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Simsbury Free Library
749 Hopmeadow Street
P.O.Box 484
Simsbury, CT 06070
Hours:
Tuesdays and Thursdays
11:00 to 5:00
2nd and 4th Saturdays
10:00 to 2:00
860/408-1336

Email: simsburyfreelibrary@gmail.com
 
 
UPCOMING EVENTS   
 

 

To make a reservation or for more info,

call 860-408-1336

or email simsburyfreelibrary@gmail.com.


 
Farmington Canal Talk with Carl E. Walter and Map Publication Party
Thursday, June 9th, 6:30 p.m.
 

To celebrate the publication of the 9 maps that show the line of the Farmington Canal, the SFL will hold a Farmington Canal talk with Carl E. Walter on June 9, 2016 at 6:30 p.m. Attendees can come learn about the social, economic, and engineering history of this attempt to create an inland waterway connecting New Haven to Northampton, Massachusetts and beyond. A reception will follow. Free to members. $5.00 for non-members. RSVPs are required by June 6, 2016 via (860) 408-1336 or 

 

Construction of the Farmington Canal began in 1825 and was completed to Westfield, Massachusetts in 1829; it was quite an undertaking considering all of the work was done by the labor of men and animals. In 1934, the canal was extended to Northampton, Massachusetts, though its opening was delayed until 1835 due to a water shortage. While the canal was closed most of the 1837 season due to winter storm damage, it was in operation with varying levels of success until it was abandoned in 1847. 

 

Maps will be available for sale at the Simsbury Free Library beginning June 9, 2016. Folded maps are $5.00 each; $40.00 for the set of nine maps. Flat maps are $10.00 each. Maps are also available for purchase online. Call (860) 408-1336 or email simsburyfreelibrary@gmail.com for more information.

 
 
 
 
 
 

College Travel Abroad – Slideshows and Round Table

Thursday, June 23, at 6:30 p.m.

 

Interested in learning more about student travel abroad? Curious about how college study abroad programs work? Join the SFL as it welcomes several college students who will share their experiences and photos of their travels throughout the past year. Free. RSVPs are requested – call 860-408-1336 or email simsburyfreelibrary@gmail.com

 

Rails and Trails: The Iron Horse in Simsbury, 1850-2016

Saturday, June 25th, 1:00 - 2:30 p.m.


 Ferroequinologist Robert Joseph Belletzkie will give a narrated video presentation on Simsbury’s fascinating and unique railroad history. He will focus on the station structures that dotted the town at several locations, both on the Canal line which opened in 1850 and the Connecticut Western RR which was completed in 1871. Over the years, passenger and freight service was available at Weatogue, Simsbury, Hoskins, Stratton Brook, and Tariffville and there was an additional stop for Bartlett Tower visitors as well.

Images will be drawn from the speaker’s TylerCityStation website and from visits to the National Archives, Harvard’s Baker Library, the University of Connecticut Archives and Special Collections, and other repositories.

 

Mr. Belletzkie is a retired academic reference librarian and is a member of the Connecticut Historical Society, the New Haven Railroad Historical and Technical Association, and other local societies. The speaker has been researching railroads for over 40 years and has given a number of talks on the development of Connecticut’s railroads and the impact they had on the state and on the communities they served. From 2008 to 2011, he processed the papers of the Board of Railroad Commissioners at the Connecticut State Library, unwrapping materials that had been sealed for over 150 years, organizing them and making them accessible to researchers for the first time.

Presentation to last about an hour; questions, discussion to follow. All are welcome to attend this free, public event!

 

Genealogy Road Show

May 28th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

 

If you are researching your family's past, but don't know where else to look to find missing ancestors, bring in your family tree.  Genealogy librarian Diane LeMay and genealogist Marilyn Giese can help with deciphering handwriting, online research, Massachusetts and French-Canadian research, and much more.  RSVPs recommended.

 
Free to members, $5 for non-members.  
 

