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Month: July 2022

Paris Hill Community Club Saturday BBQ Recap

Hosted by Board Members, Jeff (and Lina) Richards and Peter (and Becky), this was our first Saturday Summer Barbecue. About 30 residents and guests attended this event and were treated to games, music, food, and conversation on the lawn in front of the Academy. The crowd was a mix of young and old, new and long time residents plus one amazing Australian Shepard pup.

President Chuck Frost agreed to have a short business meeting outside before going into the Academy for dinner. He thanked our hosts and welcomed new faces to the dinner.

Mike Morin was not present for a treasurer’s report, but the sent in his latest report. Includes proceeds from this dinner. $13,643 Checking, $13,344 Building Fund.

Chuck’s report to the community addressed issues the Board has recently dealt with:

Projects still needing to be scheduled his year if possible:
Roof nail replacement. Board is still searching fro a contractor that can do the work

Mold and sheet rock work on stage: same story. Waiting on possible contractor from Austin Home Builders.

Leslie Olson has volunteered to host the appetizer portion of the Progressive Dinner in early November, date to be determined. Thanks Leslie.

Board of Directors and Officer openings needing to be filled at August Annual Meeting on Wednesday, August 17. Contact board member if you can step up.

President    –  Jon Thompson
Vice Pres    –   Mike Brogan
Secretary    –   Open
Treasurer – Mike Morin
Trustee       –   Janet Thompson
Trustee       –    Open

By-Laws revision omitting Historian Position as a Board position.

Then we went inside to a nice cool Academy for dinner.

The burgers, hot dogs and sausages were grilled to perfection in the Richardson’s garage with delicious salads, many made from homegrown produce. Linda’s garden bouquet was lovely, and the long center table was laden with great food. Thanks to the Brogans, the Thompsons and the Lossos’ for salads. Our hosts surprised us with a different dessert: ice cream sandwiches and Klondike bars!

After dinner many folks hung around outside to enjoy the cool evening and watch a game of croquet (Peter Roy won, I think). Everly Black, 4 years old, provided some entertainment as she tried to figure out croquet. There was more Corn Hole and a ropey game that provided some laughs. And that beautiful Australian Shepard pup playing frisbee.

A very successful first Saturday BBQ Supper. Great idea from our hosts. Let’s make this a regular event.

Next up: August 17, Annual Meeting and Super Summer Salads hosted by the Brogans.

Janet Brogan Secretary

Summer BBQ this Weekend!

Hope everyone had a great weekend and got to check out some of the Founders Day festivities!

We wanted to make sure everyone saw the BBQ invite for this coming weekend! We hope to see a lot of neighbors (adults and kids) there! We will have lawn games, music and BBQ on the Academy lawn. This is our first Saturday BBQ and we hope to make it an annual tradition! If you can rsvp it would help with a head count for food!

Not only is it a great opportunity to meet or chat with your neighbors, all proceeds support the upkeep of the Academy building.

There’s a number of historic public buildings on Paris Hill and non-profits support their upkeep and maintenance – with neighbors volunteering to support. Should you be interested in helping out with any of them, please reach out online via the contact page or at the BBQ, and we will happily help get you as involved as you’d like to be!

Hope to see you all on Saturday!

Restoring the Grand Drape in the Paris Hill Academy Building

 At the spring cleanup in May, several workers remarked that we should look into restoring the rolled up Grand Drape on the stage of the second floor.  Mike Brogan and Linda Richardson collaborated on contacting the company who did a previous estimate of our drape, and the story takes off from there.

Mike contacted Curtains without Borders and talked extensively with Christine Hadsel, Director.  Photos of our curtain, and the stage were sent, and Christine remembered doing the estimate. She proposed a site visit to reassess the condition and make recommendations about restoration.  Since we are scheduling some ceiling work, Christine said it would be best if the drape were removed.

Arrangements were made for Christine to visit, and a crew was assembled to take down the drape with her supervision and properly store it for restoration in the future. Crew members were:  Mike Brogan, Jeff Richardson, Peter Roy,  Linda Richardson and Cathy Richardson.

Much to the surprise of the Community Club our Grand Drape is signed and dated.  This was news to everyone.  The artist is CA Henry and the date is 1892. 

