Special Commemorative Edition
this edition is also available to read on-line at manchesternewspapers.com
Happy 250th Poultney! 1761 - 2011
Celebrating our heritage! Lots of plans to celebrate
It all started in East Poultney By Ina Smith Poultney Historical Society Much of the following history of the Town of Poultney has been excerpted from the Poultney Audio Walking and Driving Tours, produced by the Poultney Historical Society. The story of Poultney is really a tale of two villages. The town began in historic East Poultney with early settlers drawn to the waterpower provided by the Poultney River and concentrated in the gorge. By the early 1800s, dozens of mills were operating up and downstream of this point. The Melodeon Factory still stands as the oldest remaining building from East Poultney’s industrial era. The unique triangular design of the East Poultney green dates to the original land grant of 1761, from the royal governor of New Hampshire, Benning Wentworth. It features striking representations of Federal-style architecture, particularly the Baptist Church, one of the finest examples of its type in Vermont. This green, the gathering place of the village, offers a rare glimpse back to colonial times. Here, at the crossroads of the Military Road, the Green Mountain Boys would have gathered. Founded by the Allen clan – including brothers Ethan, Ira, and Heber – these frontier-hardened fighters shared a passion for defiance, even rebellion. Though most of the Allens frequented Poultney, only Heber and his cousin Ebenezer settled here. For a time, the Allens were said to have owned a third of the land in Poultney, and it was in Poultney that they and other settlers fought to secure the frontier lands that would soon become Vermont. They argued that those who worked the land for their families had a greater right to it than the New Yorkers, who had
See HISTORY, pg. 2
Fireworks and birthday cake The next two weeks are a time for celebration as Poultney looks back on 250 years as a chartered town.
Photos by Alan Nyiri
Two hundred and fifty years of history calls for a lot more than a single day of celebration, and that’s what’s going to happen over the next several weeks as the town celebrates the anniversary of receiving its charter. The jump-start will come this weekend on the East Poultney Green, where the Seth Warner Regiment will camp and do demonstrations from 4 p.m. Friday until late Sunday afternoon. The regiment re-creates the Revolutionary War. A historical plaque will also be unveiled Friday afternoon. On Monday, Sept. 19, Whaleback Winery will host tours and tastings from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. On Tuesday, Sept. 20, there will be a presentation on the 1961 Town Bicentennial Parade (snapshots and articles of Poultney’s 200th Birthday) presented by Tom Hughes at 6:30 p.m. at the Tiny Theater. Things begin to get into full swing at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 21, when an American Elm donated by the PDRC through the help of a Preservation Trust of VT and State Downtown Program Tree Planting Grant, will be planted in the lawn to the west of St. Raphael’s Catholic Church. At the tree planting ceremony, Alan Nyiri will read the Town Charter. Also at the tree planting ceremony, Andy Donaghy, our State Representative, will read the State Resolution to commemorate 250th charter days across Vermont. Poultney Elementary School and Poultney High School will hold open houses from 6 to 7 p.m., on Thursday, Sept. 23. A potluck dinner will be one of the special activities on Friday, Sept. 24. The dinner will be at St. Raphael’s Hall. The hall will open at 6:30 p.m. to bring dishes in, and the dinner will start at 7 p.m. Alan Nyiri will be taking photographs at the dinner that can be put into the Time
See EVENTS, pg. 5
A SPECIAL KEEPSAKE EDITION FOR THE TOWN OF POULTNEY PUBLISHED BY MANCHESTER NEWSPAPERS
2 - Week of September 12, 2011 - Manchester Newspapers' Poultney's 250th Birthday Special Edition
Celebrating 250 years History Continued from front page claimed but not yet settled these contested lands. When the Revolutionary War began, Poultney citizens found themselves front and center. In 1775, just weeks after the Battle of Lexington, the support of these Green Mountain Boys proved key in the capture of Fort Ticonderoga. The captured cannons were wheeled on ox-drawn sleds past the green, en route to Boston. There they were crucial to George Washington’s victory when he forced the British to evacuate Boston in 1776. But as the war continued, the town was briefly abandoned in 1777. As the men headed north to fight the British at the Battle of Hubbardton, the women and children evacuated the town. These women became known as the “Valiant 13.” They took their children to safety by traversing more than 50 miles on foot, from Poultney to Bennington, through rough and untracked wilderness. Their bravery is celebrated annually on East Poultney Day, with a historic fair on the green the second Saturday of August. After the battles of Hubbardton and Bennington, Poultney citizens returned to their homes. They cleared the land, cut timber for their new houses, raised their own grain and ground it in their own mills, many on the Poultney River. But the devastating flood of 1811 changed the course of the Poultney River, and thus the future of East Poultney. The changes in the river created a new site for mill power in West
Poultney, a sleepy milling hamlet two miles to the west.
And East Poultney would remain, much as it is today.
The Rise of the Downtown West Poultney’s location proved to be at a strategic halfway point between Burlington to the north and the Hudson River near Albany, to the south. The new turnpike (now Route 30) completed in 1811, became the best route for stagecoaches, wagons, and reliable mail service. Local farmers could transport their produce to markets in Albany. Cattle prodders – herding their stock to the markets of Boston -- would pause here for the night. During this turnpike era, Poultney farmers relied on their cash crops of grain and dairy. Soon after much of Poultney’s tollroad traffic had been taken away by the canal system to the west, two rival railroad syndicates made plans to connect Rutland County to Albany. Only one of the routes, the “Rutland and Washington Railroad,” planned to run through Poultney. Its proponents included Amos Bliss, the storekeeper and newspaper owner who’d given Horace Greeley his start, the industrialist Henry Stanley, and the banker Merritt Clark. Public opinion was against it, as it was regarded as “visionary.” There was even a rumor that to bolster support, the proponents collected signatures from convicts and from soldiers serving in the Mexican War. The tracks reached Poultney in 1851, at a cost of 1 million dollars, and the arrival of train service cemented the ascendancy of West Poultney over East. People moved west, and so did the businesses, churches, post office, and schools. By 1857 the shift became official: the West Poultney Post Office was renamed the Poultney Post Office.
Agriculture As Poultney citizens built turnpikes and railroads, they moved from handhewn cabins into houses built with sawmilled lumber. The first settlers grew much of what they needed, with wheat becoming an early cash crop. By the 1820s the forested Vermont hills were transformed into sheep meadows, with wool exports becoming a key industry – and a reason for the loss of 80 percent of Vermont’s forests. Here in Rutland County, these hills swarmed with sheep -- 271,727 to be exact, more than any other county in Vermont. There were 56 carding mills here – where the wool fibers were prepared for the county’s 11 textile factories that made clothing and other wool products. After the 1840s, though, wool prices crashed and a new market emerged for dairy products, served by rail. But it was an accidental find that would provide the next and greatest boon to Poultney’s economy. The Slate Industry The slate industry, according to local lore, was launched by accident. Around 1843, a farmer was showing his land to a prospective buyer, who kicked at a mound of soil and The slate looked at the rocks he industry in dislodged. He Poultney was exclaimed to the farmlaunched by er “Why -- that is slate,” and the farmer accident decided not to sell the land, but to sell the slate. The discovery of huge deposits of
slate transformed Poultney in the last half of the 19th century. This farming community, once populated mostly by New England “Yankees,” changed into an industrialized town enriched by a diverse group of immigrants, with the largest group of immigrant quarrymen coming from Wales. The first slate quarry in the area opened in 1845. The range of slate colors – black, green, red, even purple -makes our region unique, and our slate a key element to the town’s economic growth. By the late 1840s, that first quarry was producing 600 school slates per day. A decade later, the industrialization of America supported a homebuilding boom, and builders began to demand slate for their roofs. You can see proof of this on the roofs of many houses throughout the Slate Valley, notably along the streets of downtown Poultney. The quarries became their own towns and were almost self-sufficient, often having their own blacksmith shops, general stores, and post offices. But in downtown Poultney you could find prices that were competitive with the company stores. The downtown served local residents and more than a thousand quarrymen who worked in some 250 quarries in the area. Poultney had five department stores, dry goods stores, restaurants, stables, and several photographic studios. The new wealth brought by this industrialization is reflected in the architecture throughout the town. It can be seen in the Greek Revival
See HISTORY, pg. 4
POULTNEY HISTORICAL SOCIETY
1791 Union Academy
Manchester Newspapers’ Poultney's 250th Birthday Special Edition - Week of September 12, 2011 - 3
Our Town ~ Our Community TH
HAPPY 250 BIRTHDAY! from the
Poultney Area Chamber of Commerce Assistive Intelligence, Inc......................802-287-0683 At the Woods Studio..............................518-282-0047 Avon - Eileen Booth...............................802-325-2235 732-586-1422 Bentley House Bed & Breakfast LLC.....802-287-4004 Bentley House Tax Service, The............802-287-4004 Birdhouse Inn Bed & Breakfast, The.....802-287-2405 Brass Butterfly, Inc.................................802-287-9818 Brown’s Orchard & Farm Stand.............802-468-2297 Bruce N. Ferguson Custom Builder.......802-287-5505 Bruno’s Auto Repair & Towing...............802-287-9090 ..............................................................802-468-5373 Bryan Towle Trucking.............................802-287-9747 C & J Performance, Inc..........................802-645-0245 CMC Printing & Graphics......................802-265-3455 Café Dale..............................................802-287-1161 Camara Slate Products, Inc...................802-265-3200 Carpentry with Heart.............................802-884-8136 Cartref Taid®(Grandfather’s House).......802-287-5744 Casella Waste Management..................802-438-2151 Century 21 Bird Real Estate..................802-468-3200 ..............................................................802-770-5900 Chase Construction...............................802-273-3774 Chippewa Stone LLC.............................518-499-9090 Church Specialties, LLC........................802-884-8059 Citizens Bank.........................................802-287-9331 Colvin Building.......................................802-287-5294 Cones Point Country Store....................802-287-9925 Craft Seller............................................802-287-9713 D.S. Masonry.........................................802-287-5139 Dave Winter Lawns & Landscaping.......802-287-2544 David Buck............................................802-394-7863 DeBonis Excavation & Landscaping......802-287-2373 DeBonis, Wright & Carris.......................802-287-9110 Discount Food of Poultney.....................802-287-9500 Donald Collins, Jr. Building ...................802-287-2241 Don Tredtin Corp...................................802-775-5206 Dumas Trucking, Inc..............................802-287-5545 Echo Mountain Farm.............................802-446-2294 Evergreen Slate Company...Toll Free 866-USA-SLATE Everyday Flowers..................................802-287-4094 Fair Haven Inn.......................................802-265-4907 Frederick R. Michel, D.M.D....................802-287-4066 Friends In Adoption...............................802-235-2373 George & Pam’s Food Concession.......802-985-3274 Ginger Archer Interiors..........................802-287-2519 Glens Falls National Bank.....................518-642-2206 Green Mountain College.......................802-287-8000 Green’s Sugarhouse.............................802-287-5745 Hadeka Slate.........................................802-645-0771 Haven Guest House Bed & Breakfast...802-265-8882 Heritage Family Credit Union................888-252-8932 Hermit Hill Books...................................802-287-5757 Hometown Heating & Cooling, Inc.........518-282-9015 Hopson House B&B, The.......................802-287-9038
