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Fall 2002 Newsletter

(Jim Morris - Editor)


 SAD NEWS - Cordelia Cafone and Carmen Smith have decided that this year will be their last for working in the weaving house at Millbrook. They ave been faithful weekend weavers for many years. Cordelia was one of the original demonstrators when the historical village was created in the early 70's. The National Park Service sponsored her training at Colonial Williamsburg. They will be sorely missed by the Millbrook people and the thousands of visitors that they have educated and entertained over the years. We do hope that with all this extra time they can stay out of trouble.

FRIDAY NEWS - Last fall a group of hardy souls decided to dedicate their time on Fridays throughout the winter months to work on some repair and maintenance projects in the village. We averaged about six workers each day. The village outbuildings received the majority of our attention. Flagstone walks were installed for several buildings. The Park Service maintenance people brought us some logs that they had salvaged from a road project. The logs were sawn into lumber for the new carriage shed. We decided to continue the Friday workday through the summer months and devote the time to the construction of the new carriage shed by the wagon shop. Help wanted signs were posted for apprentice chislers to help with the mortise and tenon joinery. We averaged eight workers through the summer months. The carriage shed is almost finished and will be in use for Millbrook days.

THE SURVEY - The Park Service was amazed that we were getting so many volunteers on a Friday. John Wright decided to interview the men and analyze why they chose to be in Millbrook. Here are his findings:
  - Category A - These men were escaping from husbandly type duties at home. They frequently looked over their shoulder.
  - Category B - These men had wives who liked to shop on Friday and didn't want to be encumbered.
  - Category C - These men had wives who were only too happy to drop them off at Millbrook. It became my duty to watch them.
  - Category D - These men had mysterious and undisclosed motives.

FRESH NEWS - The Park Service has compeleted a major restoration project at the Van Campen House. Most of the old siding was removed and replaced with new siding which was carefully primed and stained. It looks great! John Tauke has undertaken the job of constructing a shed for the early 1900's sawmill which we acquired from the Harold Van Campen Estate. He needs helpers and chislers for this timber frame project.

DUES INCREASE (gasp!) - At our September meeting we decided to increase our yearly dues to $10 for mailing memberships. Our mailing costs were approximately $1500 or close to $6 per member. Volunteers who participate in Millbrook activities (but don't receive our mailings) do not have to pay the $10 fee. Be sure to register as a volunteer. Checks may be mailed to: Millbrook Village Society, PO Box 470, Blairstown, NJ 07825.

Upcoming Events!!

Millbrook Points of Contact and Membership Information!

Fall 2001 Newsletter (for historical perspective)

Millbrook Days (October 6 and 7) are fast approaching. The taste of sausage sandwiches, cider, soup, cake, cider and sausage sandwiches is ringing a bell in my cranial cavity (the attendant discomforts have been forgotten). I look forward to listening to the music in the village. I do miss the Hagermans. They were the only musical group that would allow me to sing along. For some reason they moved to Tennesee. It will be nice to see the horses, goats and sheep in the village. We have obtained some new things for display. An early 1900s sawmill, a beautiful oxcart, a Conestoga haywagon, a McCormick reaper, a timber hauling wagon, and a large school bell. We have scheduled beautiful weater for this event, so be sure to attend.
  As usual we need helpers. Perhaps there is a craft that you would like to learn. Here is your chance! You do not have to be an expert. The demonstrators need a break occasionally to see what is going on in other parts of the village. If you could spare a few hours it would be appreciated.
  Good News - We recently got the OK to start the waterwheel phase of themill project. The wheel and pumped water system will cost us a few thousand dollars. More good news - Joe Mickel was seen strolling through the village last week. He has had a variety of ailments but seems to be doing well at this time.
  This past summer we were fortunate to have a VIP (volunteer in the park), Bob Ford, stay at one of our Millbrook campsites. He was a marveloushelp in restoring the Spangenberg cabin, working in the wagon shop, and many other village projects.
  We are hoping to orgaize a work crew of volunteers that will do some badly needed maintennance and restoration work in the village throughout the fall and winter months. Hopefully thewinter will be a bit milder than last year.
  What happens after Millbrook Days? First we have the cleanup and put away and buttonup for winter experience. Then the fun begins. In recent years Sue Grove and some dedicated volunteers have created a few really neat activities. Attendance at these events increases every year.

