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Friday, January 23, 2015

    First a quick weather report - not much change except we had very little sunshine today.  This morning there were some snowflakes in the air, but the temperature was fairly "normal" for January - in the high-20s - so I went for my walk without my earmuffs or a hat (I know, you'd think I'd know better) and it would have been ok except there was a little bit of wind in some spots not sheltered by trees or hills, and my ears got pretty cold.  It's hard to keep one's balance in the snow while covering one's ears with mittened hands!  All is well, no harm done and lesson learned.
    I've met some very interesting people through this blog over the years.  This morning I had a message from Stephen Briscoe who lives in North Truro on Cape Cod and co-owns a summer home in West Danville with artist Kenneth Hawkey.  Stephen owns SeasCape Realty, Inc., and Larkin Gallery in Provincetown and North Truro where Kenneth exhibits his paintings.  Stephen sent pictures of two of Kenneth's paintings - one of Joe's Pond, done from the parking lot at the beach in West Danville and the other of Keiser Pond road near their home - he kindly thought my readers might enjoy seeing them.  Click on the images to make them larger. You can view more of Kenneth Hawkey's work at  Larking Gallery.
    Stephen also shared this little story:  "I've enjoyed your blog over the years and last year, while traveling in Ireland with my mother (she, along with my father, summer at our house on Keiser Pond Road), read about Beck's quest to find a new home for her little dog, Jennie.  Ultimately, my mother adopted Jennie and Jennie now enjoys splitting her time between Cape Cod and West Danville!"
    I was so pleased to learn that the blog apparently played some part in uniting Jennie with a new owner - and she is still a Vermont doggie at least part time!  It was very nice of Stephen to let me know, and I was especially pleased to see Kenneth's paintings.  I hope you all enjoy them, too, and if you visit the Cape, stop in and introduce yourself.
    Each day when I am working on the West Danville history project I find more interesting items, and today I was looking for some background material about early automobiles after noting that there were few mentions of autos in any of the newspaper items about West Danville and Joe's Pond until after about 1911.  Turns out there weren't many in the whole state.  The Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles records indicate that the first auto in Vermont, a Stanley Steamer, was purchased by Dr. Lindley of Burlington in 1898.  The first law passed requiring automobile registration was in 1904 and the following spring, 373 vehicles were registered.  By 1950 there were over 100,000 registrations.  What was most interesting, I thought, was that in 1902 the legal speed limit was 15 m.p.h.  I guess that was reasonable - most of the early cars didn't go very fast anyway, and in addition the poor road conditions required extreme caution to keep automobiles and their riders from flying in all directions.  In 1918 one man, Ara Griggs, was hired to patrol the whole state to enforce the speed limit and registration requirements.  A year later two more men were assigned to patrol; but even in 1937, there were only 37 officers on duty.  I'm guessing during the prohibition years it was up to the local constabulary to intercept rum-runners - not a few of which came through or operated in this area.  But that's a whole other story . . .

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