Calendar of Events 2011~2012 Spaghetti Dinner & Winter Carnival Spotlight On Poultney Maplefest Townwide Yard Sales Spring & Fall 4th of July Celebration Farmer’s Market Shakespeare on Main Street Strawberry Festival East Poultney Day Band Concerts on the Green Horace Greeley Writer’s Symposium George Jones Lecture Series Pumpkin Festival Christmas Fair Santa Comes To Poultney
It’s Justin Time! Realty...........................802-235-7836 JPW Accounting Services.....................802-353-7044 Jim Andrus Construction.......................802-325-3714 John Moore Builders.............................802-325-3655 Keyser Energy/Bixby’s Branch..............802-287-5512 Kinney Pike Insurance Agency..............802-287-9881 Kristal M. Hier, Interpreter......................802-235-1297
Lake St. Catherine Country Club...........802-287-9341 Lakes Region Free Press......................518-642-1234 Lakeside Realty.....................................802-645-9001 Leap Frog Nursery School.....................802-287-1337 Leon Corey Excavation, Inc...................802-645-9435 Loomis Paint & Wallpaper, Inc...............802-287-4009 Lyle Welding & Fabrication....................802-287-9065
Main Street Family Counseling.............802-287-9546 Maplewood Inn Bed & Breakfast ..........802-265-8039 .................................................Toll-free 800-253-7729 Marcie’s Hair Studio..............................802-287-2404 Mars Insurance Agency........................802-645-0775 Myron White, Jr. Concrete Construction. . .802-287-5161
Northend Plumbing, Heating & AC........802-287-2442 Northland Real Estate...........................802-287-9797 Original Vermont Store,The...................802-287-9111 Panorama Motel....................................518-282-9648 PEGTV..................................................802-747-0151 Perry’s Main Street Eatery....................802-287-5188 Picket Fence Antiques...........................802-287-2577 Poulos Insurance, Inc............................802-287-2324 Poultney Area Chamber of Commerce. 802-287-2010 Poultney Area St. Davied’s Society.......802-287-5744 Poultney Historical Society....................802-287-5252 Poultney Launderette............................802-287-4097 Poultney Pools.......................................802-287-9646 Poultney Snowmobile Club....................802-287-9230 Poultney Summer Theatre Company....802-287-4270 Priscilla’s Sweet Shoppe.......................802-287-4621 R & B Powder Coating, Inc....................802-287-2300 Riverside Motors..................................802-287-9947 Roberts-Aubin Funeral Home..............802-287-5511 Rupe Slate Company, Inc....................802-287-9692 Rutland Regional Medical Center........802-775-7111 Sam’s U-Save Fuels, Inc......................802-265-3608 Sheldon Mansion, The.........................518-642-0000 Simply Clean........................................802-287-1120 Slate Valley Museum............................518-642-1417 Steven Czachor....................................802-438-2840 Stitchy Women.....................................802-287-4114 TD Bank...............................................518-642-1010 ..............................................Toll Free 800-836-0853 Teacher Cleaners.................................802-287-5277 The Education Works...........................802-287-9244 The People’s Choice The Tiny Theatre & Community Ctr.......802-287-9511 Thomas’ Auto Repair...........................802-645-9122 Toad Hall Bed & Breakfast, LLC...........802-287-4455 Tot’s Diner............................................802-287-2213 Turunen’s Truck & Equipment Repair...802-287-4305 Twin Mountains Farm Bed & Breakfast 802-235-3700 Ultravation, Inc.....................................802-287-9735 VEMAS Corporation............................802-287-4100 Vermont Farmer’s Market (Poultney)...802-287-9570 Vermont Slate Depot............................802-287-5780 Vermont Sweetwater............................802-287-9897 Vermont Wildflowers............................518-796-2311 Wallingford Plumbing & Heating..........802-446-3214 Welch Plumbing...................................802-287-9886 Welsh American Genealogical Society Whaleback Vineyards/Winery..............802-287-0730 Williams True Value Hardware.............802-287-5791 Winding River Gallery..........................802-287-5295 WVNR 1340AM/WNYV 94.1 FM..........802-287-9031 York Coach Works................................802-287-9897
4 - Week of September 12, 2011 - Manchester Newspapers' Poultney's 250th Birthday Special Edition
Celebrating 250 years History Continued from page 2 Stonebridge building and Two Editors Inn, as well as the elaborate Queen Anne houses of Bentley Avenue. Green Mountain College In the 1830s, as the Methodist movement grew, the regional Troy Conference was formed to support more than 60 churches in upstate New York and Vermont. It was the Troy Conference in 1834 that formed
the Troy Conference Academy, now known as Green Mountain College. The college might not have been located in Poultney, though, if it hadn’t been for the foresight of its townspeople. The Conference noted the “beauty, healthfulness, temperance, good order, and freedom from influences baneful to a school, of Poultney.” But the gift of some $6000 from the townspeople clinched the deal. In 1863 the school’s name changed to Ripley Female College, in part due to the lack of male students, who
“It is an honor and a privilege to serve Poultney and to celebrate her 250th Birthday!” State Representative Andy & Joan Donaghy
were fighting in what the locals at the time called the War of 1861. The college became a leader in the women’s educational movement and was the first college in Vermont to graduate a woman. One of first graduates was Anna Katherine Green, whose 1878 novel, The Leavenworth Case: A Lawyer’s Story, was an early American bestseller. Some refer to Green as the “Mother of the Detective Novel.” The school reverted to Troy Conference Academy in 1874 and changed again in 1931 when the
Academy launched Green Mountain Junior College, the first junior college in Vermont. And again, during World War II, Green Mountain reverted to a college for women. The school returned to its coeducational mission in 1974, changing its name to Green Mountain College and offering four-year bachelor’s degrees. In the 1990s, the college developed a curriculum focused on the environmental liberal arts and has become a leader in the sustainability education movement on college campuses.
Thank you! We at Manchester Newspapers would like to extend our gratitude to the Poultney Historical Society for its help and support in producing this special section. We received a great deal of help from a variety of people. Much of Poultney’s history has been preserved through the Poultney Historical Society, founded in 1935. The Society owns and maintains three museums on the East Poultney Green: the 1791 Union Academy, the newly restored 1849 Melodeon Factory, and the 1896 Schoolhouse. Here at these museums, you can still see the farm plows and agricultural tools of the early settlers. Here reside the horse-drawn mail truck, the meat wagon, and melodeons. Here are the records and artifacts of the last two centuries and the thousands of items donated by Poultney’s residents over the years into the care of this organization. The Historical Society has produced the award-winning Poultney Audio Walking and Driving Tours and their accompanying brochure, which are available at several locations in town as well as on their website poultneyhistoricalsociety.org.
From all of us at
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East Poultney, VT 05741 •
Manchester Newspapers’ Poultney's 250th Birthday Special Edition - Week of September 12, 2011 - 5
Celebrating 250 years Why 250th anniversaries abound this year By Linda Ellingsworth From Sunderland to Brandon and many towns in between, 250th anniversary celebrations are lighting up the skies in southwestern Vermont this summer. What, one might ask, was going on in 1761 that prompted the founding of so many towns in one year? The answer lies squarely in the powerful hands of Benning Wentworth, the Royal Governor of New Hampshire from 1741 to 1766. In fact, it could be said that without Wentworth, Vermont might not exist today. Gov. Wentworth’s reason for establishing what became known as the New Hampshire Grants was primarily monetary. With each tract of land in a grant (usually six square miles), he received a £20 fee paid by each of the 60 grantees per town, reserving two “shares” (500
Events Continued from front page Capsule on a USB Drive, a DVD, or some other storage device. People are invited to bring their own (digital) photos which will be added to this storage device. Alan will photograph other objects from home that people would want immortalized in this fashion. The Poultney Historical Society will
acres) for himself. He secured the sup- on a different patent that gave New York all the lands west of the Connecticut port of the clergy by reserving a plot of River to Delaware Bay. land in each town for a In an audacious church. But Wentworth move, Wentworth also coveted a nobility made his first grant in title for himself, and lob1749 on land west of bied for that honor by the Connecticut River, naming many of the and named it towns after some of Bennington after himBritain’s most rich and self. He was cautioned politically powerful peoby New York to cease, ple. but continued to make The boundary between additional land grants New Hampshire and New throughout the 1750s. York was a bit nebulous, Wentworth made at and Gov. Wentworth based least 50 grants in 1761, his claim on historical many of which have documents that estabsurvived as Vermont lished his jurisdiction to a Benning Wentworth, the towns today. By 1762, line 20 miles east of the Royal Governor of New however, New York Hudson River. Meanwhile, Hampshire appealed to the British New York based its claim
government that Wentworth was encroaching on their territory. Wentworth asked for a royal verdict on the matter, which he felt confident would go his way. In the meantime, the grantees were busy settling the land and moving their families onto it. In 1764, a royal order from Britain resolved the dispute in favor of New York, which quickly required the grantees to surrender their charters and buy back the land at inflated prices. Those who refused to pay lost title to their land. The people who lost their property appealed to the governor of New York to confirm their claims, but in 1770, the New York Supreme Court declared all of the New Hampshire Grants invalid. Since the settlers had already established homes and townships, they were
Musicians from around town are asked to bring their instruments for a performance ”jam” before and/or after the dinner, silent auction and slideshow. One of the town’s biggest annual events will fit neatly into the anniversary celebration when the Poultney Rotary Club will host its annual Chili Cook-off on Main Street, with the addition of a Silent Auction on Saturday, Sept. 24. The final day of the celebration will be Sunday, Sept. 25. Bill Lyle of Lyle Welding has con-
structed a Time Capsule, to be buried by the bell at the Town Office. Etched in Stone of Granville, has donated the plaque for the tree and the time capsule, “Buried here is a time capsule commemorating 250 years of life in Poultney.” A matinee reading of “Horace’s Sum Total,” written by Burnham Holmes, produced by the Poultney Summer Theatre Company, will take place at the Baptist Church in East Poultney. It starts at 2:30 p.m., and is free and open to the public.
make a rectangular sheet-cake, decorated in a manner so as to convey Poultney’s history. Those who would like to participate in the Pot Luck can do so by bringing a rectangular cake, decorated however they deem fit, so that it can be placed aside the sheetcake, creating a “cake quilt” of sorts. Also during the event, the Poultney Historical Society will prepare a series of photographs to display as a slideshow during the Potluck Dinner, which will be included in the Time Capsule.