I had lots of questions, and conducted an online interview with Christine.  Here are the questions and answers:

  1. What can you tell us about the artist?

Charles A. Henry (1845- c.1920?) – Charles Henry, not to be confused with Charles W. Henry of Vermont, had a small scenic studio in Boston.  His curtains are found in Moretown, VT, Paris, ME. and Wilmot, NH

An advertisement in the Boston City Directory of 1905 says that his studio “Designs, Manufactures and  Decorates all kinds of Theatrical Work. Theaters and Halls Fitted Up.  Scenery and Stage Properties To Let.”

From Curtains without Borders website:   Check out this site for more photos of restored curtains in New England.

2.  How were these artists trained?

Scenic artists were a mixture of self-taught and apprenticed at large studios.  Some of the  artists began painting advertisements and some ended that way.   Some were portrait and landscape artists, but most were not.  These painters hauled their supplies from town to town and created  magical worlds for small towns and villages.

3. What makes a Grand Drape special?

A Grand Drapes the most important curtain on the stage, whether it is the only one or part of a set.  It hangs right behind the proscenium arch and includes painted drapery, since there were no cloth drapes at that time.  It is usually a romanic, European-style scene, like the one on your drape.   These European themes depicted the romance of long ago and far way.  The scene is set within a painted (usually stenciled) frame and the “drapes” are pulled aside by unseen hands to show the painting.  

NOTE.  We have three of the four side panels that would have been onstage when the drape was up for performances.  These  side panels provided depth and access points for the actors to enter and depart  the scene.  We will have the three repainted and a fourth constructed. 

4.  Can you give a brief description of the process that will be applied to our drape?

Basically, we will clean and mend the curtain and reinforce all four edges, since the edges are where most tears start.  Then we will reattach the curtain to a sandwich of wood at the top and the original roller at the bottom.  We will make a tail at the bottom that will be stapled directly onto the wood.  We will reuse the original pullies, provide new ropes and a new cleat and then supervise reinstalling it at the back of the arch.

5.  What is the most unusual painting you  have restored?

The drape we are working on this summer is at Lisbon Town Hall.  It’s a party scene with musicians and all the ads in balloons.  We restored an almost identical curtain in Canaan, VT.  Both curtains were done by Lucretia Rogers, on the three women scenic artists who all knew each other in the 1930s.

6.  What should we do once the drape is restored?

Christine recommends carefully rolling the drape back up and only unrolling for special occasions.  She also advised getting some regular drapes that cover full arch to further protect the Grand Drape. 

Rosemary Losso was kind enough to donate materials and time to fabricate a temporary drape while the repairs occur.  They will be sewn together and hemmed this summer. Many thanks to all involved and to Curtains Without Borders for their work and guidance!

I found a wonderful article on line about Christine Hadley’s work in New England. It’s in the Yankee Magazine  September 2016 issue.  Worth reading to fully understand the value of these curtains in modern times and the work she has done to restore them.

 The Community Club Board has approved the restoration and work will begin some time next spring.    

Thanks to Janet Brogan for contributing this story!

Paris Hill Yard Sale Fundraiser Recap

To say this was a success is to be somewhat understated.  We had over 28 families participate and many gave generous donations to the Academy Building Fund. To date we have collected roughly $6000.  Of that $2500 was a matching donation from a generous donor.   Well done everyone!

Originally we said these funds would be for the Academy Building roof, and they will be.  We need to repair the metal roof by removing the roof nails and replacing with screws.  This will give us perhaps ten years or so to finish funding a full replacement.  We also have two interior projects that need doing:  sheetrock repair on the  stage ceiling around the chimney,  and next year, the restoration of the Grand Drape which was painted in 1892.   A fuller discussion of our plans will be presented at the Summer BBQ meeting on July 23.  

The money is impressive, but it’s not the biggest story.  The community effort and the fun we all had selling and talking to people was the best part.  Buyers were enthused to be on the hill, some for the very first time.  They loved the unique variety and quality of the merchandise and the willingness of sellers to “deal”.  There are so many stories about selling or giving away things that someone really wanted.   From college kids looking for deals and pretty things to older folks buying items they remembered as children.  We seemed to have something for everyone.   And everyone loved seeing the old houses and barns up close and looking so fabulous.  Paris Hill was  a beautiful  and happy place on this warm sunny day.  The traffic was slow, the walkers were happy.

The crowds started early, and by 1pm almost everyone was sold out.  Many of us put left over items out in front of our homes for free and by evening they were nearly gone.  

Several neighbors who did not join in this year will do so next year.  And here will be a next year.   Repeating events are very important in planning how we care for these historic buildings.  We urge you to take part in other events this summer.  

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