Simple charming Americana gavel made from wood salvaged from the Montague City Covered Bridge, originally built over the Connecticut River in 1871 between Greenfield and Montague City, Massachusetts. It was the longest covered bridge in the nation when it was swept away during the great ice flood of March 1936. A paper label tied to the gavel explains the source of the wood and states that it was handmade by Edward D. Crafts, a boy scout from South Deerfield, Massachusetts, for trading at the 1937 Boy Scout Jamboree in Washington, D.C. Given the dates and location, in all likelihood, the maker is the same Edward D. Crafts from South Deerfield, Massachusetts, described in the town’s 2008 annual report, which is dedicated to his memory and contains this brief biography:
“Edward D. Crafts dedicated much of his time to the community. In addition to his service as a Selectmen, Police Officer, and Building Inspector, he participated on the Finance Committee, Economic Development & Industrial Corporation, and the Historical Commission. As a member of the Town Memorial Forest Committee, Ed was instrumental in preserving disease-resistant Elm trees in the town’s forest land. Mr. Crafts was also a Volunteer Fire Fighter, Chairman of the Tri-Town Beach District, and as a South Deerfield Water Commissioner. We were fortunate to benefit from his knowledge and commitment to preserving Deerfield’s heritage.”
Typewritten inscription, starting on front and continued verso: “Wood from Montague City Covered Bridge built in 1871 as a toll bridge. It was the last covered bridge spanning the Connecticut River and was destroyed in the 1936 flood. This gavel was made by Edward D. Crafts, Troop 11, So. Deerfield, Mass.” Hand-printed text in ink: “Made in 1936 for trading 1937 BSA Jamboree in Washington DC.”
Inscription on Gavel handle (ink or wood burning stylus): Montague City Covered Bridge
Allen, Richard Sanders. Covered Bridges of the Northeast. Dover, 2004. p. 65. Online at Google Books. (11 August 2009).
“Annual Town Report 2008, Town of Deerfield, Villages of Deerfield and South Deerfield (Massachusetts).” 2009. pp. 2 and 45. Online at http://www.town.deerfield.ma.us/Attachments/Annnual_Town_Report_2008.pdf (11 August 2009).