See 250, pg. 6
FROM PETE AND ALL OF US AT:
6 - Week of September 12, 2011 - Manchester Newspapers' Poultney's 250th Birthday Special Edition
Celebrating 250 years Historical marker honors unique Poultney resident a Revolutionary War soldier and former slave
250 Continued from page 5 outraged by the decision. Led by Ethan Allen, many of them organized as “Green Mountain Boys,” who actually waged war against New York. By 1777, the people living in the New Hampshire Grants declared themselves a republic named New Connecticut, and even wrote their own constitution. For 16 years, they operated as a sovereign body, independent of the United States. The Continental Congress recognized that this area should be a state, but it was not until 1790 that New York gave up control of the former New Hampshire grants and consented to allow Vermont into the Union. Finally, in 1791, with the name of Vermont, the new state’s voters ratified the U.S. Constitution and were admitted to the union. While Gov. Wentworth’s motivation for establishing the new towns might have been self-serving, his method of dividing the land laid the groundwork for the future state of Vermont. By creating regularly-shaped, town-sized grants that were settled by middleclass farmers, he set the stage for a populist uprising and desire for independence that resulted in Vermont becoming its own state. As we celebrate Poultney’s anniversary, it’s interesting to reflect on how one man’s desire for money and recognition 250 years ago gave birth to a unique group of people who now proudly call themselves “Vermonters.”
Poultney to build and manage their One of Poultney’s early settlers was farm on Ames Hollow Road. They a free black, Jeffrey Brace. Brace was suffered considerable indignities born in West Africa in approximately while living in Dorset and Poultney. 1742 as Boyrereau Brinch. He came Susannah was forced to bind over from a family that held high positions her two children to a couple in in his country. His father Whryn Dorset as indentured servants. A Brinch was Captain of the king’s Life neighbor in Poultney Jery Gorman Guards, as was his grandfather. was a jealous spiteful person who When Brinch was about sixteen coveted their land, turned his catyears old he and a group of his friends tle lose in their crops, tapped their were captured by white traders and maple trees, and harassed them. He taken by boat to Barbados, where they even tried to force the Brace’s chilwere sold into slavery. While enroute from Africa to Barbados he was con- Shawn Henry (l) and Prof. John Nassivera alongside the dren into indentured servitude. Finally, the Braces decided to fined to a space that only allowed him historical marker in honor of former slave Jeffrey Brace. leave Poultney and move to to sit or lie on his back, was only owners who subjected him to beatings Sheldon, Vermont, and from there to allowed two meager meals per day and and other humiliations. Fortunately he Georgia, Vermont. Brace lived to be had to contend with the foul stench of the eventually became a servant to widow approximately 85 years old and became hold. Mary Stiles who treated him kindly and blind in his later years. In 1810 he told the He was to endure many years of brutal taught him to read, write and speak propstory of his life to Benjamin F. Prentiss and inhumane treatment starting in er English. who published his memoirs under the Barbados. Here after leaving the ship he After the Revolutionary war broke out, title The Blind African Slave or the was placed in the “House of Subjection” Jeffrey Brace enlisted and served three Memoirs of Boyrereau Brinch Nicknamed where he and the other slaves were terms and suffered a leg wound. When the Jeffrey Brace. This memoir attests to the starved, whipped and tortured into subwar ended in 1783 he returned to Milford remarkable memory, intelligence and jection. and eventually was granted his freedom strength of character of the first black Around 1760 he was sold to Captain by Benjamin Stiles, Mary’s son. settler of Poultney. It is fitting that the Isaac Mills who had him trained in miliIn 1784 he moved to Poultney, Vermont. University of Vermont’s faculty union tary ways by William Burke. Brace served He worked to save money and purchased awards book scholarships in Brace’s as an enslaved sailor-soldier aboard Mills’ land in what is now called Ames Hollow. name annually to students who”exemplify vessel during in the Seven Years War, also He worked for a number of years in not only academic excellence but also an known as The French and Indian War. He Dorset, Vermont, to save up funds to active commitment to achieving social received five wounds in a battle with a develop his land. While living in Dorset justice” Copies of “The Blind African Spanish ship during the fight for control he met and married an African widow Slave” can be purchased from the of Havana, Cuba. Susannah Dublin. She already had two Poultney Historical Society. After the war he was sold by Captain children and together they had three Provided by Poultney Mills to John Burwell of Milford, more children. In 1795 they returned to Historical Society. Connecticut, the first of a series of cruel
HAPPY 250 , POULTNEY! TH TH
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Manchester Newspapers’ Poultney's 250th Birthday Special Edition - Week of September 12, 2011 - 7
Celebrating 250 years
Small town - Big Journalists Renowned journalists Horace Greeley and George Jones have local ties For a small town in western Vermont, Poultney has left a major impact on American journalism. Horace Greeley was born in Amherst, New Hampshire, in 1811. He came to Poultney to apprentice himself at the Northern Spectator newspaper in East Poultney from 1826 to 1830. The paper was published in a print shop built on the green in 1823. This building, commonly known as the Horace Greeley House, now houses Picket Fence Antiques. Though Greeley worked in this house, he never lived there. During his time in Poultney he boarded first at the home of the paper’s editor E.G. Stone and later at the Eagle Tavern, owned by Harlow Hosford. He was well regarded for his Horace Greeley intelligence, his factual knowledge of current events and his debating skills. He quite probably wrote the obituary for former Poultney resident Jeffrey Brace in 1827. Greeley left Poultney at the age of 19 for New York City, where he became editor of several publications and in 1841 founded the New York Tribune. As editor of the New York Tribune, Greeley advocated reform in many spheres, supporting temperance, Transcendentalism, and labor unions. In the 1840′s he urged a generation to “Go west, young man.” Originally a Whig, in 1856, he wrote an editorial supporting the creation of the Republican Party. In 1872 he ran for President of the United States as a Democrat against the Republican candidate, Ulysses S. Grant. Harper’s Weekly in 1869 called Horace Greeley “the most perfect Yankee the country has ever produced.” George Jones was born in East Poultney in 1811, the son of John Jones, who managed and then Horace Greeley lived here during his time in East Poultney. owned a woolen mill one mile upriver (east) from the East Poultney Green. His family moved to Granville, Ohio, in 1823 and shortly afterwards, George Jones was orphaned at the age of 13. He returned to Poultney to live with his brother John Jones, Jr. He supported himself though work in the general store of Amos Bliss, who also owned the Northern Spectator, and became friends with a fellow employee, Horace Greeley.
The 15-year-old friends were together on the East Poultney Green for festivities celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in 1826. Jones left Poultney in 1833 and over the next 18 years acquired experience in banking, book publishing and the newspaper businesses. He also formed a close friendship with Henry Raymond, whom he met while both were employees at Greeley’s New York Tribune. The two founded the New York Times in 1851. Jones concentrated on the financial and business aspects of the paper while Raymond served as editor. Together they made the Times a very successful paper. In 1869, upon the death of Henry Raymond, George Jones became the editor of the Times. In this role Jones was to lay the ground work for the journalistic integrity of the newspaper. He insisted on a buffer between the advertising and business side and the editorial and reporting side of the newspaper. He honored this policy in several important instances. In 1870, the Times uncovered evidence that Tammany Hall Boss William Marcy Tweed was diverting public funds for personal use. The Times launched an editori- George Jones, founder of the New York Times. al attack on Tweed and his accomplices and persisted in the attacks despite the loss of advertising income from the city of New York and lack of editorial support from other papers. The effort ultimately led to the defeat of Tammany Hall. In 1884, Jones, a s t a u n c h Republican and firm Grant supporter, could not on principle support the Republican candidate Blaine and e v e n t u a l l y The birthplace of George Jones. endorsed the Democratic candidate for President, Grover Cleveland. Cleveland won, and the Times again suffered a temporary loss of advertising income. These remarkable displays of courage established the integrity of the New York Times.
