Patience, Progress, and Dinner

Restoration and renovation of the Chittenden Grange Hall has taken a long time. Several phases of the project can be found on this site under the Projects heading.  Included in this article are some recent photos.

A short history:  In 2000, members of the Chittenden Historical Society approached the Chittenden Select Board about restoration of town buildings that had fallen into disrepair. A joint venture followed, with the Historical Society managing renovation under the approval of the Select Board. Many plans and meetings later, work began in 2006 with installation of the septic and well.

Finally, in 2020, the project is nearly finished, lacking only some trim paint around the windows, a proper front entrance porch, and parking lot lighting.

Pictured below are some of the finishing details for the main hall. Enough of the original wainscoting could be saved to place against the walls of the upper level in the Vestibule and on two sides of the main hall.  Newer boards complete the room. Corner posts were wrapped in original fashion. Floors are refinished. Lighting  — none was in the original — has been added.

 

Original wainscoting in original site showing original hand-fitted placement of boards.

Some boards still retain the images left after removal of the pews and boxes that were original to the hall when it was the c1834 Congregational Meeting House.

For the debut of the recent renovation, members of the Chittenden Historical Society and the Chittenden Public Library coordinated for a community dinner to raise funds for the annual Chittenden Day (in August). The delicious turkey and ham dinner with all the trimmings served at the Grange Hall on Saturday, March 7, gave the community an opportunity to see all the recent renovations there.

The lower level, completed in 2009, set for dinner.

 

The upper level set for dinner.

 

The main hall as seen from the balcony.

Besides the town appropriation and donations of time, money, and land from town residents,  restoration has been helped by grants from the State of Vermont and Cultural Facilities Coalition, The Windham Foundation and its sister organization the Bunbury Company, and a Vermont Community Foundation Sustainable Communities Grant through the Marjorie A. Pierce Fund, the Walter Cerf Fund, an Energy Efficient Conservation Block Grant, and  the VT Agency of Transportation Park and Ride.

Bake Sale Thank You

Thank you to all who participated in the Chittenden Historical Society Town Meeting Bake Sale. Bake sales are our major fund-raiser for our activities, most of which are open to the community, and we appreciate the community support. This year baked goods were plentiful and more varied than ever. A surprise item was homemade dog biscuits, which went quickly. Some pies never got to the table before they were sold. All in all, we had a great time seeing everyone and are grateful for both buyers and sellers. New members had an opportunity to join, too.

2020 Town Meeting Bake Sale

What is Town Meeting without a bake sale? Come visit with us on Town Meeting Day at the bake sale in the Town Clerk’s office. We promise to have lots of pies, cakes, bread, and other goodies. Whether you are baking or just buying, we’d love to see you. This year we are also offering free coffee or tea.

Or, join us for our first meeting of the year on Tuesday, March 10, at 7:00 PM in the Chittenden Historical Society building next to Town Hall. Our meetings are open to everyone. We meet the second Tuesday of the month, March through November. During the same months we are also open from 2:00 to 4:00 PM, or by appointment throughout the year. For more information, contact Steve Welch at 483-2323 or Karen Webster at 483-6471.

March 7, 2020 Town Meeting Bake Sale

10 am til 7 pm in Town Office

Chittenden Historical Society Highlights of 2019 Activities

Crown Point Road

In October Dennis Devereux of Belmont, Vermont, past president of the Crown Point Road Association, gave a presentation on the marking of locations for markers along the historic road. His presentation included a map for everyone to follow as he told the history of setting out the road from the straight line originally planned to the settled placement that took into account the land features that made the straight line infeasible.

 

Stage Curtain Program

We moved our annual potluck supper at the Grange Hall this year from October to September and hosted the Vermont Humanities Council Speaker Christine Hadsel, who gave  a very delightful and informative slide presentation “Vermont’s Historic Theater Curtains.” When Christine began her restoration of Vermont theater curtains project, Chittenden’s curtain was among the first to undergo restoration. It is the only theater curtain found so far in New England that depicts the Civil War.

 

Ice Cream Social

Each year the Chittenden Historical Society gives the Muzzy Davenport Award to the student at Barstow School that demonstrates exemplary interest in local, not necessarily Chittenden, history. The recipient receives $100 and presents his or her project before the Society at our annual ice cream social. In 2019 this award was given to Paige Harned whose presentation on local Civil War veteran Edwin Horton emphasized by the adversities he suffered during the Civil War to later successes through a variety of town offices in Chittenden, the Vermont Legislature, and as a Rutland County Judge.

