Lee Historical Society



Vol. 16, No. 9

September 2019

 Our unique history and blend of people defines the foundation of our town.

Crossway Tower

120 High Street

P. O. Box 170

Lee, MA 01238

Website: LeeHistoricSociety.Homestead.com

Contact us: Lee.Historical@hotmail.com




Our September meeting will be held in the Hyde Meeting Room of the Crossway Tower starting at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 5th. It will be a regular meeting for officers, board members and any interested people who might be interested in what we are all about and what is on our agenda for the coming months. The September Meeting is being held a week early so we can prepare for our Cemetery Walk that will kick off Founder’s Day Weekend on the 12th. We will also have our booth in two locations on the 13th. A table will be set up in front of PaperDilly that will be selling our tickets for the November Calendar Raffle and our regular booth will be in the same location on the south side of Memorial Hall. At this location we will have raffle tickets, tee shirts, mugs and other items of Lee for sale.




Please join us to kick off the Founder’s Weekend at Fairmount Cemetery on Thursday, September 12th starting promptly at 5:00 to hear about some of the past residents of Lee and listen to what they did to gain prominence in our town’s history.




We invite all members to attend our Annual Meeting that will be held starting at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 10th. The evening will start promptly at 5:00 with a Pot Luck Supper. After the supper the society will hold the annual yearly elections which will take maybe 15 minutes.  After the elections we will have a few comments and then proceed to award the 2019 Consolati/Davis/Dennis Award.


Any members may bring guests with them to the this event but we do ask you to please call; Mary Morrissey at 413-243-0286, Brenda Liebenow at 413-344-5414 or Bambi Johndrow at 413-717-8817 and let us know how many people will be in your party and as it is “Pot Luck” what you will be bringing as a dish. Thanks and hope to see you there.





Our October display is on hold for another month. Due to construction that will be done in the Lee Library during the month of October our display is cancelled until November.  We will have further updates and information in next month’s newsletter.


October Program:


The October Program will be held in the Lee Senior Center on October 24th starting at 7:00 p.m. The program will zero in on the old railroads of Lee as well as the others that were planned but never materialized and how they affected our town’s history. Please join us for this free and open to the public program.







For Immediate Release


Lee, Ma (August 22, 2019)


Lee Historical Society Creates a Finding Aid


This summer the Lee Historical Society is creating a Finding Aid that will describe its archival collections. This effort is supported in part by a grant from the Mass Humanities Foundation with funding from the Mass Cultural Council.


The grant provides for editorial and data entry aspects of the project by funding the efforts of an archival assistant. Two society members and Lee residents, Bill Mathews and Tracie Etheridge, are donating their time to the task as matching contributions. They are assisted by Samantha Twing of New Marlborough. Samantha is in her senior year at SUNY Potsdam.


The Society’s archives mostly date from 1800 to the 1970s and consist of manuscripts, photographs, scrapbooks, ledgers, new clippings, clothing and other artifacts pertaining to Lee. There are many photographs of street scenes in the horse and carriage era, Lee’s early houses, trolleys, the marble quarry and early paper mills. As well, there are papers pertaining to veterans from the Civil War to Modern times.


The local school scene is amply covered, with some early photographs and a large collection of yearbooks and sports memorabilia. A complete set of town reports is also readily available.


The Lee Historical Society was founded in 2003 and now has over a hundred individual and corporate members. The collection was formed from over 200 acquisitions contributed over the past fifteen years.


The effort will result in the publication of a Guide to the collections in both digital and paper form. The electronic version will appear on the society’s website, while the paper form will be distributed to local libraries and other historical societies. The Guide will make it possible for interested persons to gain access to previously unavailable aspects of the town’s history. The society will also be in a better position to integrate new acquisitions in an orderly way.


For further information, contact Mal Eckert, President, Lee Historical Society. PO Box 170, Lee, MA 01238






The Society is also pleased to announce that Tracie Etheridge will be our go to person in the processing of any donated items. Although donations may be given to any board member or officer, Tracie is going to be the person who stores it in a correct fashion and knows where it may be found in a short time. Tracie has come back to her roots on Housatonic Street in Lee. Her mom was a member of the Jones family and Tracie has an archival degree and has worked in a Chicago library. We welcome Tracie to Lee and also to the Lee Historical Society as a very active member!





How about this for a great old photo? This is an example of the type of work that our grant has produced. This is an old photo from the 1890’s of Main Street that has been cleaned up and restored to our collection. We are hoping that people have other photos like this that they are willing to donate or let us copy. Please help us keep the history of Lee alive and well.


As September and Founders’ Day Weekend approaches the society begins its quest for new members and the renewal of 2019 members for 2020. Anyone that signs up now as a new member will receive the remainder of 2019 and all of 2020 in their membership. So please sign up or renew and remember that it doesn’t hurt and our meetings and events are fun, you get to meet new and old Lee people and you get to learn more about our unique town…..but beware because it becomes addictive! A membership form can be found on the following page.