8 - Week of September 12, 2011 - Manchester Newspapers' Poultney's 250th Birthday Special Edition
Celebrating 250 years Community has had many schools By Catherine M. Oliverio
District 3 Little Red School, Hampshire Hollow/Rt. 140 Poultney and East Poultney had been District 4 North Poultney, Maranville populated with as many as 18 schoolHill houses, varying in size and architecDistrict 5 North Poultney , Hooker ture. District, Saltis Farm, Blissville Historian Charles Parker Rd. stated that the first schools conDistrict 6 North Poultney, sisted of log cabins. “Heating Farwell District, Walker Rd. facilities, as well as desks and District 7 Watkins Hill/Griffin benches were handmade. Books Rd Scribner District were few and had to be shared District 8 Pond Hill by all. As early as 1784, the District 9 Hampshire Hollow, Poultney school system met the Farm District changing needs of each generaDistrict 10 Ames Hollow Bird tion.” This pattern continued Mtn. Poultney/Ira line Snow year after year with improveDistrict ments made as they are today. District 11 Morse Hollow near It all began with the 1791 Marchland’s—students from Clark Union Academy, one of the oldHollow also attended this school est surviving school houses in District 12 Little Red School, Rutland County and the second Lake District, Rt.30 S Lake St. oldest in Vermont. The acadeCatherine Golf Course my served the village not only District 13 Little Red School , as an educational institution South Poultney but also as the meeting forum District 14 South Poultney Rt. of the early congregations that 31 worshipped in the area. District 15 Ward School, Finel The academy was named to Hollow—this had been built under commemorate the historic year the insistence of Edward Finel, of Vermont joining the other the father of 10 children, who had states. It served as one of the a great concern of education district schools in Poultney District 16 North Poultney, until 1895. As the 14th state to This school in East Poultney was one of the town’s earlier schools. Union Academy was part of Blissville Rd. on the Castleton join the Union, and Vermont’s District No. 2 in East Poultney. line—half district in Poultney and constitution required the estabin Castleton lishment of primary schools in District 17 Somewhere between East toric recollection is one who remains In addition to the larger schools, the each town and a grammar school in Poultney and Lake District—no one is anonymous. This wonderful woman one-room Little Red Schoolhouse existeach county, which led to breakdown of sure where spent countless hours in researching, ed in the 1800s with no running water district schools listed below. Each district functioned like its own interviewing past students, and taking or central heating, with the exception A popular face seen at the Union community, and students in South photos of Poutlney’s schools. A book of a large, old wood-burning stove. Academy included Horace Greeley, who Poultney did not know others in East will go on the shelf of the research Students ranged from six to sixteen, began his newspaper career and politiPoultney. Each school had PTAs raising library at the Poultney Historical and the students learned early on how cal voice in East Poultney. Greeley, also funds for the needs of the school, i.e., Society, including pages added per the to share with others, as well as spelling, the founder of the “The New York playground swings, fish tanks, and the teachers, as arithmetic, Tribune”, was known to conduct his things PTAs still fundraise for today. well as about and geogradebating society on the second floor. Through research many of the dis1,200 early phy. Currently, the academy displays trict schools closed for a while due to school records Having books, quill pens, slate boards, and the lack of students in that district only from the early eight grades antique desks. to reopen when more families with 1900s. in one room In 1833, the Methodist “Troy school age children moved back. South Not in any permitted the Conference” was founded and opened and North Poultney families came from particular younger stuits doors to students in 1837. Parker doc- dents the abilthe quarry background with order due to umented that the school was once more rowdy kids. inconsistenity for higher referred to as “Ripley Female “Some parents did not like the fact cies over the education Academy,” and was run as a private that it took a stern teacher to control years, the disfrom the older institution. Eventually, the school these schools so the parents made tricts were peers, which reverted to its original name and is now is what teacharrangements for their children to broken down known as Green Mountain College. board in the village and attend the more as follows: ers today Historian Michael McMorrow stated calm Main Street village school.” District 1 anticipate that although Poultney prospered with The schools opened and closed for Central School teaching to the slate industry, teaching also flourthe year around the needs of having the Main St.—also our students. ished in its time. There were 28 teachers This is what children at home to help with crops and in this district employed in the district schools, three sugaring and lack of wood for heating are the Poultney High School we call differentiated teaching; addressmale and twenty-five females, with a the school. and Poutlney Elementary School ing a wide spectrum of student abilities total of 541 scholars. District 2 East Poultney, Union and talents. Historically, things have changed and Another existing historic building is Academy As researched previously, the dates have come around to present day. As the 1896 Victorian Schoolhouse, Vermont tries to consolidate, it the home of a multitude of is evident that many smaller treasures of the Poultney schools existed to meet the Historical Society. The building needs of the families back in houses the society’s offices, a the day. Vermont state is research library, and the bulk spread out, and so are the of historic items, i.e., agriculneeds of our students. tural remnants, as well as a hisWith the Federal Legislation toric collection, known as the of No Child Left Behind, as popular “Brides of Early many would say, it is apparent Poultney” featuring historic that we need to fulfill the edubridal dresses. cational expectations per the The Victorian Schoolhouse students in rural Vermont. at one time accommodated Presently, students from eight grades and had an auditoPoultney and the surrounding rium on the second floor. “It areas have the choice to attend was one of four schools that the Poultney Elementary and consolidated students from onePoultney High Schools. School room schoolhouses around the choice is what it is all about larger township, and it housed these days; however, we need to students until 1966.” facilitate and cater to the needs The Poultney Central School, of our students. In Poultney, erected in 1885, now known as we have the opportunity to do The Poultney High School. the School House Apartments, so with smaller classes and is situated in the background on more one-on-one. Main Street. The brick building is a combination of Italianate, Queen Ann, and Colonial Revival architecture and once functioned as Poultney’s graded school.
of the schools are a “researcher’s nightmare,” unless one wants to delve into the records kept at Poultney’s Town Hall. Instrumental in assisting in this his-
Manchester Newspapers’ Poultney's 250th Birthday Special Edition - Week of September 12, 2011 - 9
Celebrating 250 years
Green Mountain College has long, rich history Founded as a coeducational institution in 1834, Green Mountain has a long and rich history. It became a two-year college for women in 1943 when World War II altered the composition of the student body. In 1974, it returned to coeducational status, offering four-year baccalaureate degrees to both men and women. Though historically tied to the United Methodist Church, the College community now reflects a vital respect for spiritual values, individual conscience, and interfaith dialogue. In 1995, Green Mountain College formally adopted its environmental liberal arts mission. Environmental sustainability is the unifying theme underlying the academic and social experience of the campus. Through a broad range of liberal arts and career-focused majors and a vigorous, service-oriented student affairs program, the College aims to foster the ideals of environmental responsibility, public service, international understanding, and lifelong intellectual, physical and spiritual development. Named the greenest school in the nation by Sierra magazine in 2010, Green Mountain College offers 45 undergraduate programs and three graduate studies programs. GMC grants bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, bachelor of fine arts, master of science, and master of business administration degrees. Students are drawn from 22 states and 9 foreign countries. The College employs nearly 200 people
written about the college by New York City poet Ed Moran.
The entrance to Green Mountain College. (including 50 full-time faculty members), making it one of the largest employers in Rutland County.
Welsh Heritage Many Welsh immigrants, attracted by the area’s slate industry, settled in this valley to produce one of the strongest Welsh-American communities in the country. The Green Mountain College Welsh Heritage Program seeks to maintain and cultivate that cultural legacy and to foster an interest in Wales and Welsh culture among our students and faculty. The College’s Griswold Library houses a special collection related to Wales and Welsh culture. It contains an archive of books, documents, photographs, press clippings, oral histories, family histories and other archival
material and artifacts related to the local Welsh-American community. The latest works in Welsh and WelshAmerican studies are available. During Vermont’s fall foliage season each October, the college holds the GMC Welsh Festival, featuring the talents of visiting artists and scholars from Wales as well as students and community members. Under the direction of Professor James Cassarino, Côry Mynydd Glas and Cantorion, our student choir and ensemble, is the only American choir to perform Welsh hymns and folksongs at each of its performances. They have performed for Welsh societies across America and have toured Wales multiple times. The college anthem incorporates the music and words of the Welsh hymn Calon Lan with the poem, This Green Place,
Green Mountain College had its origins in 1833, when the newly formed Troy Conference of the Methodist Church decided they must have a strong and influential institution near the center of the Conference. West Poultney, Vermont was chosen as a site in 1834, because of the “deep interest and enthusiasm of the inhabitants, and the good morals of its industrious citizens who carefully observe the Sabbath,” and also because they had subscribed $5,000 for the institution. On October 25, 1834, the Vermont General Assembly passed the Act of Incorporation. In 1836, the Troy Conference opened with the Rev. S. Stocking as principal. An academy in the 19th century was actually a combination grammar and high school. In the better academies (of which TCA was one), the more advanced subjects could now be considered college level. TCA’s first graduate received a diploma in 1844. In 1860, the Vermont Legislature granted TCA the right to convey baccalaureate degrees to young ladies. A major change for the school occurred in 1863, when former teacher and principal John Newman purchased the academy and turned it into Ripley Female College. The school awarded its first
See COLLEGE, pg. 10
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10 - Week of September 12, 2011 - Manchester Newspapers' Poultney's 250th Birthday Special Edition
Celebrating 250 years GMC Continued from page 9 four baccalaureate degrees in 1866. By 1874, the Troy Conference of the Methodist Church repurchased the school and it again became the Troy Conference Academy. The Academy building was destroyed by fire 1908, and the school rebuilt. Two years of college work were added to the institution in 1931, and by 1932, Troy Conference Academy and Green Mountain Junior College co-
existed as two distinct schools sharing dorms, classrooms and faculty. The institution also served as Poultney High School, and the college had its first graduate. In 1933, the first two-year class graduated from Green Mountain Junior College. By 1936, the last class of the old academy had graduated, and Green Mountain Junior College operated solely as a two-year institution for men and women. In 1943, however, the last coeducational class graduated, and the college operated as a two-year college for women only. The word “Junior” was dropped from
the College’s name in 1957, and Green Mountain College began a period of growth and building that lasted for more than a decade. In 1970, the school’s Methodist affiliation was dropped by mutual consent. Four-year bachelor degree programs were added to the curriculum in 1975, and the college became coeducational again. In 1989, two-year associate programs were officially dropped from the curriculum. In 1994, James M. Pollock retired after serving as president for 17 years. Thomas L. Benson was inaugurated as president of Green Mountain College in
The Town of Poultney wishes a fond Happy Birthday to Our Town!
1995, and the college adopted an environmental liberal arts focus. The college renewed its affiliation with the United Methodist Church in 1996. In 2001, the college adopted the mission statement: “As a four-year, coeducational residential institution, Green Mountain College takes the social and natural environment as the unifying theme underlying the academic and cocurricular experience of the campus. Through a broad range of liberal arts and career-focused majors and a vigor-
See GMC pg. 11
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Manchester Newspapers’ Poultney's 250th Birthday Special Edition - Week of September 12, 2011 - 11
Celebrating 250 years GMC Continued from page 9 ous, service-oriented student affairs program, the College fosters the ideals of environmental responsibility, public service, international understanding, and lifelong intellectual, physical, and spiritual adventure.” The 85-acre Deane Nature Preserve was dedicated in 2002, the same year that John F. Brennan was appointed college president. In 2006, the college began to offer online graduate masters programs leading to the MBA (Masters of Business Administration) and MSES (Masters of Science in Environmental Studies) degrees. Green Mountain College conferred its first MBA degrees in 2008. The same year, Paul J. Fonteyn assumed the presidency of the college after the retirement of John F. Brennan.
The Poultney 250th Birthday special edition is a publication of Manchester Newspapers. 14 East Main St. Granville, NY 12832 800-354-4232 Publisher: John Manchester Editor: Bill Toscano Advertising: Valerie Broughton, Deb Brosseau, Tom Jackson.
