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



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.


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.


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


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.




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





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.





  • 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

Basement Interior

Basement Interior

Phase III Finish

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

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.

Winter Newsletter 2015

Fall Meetings

Ice Cream Social

Victoria Quint presenting project
at the Ice Cream Social


At our annual Ice Cream Social, the Muzzy Davenport Award was given for outstanding work and interest in local history at Barstow. Victoria Quint, daughter of Andrew and Sarah Quint of Chittenden, presented her winning project, comparing and contrasting the old one-room schoolhouses in Chittenden with the Barstow of today, before the audience. Afterwards, everyone enjoyed ice cream, fresh strawberries, whipped cream and Vermont Sundae Sauces.


A report on the Society’s booth at Expo 2014 in Tunbridge was given at the business meeting held in August, along with other business of the Society.


Using the digitized photos in the Society’s
collection, an informal slide show of the building of Chittenden Dam and the Flood of 1947 with historical comments by Bob Muzzy was well received by the members. This completes our series of programs on the dams. Earlier we viewed photos of the building of the East Pittsford Dam and hiked to see its remnants. Also in September, we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the building of the electric generating plant on Powerhouse Road with a display at Green Mountain Power’s fall cleanup at the dam. GMP supplied hotdogs, cupcakes and t-shirts to commemorate the event.


The potluck supper at the Grange Hall this year
was followed by Vermont Humanities Council speaker and curator of the Precision Museum in Windsor, Carrie Brown of Etna, NH with the title “Arming the Union: How Vermont Gunmakers and the Technology that Shaped America.” Carrie explored the critical role that Windsor, Vermont, played in producing technology that not only won the war but went on to change American life with precision tool-making. Many industrial companies of today trace their roots to Windsor.


The annual meeting and dinner out was held this year at the Country House in Pittsford. Officers for 2015 were elected as follows: President, Karen Webster; Vice President, Marcia Lertola; Secretary, Elaine Meyers; Treasurer, Bob Webster, Trustees for two years, Reggi Dubin and Newt Wetmore. Bob Muzzy and George Butts will continue to serve as Trustees until 2016.


Fall Activities


In September we were excited to be part of Barstow teacher Rachel Valcour’s project to explore the historical, commercial, community and wildlife aspects of Chittenden Reservoir for Barstow 7th and 8th graders. The Society showed slides of vintage photos of the building of Chittenden Dam, followed by slides of photos and an account of the Flood of 1947.

Rachel also arranged for the students to kayak around the dam to predetermined areas where speakers were able to further enlighten them regarding commercial, community and wildlife surrounding the dam. Historical Society member Bob Muzzy talked about effects of the flood on the community. The students could identify with Bob, who had been identified in the photos seen earlier as a young boy playing where his home had been before the flood. Students later used their experiences to compare the local effects of the Flood of 1947 with Tropical Storm Irene. As part of the project, narratives of their experiences with Irene were written to provide a primary source of information of the event.

Rachel also shared the tent with us at the GMP fall cleanup at the dam with some of her “flood math” and water dynamics table.



Ice Cream Social

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 winner of the Muzzy Davenport Award and the recipient shares their project with us.

Your support helps preserve and share town history.
Come to the Ice Cream Social July 14th
and presentation by Muzzy Davenport Award recipient.

Ice Cream, Vermont Sundae Sauces, Fresh Strawberries, Whipped Cream!

During the Year

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

Many aspects of our heritage are alive and relevant today.
In a time of “instant everything,” the Society can provide a historical context for today’s current life activities and, in so doing engenders a “sense of place” in our Town of Chittenden.

Our Building

In 2013, through the generosity of the Board of Selectmen, we were able to move into the prior Town Office building on Holden Road. Our records, some over 100 years old, are now in the previous Town Clerk’s vault. At last, everything is on one floor and much more accessible for everyone. Several historical displays now in the society’s building evoke life in the early days of Chittenden. We invite you to visit.



Special History Display at Town Office

The CHS Expo 2014 exhibit of Lena Osgood Long’s photos of Chittenden (1893-1908) has been set up for a short time at the Chittenden Town Offices for the community members to see. She photographed the building of two power dams, town activities, and local residents. Notecards of the children pictured are available for purchase at the Chittenden Historical Society.

Coming Events

See our calendar page.

Next Meeting

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 on our calendar).

Visitors and new members are welcome!

Third Edition Available

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. For mailing, add $4 for postage. All proceeds go to the Chittenden Historical Society. For more info see the Book section.


We appreciate your membership. The Chittenden Historical Society follows a calendar year, so dues for 2014 are payable between January and our annual membership drive at the July Ice Cream Social.

To be a member, you do not have to be an officer, just follow your interests. We are a 501(c)3 corporation; all donations and memberships are tax-deductible.

The Society is a 501 ( c )3 non-profit organization and depends solely on fundraising efforts and membership dues for operating costs. It welcomes tax-deductible contributions that will enhance its collection of historic items, pictures or genealogies. The Chittenden Historical Society, Inc., also welcomes visitors and extends an invitation to membership to those interested in the Town’s history. The Society is open on Tuesday afternoons in the former Town Office from 2 until 4 pm, March through November, or by appointment. All of the Society’s programs and activities are open to the public, and visitors are welcome. Meetings are on the second Tuesday of the month, March through November, at 7:30pm in the former Town Office, unless otherwise advertised.

Grange Hall Project, Phase IV

Phase IV


Back of Grange Hall

Phase IV consisted of landscaping with terraces around the building and creating  driveways and the park and ride parking lot. Also some preparation for the next phase included insulating the walls with spray in foam while the windows got insulation treatments inside and out with insulated blinds and storm windows. See first Grange Hall post for more information.


Grange Hall Project, Phase III Framing

Phase III Framing

Kitchen and mechanical room wallsThis Phase included the installation of the accessibility lift, pouring the cement floor in the lower level and re-slating of the roof. The final steps were framing the interior of the new lower level space and addition.  See first Grange Hall post for more information.