The Lee Historical Society is always looking for memorabilia of Lee as well as pictures, books, postcards, etc. to enhance our collection of items. Please, before you toss anything out that pertains to our Town of Lee, get hold of us. We are interested in anything that people would let us copy or scan and also interested in articles or stories about the old Lee families that you might wish to share. Maybe you would consider coming to a meeting and see what we are all about and what our future plans are.







Individual - $10.00     Family - $25.00     Business - $35.00

Supporting Membership -$50.00 or more     Sponsor Membership - $100.00 or more

Name: __________________________________________________________                          

                                                                                                Mail to:

Address: ________________________________________________________                          Lee Historical Society

                                                                                                                                 P. O. Box 170

                                                                                                                                    Lee, MA 01238

City/Town: _________________________State:_____________Zip:________                          


Telephone: ______________________Email:__________________


                                NEW__________                                   RENEWAL___________






Lee Library Historical Photograph Collection  


The visual record of the town and its evolution is found in our photo collection. Photos document all aspects of life--education, religion, disasters, individuals, sports, leisure activities, buildings, and businesses (especially the papermaking and marble industries). 


The collection is now online in the Digital Commonwealth repository.   You may view it here: 



September Exhibit 


CreativeLEE XIX 


The Lee Library Association invites you to visit our 19th annual exhibit for the month of September.   The opening reception will be held during Founder’s Weekend, Friday, September 13 from 3-5 pm.   The Gallery will also be open on Saturday, September 15 from 10am to 2pm.  


FamiLEE Movie: 


The Secret Life of Pets 2, 9/7 at 11am.Rated PG for some action and rude humor.   The movie runs 86 minutes. 


Adult Programs: 


Wednesday, 9/11 from 2 to 4pm. “Main Street Literary Society” Book 

Club hosted by Deidre Consolati.  The September book selection is The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce.   New members are welcome but required to register by calling the library at 413-243-0385.


Thursday, 9/12 from 6:30 to 8:00pm with Thad Kubis.   

Caring for your camera and more!  When was the last time you cleaned your lens, wiped down your camera body and did more than change your batteries? If you have to think about the date, it has been too long.   Join Thad Kubis for a lecture that will cover all types of camera systems; smartphones and tablets, point and shoot systems, legacy film-based cameras and the most advanced digital systems available. Subjects to include, cleaning tools needed, protection gear from weather and more! 



Monday, 9/23 from 6:00 to 7:30pm.  Old and Rare Books Talk & Appraisals by Brattle Bookshop Owner & Antiques Roadshow Guest Appraiser Kenneth Gloss.  Kenneth Gloss will discuss and show some of his favorite finds and describe some of the joys of the "hunt," as well as explain what makes a book increase in value. He will also talk about the history of this historic bookshop which dates back to circa 1825. There will also be a Q&A session followed by free verbal appraisals of books that attendees have brought with them. 


Tuesdays from 1:00 to 2:30pm.  Knit/Crochet Group.  This is an opportunity for knitters to gather and share patterns, information and the company of fellow enthusiasts. Please join in the fun.   


Fridays from 10-noon in the Gallery.   Craft Circle.  Bring your craft, sewing or needlework and join the fun.  It’s a time for working on a new project or one that you have wanted to complete! 


Children’s Programs and Information:


Mondays from 10:30-11:30am.  Babies and Books. Join us for this weekly program for families with infants, ages birth-12 months. We will learn new songs, finger plays and share the joys and challenges of new parenthood! This program is free and no registration required. 


Thursdays from 10:30-11:30am.  Brain Builders.   Join us for this weekly playgroup for families with young children from ages birth to 5. This program is free and no registration is required. This program will include a circle time with stories, songs and group fun, followed by tabletop activities.  

Saturday, September 21 at 10:30am – 11:30am. Kiwanis Krafts and Reading with Kids. Please join us for a story and craft presented by the Lee Kiwanis Club. Healthy snacks will be provided! 


NEWS from the TEEN SPACE: 


Wednesdays, 9/4, 9/11, 9/18 and 9/25 from 3:30 to 4:30pm.  Teen Chess. 




New flooring and carpeting will be installed in the library in October.  As you can see, this needs to be done very badly.  In the gallery, new flooring, rather than carpeting, will be installed so that it will be cleaner and easier to maintain.   


This is a huge job and will require closing for a number of days in October.  We ask your patience while things are moved in and out so the carpeting can be installed.  We will give you more details as we get closer and we are looking forward to seeing our library look better than ever.  Thank you for your continued support. 


The following is a little space filler copied from the book Town Talk by Ralph W. Smith”



Whenever ordinary man gets immoderately roused up to the fighting stage, it seems to be a fundamental principle with him to augment his fists with an implement, usually handy, with which he is most familiar. Thus a fisherman will grab a knife, a lumberjack a peavey, a ditch digger a shovel, and then proceed to employ such reinforcement with as much finesse as he is able.

