Historical Society Meets September 14th

The Chittenden Historical Society is so pleased to announce their first program of 2021 on Tuesday evening, September 14th, at 7:00 PM in the Grange Hall in North Chittenden.

The Society will host Justin Lindholm, who will give a film presentation of the 1958 Opening Day at Killington Ski Area.  Justin will add a short history of Brad and Janet Mead, founders of Pico Ski Area and the parents of two-time Olympic gold medal winner Andrea Mead. Included in the presentation will be some of the Meads’ history in the Towns of Chittenden and Mendon before developing Pico.

The Grange Hall is located at 3 Lower Middle Road, south off of Stoney Hill Road. The program is free and open to the public. For more information, please call 483-6471.

Ice Cream Social at North Chittenden Grange Hall

The Chittenden Historical Society is very happy to announce that we are again holding our annual Ice Cream Social on Tuesday evening, July 13th, at 7:00 PM. This year, the event will be at the Grange Hall on 3 Lower Middle Road in North Chittenden.
The 2021 recipient of the Muzzy Davenport Award for demonstrated excellence in local history is Barstow eighth-grade graduate Ardan Niering. He and his family will be our guests of honor as he shares his project about Oliver Erastus Churchill who served with the 10th Vermont at the battle of Cold Harbor in 1864.
Following the program, we will dish out the ice cream with strawberries, chocolate and whipped cream and get reacquainted after our year of no CHS events. This is always a good time to renew or start your membership.
Our CHS building will remain closed until September 2021. We are sorry for the inconvenience. Meanwhile, meetings will be transferred to the Grange Hall until further notice.

Memorial Day Observance at the Monument

The Chittenden Historical Society is pleased to sponsor a Memorial Day Observance at Monument Park next to the Civil War Monument in Chittenden on Monday, May 31, at 10:00 AM.

Several guest speakers have been engaged by Historical Society President Steve Welch. Gene Sargent will explain the reason the flag is folded into a triangle. Bob Webster will again recite the Gettysburg Address.

The Chittenden Volunteer Fire Department will direct traffic for the event.

Society Announces New Aquisitions

Despite our “office” being closed by the pandemic considerations, our collections have been improved by two significant donations.

Bob Muzzy donated items related to the Barstow family. A little pamphlet contains the purpose and agreement of the Barstow Endowment Funds. Two copies of a leather-bound booklet of the “Frederic Duclos Barstow Foundation for American Samoa Barstow Foundation in Samoa,” are a reprint of the article appearing in the Mid-Pacific Magazine in April 1933 by Frank E. Midlafff. A second leather-bound booklet was written by Frederic Duclos Barstow himself. “Under the Southern Cross” tells of his adventures travelling to and in American Samoa. Additionally, a scrapbook kept by Juna Rollins, great-aunt of Bob Muzzy, containing interesting news clippings, poems and obituaries of the time was donated.

In July, the second donation was by Lynn Chernoff of items from her grandmother Clara Atwood’s days as a member of the Arza Noyes Grand Army of the Republic Women’s Relief Corps No. 82. Included were three journals from the Corps’ initial meeting in 1907 through 1928, which were very exciting to see. They have provided answers to questions we have had about their endeavors, such as when the Civil War monument fence was put in.

The journals note that purchase of the Civil War monument was proposed in October 1911. A town-wide meeting the following April determined its placement, and the monument was dedicated in October 1912 — quite an endeavor because we have learned that it cost $900. The surrounding curbing was installed “immediately” after the November 1912 meeting, and now we know that the fence apparently was not erected until 1926.

Other items include a book with details of the Women’s Relief Corps national convention that was held in Rutland, Vermont, in May 1933. Some beautiful needlework sample items were part of the donation. They are now wrapped in conservation tissue, and we will work out a way to display some of them.

We are grateful to receive all of these historical items, and we look forward to the day we can show them to you.

2020 Muzzy Davenport Winner

     Even though Covid-19 social distancing restrictions and closure of town buildings deleted our Ice Cream Social this July, there IS, however, a Muzzy Davenport Award winner: Marko Svoren, son of Jan and Elana Svoren of Chittenden.
     For his eighth-grade history project, Marko chose to write a paper about Chittenden resident Merald Paul Clark, known as Kip to his friends and family, who spent time as a POW in World War II. Following an interview at the Chittenden Historical Society in March with Kip’s son Leland Clark (which was taped by Steve Welch), Marko wrote a 2,469-word paper using facts from the interview plus further research.
     Marko’s paper, “ ‘Kip’ Clark: Vermont Local and American POW,” was submitted to the 2020 Virtual Vermont History competition. sponsored by the Vermont Historical Society. Marko was the Junior Division Winner! Moreover, he placed second overall in the competition, qualifying him for the National History Day competition! Congratulations to Marko, his parents, his teacher James Gallagher, and Barstow School!
     At some point in the future, the Chittenden Historical Society hopes to host Marko for a presentation of his paper before the Society. The Society does have a copy of his beautiful, insightful, well-written and documented paper, plus a video of the interview with Leland Clark, son of “Kip.”

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.