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Dorset Historical Society—Dorset Way Back When

By Liz Schafer. Above, The Bley House Museum, home of the Dorset Historical Society.   When you ask Jon Mathewson about his job as curator for the DHS (Dorset Historical Society), he talks a lot about synergy. He credits a list of volunteers with running the show at the organization’s Bley House Museum. Folks of all ages, including local business people,...

Peter Davis – A Long and Varied Life

By Liz Schafer “I’ve lived a long life in three wildly different chapters,” says 95-year-old Peter Davis as he describes his pilgrimage from child actor in 1930s and 40s Hollywood working with such luminaries as Shirley Temple and Jack Benny, to a 33-year career with the US government working under nine presidents, to becoming deeply involved with conservation efforts in...

The Howe Farm – An Old Home with a New Life

By Liz Schafer Some older homes are dynamic archives to generations of one family. Others have more mysterious stories to tell; they’ve seen inhabitants come and go. One East Dorset couple on Mad Tom Road has encountered a few clues about the history of their circa 1800 homestead. But while they may not be able to chronicle a complete narrative...

Northshire Grown: Direct – Building Community Through Local Food

By Liz Schafer A fresh new endeavor sprang to life in early 2020. Formed by a handful of Dorset residents, Northshire Grown: Direct (NG:D) became a lifeline for local farmers and producers – and a safe, fun way for consumers to discover and enjoy healthy, locally grown food. One of its organizers is Liz Ruffa, a member of the Dorset Select...

East Dorset: A Mining Boom Town

By Liz Schafer. Photo courtesy of Dorset Historical Society. East Dorset (circa 1895) If you travel through East Dorset along today’s Route 7, there is little to indicate that it was once a thriving center of commerce. Old photographs from the mid-19th century show clusters of buildings - now gone - that were devoted to the quarrying, polishing and shipping of marble....

Dorset Hollow: A Storied Landscape

By Liz Schafer Dorset Hollow’s six-mile loop, formed by the Upper and Lower Hollow Roads, is one of the area’s most scenic drives, and a popular destination for walkers, who enjoy its beauty and solitude, and where well-kept historical homes and barns mingle with beautiful estates amidst a dramatic landscape formed by the steep, wooded mountainsides of Dorset Peak, Netop...

Alan Calfee – Seeing the Forest for the Trees

By Liz Schafer Alan Calfee grew up spending his summers at the Dorset home his parents purchased in the 1950s. To Alan, the best part of that home was what he fondly calls ‘the family woodlot.’ “I knew every corner of it,” he says. He and his siblings would spend hours “playing, exploring and camping,” encouraged by their mother’s joy...

Long Trail School – A Dorset Couple’s Living Legacy

By Liz Schafer Dave and Rene Wilson love to talk about their kids; there are hundreds of them. As founders of the Long Trail School, “We have stories upon stories upon stories which we love to reminisce about and share,” says Rene. “And the absolute joy of our retirement has been the continued connection with our alums.” Dave had been...

The Pinnacle – A Spinster’s Folly

By Liz Schafer Dorset’s Pinnacle Tower and a few ancient trees are all that is left to tell the story of Miss Cecelia deNottbeck, great-grand daughter of John Jacob Astor and a descendent of Finnish nobility. Cecelia’s life was touched by tragedy, beginning in 1891 with the loss of her father. General John deNottbeck, New York Consul representing Czar Nicholas...

Ellen Maloney – Expert Testimony

By Liz Schafer The Honorable Ellen Holmes Maloney’s engaging manner and warm smile are refreshingly different from the stereotypical view of a courtroom judge as someone who is stern and unsympathetic. In fact, this 80-year-old Dorset resident has always been driven by a sense of justice, especially for those who suffer inequality. She recalls having a keen awareness while growing...