  OCTIVITIES - The Saturday before Halloween (Oct 27) children and parents are invited to particaipate in pumpkin decorating, creating cornhusk dolls, and other activities.

  VICTORIAN CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS - The first Saturday in December (Dec 1st) children and parents can participate in making old time ornaments and decorations for their home and the village.

  HYMN SING - The first Sunday in December (Dec 2 at 5PM)the church will be full of people and joyful music. Some of the village houses willbe decorated. A great way to start the holiday season!

  MAPLESYRUP FESTIVAL - In late March or early Februarywe will have our Maple Syrup demonstration with sap from Millbrook Maple trees. This will be the second year for this event.

Upcoming Events!!

Millbrook Points of Contact and Membership Information!

  FALL 2000 Newsletter

(in case you missed it)

Is it fall?  How can you tell?
  I have noticed several signs lately.  My golf ball gets lost in the leaves.  The Millbrook Days Newsletter has arrived.  There is a pile of wood ready for the apple butter fire.  Nobody is complaining about the heat and humidity.  There are Christmas things in the stores.  The black bears have been taunting the New Jersey hunters.  It must be!  Yes, the weekend of October 7th and 8th is the first Millbrook Days of the new millenium.  Don't miss this event!  We need your help.  Last year's crowd was estimated at 12,000 people.  Did you ever try talking to 12,000 people one at a time?  We need breaks to eat sausage sandwiches and other necessary tasks.  If you can fill in for a few hours, call Shirley Demarest and she will find a spot for you.

  What?  You don't know anything about Millbrook?
  We have a great site on the Internet.  Todd is constantly adding things for you to see.  Our plan is to put together action pictures of all Millbrook Days participants on the webpage.  You could be famous!  The website address is  Check it out.What else happens in the fall?
     On Saturday October 21 we will again have "Octivities".  This is a children's autumn activities day.  Participants will make corn husk dolls, applehead dolls, and other seasonal decorations.  Admission is FREE and light refreshments will be served.  Reservations are reuested.  Call (908) 841-9531 or (908) 496-4458.
     On Saturday December 2 the village will be decorated in a Victorian style and the children can participate in Christmas activities.  There will be games, decoration-making, playing with and constructing old fashioned toys.  Again, admission is FREE and light refreshments will be served.
     Both of these activities have been organized by Sue Grove, and Park Service Ranger, and are being held in the Van Campen house in Millbrook.  You may call the above numbers for more information.
     On Saturday December 3 we will again have our annual Christmas Carol Service in the Millbrook Church at 5:00 PM.  Light refreshments and a social hour follow the service.  Bring a plate of cookies to share.

Thanks to our volunteers:
     We have a dedicated band of volunteers that really help to make Millbrook a special place.  Gail Speirs, Hazel Rutstein, and Carmen Smith help Cordelia in the Ill House.  Jim Kyle and Joe Mickel run the Wagon Shop.  Brian Morris built a great wheel to power the lathe built by Jim Kyle.  Cooper Steve Scorzelli has made the cider mill site a major attraction with his buckets, tubs, bathtub, coffin, etc.  Pete Sgro and Dave Peach have created a type of old fashioned music with their "hammerdinging" in the blacksmith shop.  Cliff Zimmer has been helping me with the waterwheel trestle and other mill projects.  Mary Ann Zimmer has been accompanied by her well behaved goats as she goes about her work.  Unfortunately, many times we are not able to open up the Garis and Trauger houses because we don not have enough people.  Maybe next year you could help man these sites.