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12 - Week of September 12, 2011 - Manchester Newspapers' Poultney's 250th Birthday Special Edition
Celebrating 250 years The Poultney Library was founded on the road to Hampton By Rebecca Cook Library Director On Feb. 4, 1895, Mr. F.M. Rood, town photographer, and Mr. A.B. Carrigan, a Poultney businessman, discussed the lack of a library in Poultney as they rode to nearby Hampton. The citizens of Poultney had been without a library since the old library in East Poultney closed in 1841. After further discussion with interested residents, a meeting was held on Feb. 15. At first a subscription library was proposed, allowing only those who paid for a membership to borrow books. After further meetings and much debate, it was decided that Poultney would open a free Public Library, to be supported by a tax of 8 cents on each $100.00 of the Grand List. In the next months, the Trustees quickly set to work to organize their Public Library. The first floor of a private home was rented for $8.00 per month to house the Library. Eleven people applied for the new position of Poultney Librarian, three men and eight women. According to Mr. Rood’s journal, it was decided that “a lady for Librarian would be preferable to a gentleman”. As a result, Miss Addie Kilburn was hired as the Poultney Public Library’s first head librarian with a salary of $150 per year. On June 1, 1895, less than four months after the idea of a Public Library was first proposed, the Poultney Public Library opened for business with 700 books on the shelves. A ten year gap in the records begins after the grand opening. At some point between 1895 and 1905 the Library was moved from its original home, and took up occupancy in three rooms of the original Town Hall building, where it would remain
Many changes were necessary for the until 1956. Throughout the years the Library was Poultney Public Library to make its move housed in the Town Hall, it continued to from the Town Hall to the old Citizen’s grow. Despite the fact that a woman was Bank, where it currently resides. In 1956 preferable for Librarian, for the first eleven the Library had a collection of nearly 10,000 books, which had to years all of the be reduced to a mere Library trust2,700 to fit into the ees were men. new building. Many In 1906 the first display cases also had woman was to be disposed of, elected to the including a collection Board of of stuffed birds which Trustees. Mrs. is still fondly recalled James Farnham by those who rememwas an active ber the Library from force in the its Town Hall days. Library for the As soon as the next forty years. Library opened at 205 As the country Main St., the Trustees changed, so did began looking for the Library. ways to expand the During World building space. In War I plans 1971, that goal was were made for finally met with an the Red Cross to The historic Poultney Public Library. addition to house the use Library adult collection, allowspace as an emergency hospital if needed, in the Depression ing the original Library space to be used for relief workers helped with the Library a Children’s Room. It did not take many duties, and during World War II Library years before this building, too, was filled to capacity and space continues to be an ongorooms were used for first aid classes. Since the founding of the Poultney ing struggle. Since 1971 many changes have come to Public Library, space has been one of the biggest concerns faced by its Trustees. In the Poultney Public Library. Free programs 1946, this problem was escalated when one such as Story Time, Summer Reading of the Library’s three rooms was rented out Program, Book Discussion, Movie Nights, to the Puritan Dress Company. In 1956 the and Wii Game Days continue to grow in company requested use of the entire floor, popularity. New technologies cause the and once again the Poultney Public Library Library to continually evolve. In the past decade we have automated needed to find a home.
the Library, with computers for our card catalog and book check-out. While books are still the heart of the Library, you can now check out audio books, movies and park passes. Downloadable audio books and e-books are available to Poultney Public Library patrons free of charge. Perhaps the biggest change of all, though, is the computers. We now have three desktop computers and eight laptop computers available for public use in the Library, as well as free WiFi, drawing new people into the Poultney Public Library every day. I am proud and pleased to report that after 116 years the Library is still growing. Every year we welcome more people through our doors, check out more books, and have higher program attendance. If you haven’t visited the Poultney Public Library recently, please stop in and see what we have to offer! A special thank you to the fifteen Librarians who came before me: Miss Addie Kilburn 1895-1912 1912-1916 Miss Mary Rood 1916-1920 Miss Lilian Vaughan 1920-1921 Mrs. Jennie N. Cook 1921-1926 Mrs. Frances Fenton Brayton 1926 Miss Esther Ripley 1926-1932 Miss Eleanor J. Allen 1932-1939 Miss Edith F. Ward 1939-1944 Mrs. Clara D. Barrett 1944-1948 Miss Eleanor J. Allen 1948-1957 Mrs. Mabel S. Pruden 1958-1959 Mrs. Irene Cebarborg 1959-1969 Mrs. Thelma Bruso 1970-1975 Mrs. Mary O’Hara 1975-1982 Mrs. Jessie Estes 1982-2008 Miss Daphne Bartholomew
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Manchester Newspapers’ Poultney's 250th Birthday Special Edition - Week of September 12, 2011 - 13
Celebrating 250 years Poultney's own 'Switzerland of New England' By Catherine M. Oliverio Lake St. Catherine, situated between Wells and Poultney, has been shared by both towns since they were chartered in 1761. It is surrounded by hills, rolling mountains, hiking trails, wildlife, and breath-taking vistas. Residents and travelers to the Lake St. Catherine region can attest that it is “a spot fittingly called The Switzerland of New England.” Author and lake enthusiast, Raymond Lobdell wrote “A Natural Resource Planning Study of Wells”, and came up with the following data: “Lake St. Catherine is a large, long lake of 930 acres, which begins at the Lily Pond in Poultney and drains south into Wells. The lake has a maximum depth of 68 feet, an average depth of 32.2 feet, and a volume of 29,945 acre feet. It is about five miles long and drains into a narrow channel, which connects it with Little Pond, also known as Little Lake. Little Pond is a shallow lake about 181 acres with an average depth of two feet, a maximum depth of only four feet and a volume of 362 acre feet. The lake bottom is covered by a thick layer of silt and organic matter.” Although inhabited for centuries by Indians, non-Indians, and Jesuits - who named the lake, the first Wells settler was Ogden Mallory in 1768, followed by Poultney settlers Thomas Ashley and Ebenezer Allen, cousin of Ethan Allen,
arriving in 1771. Prior to the mid-1700s few realized the Lake St. Catherine region existed, known as the “The Wilderness”, as well as Lake Austin. The wildlife brought more settlers seeking profits from pelts of otter and mink. A ready supply of fish, bears, wolves, deer, birds, and other animals added to the food supply leading to more clearing of the surrounding forest. This led to the building of e postcard of log cabins An old-tim close by the lake, a dam with a sawmill and other small industries, including a wagon shop, wood working shop, wool mill, a tannery, a cheese factory, and a grist mill. Also, small farms, a
variety of architectural homes, and hotels flourished around the lake. In the mid-to-late 1800s resorts and summer camps began appear on Lake St.
ath Lake St. C
Catherine. To date, many camps exist, and were referred to as ‘cottages’ as local residents of Wells, Poultney and out-of-towners bought parcels of land adjacent the lake. The resorts, including the famous
Lake St. Catherine Hotel, the Lake House and at the north end, Lake View in the Pines, were all large and popular hotels that attracted the cultural elite and celebrities of the time. Unfortunately, all three resorts disappeared from the area over the decades. In 1916 Lake View in the Pines burned, before that, in 1909, Lake St. Catherine Hotel was torn down and in 1876 the Lake House burned. The current location of the Lake St. Catherine State Park used to be the grounds of the Lake View in the Pines. Convenient transportation for most into the late 1800s was the steamboat, Myra Morrow, built in East Poultney. The company, Dewey and Bliss Carriage Shop located south of the Village Green, branched out making other steamboats, including the largest launched on Lake Bomoseen, the
See LAKE, pg. 14
14 - Week of September 12, 2011 - Manchester Newspapers' Poultney's 250th Birthday Special Edition
Celebrating 250 years Lake Continued from page 13 Arthur B. Cook. The other steamboat operating on Lake St. Catherine was the Grace B. Underwood. Among celebrities and other famous individuals to frequent the area was writer Valoise Kintner Hayne. “Elsie Leslie Lyde was the first child star…her summer home was on Road End…a name she chose, and a place she described as ‘verry heaven’,” Kintner Hayne said.
Elsie’s parents entertained frequently with visiting guests to the Poultney cottage. “Among her ‘preshus’ friends were Joseph Jefferson, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Edwin Booth and closest of all Mark Twain and his family. Helen Keller and Eleanor Roosevelt were playmates of Elsie’s. Ferncliff, with the founder of the Burdick Manufacturing Company of Albany, NY, on the Poultney side of the lake, has quite a unique history. “He built a ‘Swing Bridge’ from the point on the west shore of Ferncliff across ‘The Narrows’, as the channel which connects the lake and Lily Pond…a dis-
tance of more than one hundred feet, quite a feat of engineering of its time. It existed until the 1930s.” Another architectural feature built in 1776 was the wooden-plank bridge across the neck between the ponds, currently the bridge at the Lake St. Catherine Marina. To date, fishing attracts anglers and tournaments, including ice fishing, because the lake is well stocked with a variety of species. Also, the allure of the lake brings all sorts of boating and jet-ski activities. Beyond the 250th anniversary, other historical features include interesting
island buildings and cottages, pre-historic findings in caves, horse racing on the ice as well as Cone’s Point Peninsula, one of the largest on the lake. Mr. Cone was one of those who petitioned his hometown for the right to join with Poultney. Due to his action, the town line of Wells changed, with Poultney gaining more acreage. In commemoration of the 250th Anniversary, the Wells Historical Society has made up T-shirts available at the Town Clerk’s office, the Wells
See LAKE, pg. 15
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Manchester Newspapers’ Poultney's 250th Birthday Special Edition - Week of September 12, 2011 - 15
Celebrating 250 years Lake
Celebrate Poultney's diverse architecture
Continued from page 14
By Catherine M. Oliverio
Country Store, and the Earth & Time Gallery. On May 24 the Historical Society planted the Liberty Tree and erected a monument on the grounds of the Wells Green near the library. On May 26 the society dedicated the monument to all veterans. “We decided to have the ceremonies closely together because of the 250th year,” Joe Capron, president of both the Wells Historical Society and the Modern Woodman of America said. “We thought being green was appropriate, as in our Green Mountain State.” The historical society also had a reenactment of the signing of the charter Aug. 20. Lake St. Catherine, from its early discovery to today, has undergone many changes. The lake and the ecosystem have evolved, as the rest of our environment continues to do so. The Lake St. Catherine Association and other associations, along with State assistance, have been instrumental in assisting in keeping the lake thriving so it will be there for the communities of Wells and Poultney for the next 250 years.
