Some local history in need of a new home

When The Lakeville Journal moved its quarters from its longtime home in Lakeville to Falls Village in October of 2017, there was quite a lot of stuff to move out of that old location that would not fit into the new one. Much of it, like vintage desks, tables, chairs and cabinets, became scrap metal. Some of it was repurposed for our new space; community weekly newspapers aren’t known for purchasing a lot of new stuff, let’s face it.

There were, however, some things that we didn’t really want to throw out, but didn’t really have space for any more either. In this category were books preserving back issues of The Millerton News, which were saved and stored by Millerton Attorney Ed Downey, who is also at the North East Historical Society, as well as some of The Lakeville Journal bound books that went to Salisbury’s Scoville Memorial Library (which had been storing for public use all the bound books and microfilm of Lakeville Journals going back to 1897 anyway).  Claudia Cayne, director at the Scoville Memorial Library, then initiated a real project of digitizing all the library’s copies of The Lakeville Journal and other newspapers and publications going way back into the 19th century, which is now finished and there for all to use. (You can link to those archives through this newspaper’s website, www.tricornernews.com, or Scoville Library’s at www.scovillelibrary.org.)

There was more to The Lakeville Journal archives than what had been published over the years, though. Over at the old building, in a small, windowless room that had at one time been a film darkroom before digital cameras came into general use, we had more than 10 heavy metal file cabinets full of photographic negatives, prints and other reference materials that held some irreplaceable and unique parts of local history. It was labeled chronologically, going back to the 1950s, and generally in quite good shape. As believers that what we write about in our pages is often the only chronicle of this area’s history, we were loath to discard this material, yet had no room for it in our new space in Falls Village. What to do?

Salisbury historian Katherine Chilcoat took some days before we moved and went through the files, taking out what she thought might be of interest to people researching Salisbury history, then adding it to the archives at the Salisbury Association. But there was still quite a lot left to store somewhere after she had completed her task.

An angel came to the rescue in the form of Falls Village sawmill owner and history appreciator Louis Timolat, who offered space in his barn to store the cabinets temporarily. Now, a year and a half later, it is time for us to start coming up with an alternate plan for these materials. It may be that some of the area historical societies or libraries would find some of the materials of use to their town’s history buffs ­— or not. 

This is a plea to any who would regret having these items disappear without having been seen by them to think about taking a trip over to the barn in Falls Village and looking through this local history. The idea would be that one or more of you would have a location to store what you find of interest. We would ask that you contact us to make arrangements for a visit. Email us at editor@lakevillejournal.com and ask for a visit, or call at 860-435-9873 and ask for Cynthia or Janet.