Urban Archeologist: History Hiding in the Attic

Greg inspires an amateur dig and the reader shares his experience.

One aspect of Urban Archeology that I hadn’t expected was the shared connections to the past. Back in March of this year I wrote about a program from a musical performed by the students of the Danbury State Technical School in 1939.

Gary Arbesman reached out to me after hearing about the article from his cousin.

Dear Mr. Van Antwerp, I grew up in Danbury and my father attended Danbury Trade School in the 1930s. I have a basketball team picture of him with 13 other boys and the basketball says S.T.S. 1931 on it. I can email it if you'd you like to see it? My cousin saw your article on a March issue of the Danbury Patch. Sincerely, Gary Arbesman 

I was honored to have Gary reach out and thought it would be a good idea to look at this story from a more personal perspective. I asked Gary to write a few words about his father.

My father and my uncle were both on this 1931 S.T.S. basketball team. Both are deceased... years ago. My father was Kenneth Arbesman who is 4th from the left in the top row. He was 15 years old at the time. My uncle, Harold Arbesman, is 2nd from the left in the middle row (he was a couple of years older than my father). They both attended the Danbury State Trade School in the early 1930s. My father learned 'cabinet-making/woodworking' and my uncle learned the 'electrical' trade. My grandparents lived in the Beaver Brook section of Danbury. They and my father were lifelong residents of Danbury. My uncle married and moved to New Orleans after serving in WWII.

The picture is interesting when told from the perspective of a relative of someone in it. I asked Gary to elaborate on how he found the picture.

The most interesting thing I can tell you about this picture is, that although I knew my father played basketball, I never saw this picture until this summer! My mother (Marilyn Arbesman) lived her whole life in Danbury until late last year. She is now living at an assisted living facility in Farmington, CT. Because she is there, my brothers Alan and Paul and I, along with our wives, decided we should clean out her Danbury home and what we discovered in the attic was amazing. This old picture was only one of many memorable items!
Gary Arbesman
DHS Class of 1961 (PS: I attended our 50th class reunion last year in Danbury!)

No matter where you live, there is probably some local history hiding in your attic. I hope you will consider sharing it in another edition of The Urban Archeologist.

Greg Van Antwerp is a Brookfield resident and blogger, who can be found on the weekends in search of a good “dig” or a good story.  You can read more about his adventures by visiting his blog.


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