Events

Upcoming Events

Monica Vachula

Thursday, June 20, 2024

7 p.m.

Children’s book author and illustrator, Monica Vachula, will speak about her process.

Spring Festival

Sunday, May 26, 2024

circa 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Whately Historical Society’s Spring Festival at the Whately Town Hall, 194 Chestnut Plain Road: The events of the day will kick off with a Memorial Day parade from the Whately Congregational Church to the Whately Center Cemetery then back to the Town Hall for brief speeches, the national anthem, some singing and band playing followed by a variety of events as you can read in our latest newsletter. Music by Seven Mile Line, activities about insects led by Micky McKinley of the Hitchcock Center for the  Environment; a basket-weaving demonstration by Laurie Smith; food and drink by Tom’s Long Hot Dogs—and, of course, free ice cream. Join us!

Past Events

Tuesday March 5, 2024, 7 p.m.

Dr. Robert M. Thorson, Professor of Earth Sciences at the University of Connecticut and author of Stone by Stone

As Robert Thorson notes in his book, Stone by Stone, “abandoned stone walls are the signatures of rural New England.” Thorson’s research on the region’s historic stone walls has revealed that the majority were built between 1775 and 1825, principally by farm families and their hired hands, to mark boundaries between properties, enclose pastures and fields, and clear the fields of stones left by the last glaciation. There are an estimated 240,000 miles of stone walls in New England—a distance longer than the entire U.S. coastline. In this illustrated presentation, Thorson will describe the history of stone walls in New England, how and why they were made, by whom, and their purposes and styles. He will incorporate the present-day ecological roles of walls and discuss how what were once barriers in the landscape now bind together the region’s cultural fabric. Finally, Thorson will offer suggestions for how landowners, towns, and other organizations can inventory and map their historic stone walls.

Information and registration (sliding scale)

Sponsored by Historic Northampton, in partnership with the Hatfield Historical Society, Whately Historical Society, & Westhampton Historical Commission. 

Who was Edward Hitchcock?
Wednesday, November 8
Meekins Library, Williamsburg
7 p.m.

 A talk by retired Holyoke Community College biology professor Bob McMaster of Williamsburg on Edward Hitchcock at Meekins Library in Williamsburg on Wednesday, November 8, at 7:00 pm. See below for additional details.  Here’s a link to the Meekins Facebook page where you will find more details

Gravestone Talks and a Tour of the Whately Center Cemetery
Saturday, November 11
10 a.m. to noon

A gravestone lecture/tour beginning at the Whately Town Hall  Meeting Room at 194 Chestnut Plain Road in Whately, MA, 10 AM to noonish, and after lunch, a visit to the Whately Center Cemetery which is a short walk down the road.

A Whately Sampler

Sunday, November 12, 2023
2  p.m., Town Hall Auditorium

This fall’s “Sampler” will feature three short talks: Ann Lomeli will talk about World War II V-Mail letters and a 1943 – 1945 cache of Pvt. Marshall Pease’s letters home to Whately; Dereka Smith will introduce us to “Four Cornish Miners in West Whately;” and Donna Wiley will talk on “The Three Lives of Laura Sanderson, 1851 -1949.

All three talks were videotaped by Franklin Community Access Television. You can view them, by clicking the links below.

V-Mail, Ann Lomeli

Cornish Miners, Dereka Smith

Laura Sanderson, Donna Wiley

V-mail "letter sheet" stationery
V-mail "letter sheet" stationery.
Galena ore mined in West Whately
Galena ore mined in West Whately
Laura Sanderson in Whately Glen, 1890s. Photo by Elbridge Kingsley. Courtesy of Forbes Library.
Laura Sanderson in Whately Glen, 1890s. Photo by Elbridge Kingsley. Courtesy of Forbes Library.

Trolleys of the Valley

Saturday, October 14, 10 am—Noon   Trolleys  

Self-guided tour of the Trolley route from Hatfield to Greenfield and exhibitions of trolley memorabilia at four cooperating museums.  Begin at any one of the four museums where tour brochures will be available.  Sponsors: Whately, Hatfield & Greenfield Historical Societies, Historic Deerfield, and their museums.

Fall Festival

Sunday, October 1, 11:00 am—2:00 pm   Fall Festival

Whately Historical Society’s Fall Festival at the Whately Town Hall, 194 Chestnut Plain Road: Music by Seven Mile Line and Old Country Road Band; food by Tom’s Famous Long Hot Dogs; free ice cream; face painting; braided rugs by Ruth Leahey; and blacksmithing by Rick Martin.

Music and face painting supported by a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council through the Whately Cultural Council.

Historic Deerfield Tour

Friday, September 22, 10:30-12:30   Historic Deerfield

Tour of Historic Deerfield, with a talk by Annie Rubel, their Historic Preservationist, on preserving and restoring old houses; a choice between a walking tour to discuss slavery in Deerfield or an open-hearth cooking demonstration; and tour of the newly restored Barnard Tavern.

