It's been another of those absolutely gorgeous days - to look at from inside a nice warm house. The sun was dazzling and the sky was a beautiful clear blue, but the thermometer when I first looked at around 7:30 a.m. was zero and never made it out of the single digits all day - and the wind was blowing up a gale again. I know the earth is absorbing warmth from the sun during the longer days, and imperceptibly things are changing in favor of spring, but it sure would be nice to bask in some warm air that isn't blowing 20 miles an hour day and night.
This is a picture Fred took Friday on his way to Cabot Village to deliver more Ice-Out Contest tickets. It's the road that goes by the Cabot Plains Cemetery. This is at the "T" - the cemetery is on the right, Dubray Road on the left. Of course the wind always blows up there - it's kind of like West Danville that way. And the snow is always deep - except where the wind has blown the ground bare - that happens, too. The road seems to be softening a little right there at the turn. A glimpse of things to come, we hope. Even mud would be welcome right now.
We had a visitor pass through our property today. We were getting supper ready when Fred caught a glimpse of an animal crossing the road by the mailboxes at the end of our drive. We realized it was a bobcat. It was just inside the woods and that made it very hard to get a picture, but Fred got this one - you can barely make out the figure of the big cat, but it's there, a little left of center. We watched him walking slowly through the trees and underbrush between us and our neighbors, but lost sight of him after he got up the hill in back of our house into the thicker forest. I thought it was unusually large, but then, I haven't seen many bobcats roaming around, although we've seen tracks and know they are in the area from time to time. We were glad Woody was inside.
One of the many interesting bits of information I've come across while searching in one of the old newspapers on line is about the West Danville school - the building that was Larrabee's Building Supply a few years ago, across from the public beach. Originally it was on the other side of the bridge next to what is now Richard Fortin's house on Route 2. The two-story building was built in 1903 to replace a much smaller one-story school. The old school was sold to one Charles Hunt, who moved it to his lot and proceeded to make it into a "tenement." We will try to find out where Charles Hunt lived in 1903 and if perhaps the old school building still exists in some form.
The fall after the school was built there were expected to be about45 pupils for the school. There were two teachers, Miss
Lillian Bishop of McIndoe Falls had the primary school downstairs; Mrs. H. H. Moulton of St. Johnsbury taught upstairs in the "grammar grade" school, which I expect were the older children. Having the new school seemed to improve the quality of education, at least from the viewpoint of the school directors, who proclaimed the teachers in the new school had "done much in bringing our school onto a graded system, which has been the wish of the school board for a long time." The children earned good marks and "nearly all pupils passed to the next grade" in 1904.
It's hard to imagine that a building that size (the white building at the far right of the picture above) could be constructed and finished in a few short months during the summer. A. L. Bragg of St. Johnsbury was awarded the contract to build the school, and work commenced in mid-July and was completed four months later, in November.
The building was moved about 20 years later when the road through town was being widened and paved and the new bridge was built to replace the old covered bridge that had served until then. When it was moved, the windows were changed to the south side of the building. In the above picture, windows were along the north side. The secret of the fast construction in those days was that there was no insulation, probably no running water or toilets, and no electricity to install. I think they did have some sort of central heating, but even that was a wood-fired furnace with a big single register in each of the two rooms. Pretty basic, but it served them well.