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.

August 11 Eugenics Talk

Julia Purdy of Chittenden will talk about the eugenics movement in Vermont, whereby well-meaning reformers tried to “cleanse” the Vermont gene pool by a sterilization program aimed at the hill farmers, the indigent, and the “feeble minded.” Not a pretty story, but one worthwhile revisiting. There are some interesting wrinkles the speaker will bring in, for example, the tie-in with the growing, state-sponsored tourism industry of the 1920s-1930s.

The Chittenden Historical Society is hosting this event on Tuesday, August 11, at 7 PM at the North Chittenden Grange Hall at 3 Lower Middle Road in Chittenden. Admission to this program is free and the public is welcome.

ED. NOTE: This talk was postponed until the November meeting, November 10, at 7pm at The North Chittenden Grange Hall.

Ice Cream Social

Town Hall was filled on Tuesday evening, July 14, with people wishing to meet the 2015 Muzzy Davenport Award winner, to see her presentation and to have ice cream. Award winner Jessica Orluck, her mother Jennifer Orluck and Grandparents Noreen and George Peck, IV, were our honored guests.

Jessica’s presentation “ A Modern Day Paul Revere” told a story of personal family history. On June 3rd, 1947, upon learning the flashboards at Chittenden Dam had given way, Jessica’s great grandfather George Peck, III, flew his airplane along the path of the oncoming water to alert people of the coming danger. Although there was much property damage, not one life was lost during the flood that followed, thanks to his efforts.

The vanilla ice cream, donated by Stewart’s Shops, did not disappoint. Scooped onto a base of chewy brownies and topped with handpicked strawberries, fresh whipped cream. and Vermont Sundae Sauces, chocolate fudge or maple caramel, the ice cream sundaes brought many back for seconds.

News: Summer 2015

SPRING MEETINGS

March

The March meeting, the first of the year, was the organizational meeting for deciding programs, hikes, trips for the year. The selections are reflected in our schedule on the last page for the coming months.

coin original

“English coin plowed up by Clinton Wheeler of Forestdale while working for his Grandfather Emmett Crapo on his farm between Mountain Top Inn …and Thomas Hill.” Warren Dexter photo, 1976.

April

Since the Society planned to hike to the Steam Mill in May, the April program explored part of the defunct Town of Philadelphia annexed to Chittenden in order establish who may have once occupied buildings where cellar holes are now found along the way to the Steam Mill.

May

The program was “Influence of the Proctor Family in the development of Chittenden.” This prepared us for our hike to Boiling Spring on June 13, located on lands owned by the Town of Proctor for protection of the Kiln Brook watershed. Also we learned that Redfield Proctor donated the land for Mt. Carmel State Forest, and that the Proctor Marble Co. was instrumental in the building of Chittenden Dam.

coin catalogued

A catalogue photo for ID of above coin

June

John LaFountain showed slides of his sanctioned metal detecting finds in England. Some of his interesting finds are in British museums and date back to the Iron and Bronze ages. John helped us identify the coin shown at the upper right as a Spanish — not English — silver coin used before U.S. had currency.

 

horiz_divider

Projects

We are pleased to announce our annual summer Ice Cream Social to introduce community members to the Chittenden Historical Society and invite them to join us as members. Our mission is to preserve, and share our rich town history. During the Ice Cream Social we also present a monetary award to the annual Barstow student winner of the Muzzy Davenport Award for outstanding work in local history, and the recipient shares their project with us.

In our yearly programming, we plan field trips and hikes to explore the town’s early history, and we plan historical programs for our monthly meetings. In addition, we collect and preserve photos, artifacts, buildings, oral histories, genealogies, and historical accounts of town places and events.

