Why Essex? Essex Community Historical Society

Interview with Eva Clough (President) & Ann Gray (Treasurer) of the Essex Community Historical Society

On one of the last beautiful days of the summer season, I was lucky enough to have a private tour of the Harriet Farnsworth Powell museum by Essex Community Historical Society (ECHS) President Eva Clough and Treasurer Ann Gray.  Harriet Farnsworth Powell, whom the museum is named after, was a lifelong resident of Essex who had a passion for local history.  A considerable amount of the items on display in the museum were contents of her personal estate.  The museum contains a wide variety of local memorabilia including news articles, children’s toys, and historical signage.

Eva told me that the building that the museum is located in was once a two-room schoolhouse.  In fact, both Ann and Eva recalled having visitors who were once students in the school come back to visit to see how the space has changed. 

In addition to maintaining the museum, ECHS is also working to raise funds to restore the water tower at Fort Ethan Allen.  The eighty-foot tower, visible from Route 15, was one of the first structures to be built at the Fort.  The building is showing signs of its age.  The 100-plus-year-o1d stairs have deteriorated to the point where it is no longer safe to climb them, and ECHS is unable to open the Tower to the public.  ECHS is currently fundraising to be able to restore the building and again offer breathtaking views of the Champlain Valley from the top of the water tower.  

The Harriet Farnsworth Powell Historical Museum is located at 3 Browns River Road, sharing a parking lot with the Essex Free Library.  The last day the museum will be open for the season is Sunday, October 7 from 1 PM- 4PM, so make sure you take the opportunity to check it out!  ECHS also has a website with information about their events and historical tidbits: http://essexcommunityhistoricalsociety.org/index.php.  

Why Essex?  The mission of the Essex Community Historical Society is the preserve the history of Essex.

Why Essex? is a weekly(ish) column highlighting the people and places that make Essex an interesting and special place. Have an idea for the column? E-mail Darby Mayville at darby@ essexjunction.org.

Photo Credits: Darby Mayville & Essex Reporter