 

2019 Memorial Day Observance

At the end of May, the society held a Memorial Day observance at Memorial Park. After the short program, we tossed lilac blossoms into the stream as Taps was sounded to honor our soldiers fallen in service to our country. Then refreshments and coffee was served by the Seniors at Town Hall. With permission from the Select Board, Steve Welch and Chris Baker moved the Honor Role to stand east of the flag pole. Chittenden’s Girl Scout Troop 30332 could present the flag ceremony beside the Honor Role this year instead of hidden behind it.

Also in May, we were treated to a picture and slide presentation by Joseph and Elaine Meyers of their trip by rail in the Canadian Rockies. Spectacular views of the Canadian Southwest were coupled with the quaintness of the fast disappearing era of luxury travel by train.

Civil War Monument Update

Chittenden Civil War Monument

After over 100 years of standing in the middle of the village, the Chittenden Civil War monument has been cleaned, and a new fence — made by the original manufacturer — now surrounds it.

Robin Ogg initiated the project, and with Chittenden Historical Society President Steve Welch, contacted the Chittenden Select Board for support of the project. Jan Sotirakis spotted the name identifying the original manufacturer (Stewart Iron Works) on the gate. Steve handled the many details of the fence’s manufacture and also the local refurbishing of the gate. Kim Kinville, Elmer Wheeler and Chris Baker helped Steve with the installation.

March 10, 2020 Organizational Meeting

7:00 PM — To Plan Year’s Activities

News: Winter 2015

July

Jessica Orluck, daughter of Ms. Jennifer Orluck of Chittenden was winner of the 2015 Muzzy Davenport Award given each year to a Barstow student for a winning project in a local history competition. She and her family were guests of honor at the Ice Cream Social on July 14 at Town Hall. Her subject was the Flood of 1947 and the role her great grandfather played in warning residents downstream from his airplane of the floodwaters heading towards them.

August

Business meeting

September

Green Mountain National Forest Archaeologist Tim Watkins gave a slide presentation on the history of the Chittenden area. His talk included pertinent town history, popular folklore, and his personal observations in coming to the East from out West.

Archaeologist Speaker

Tim Watkins GMNF Archaelogist speaks about Chittenden history, geology and archaelogy. This was the first program to be held in the upper level of the Grange Hall after the walls were insulated and sheetrocked.

October

The potluck supper at the Grange Hall this year was followed by Vermont Humanities Council speaker and Vermont Folklife Center Co-Director and Folklorist Gregory Sharrow exploring the fabric of Vermont farm culture in the past and probes its relationship to the world of Vermont today. The program was much enjoyed, and local audience antidotes enlivened the event.

November

The annual meeting was held at the Grange Hall with the program by Julia Purdy on eugenics movement in Vermont, in which well-meaning reformers tried to “cleanse” the Vermont gene pool by a sterilization program aimed at the hill farmers, the indigent, and the “feebleminded.” It was not a pretty story but was one worthwhile revisiting.
Officers elected for 2016 are President, Karen Webster; Vice-President, Elaine Meyers; Secretary, Marcia Lertola; and Treasurer, Bob Webster; Directors for two years are Bob Muzzy and George Butts. Reggi Dubin and Newt Wetmore will continue to serve as directors until next year.

December

The Chittenden Historical Society does not hold meetings in December, but in 2015, the Society collaborated with the Chttenden Public Library to host a Holiday Tea. The Library provided a craft table for younger ones.

Librarian Christine Tate’s photo collage of the tea

Explore Our New Site

Welcome to
The Chittenden Historical Society Website!

August 18, 2015, we welcome you to our updated site! In case you have not noticed the changes, this new revision will enable us to bring you news and happenings at the Chittenden Historical Society in a blog format so you will hear the news sooner than before. The blog format allows you to comment on individual news items. We welcome your feedback. Currently all comments must be approved by an administrator before they will be visible. Comments must be relevant to the news post they follow. For other correspondence, please use our email form.

Best of all, our webmaster, Cliff Dutton, has kept all the archived newsletters, press releases, projects and photos from the previous version. Please explore and let us know what you think. It is a work in progress so please let us know if you find something not right.

Forest Service Archaeological Talk in Chittenden Sept. 8

Green Mountain National Forest Archaeologist Tim Watkins will give a presentation before the Chittenden Historical Society on September 8 at 7PM at the North Chittenden Grange Hall, 3 Lower Middle Rd. in Chittenden. The event is free and open to the public.

Tim will discuss some of the places of importance in the formation of Chittenden and how key individuals and events helped to form the cultural landscape, peppered with popular folklore and his personal observations. He will also address the arrival of the Forest Service in town and the importance of protecting the numerous sites now administered by the Forest Service. Since Tim has recently moved to this area from the West, he will offer a new perspective on the landscape and ethnological changes taking place in Chittenden over the past 200 years.