Renovation of the 1833 Grange Hall is one of our projects. This summer we are happy to announce that walls in the main level are at last being closed with sheetrock. A grant from the Walter Cerf Community Fund is helping make this possible. Photos below show the work in progress. Remaining to be done are trim work, including some original wide-board wainscoting, installation of light fixtures, refinishing the floors, HVAC and a new front porch and handicap ramp. Although the main level will not be in finished condition, we expect that it will be available for use on a limited basis in the Fall. The lower level was finished and available for town use and rent since 2009.

Grange Upstairs, Balcony

balcony

 

horiz_divider

SPRING ACTIVITIES

This spring we waited out the weather and took two hikes. On May 31 we hiked to the remains of the Steam Mill, built in Chittenden by Charles Reed Holden in 1868 and visited nearby cellar holes and area mines. On June 13, a group of nineteen hikers visited Boiling Spring, the source of Kiln Brook. Beginning in 1904 that brook provided the pristine drinking water for the Town of Proctor for over 100 years. In 2014 Proctor changed to well water. The light areas in the spring show where the underground springs bubble up.

boiling_springs

 

horiz_divider

Notices

  • Jessica Orluck, daughter of Ms. Jennifer Orluck of Chittenden is the 2015 Muzzy Davenport Award. She will be our guest of honor at the Ice Cream Social on July 14 at 7:15 at Town Hall. Join us to meet her.

  • The Chittenden Historical Society meets on the second Tuesday of the month, March through November at 7:00 pm at the Society on Holden Road (or otherwise posted). Visitors and new members are welcome!

Grange Hall Project, Phase III Finish

Phase III Finish

Basement Interior

Basement Interior

The final part of Phase III resulted in a finished, functional gathering place the Chittenden community can enjoy. The interior finish brings all the work up to this point to an intermediate completion the Historical Society and people of Chittenden can be proud of. The gallery below shows the final work being done. See the first Grange Hall Post for more information.



Cemetery Work by the Chittenden Historical Society

Wetmore Cemetery

Wetmore Cemetery

Our interest in preserving the town’s old cemeteries continues after completion of the mapping of Wetmore Cemetery, begun as a Boy Scout Troop 105 in Rutland as an Eagle Scout’s project. Next, we will start a mapping project in the Bump Cemetery. The mapping projects will be directed by George Butts, surveyor and Chittenden Cemetery Commissioner.

We would like to sponsor some appropriate plantings, also, with plants that do not outgrow their bounds. If anyone would like to help with these projects, please contact the Society.

Bump Cemetery

Bump Cemetery

Cataloguing at the Chittenden Historical Society

computer_wiz
Beginning in the spring of 2007, the society embarked on a process of cataloging and indexing its collections for easier retrieval of information in the future. Photos are being identified, indexed and placed in protective covers in albums for easier viewing. Separate indexed books are being filled with biographies, genealogies and obituaries. The society welcomes new materials to add to its collections. The collections will be put on the computer donated to the society in 2007. Limited copying is available on a donated printer.

Some elements of the Historical Society are moving upstairs. The Society is in the process of revitalizing and refitting the little room upstairs in Town Hall as a resource room. A major factor in the decision is that the computer can be left on a desk instead of being disassembled and put into the vaults as is now necessary because the little room downstairs sees so much use by other groups. Also the Society will have more room for books, pictures and other materials and artifacts of interest.

The Society is open to welcome visitors on Tuesday afternoons between 1:30 and 5.

Historical Society Book: “Chittenden, Vermont, A Town History”

Chittenden, Vermont, A Town History cover

Front Cover

Back Cover

Society Publishes Town History

The third edition of Chittenden, Vermont: A Town History is now in! Books are available at the Town Clerk’s office or the Society for $30. To order
by mail, download and print the order form, complete and mail to
the address on the form. Please include $4.00 for shipping. All proceeds go to Chittenden Historical Society.

Written, compiled and edited by Fran Wheeler and Karen Webster, the new volume holds over 300 pages of town history from its beginning in 1780 and gives the early history, and the businesses, industry, military, school and church history that filled two and a quarter centuries. Genealogy of the earliest settlers is included.