So it seems perfectly natural in case a serious disagreement should arise between a couple of old-time farmers, that one or both might reach for a pitchfork to further emphasize his views. This, of course, is classed as dirty fighting. Occasionally a dung fork is substituted, which might be considered by the fastidious as a dirtier weapon. Possibly because it has five tines, where the pitchfork has only three.

However, it seems that when Warren Lester and Thomas Breed got into a no-holds-barred hassle some years ago that Mr. Breed grabbed an ordinary pitchfork. And somewhat effectively too, because afterward, when Mr. Lester appeared at Dr. Stratton’s he had one ear hanging somewhat below half mast.

Although Dr. Stratton obliged him by sewing in back into place, the good doctor expressed himself as doubtful if the ear could be saved, since Mr. Lester had been out in the cold several hours before coming for aid.

It seems also that Mr. Lester waxed somewhat wroth about it all and had Mr. Breed brought to court. The wheels of justice seemed not to have spun with any startling alacrity, for it was all of four months later that the case was settled. I suppose you could say that, although Mr. Lester wasn’t the winner. He wasn’t as big a loser as Mr. Breed. The score was Lester $7.55, Breed $10.25.

As a boy, I remember Warren Lester. I didn’t exactly know him; I just knew who he was. This was years after the pitchfork fight, and he lived up on Chestnut Street then. Once in a while when I happened to be in either De Verannes or Turner’s store, he would drive up with his horse and wagon and stop in for his mail or to buy something. But now I can’t seem to remember if he had two ears. And it bothers me. A little.


 Please local businesses support us – Please support them



            Bartini Roofing Company                                Charles Flint Antiques                      M. J. Kelly, Inc.

                290 Pleasant Street                                           52 Housatonic Street                        3 Main Street

               Lee, MA 01238                                                    Lenox, MA 01240                               Lee, MA 01238

                413-243-0570                                                      413-637-1634                                      413-243-0204



                Chambery Inn                                                      Locker Room Sports Pub                High Lawn Farm

                109 Main Street                                                  232 Main Street                                  535 Summer Street

                Lee, MA 01238                                                    Lee, MA 01238                                    Lee, MA 01238

                413-243-2221                                                      413-243-2662                                      413-243-0672



                Frank Consolati Ins. Agency                           Paperdilly, Inc.                                    Dresser Hull Co.

                71 Main Street                                                     74 Main Street                                     60 Railroad Street

                Lee, MA 01238                                                    Lee, MA 01238                                    Lee, MA 01238

                413-243-0105                                                      413-243-1928                                      413-243-1400



                Robert M. Kelly, Paperhanging                      Henry Holt Art                                     Lee Bank

                65 South Prospect Street                                P. O. Box 699                                      75 Park Street

                Lee, MA 01238                                                    Lee, MA 01238                                    Lee, MA 01238

                413-243-3489                                                      413-243-9918                                      413-243-0117



                Devonfield Inn                                                     Hunter & Graziano P.C.                    Henry’s Electric

                85 Stockbridge Road                                        10 Park Place                                      252 Main Street

                Lee, MA 01238                                                    Lee, MA 01238                                    Lee, MA 01238

                413-243-3298                                                      413-243-0789                                      413-243-0690



                Wilcox Plumbing & Heating                            Lee Hardware Store, Inc.                  NBT Bank of Lee

                P. O. Box 561                                                      221 Main Street                                  76 Park Street

                Lee, MA 01238                                                    Lee, MA 01238                                    Lee, MA 01238

                413-243-2494                                                      413-243-0786                                      413-243-1800



                Considine & Leary, Attorneys                        A. F. Viale Ins. Agency                      Route 102 Trading Post

                49 Main Street                                                     75 Main Street                                     905 Pleasant Street

                Lee, MA 01238                                                    Lee, MA 01238                                    Lee, MA 01238

                413-243-4900                                                      413-243-0347                                     



                Ta-Ga-Soke  Campgrounds                             Cottage Care Inc.                               RW’s Incorporated

                7820 Higginsville Road                                    230 Stockbridge Rd. Box 753         35 Runway

                Blossvale, NY 13028                                         Lee, MA 01238                                    Lee, MA 01238

                1-800-831-1744                                                   413-243-4257                                      413243-0946



                Eagle Mill Redevelopment                              Carriage House Real Estate           Greylock Credit Union

                P. O. Box 777                                                      Janice Castegnaro Braim                47 Main Street

                South Egremont, MA 01258                            35 Church Street                                Lee, MA 01238

                413-425-4850                                                      Lee, MA 01238                                    413-243-2121



“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is God’s gift, that is why we call it the present.”

(Bill Keane, 1922- 2011)