Why isn't the Grist Mill in operation?
     We are working toward that goal, but we are very slow.  Jack Hineline transported the millstones to the mill several weeks ago.  Steve Speirs brought his future son-in-law to help install the 1500 pound stones.  Hopefully as time goes on the young man's assignments will get easier.  The miller's office is about 75% complete.  Werner Schott is building the miller's desk.  Our goal for next season is to complete the trestle and the waterwheel.  Hopefully we can find some water for the wheel!

See you at Millbrook Days!

Upcoming Events!!

Millbrook Points of Contact and Membership Information!

And, for those of you who missed it, the Spring 2000 newsletter!

Signs of spring are all around us. Bluebirds are nesting, eagles have left the river and traveled North for the summer, and I recently spotted Joe Mickel (a rare bird from south Jersey) on his spring migration to Millbrook country. This past weekend Steve Scorzelli was in the cider mill making a wooden bathtub under the watchful eyes of Bob Demarest and Steve Wenzel. Jim Kyle stopped by with the weekly flea market report. Pete Sgro caught me working on the Spangenberg cabin and said that he was anxious to start hammerdinging.

What is in store for this summer? We have a lot of work to do on the grist mill. Building the miller's office on the first floor, building the sluice to feed water to the waterwheel, building the waterwheel, cleaning and restoring some of the grain-cleaning machinery that we have on the second floor, and constructing wooden line shafts and gears to run the milling machinery are just some of the things we need to do to make our mill have the real appearance of a grist mill.

Sue Grove and Shirley Demarest will be interpreting household crafts and organizing our very successful fall programs for Halloween and the Christmas season. Cordelia Cafone and her weaving group will be busy in the Hill house. Steve Scorzelli will be plying the cooper's trade in the cider mill. Bob Demarest will be crafting all kinds of interesting things in his woodworking shop-museum. Jim Morris better get his act together and finish the Spangenberg cabin restoration, so he can get back to the grist mill project. Pete Sgro and Dave Peach will be hammerdinging in the blacksmith shop. Jim Kyle and Joe Mickel will be wheelwrighting in the wagon shop. I heard a recent rumor that Steve Wenzel might be making various types of chairs this summer. It sounds like we have plenty of workers but in truth we are shorthanded. We need people to keep buildings open, and we would welcome apprentices to learn some of our crafts. Cordelia has voiced a concern that our crafts might die if we do not pass them on to the younger generation.

John Tauke and his crew of volunteers from the Bethlehem, PA area have done a lot of work refurbishing our huge 100-year-old cider press. Check it out the next time you happen to be in Millbrook. President Bob has devoted an awful lot of time this past winter mapping out the property lines of the early landowners in the Millbrook area. I am sure if you mention old maps and deeds, he will be delighted to pull out all of his charts and bend your ear. We recently purchased a nice matched set of one-piece granite millstones. One of the metal bands had rusted off and we decided to replace it. Our first attempt was a comedy of errors and a failure. Our second attempt was successful, and we now consider ourselves to be experts. The metal ring was heated over a vigorous wood fire. One of the things we learned was that if the fire is close to the stone, your behind gets hot when you try to place the band on the stone. Todd Morris has created a web page for Millbrook. We are going to use it to keep our fans apprized of the current goings-on in the village. He has included some background information, pictures, a current newsletter, etc. Check it out at

- Dan Campanelli donated ten more Grist Mill Prints to be sold as a fundraiser for $50 each. I have seen many of these for sale in restaurants and galleries. Our mill is famous! I still have a few of these prints remaining.
- Our 1999 Millbrook Days were one of our biggest attendance wise. The number of visitors was estimated to be between 10 and 12 thousand!
- There is a touch of nostalgia in the newsletter picture. It shows President Bob sneaking out of his shop to eat one of Brownies' sausage sandwiches. Hopefully Brownie and his food concession will be back again next year to feed Bob and the rest of our visitors.

Upcoming Events!!

Millbrook Points of Contact and Membership Information!