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Poultney and its diverse architecture reflect well-preserved historic treasures, both commercial and residential. Each building has its own unique style including Bungalow, Colonial, Gothic and Greek Revivals, Federal, French Second Empire, Italianate, and Queen Anne with various plans, i.e., Cape Cod, Classic Cottages, and Georgian. Both downtown and East Poultney have buildings with combined styles and plans. Over the years, farmers made transitions from cabins to wood-framed farmhouses with gambrel roofs, which are two double-pitched sloping sides meeting at a ridge. This represented “an aristocratic” house type, since people connected with politics. The Bungalow is described with a low, single-story house, large verandas, gabled roof, and deep overhanging eaves. Revival architecture of the period include the Colonial, popular in the 1800s, and used today with traditional Georgian side-hall or other plans with gable, gambrel, or hip roofs; Gothic was first used in Vermont in the 1820s to 1840s, mainly for churches—although some homes have the same style; and the Greek Revival from ancient Greece, emphasized the main entry, paneled door with sidelights columns or pilasters, which were flat presentations of columns. Gable-roofed Cape Cod type structures include 1 ½ stories, five bays wide
The Stonebridge was built in 1808 in the Greek revival style. across eaves, central entry, and little or no overhang built, usually with a large central chimney. Federal buildings, inspired from classical ancient Rome, were the first major style in Vermont in the 1700s. The architecture focused on the entryway, paneled door, sidelights, thin columns or pilasters, crowned by a semi-elliptical fanlight, and a semi-circular window radiating leaded glass patterns above a door or window on the gable ends. French Second Empire prevalent in the late 1800s is characterized by the Mansard roof with four double-pitched sloping sides with the lower pitch being steeper than the upper, as well as a bit of
the Italianate, paired windows, and verandas. The Italianate, influenced by the Italian countryside villas, were built after the Civil War and are depicted as cubed-houses with pavilions or towers or gable-roofed Georgian plans. Queen Anne structures tend to be gaudy, colorful and irregular, with asymmetrical building and richly textured surfaces, windows, towers, bay windows, gable screens, and porches with turned columns and balusters. The Georgian plan 2 or 2 ½ stories center hall homes featured sidelights
See ARCHITECTURE, pg. 16
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16 - Week of September 12, 2011 - Manchester Newspapers' Poultney's 250th Birthday Special Edition
Celebrating 250 years Architecture Continued from page 15 and Queen Anne porches, which were prevalent during the 1790s with the lucrative wheat harvesting. These homes had five bays wide across with a room on each side of a central entryway and two rooms deep. Poultney’s Vermont State register has a multitude of over 100 historic homes and buildings for the architectural historian enthusiast. The most popular are located in East Poultney and the others in downtown Poultney
The 1790 E a g l e Taver n, located in E a s t Poultney, is q u i t e “unusual and impressive”. It has twelve monumental columns supporting the overhang of the expanThe Melodeon Factory in East Poultney. sive hip roof,
a roof with four sloping sides meeting a shorter point or ridge. “During colonial times, the Tavern was known as a ‘stand’ hosting weary passengers from stage wagons and
coaches haunted by the Green Mountain Boys.” The Federal-style architecture, reminiscent of ancient Rome in this particular building focused on the entryway. The Stonebridge currently the “hub” of Poultney was built in 1808 Greek Revival with slate, pediment gable, and full entablature, three–part trim consisting of an architrave, frieze, and cornice found under rooflines. Thomas Ashley, one of the first two settlers in Poultney, reportedly built the original Stonebridge house in 1808 for his daughter Priscilla. In 1840 Merritt Clark bought it and extensively remod-
See ARCHITECTURE, pg. 17
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Manchester Newspapers’ Poultney's 250th Birthday Special Edition - Week of September 12, 2011 - 17
Celebrating 250 years Architecture Continued from page 16 eled it to the present Greek Revival appearance. The house has retained its Greek character on both the exterior and interior. Clark was a founder and cashier of the Poultney Bank. The bank opened in the west wing of his house in 1841. In 1880 the bank moved to its own Greek Revival building on Main Street. George Jones, the cofounder of the “The New York Times”, born in 1811, occupied a large, wood-framed homestead built in 1796. The house exemplifies the simplistic Federal period with a Georgian plan. The Horace Greeley House situated by the East Poultney Green and built in 1823 was the office of the “Northern Spectator”. Later, Horace Greeley founded “The New York Tribune”. This Georgian plan home featured sidelights. The Melodeon Factory, “the Bird Street” historic building erected in 1810 is one of Poultney’s oldest buildings remaining and is representative of Poultney’s early industrial era. Initially, the site served as the town’s local blacksmith shop. By 1852 a second floor had been added when it became known as the Melodeon Factory, one of the largest manufacturers of melodeon outside of Boston and New York. The melodeon, a key board instrument something like a small piano, was a reed organ with pump petals with air passing over the reeds in such a way that it sounded and functioned in a harmonica fashion.
The old picture postcard of the Eagle Tavern in East Poultney. It was built in 1790. During the 25 years or so, the factory flourished, the melodeon became quite popular for its ease of movement. Rather than having as many as seven individuals moving a piano, two individuals could easily transport the melodeon. In 1954, the Melodeon Factory became
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the Poultney Historical Society’s museum displaying and interpreting artifacts from the mid-19th century. Another prominent, downtown building in existence is the Journal Press, which was erected in 1908 by Charles Humphrey for the weekly newspaper.
Over the years, the building hosted a variety of businesses and activities including, a b a r b e r s h o p, lawyer’s office, clothing store, post office, two bowling alleys, a theater, and a community and amusement center. A corner drug store has also been in the building since at least the early 1930s retaining its elaborate pressed metal ceilings. Poultney and East Poultney not only offer unique historic buildings that are wellmaintained regularly, but both villages are nestled in the Green Mountains with rolling hills, the Poultney River, Lake St. Catherine, slate quarries, and more. The area will pique and intrigue all that have come and gone, whether it is past, present, and future.
18 - Week of September 12, 2011 - Manchester Newspapers' Poultney's 250th Birthday Special Edition
Celebrating 250 years Poultney Area Artist Guild welcomes new members By Catherine M. Oliverio It has been an active year for the Poultney Area Artist Guild in celebrating the 250th Anniversary of Poultney. The year began with painted wooden birthday candles attached to the Main Street lamp posts. Al Froeschl, PAAG treasurer and woodcraftsman, made the candles, which were given to the artists for their creativity. More than a dozen candles included pictures of flowers, birds, landscapes, folk art, modern art, maps, and more. Penny Froeschl, PAAG president, and her husband Al, also created a large, wooden 250th birthday cake, which is prominently displayed at the corner of streets Beaman and Main near The Stonebridge and St. Raphael’s Rectory. The wooden cake that had been mounted on a vehicle for the July 4th parade won the best depicted theme prize for the day. The winnings went to the Sally Fennell Scholarship Fund. Sally had been an avid artist and involved with the PAAG for many years; and in honor of her, the scholarship had been set up. The highlight of the year, the first “Art on Main Street”, occurred on July 16. A total of 20 PAAG members and invited outof-town artists participated in displaying a variety of mediums. Exhibits ranged from whimsical to traditional and included landscapes, sculptures, slate carvings, photography, leather crafts, and more. “Art on Main Street” had been an experience for more exposure for the PAAG, with lucrative returns for most artists. It was
Members of the Artist Guild created these candles as part of the 250th celebration. also an opportunity for more education for the general public with the increased conversation and awareness of the world of art.
“The public reaction was very good,” said Dale Lott, PAAG member, “and the hope is that the event will be repeated next year.”
“We’re very pleased with our efforts,” said Penny Froeschl, “and the entrant fees for this event also went to the scholarship fund. Each year we award $1,000 to any student in the area pursuing the arts as a major in college.” The PAAG continues showcasing art each Thursday during the summer and the fall at the Farmer’s Market held on Main Street, as well as the storefronts in Poultney. On the East Poultney Day celebration held Aug. 13, the PAAG presence did not go unnoticed with display racks and pictures everywhere. Four members painted and photographed historic pictures of Poultney for the 250th occasion. Dick Weis did a scene of Main Street; Marilyn Parker, one of the first trolleys on Main Street; Dale Lott, his 1870 Victorian Gothic house; and Alan Nyri, a Poultney photo. The four pieces were auctioned off with the proceeds going to the Poultney Historical Society. At the 250th Birthday Dinner, the Guild’s presence helped kick things off with the art of its members. The PAAG consists of local amateur and professional artists, who live in Poultney and the surrounding communities. All are welcome to join. “The more the merrier,” said Penny Froeschl. “We have a wonderful rapport together and enjoy discussing art. Many talented people have been contributing to the PAAG.” Meetings of the PAAG take place the first Tues. of every month at the Poultney High School art room at 7 p.m. For more information, contact Penny Froeschl at 802-287-2035.
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Manchester Newspapers’ Poultney's 250th Birthday Special Edition - Week of September 12, 2011 - 19
Celebrating 250 years Poultney's cemeteries EAST POULTNEY CEMETERY Located .2 miles east of the East Poultney green on a side road parallel to Rt. 140 East, the road to Middletown Springs. This cemetery contains many beautifully carved old stones with interesting verses. Enos Clark of Middletown Springs carved many of the stones dated before his death in 1815. All the stones with seraphs or angels are his work except for the Martha How stone. Many other early stones were the work of William Denison and Luther Perkins of Rutland and H. Hawley of Dorset. POULTNEY TOWN CEMETERY One of the largest in Poultney, it is located on the east side of Rt. 30, Beaman St, one and one half blocks north of the intersection with Main Street and Rt. 140. ST JOHN’S EPISCOPAL CEMETERY: St John’s Church is on East Main Street across from the East Poultney green. It was founded between 1820 and 1825 and the building erected around 1831. The small cemetery is behind the church. JEWISH CEMETERY, East Poultney This well kept cemetery is located across from the East Poultney Cemetery on the north side of the same access road. All the stones have Hebrew or Yiddish inscriptions, with English
inscriptions added at the bottom or on the back. ST RAPHAEL CATHOLIC CEMETERY The entrance to this cemetery is beside the church on East Main Street one block east of Rt. 30. AMES CEMETERY This cemetery is located in the northeast corner of Poultney. The road from East Poultney to the cemetery is now only a foot or horse path. By car drive east from Castleton Corners (the intersection Rt. 30 and Rt. 4A) about 4.4 miles. Turn right on to a dirt road and drive south about 3 miles. The cemetery is on the left, about 100 feet in from the road. TRAVERSE CEMETERY This new cemetery is located beside the Ames Cemetery and enclosed in chain link fence. FIFIELD CEMETERY This cemetery is located on the east side of Rt. 30 4 miles north of the stop light in Poultney. It is in a clump of tress, about 50 feet east of the road, and is barely visible from the road. There is no parking area along the road. HOSFORD TOMB This tomb is located west of Rt. 30 at the edge of a field 3.3 miles north of the stop light in Poultney. It was built into the side of the hill. In 1900 and again in 1970 the tomb was repaired and sealed
AS PART OF THE POULTNEY COMMUNITY SINCE THE 1800’S, OUR PARISHIONERS ARE PLEASED TO BE PART OF THE 250TH CELEBRATION!