Ask a Genealogist 

Thursdays, 2-4 p.m.

 

Stop in and meet the latest addition to our genealogy team, Marilyn Giese.  She has been doing genealogy research for over 30 years and her specialties include New England, Scotland, England and Ireland.  Welcome Marilyn!  Free for members, $5 for non-members.


Drop In Book Club 
Bandbox  by Thomas Mallon
Tuesday, June 14th, 11:15 a.m.
 

From Amazon: "Cuddles Houlihan got clipped by the vodka bottle as it exited the pneumatic tube. . . ." With that bottle we enter Bandbox, a hugely successful magazine of the 1920s, run by bombastic Jehoshaphat "Joe" Harris. Harris's most ambitious protégé ("the bastard son he never had") has just defected to run the competition, plunging Bandbox into a newsstand death struggle. The magazine's fight for survival will soon involve a sabotaged fiction contest, the vice squad, a subscriber's kidnapping, and a film-actress cover subject who makes the heroines of Chicago look like the girls next door. While Harris and his magazine careen from comic crisis to make-or-break calamity, the reader races from skyscraper to speakeasy. Thomas Mallon has given us a madcap romp of a book that brilliantly portrays Manhattan in the gaudiest American decade of them all.

 

New members in search of great book discussions and even better company are always welcome at the SFL’s Drop In Book Club.  Readers are welcome any time they are interested in the SFL’s monthly book.  Past book discussions have included The Boys in the Boat, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, and One Thousand White Women.  This is the last Book Club before our summer break.  Join us on September 13th as we discuss Liane Moriarity’s novel What Alice Forgot.  Free. For more info, call (860) 408-1338 or email simsburyfreelibrary@gmail.com.


 Add Row
 
 
 

 

Tuesday, May 20th, 1 p.m.
Connecticut History Talk with Tom Ratliff:  "Hartford from 1820-1920"
  
In this fifth and final lecture in his series exploring Connecticut's rich historical past, Tom Ratliff will talk about the period of rapid industrial growth and large-scale i
Tuesday, May 20th, 1 p.m.
Connecticut History Talk with Tom Ratliff:  "Hartford from 1820-1920"
  
In this fifth and final lecture in his series exploring Connecticut's rich historical past, Tom Ratliff will talk about the period of rapid industrial growth and large-scale i

DROP IN BOOK CLUB

 

Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr.
Tuesday, May 12th at 11:15 a.m.:  

 

From Booklist: What goes on behind closed doors, especially when those doors are of the gilded variety, has fascinated novelists and journalists for centuries. The private lives of the rich and famous are so tantalizing that Robin Leach made a career out of showcasing them. One of the biggest eccentric, rich fishes out there was Huguette Clark. Deceased for more than two years, Clark, brought to life by investigator Dedman and Clark’s descendant, Newell, owned nouveau riche palaces in New York, Connecticut, and California. An heiress, Clark disappeared from public view in the 1920s. What happened to her and her vast wealth? Answering this question is the book’s mission. Based on records and the hearsay of relations and former employees, the book pieces together Clarks life, that of a woman rumored to be institutionalized while her mansions stood empty, though immaculately maintained throughout her life. Clark left few clues about herself, but she willed vast sums to her caretakers and numerous charitable endeavors. Still, her absence acts as a shade to seeing her fully, hinting at possible financial malfeasance, all the while conspiring to produce a spellbinding mystery.


No need to join this book club.  Just drop in when you are in town or when the book is of interest.


