Pomfret kicks off its 300th anniversary

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Pomfret - posted Tue., Sep. 25, 2012
Historical Society members Jim Platt, Ann Hennen and Ann Hinchman stand beside a quilt map of Pomfret. Photos by D. Coffey.
Historical Society members Jim Platt, Ann Hennen and Ann Hinchman stand beside a quilt map of Pomfret. Photos by D. Coffey.

Pomfret kicked off a year-long celebration of its 300th anniversary on Sept. 22 with the community-wide event “Positively Pomfret,” and on Sept. 23 with a free concert by the U.S. Coast Guard Dixieland Jazz Band. The town will celebrate its official 300th birthday in May 2013, but from now until then, a multitude of events will focus on all things Pomfret.

Lectures by historians will be offered, as will walks, films, parades, art retrospectives and a nativity play. Eleven Pomfret walks are scheduled in conjunction with The Last Green Valley's Walktober, 2012. The Pomfret School, Connecticut Audubon, Weiss and Hale Financial, and the Pomfret 300 Committee are offering hikes from a half-mile to 4 miles in length. The Pomfret Horse and Trail Association has planned a 7-mile trail ride for owners and their horses. Hikes will take participants past railroad stations, stone tunnels, historical sites and archaeological ruins, the historic Wolf Den and 18th century graveyards.

Pomfret Public Library will host seven events from October through March. The Connecticut Historical Society will present an after-school program featuring characters from Colonial Connecticut. Lectures on the history of jury duty and women's suffrage will be offered. In December, an exhibit on the Pomfret Nativity Play will be displayed from library archives. In March, Pomfret's connection to the Civil War will be told through “A Visit with a Civil War Doctor's Wife.”

Raffle tickets are being sold throughout the year for an 80-inch-by-80-inch quilt completed by a group of about 60 dedicated Pomfret quilters. The Jane Stykle-inspired quilt consists of 121 blocks measuring 6 inches by 6 inches each. Kits for each block were handed out to volunteers in January 2010. In April, a committee pieced the rows, sewed them together and finished the top in June 2010. It was put onto a quilt frame and was finally finished in 2012. Pomfret 300 committee member Ann Hinchman estimates the quilt's street value is several thousand dollars. “Some women put a huge amount of hours into this,” she said.

A quilted map of Pomfret will be donated to the town for the May 2013 celebrations. A small group of women joined together to create the map using familiar landmarks such as the Quinebaug River, town roads, the Airline Trail and some of the older structures in town.

Maureen Nicholson, who has lived in Pomfret for 24 years, considers herself a lifelong resident now. “It's a close-knit community,” she said. “My two kids who have gone off into the world love coming back to Pomfret. It's just like they remember it. There are great open spaces. It's just a beautiful area.”

For more information on any of the Pomfret 300 events, contact Walter Hinchman at 860-928-3355,  whinchman@gmail.com, Maureen Nicholson at 860-214-9755, maureen.nicholson@pomfretct.org, or Bev Champany at 860-974-1202.


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