St. Raphael & St. Anne Parishes 21 East Main Street • Poultney, Vermont 05764
Rectory Phone 802-287-5703
by the owners of the property. Besides the family it is said to contain the remains of a black man who died on the railroad near the spot. A stone which sits atop the entrance to the tomb is inscribed “Erected by Philo Hosford 1844″ HOSFORD’S CROSSING CEMETERY The Hosford’s Crossing Cemetery is located west of Rt. 30, 3 miles north of the stop light in Poultney. It is just beyond where the railroad once crossed the highway. BROUGHTON CEMETERY To locate the cemetery, from blinker light in the village, drive south on Rt. 31 1.6 miles, turn left on the Highland Upper Rd and drive south .4 miles. There is a small private drive to the south of the cemetery. The cemetery is about 200 feet west of the road. The cemetery is in part of Poultney, which was originally part of Wells. WARD CEMETERY This small cemetery is on Finel Hollow Rd, 2.3 miles north of Rt. 140 and .7 miles east of the East Poultney green. It is located on the old Nehemiah How homestead. Nehemiah died in 1777 and it is supposed that he and his wife Betsey (Wheeler) How are buried here but no stones mark the spot. Their son John later sold the property to Delbert Pease. There are numerous slate slabs, which probably mark graves.
The William Ward homestead is just southwest of the Cemetery and The Town Farm was in Hampshire Hollow not far from this spot. RANSOM CEMETERY To locate this cemetery, drive north from the green in East Poultney on Hillside Road .3 miles: turn left on Lewis road and drive 1.3 miles turn left on Hannon Road and drive .1 mile. This cemetery is located in a field, near a stonewall about 500 feet beyond the house. CULVER CEMETERY This is an abandoned cemetery in the northwest corner of Poultney. It is on the east side of the Poultney-BlissvilleHydeville Road, just south of the Castleton town line. From the stop light in Poultney, drive north on Rt. 30 3.1 miles: turn a sharp left, pass the Hosford cemetery and drive west .3 miles: turn right or north and drive 1.6 miles. The cemetery has a stonewall and is well above street level. BUNCE CEMETERY This cemetery is located on Hampshire Hollow Road .4 miles north of Rt. 140 and just beyond the former Bunce house. Information courtesy Margaret R. Jenks from “POULTNEY CEMETERY INSCRIPTIONS RUTLAND COUNTY, VERMONT: 1996″
POULTNEY VALLEY SNOWMOBILE DEVILS, INC. IS PROUD TO BE PART OF
POULTNEY’S 250 CELEBRATION!
PASTOR Rev. Sean Dowling DEACON Vincent J. Meyers
PARISH OFFICE HOURS
Monday, Tuesday & Thursday Noon to 2:30 PM
Beverly Gutowski, Religious Education Director Kent Baker, Organist Michelle Davenport, Parish Secretary
WELCOME TO ST. RAPHAEL & ST. ANNE PARISHES New parishioners please register at the rectory. We welcome you to our community, whether you are visiting for the first time or have decided to make our parish your home.
WEEKEND MASS SCHEDULE ST. RAPHAEL MASSES
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Monday ~ Thursday at 8:00 AM Friday at 5:15 PM Saturday at 9:00 AM
Holy Days: See Mass Schedule Rosary: Prayed after Daily Mass Confessions: Saturday at 2:00 to 3:30 PM By Appointment and during Holy Hour
MAY THE PEACE OF CHRIST BE WITH US ALWAYS!
OUR MEETINGS ARE THE 2ND WEDNESDAY OF EACH MONTH AT YORK COACH WORKS ON RT 30 NORTH OF POULTNEY. POT LUCK 6:30PM, MEETING 7:00PM
CONTACT US: 802-287-9562 • 802-287-9755
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20 - Week of September 12, 2011 - Manchester Newspapers' Poultney's 250th Birthday Special Edition
Celebrating 250 years Poultney once was home to active Jewish community Then, open fields and clean fence lines covered our hills, brushy fields and over grown fence lines were the sign of a poor farmer. “Homely as a hedge row fence” was not only applied to the unfortunate maidens. To these isolated farms, the peddler, whether on foot or wagon, brought merchandise to those who could not easily get to town to shop. They also brought news of the area to those who lived lives
Organized in 1870 by the Jewish families in the area, Poultney’s community was composed of merchants, tailors and pack peddlers from Poultney, Granville, Middle Granville and Fair Haven. As more and more people arrived from Eastern Europe, some were advised to seek their fortunes in the country. At that time the area had many small isolated farms in the back country, which is now overgrown with bush and trees.
A Knitter’s Paradise
remote from the beaten path. Here there was a ready market and the Jews were encouraged to come here because Mr. Mannes, who occupied the store at 84 Main Street in the West Village, was in the position to supply them with the merchandise for their packs from his store. He, of course, could order from metropolitan areas via the new rail road to replenish his supply. There were five or six Jewish families
here during the War Between the States but the community was not formed until 1870 with State incorporation in 1875. Solomon Cane came into possession of the Pine Tree House* which was used as a meeting place because of its unique position to the points of the compass. A second floor room on the east end was used for services. The peddlers would arrive for Sabbath
See JEWISH, pg. 21
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Poultney Downtown Revitalization Committee On behalf of the Poultney Downtown Revitalization Committee, it is with great pleasure that we wish a Happy Birthday to our wonderful town! We live in an incredible community, and we are honored to be a part of it! With so much going on in our Downtown, including shops, services, organizations, residents, students, and more, it is with great pride that we step back and applaud those who make life in Poultney so enjoyable.
Thank you, Happy Birthday, and many more!
Manchester Newspapers’ Poultney's 250th Birthday Special Edition - Week of September 12, 2011 - 21
Celebrating 250 years A look at Poultney businesses over the years although it was feared that the barn wouldn’t be able to withstand the weight of the stone, it is still standing today with the same slate roof. Many colors of slate can only be found in this region, and the quarries today still hire a good number of employees.
Over its many years, Poultney has been home to a wide variety of businesses. Taking a drive down Main Street in downtown Poultney might put one in a nostalgic state of mind, imagining a time when trolleys ran up and down the street, where the milkman makes his rounds through the neighborhoods, waving to the people as he drops off quarts of fresh milk from the local creamery, and the Poultney newspaper coming hot off the press across from the railroad station. Buildings from as early as the late 1800’s still stand in Poultney’s historic downtown, but with a changing economy came changing times. Throughout Poultney’s 250 years, the town has seen lots of businesses and industries come and go. Here are some of those stories.
The Colvin/Journal Press Building
The large yellow building on the corner of Main Street and Depot is a well-known and prominent feature in the heart of Poultney’s downtown. Built in 1908 by Charles Humphrey, the building was the home of the Journal Press, a weekly newspaper in Poultney for a number of years. When newspapers folded in the 1930’s, the Journal Press ran as a job shop, mostly doing letterpress printing, where a surface with raised letters is inked and pressed to the surface of the paper. In 1946, the Colvin family bought the business and started their own printing business there, continuing to do letterpress printing but also converting to offset printing, which is the technology that makes most magazines possible today. In 1972, Chuck and Katie Colvin bought the business from his parents, along with the building, and carried on the print business for another couple decades, transitioning from letterpress and going strictly offset. The Colvin’s grew the printing business, with the design offices and stripping department (which lays out the colors and negatives of printing plates, getting it arranged so that it’s ready for the printing press), as well as a bindery and other offices on the second floor. Within the building, there have been a number of businesses. In the 1920’s, there was a bowling alley and a pool hall on the third floor of the building, and later went on to have mini-golf, constructed of ashes and asbestos. There was also a barber who had a shop on the second floor there for years. In the room where the shop was, there is still an impression worked out on the floor from him standing around in that same spot a lot. During prohibition, the “Evolution Club” was in one of the rooms on the third floor, and ran as a private poker club. Each member had a key, and brought their own liquor. It even had a sign on the door down on Main Street. However, the anchor of all these businesses and of the Journal Press building has been the drug store on the corner, which is still open for business today. What is now Drake’s Pharmacy is unique, as it still has its own compounding lab, which is a lab where pharmacists can mix drugs to fit the unique needs of patients. Over the years, the building has seen dentists and lawyers, but has now become the Poultney Small Business Center, where Chuck works with local entrepreneurs to
Jewish Continued from page 20 services on Friday evening, remain through Saturday which was their day of rest, and leave Saturday night with their religious obligations satisfied
“Slate has always been big since the 1800’s,” says Colvin. “They were all owned by families and handed down to sons. It was a pretty rugged business, and a lot of them have done really well.” In the late 1800’s, lots of Welsh people came from Wales to the Poultney area, and worked in the quarries. Slate companies would send out a big flatbed truck to pick up workers from the top of every street in Poultney, as there weren’t a lot of cars at that time. In the wintertime, they would put a building on the back of the truck with a coal stove to keep the workers warm on their morning commute. Today, slate is still a big industry in Rutland and Washington County, as few materials can outlast slate. It is said that in 1848, a barn outside of Fair Haven was the first barn to have a slate roof, and
Aside from the Journal Press, many buildings in Poultney have seen businesses come and go, and some of these original buildings still stand. Where “Young at Heart” is now on the corner of Rt. 30 and Bentley avenue was the home of the Grey Foundry, who manufactured wood and coal stoves, iron grates for roads, and sold machines that were used to bend pipes for construction. Where VEMAS is now (Rt. 30 and Church Street) Williams Machine Company once was. With most of their business happening during WWII, Williams had 50-60 employees, making products for the war effort. The Williams family sold it in the 80’s, where the business shut down after nine years and the building sat in disrepair. VEMAS now owns the building and makes electronic equipment. Poultney/Fair Haven Auto Supply was once a Williams Chevrolet, and also sold Farmall tractors. They had a welder in the back to repair cars and farm equipment, and sold used and new cars on Main Street. Where Dr. Scovner’s office is on Main Street, to the left (if looking at it) was the Star Theatre, which was a movie theater that sold candy and ice cream, and had seats for 60-70 people. Stewarts was the site of a large, threestory store that sold clothing, pots, pans, and other household goods, similar to an old-time Bed, Bath & Beyond. The owner of the store lived where the Stonebridge house is now on the corner of Main and 30, but went out of business in the 1930’s when cars started becoming more popular. Shortly after the store’s decline, Rosenblatt’s moved in and the store was converted to a dress factory where 120 women made shirts for a NYC shirt company. A lot of the women who worked at the factory are still living in Poultney today. When Rosenblatt’s was going out of business and 120 jobs were about to be lost, a lot of the businesses in town chipped in to buy the building, and got another clothing manufacturer to come in, saving all of the jobs. This manufacturer stayed in business for a short time, but eventually the jobs went overseas, and the Poultney Development Corporation bought the building, selling it to Stewarts. Although the building no longer remains, it is a little known fact that the bricks that construct the current Stewarts shop are the original bricks from the building that used to stand on that corner. All in all, Poultney has created its own unique history, one that is full of hard workers and entrepreneurs, and has seen plenty of ups and downs in its 250 years. Many new businesses have sprung up in Poultney in the past couple of years, and it is the people of this community that will keep Poultney running for another 250.
