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Clearing Breezy Hill

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Porter Family "The Shack" atop Breezy Hill prior to the building of Stellafane on this spot in 1923. The shack was a summer retreat, used to catch cool breezes on hot summer days. [Photo from the Stellafane Archives]
What was on Breezy Hill
before Stellafane?

In the fall of 2010, some of the Springfield Telescope Makers were reviewing older photos. Upon seeing a photo showing the woods coming right up to the back of the clubhouse, Alan Rohwer exclaimed about "missing those trees".

Most current visitors to Stellafane don't realize that prior to 1982, most of Breezy Hill was forested, with just a very small area around and in front of the clubhouse having been cleared. Dennis diCicco, who was part of the photo review, took it upon himself to to provide the images below documenting the changes that occurred in November 1982.

Needing more space for convention activities, the club hired a professional logging company to remove the trees. Dennis recalls that they kept the logs as payment for their services. And after they were done, Breezy Hill was transformed from a typical New England forest to a rocky Vermont field.

Photos below by Dennis diCicco, STM.

Photo
As a reference, here is a picture of the clubhouse in August 1970. Notice how close the woods are to the back and side of the clubhouse. This remained pretty much unchanged until 1982.
Woods behind Clubhouse,
August 1970
Photo
A 'before' shot from Novemebr 1982. The green 'M44' shed is hidden in the woods. Notice the yellow skidder at center right, a sign of change to come
Woods behind Clubhouse,
November 1982
Photo
Novemebr 1982, about 2 weeks after the previous photo. Loging is almost complete. The M44 shed is now visible. All that remains to do is haul away the felled logs.
Cleared Land, 2 weeks later,
November 1982

The four photos center and right were taken from the steel tower seen on the
right in the photo above.

Photo
Looking north on a hazy day in August 1970. Bert Williard's rool-roff observatory on the point, south of that is a platform Scotty Houston used at the 1969 convention. The Porter Turret Telescope, with tar paper roof, at center front.
Looking North,
August 1970
Photo
Looking north, Novemebr 1982. The roll-roof and platform are gone, and the brush to the west and north have been cleared slowly over time by club members. Mount Ascutney looms up directly above the Porter Turret Telescope, which now has a wood shingle roof.
Looking North,
November 1982

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