DROP IN BOOK CLUB

 

Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr.
Tuesday, May 12th at 11:15 a.m.:  

 

From Booklist: What goes on behind closed doors, especially when those doors are of the gilded variety, has fascinated novelists and journalists for centuries. The private lives of the rich and famous are so tantalizing that Robin Leach made a career out of showcasing them. One of the biggest eccentric, rich fishes out there was Huguette Clark. Deceased for more than two years, Clark, brought to life by investigator Dedman and Clark’s descendant, Newell, owned nouveau riche palaces in New York, Connecticut, and California. An heiress, Clark disappeared from public view in the 1920s. What happened to her and her vast wealth? Answering this question is the book’s mission. Based on records and the hearsay of relations and former employees, the book pieces together Clarks life, that of a woman rumored to be institutionalized while her mansions stood empty, though immaculately maintained throughout her life. Clark left few clues about herself, but she willed vast sums to her caretakers and numerous charitable endeavors. Still, her absence acts as a shade to seeing her fully, hinting at possible financial malfeasance, all the while conspiring to produce a spellbinding mystery.


No need to join this book club.  Just drop in when you are in town or when the book is of interest.


 

EXTRA! EXTRA! Read all about it!

 
FARMINGTON CANAL MAPS PUBLISHED
 
  
 

In partnership with canal expert Carl E. Walter, the Simsbury Free Library (SFL) has just published nine maps of the Farmington Canal. The map series includes one for each of the towns through which the canal once ran: New Haven, Hamden, Cheshire, Southington, Plainville, Farmington, Avon, Simsbury and Granby.

 

Each map notes the various features that still remain or were once there (e.g., culverts, bridges, locks, etc.). The reverse side of each map provides a narrative about the need for the canal, the construction and financing of the canal, the challenges running the canal, and the reasons for its demise. Also included is a canal topic unique to each map: tolls, road and farm bridges, locks, waste weirs, canal boats, aqueducts, canal basins, culverts, dams, and feeders. Each map features 10 town-specific photos of the canal and its features, many of them taken in the 1930s.

 

Construction of the Farmington Canal began in 1825 and was completed to Westfield, Massachusetts in 1829; it was quite an undertaking considering all of the work was done by the labor of men and animals. In 1934, the canal was extended to Northampton, Massachusetts, though its opening was delayed until 1835 due to a water shortage. While the canal was closed most of the 1837 season due to winter storm damage, it was in operation with varying levels of success until it was abandoned in 1847. 

 

Maps will be available for sale at the Simsbury Free Library beginning June 9, 2016. Folded maps are $5.00 each, $40.00 for the set of nine maps. Flat maps are $10.00 each. Maps are also available for purchase online. Call (860) 408-1336 or email simsburyfreelibrary@gmail.com for information.


 

 

BOOK OF WORLD WAR I LETTERS

WRITTEN BY SIMSBURY NATIVE

 

 

 

 

Thank you so much to Joe Hall (of Hall's Farm on Terry's Plain) for sharing his great uncle's World War I letters and allowing us to scan them.  If you are a Simsbury or WWI history buff, stop in and have a look at our book of 44 letters that George L. Hall sent home between August 11, 1917 and October 21, 1918. Sadly, George was killed in action on October 28th, 1918, just 2 weeks before the Germans surrendered.  

The letters are a great look at the life of a 20-21 year old soldier in World War I and there a number of Simsbury tidbits as well.  George mentions the other Simsbury boys he sees in France, asks his mother to send fruit cake, hard candies and American cigarettes and tobacco, mentions the Hartford Courant and the "Farmington Valley", talks about how he can't tell them much because of the censors (most of the letters have the censor's signature, and at least one letter has a word or phrase cut out), he asks his brother how the Simsbury football team is doing, and the Home Guard. 

We hope to have the letters available to view on our website in the near future. 

 
An Oral History with Thelma Hall
Thelma Hall

Interested in Simsbury's history? Our interview with Thelma Hall is now up on SCTV's website (simsburytv.org). Her daughter, Joanne Vanty, asked her questions about her nearly 90 years in Simsbury. Mrs. Hall has great memories of growing up in Simsbury: her father, the station master, walking to school in the snow and so much more. Check it out!  

Click here to see the interview.


 



 

PAST PROGRAMS

    

Did you know you can see some of our past programs on SCTV's website at simsburytv.org?  Click on any program on the right to view.