Meet at the Historic Deerfield Visitor’s Center at Hall Tavern, 80 Old Main Street, at 10:30 am.  Parking nearby. Free Historic Deerfield one-day passes for Whately Historical Society members.  Lunch option afterwards at Champneys Restaurant, in the Deerfield Inn, with a 10% discount.  Passes good for the whole day.  Co-sponsored by the Whately Historical Society.

Life and Times of the Pocumtuck with Peter Thomas

For thousands of years, the mid-Connecticut River Valley has been the ancestral homeland of the Pocumtuck and other Native people. Join us for three lectures focused on regional Indigenous histories and perspectives, including stories of accommodation, alliance, and conflict that  illuminate the connections between land and history.

Part of Historic Deerfield’s Summer Lecture Series, this lecture is free and open to the public, but registration is required. All summer lectures will be a hybrid program, with either on-site or virtual registration options for attendees. Speakers will present on site at Historic
Deerfield’s Deerfield Community Center.

For more information and registration at  https://www.historic-deerfield.org/events/2023/6/2/summer-lecture-series-indigenous-histories-of-the-mid-connecticut-river-valley

Onoko's Vow: Film and panel discussion via Zoom
July 25, 2023
7 p.m.

In 1910, the Edison Company released Ononko’s Vow, an early silent movie filmed on location in Deerfield and Whately, Massachusetts. Herbert S. Streeter of Greenfield wrote the script, which he loosely based on actual events in the early colonial history of Deerfield. The 15-minute film tells the fanciful story of a fictional Native American character Ononko, and his relationship with a settler family, set against the backdrop of two violent encounters involving colonial settlers and Indigenous people. Join us to view a newly digitized version of this almost forgotten film followed by a panel discussion with Dr. Carolyn Anderson, silent film historian and Professor Emerita of UMass Amherst, and Dr. Margaret Bruchac, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Coordinator of Native American and Indigenous Studies, and Associate Faculty in the Penn Cultural Heritage Center at the University of Pennsylvania. This is a hybrid program; attendees will have the option to attend in person at the Deerfield Community Center or via Zoom webinar. Preregistration required.

Actors coming down the hill from Glen Road into Whately Glen.
A group of local extras on the banks of Roaring Brook in Whately Glen.

Spring Festival

Sunday, May 28, 2023
noon – 3 p.m., Town Hall Auditorium

  • Food: hot dogs, burgers, and chili from Tom’s Hot Dogs; free ice cream from Snow’s
  • Music: Westhampton-based, country rock Lonesome Brothers Band. Supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council through the Whately Cultural Council.
  • Woodworking: Whately’s own Dan and J.P. Kennedy will demonstrate traditional woodworking tools and techniques, featuring augurs, drill presses, clamps planes, mortise-and-tenon joint making,and a shingle shaper. Samples of different kinds of local wood will be on display, and stools, tables, and benches by these craftsmen will be available for sale.
  • Pollinators: local pollinator expert Fred Morrison will explain the critical role of insects to our flowers, trees, and plants of all types, using mounted pollinator insects, books, posters, a good stereoscope, nets and other collecting equipment, and maybe a few live native bees to tell the tale. Supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council through the Whately Cultural Council.
  • Exhibits: in the Historical Society Museum:

“Roaring Brook” examines the History, geography, flora and fauna of Whately’s famous Whately Glen and Roaring Brook and its water falls. Roaring Brook feeds the Whately Great Swamp and the Mill River, but several impoundments provide drinking water for South Deerfield. Whately Glen’s waterfalls attracted students, local and national tourists, as well as artists from New York, Boston, and closer-by including the prolific Hatfield-based Kingsley brothers
(Allison Bell, Maida Goodwin, and Donna Wiley, curators).

“Family History Exhibits” See photographs and memorabilia of the Sanderson/Bean family of West Whately and the Zaniewski family of East Whately (Adelia Bardwell and Jane Grybko, curators).

FCAT Whately 250th Anniversary Video will be running on continuous loop in the Virginia Allis Community Room on the first floor of Town Hall

Anniversary Quilts: The Whately 200th and 250th Anniversary Quilts are both on display on the West wall of the Auditorium in the Town Hall.

A Whately Sampler

Sunday, April 23, 2023
4 p.m., Town Hall Auditorium

“A Whately Sampler” will feature three short talks: Richard Colter, a retired historian from the National Park Service at the Springfield Armory, will talk about the  1813 flintlock musket in the WHS collection; Dereka Smith will introduce three Whately-born brothers who launched a renowned building firm in North Adams in the 1840s; and a “how-to” session with Donna Wiley on exploring “Whately’s Hidden History,” the digital map of Whately developed in 2022.

The Kingsley Brothers: Artists in Whately Glen

Thursday, March 16, 2023
7 p.m., Town Hall Auditorium

Elbridge and Lewis Kingsley grew up in Hatfield in the mid-1800s and created an impressive portfolio of photography, illustrations, and paintings of the Valley—including images of Roaring Brook and Whately Glen. Elbridge achieved world fame for his wood engravings and recruited leading artists to join him in Whately to work from nature. This talk is in conjunction with the WHS Roaring Brook exhibit and sponsored jointly by WHS and the Hatfield Historical Society. Video of this event.