have to my great surprise, suddenly discovered that I never really knew them at all.”

From 1940 Hartford Courant Article by Alice C. Bevin

Some of Alice’s noted subjects were Yamina, the Arab-dancing girl in Bou-Saada, a Lapp fisherman guide sketched in Finland, Hada, a drummer from the desert regions of Bou-Saada in Algeria, or the Sardine Fishermen of Concarneau.

Her home was this incredible art gallery which housed a number of her paintings not on display in noted museums such as the Louvre in Paris.

Reprint of the 1940 Hartford Courant article written by Alice C. Bevin

I met Mrs. Bevin, as we addressed her, through her grandsons, Granger and Nathaniel Benson who lived in New York City, but spent numerous weekends and summers here with their grandmother. We had wonderful times exploring the massive garage and barn that housed her studio, and a spectacular room that depicted a stadium. The four walls were painted with the spectators of a bull fight as if watching a matador challenge a bull in the center of the barn. I believe Alice's daughter, Betty Benson, painted this scene.

In my later high school years, I would do gardening and odd jobs around the property, replace burnt out electrical box fuses, and on occasion, house sit. One Valentine's Day, she presented me with a gift of one of her paintings - a winter view of our house painted from the 3rd floor of her home. The painting below was accompanied by a note that I still find amusing.

A note accompanying a gift of her painting of our house on Barton Hill.

Alice Bevin passed away 40 years ago, but the paintings that graced her home, still touch my soul. I remember standing in her living room, which was a gallery of her paintings, surrounded by a dozen or more of her subjects. Two things struck me about these many varied portraits. First the lifelike detail and second the eyes. The eyes of each always seemed to sparkle reflecting a certain contentment of the individual. But second, the subjects eyes always seemed to follow me as I moved around the room - almost as if the captured image brought a little of the subjects spirit along for eternity in the portrait she painted.

From her exhibit August 5, 1967 Celebrating East Hampton's Bicentennial.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Air Line Trail over the Rapello & Lyman Viaducts

As summer simmers down and we await New England bursting into its hues of red, orange and yellow, I’m reminded of my annual hikes as a Boy Scout walking the rail road tracks to the viaducts. Every fall, Troop 47 would take a day long hike along the rail line, reaching the Lyman Viaduct where we would climb down the cinder facing and camp by the “diving” pool created from the stream running through the culvert under the viaduct.

Dickinson Creek cascading under the Lyman Viaduct near Bull Hill that forms the "diving pool"

Now converted into the Air Line Trial, he 13 mile route, beginning at Cranberry Bog, passes over the viaducts, Bull Hill, the Salmon River on through Colchester, and traverses the bed of the former NY, New Haven and Hartford Rail Road. It is one of our Town’s great assets. Where else could your walk, jog or bike, or just find a great place to take the family and the family dog and best of all – it’s free!

A few facts about the Air Line Trail and viaducts: Leaving Cranberry Bog, you walk through Linkpot Cut, 1,800 feet in length with an average depth of 40 feet. Next you cross Flat Brook on the Rapello Viaduct, an iron structure of 1,378 ½ feet in length and 60 feet high.

The Rapello Viaduct over Flat Brook as it looked circa 1890 when it was an open trestle

The trail continues winding through numerous cuts until it reaches the 1,600 foot long Lyman Viaduct that is over 200 feet high.

The original open frame of the Lyman Viaduct as it appeared after construction in 1867

The original open iron frameworks of both viaducts have been filled with gravel and old coal cinders and I’m told old rail road cars.

The top of the Lyman Viaduct Rail Road Bridge structure appearing through the fill

From the top of the Lyman Viaduct one gets panoramic views of the Salmon River Valley.

The pristine waters of the Salmon River

The Salmon River near the fly fishing area

Take a Walk with Me

If you are interested in doing something good at the same time you walk the trail, my colleagues at Prudential Connecticut Realty will be walking to raise funds for one of our favorite charities – Sunshine Kids – national foundation raising money for kids with cancer. These kids could use your support, so if you’d like to join me on October 6th or pledge towards the miles I walk, please call me at 860-918-4400.

Sunshine Kids

The Sunshine Kids Foundation provides exciting, positive group activities for children with cancer so that they can do what children should do – have fun and celebrate life. Thousands of children from hospitals across the country benefit from the foundation’s programs and events.
Corporations, foundations and individual donors fund The Sunshine Kids Foundation. The foundation’s programs and activities are free to children, families and hospitals.
Prudential Connecticut Realty adopted The Sunshine Kids Foundation as their company charity in 2002. Since then, we have raised more than $1.3 million through charity events and donations. Young cancer patients at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center have enjoyed trips to Hawaii, Washington, D.C., New Orleans and New York City.
Visit The Sunshine Kids Foundation Web site at http://www.sunshinekids.org/ to learn more or to show your support. See the Sunshine kids video.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Changing the Town's Name from Chatham to East Hampton

The Town of Chatham, formerly a part of Middletown, had an original grant 3 miles in breadth east of the river and in 1673, a 2nd grant, extended another 3 miles east to what is now the Marlborough and Colchester town lines. Surveying and partitioning of this 2nd grant began in 1721 with the lots awarded primarily to Middletown Property owners.

Chatham was incorporated in 1767 at the October session of the General Assembly as a town of the same name in England, noted for it shipbuilding, and its boundaries embraced the whole of the ecclesiastical parishes of East Middletown (present day Portland) a part of Middle Haddam, the whole of East Hampton and a small portion of Pine Swamp (Westchester).

The first large group of settlers emigrated by sea in 1739 from Eastham, Mass., up the Connecticut River to Middle Haddam Parish. Led by Isaac Smith, some of those early settlers left Middle Haddam to push on to the seven hills near Lake Pocotopaug on which the town of East Hampton now stands. In 1746 the settlers named their growing community Easthampton parish in honor of their original home of Eastham, Mass.

On April 10, 1915, the Town changed its name and by virtue of long usage decreed the divided name of East Hampton, establishing the two word version over the original spelling Easthampton.

Old School House until 1915, then served at Town Hall until the mid 1970s. Currently serves as the Board of Education Administrative Building.

Unlike today where a full transcript of Legislative Hearings or Town Meeting actions occur, the official record in 1915 was quite sparse. The special town meeting held in the Old School House in the Village of East Hampton on April 3rd was adjourned until Saturday the 10th of April because of significant opposition and a late winter storm.

Regardless of one's views, our Town Meetings have a long and noble tradition of full and open debate that allows every citizen the opportunity to express his view. Because the storm impeded the opportunity for all citizens to participate, our Town's Selectmen choose to adjourn a week to enable everyone who desired to attend this important meeting.

The opposition came chiefly from the Middle Haddam area, “they thinking that the upstreet crowd were getting too much benefit by the change.”

The minutes for the adjourned special town meeting as recorded: “Resolved that it is the since of this meeting that the name of the Town of Chatham be changed to East Hampton. Vote stood – 126 in favor and 42 opposed.” On May 4th, the Connecticut General Assembly adopted HR 273 changing the name of the town to East Hampton.

The Summit Tread Building on Summit Street circa 1910.

Accounts in the Hartford Courant give the reason for the change as economic. After Portland separated from Chatham in 1841 the primary business and industrial area of the town was in the village of East Hampton. Confusion arose when Cobalt renamed its Post Office Chatham which interfered in the local commerce since much of the mail was routed to Cobalt and not the Village Post Office in East Hampton.

I believe knowing the history of East Hampton is an important component to provide the best service possible as a Realtor. I'm never to busy to take your call or assist you with real estate needs.