across from the old burial ground on East Main Street (the old road leading from Eagle Tavern to Middletown). The graves are few, but this is an interesting site to visit. *The Pine Tree House was purchased in 1872 and sold to Solomon Cain 1874 who sold it in 1892 ending the active Jewish community in Poultney and the
first such community in Vermont. It is remembered in a small exhibit including the Ten Commandments and rubbings in the Schoolhouse museum at East Poultney. The Pine Tree House is now (1988) the home of the Joseph Greenwoods. Source: Reflections on Poultney’s Past, Vol. 2, C.L. Parker 1989
The Colvin/Journal Press building on Main Street. help them get their business going by providing office space with low overhead. Currently, there is an art studio, the Rotary Club office, a graphic designer, and a print-selling office in the building.
Bertolino’s Confectionary Store
Just a few hundred feet up the road from the Journal Press building is a place that is now known as the Back to Vermont pub. Frank Bertolino, Chuck Colvin’s other grandfather, lived upstairs, ran his business downstairs, and had eight daughters. The pub used to be an ice cream, candy, and fruit store where Bertolino would sell bananas still on the vine, and customers could come in, cut bananas fresh off the vine and get a banana split made with homemade ice cream. Inside, little marble top tables with wire-back chairs dotted the interior next to the long counter for ice cream and fruit bins. Eventually, one of his daughters and her husband bought the store, and turned it to a regular grocery store, where they sold meats, canned goods, and had a butcher shop. “In those days, there were at least three butcher shops in town. You could get an order cut fresh, but not much was pre-cut” says Colvin.
The Delaware and Hudson Railroad
Many Poultney residents today ride their bikes or walk their dogs along the trail that used to be the Delaware and Hudson railroad. The D&H was one of the first railroads in the United States, and came from Pennsylvania and New York up through Quebec. In the 1920’s up through the 1940’s, the train used to bring children up to Camp Arrowhead and Camp Kinni Kinnic, both located on Lake St. Catherine. Arrowhead, which ran from 1920 through 1960 was a sports camp for boys, established by Pop Silverman and Com Jacobson. It was on the site that is now the Lake St. Catherine State Park, and a few of the original structures still exist, such as the nature center (which was the camp office) and the stone steps on the lake. Kinni Kinnic was the girls camp, and was owned by Jeanette Brill. Brill was a teacher, lawyer, judge, writer, community activist, camp director, and a mother who was passionate about social justice and “their packs full for their route” returning the following evening. When the men could afford to settle down, marry and open a shop, it was to the larger towns that they migrated and opened their businesses. In 1876 the first burial was made in the cemetery which they purchased just east of the site of the Union Church and
welfare, mostly focusing on children and women. Camp Kinni Kinnic was known for its tennis program, and campers were mostly from the New York area, though a few of the girls did come from Montreal. The camp was founded in the 1930’s, and closed after 1975. The camp is now a residential area on Lake St. Catherine. Aside from summer camps, the D&H line was a way for the Staso Milling Company in Castleton and Hampton, N.Y. to deliver their goods. Staso also took waste products from slate, ground them into small granules, and sent it down the railroad to companies who used the converted waste product to manufacture asphalt shingling. Staso was one of the biggest employers in the area at the time, and had about 225 employees throughout both plants. However, in the 1960’s, synthetic products had entered the industry, putting Staso out of business. Dairy farming was also very large at the time, and the railroad provided a way for farmers to send their milk to the creamery, which used to be in Poultney on Church Street. There were lots of dairy farmers on the loop road (Finel Hollow/ Hampshire Hollow) in East Poultney who sold to the creamery. The creamery would deliver to peoples houses every other day. “The cream would freeze in the winter time, up above the cap,” Chuck reminisces. “It was delivered every other day so it was fresh, and sold in nice glass bottles. You’d clean them and return them, and they would refill them.”
22 - Week of September 12, 2011 - Manchester Newspapers' Poultney's 250th Birthday Special Edition
Celebrating 250 years Poultney's churches: Pillars of the community By Tim Donaghy Churches are often the focal point of picturesque New England towns, and even today these churches serve not only as a place of worship, but a community center, a place for friends and family to meet up every week to worship and catch up with their neighbors. “We’re tied in with a group of people we enjoy being with in addition to worship, and it’s really a community, it’s a social group,” says Ed McHale of the Episcopalian church. In Poultney, downtown, there are a number of different churches, and each one has its own distinct history. In 1802, the East Poultney Baptist Church was organized, however, the Federal style church that still stands on the green in East Poultney wasn’t built until 1805. At the time, the church cost $6,000 to build, and was constructed by Elisha Scott who was a master builder in the area at that time. The Baptist church was built out of a union of two churches – the Congregational Church of Poultney, which had a meetinghouse across from the cemetery on Rt. 140 in East Poultney, and the Baptist Church of Middletown. After many discussions among members, the two churches joined to create what is now the East Poultney Baptist Church. Later, in 1872, a second Baptist church was built on the corner of Bentley Avenue and Maple Street, although this church is no longer in use. Across from the Baptist church is the original site of St. John’s Episcopal Church, which was built in May of 1831 by the same master builder that designed the East Poultney Baptist Church, Elisha Scott. Although the church is no longer in use, candlelight services are still held there yearly. However, on Church Street in Poultney, the Trinity Episcopal Church was built in 1868 as a result of businesses and a population shift west into the village of Poultney, and although neither church hold weekly services, the church holds a community breakfast every month in conjunction with people from Episcopal churches in the area. “Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, that is the big role of churches. Every month at the church in Poultney, we
Trinity Episcopal Church.
The Poultney United Methodist Church while it was being constructed. hold a community breakfast on the last Saturday,” McHale says. The Episcopal Church was active until 1931. Currently, the church is working with the Preservation Trust of Vermont to find an alternate community use for the Trinity Church. In 1864, the first Roman Catholic Church was built in Poultney on what is now Route 30, although it is now on East Main Street in a church built in 1902 by
Hopkins and Casey. St. Raphael’s Roman Catholic Church is an excellent example of Gothic architecture. It is a soaring church with thin walls surrounded by large sections of stain glass. The style is characterized by the joining of weights and strains at isolated points resting on vertical pillars and counter balancing flying buttresses. The windows and doors feature arches that meet at a pointed joint. From the founding of the diocese of Burlington in 1853 this parish, first known as St. Gabriel, then St. Mary and finally St. Raphael has been a remarkable church supported by its faith filled parishioners. In 2002, St. Raphael’s marked the cele-
St. Raphael's Catholic Church in 1940.
bration of its Centennial anniversary and a major milestone as a parish community. Today, it continues the spirit of those who planted the seed of faith here in Poultney so long ago and those who sustained and nourished it through the years. A large presence in town, the United Methodist Church began in 1798. In 1822, the Poultney United Methodist Church was built on East Main Street with members mainly coming from Hampton, N.Y. Green Mountain College, or the Troy Conference Academy at that time, was part of the reason for the church moving to its current location on Main Street in downtown Poultney in 1841. Methodist Church - a place filled with open hearts, open minds, and open doors, where your soul will be renewed, and your talents will find a home. We are a Christian people who express our faith through fellowship, music, prayer, reflection, mission and social outreach. We are the kind of church you will want to be a part of. Located in the center of downtown Poultney, the United Methodist Church has been a leader for many years in supporting the larger Poultney community. Church members share their faithful passion through volunteering at Young at heart, Dismas House, Rutland Open Door Mission, Poultney Food Shelf, and other organizations. In the summer of 2009, the church hosted a mission team from Church of the Redeemer from Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Lives were transformed as youth and adults worked side- East Poultney Baptist Church. by-side on several service projects in Poultney, Fair Haven, and Rutland. The week concluded with a multi-church celebration at Lake St. Catherine and an awesome lake baptism. In the summer of 2010, it sent a team to Ohio on an exchange mission, renewing friendships and creating new connections. A common thread that these different churches have is community, and throughout each distinct history, these churches have brought together residents from throughout the surrounding villages to gather, worship and join in special events.
Manchester Newspapers’ Poultney's 250th Birthday Special Edition - Week of September 12, 2011 - 23
Celebrating 250 years Poultney scenes Poultney is always a place for celebrations, whether it's a parade or a familyoriented event. The town is all decked out and plans are in place for two full weekends of remembering the 250 years since the town was first chartered by the governor of New Hampshire.
Photos by Alan Nyiri
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24 - Week of September 12, 2011 - Manchester Newspapers' Poultney's 250th Birthday Special Edition
Celebrating 250 years Poultney features lots of clubs, activities By Tim Donaghy In Poultney, everyone likes a good gettogether. And thanks to the many organizations in Poultney such as the Rotary Club, Poultney Historical Society, and the Poultney Downtown Revitalization Committee, there are plenty of opportunities for Poultney residents to get together every year to enjoy the camaraderie of the community. “We’re living in an age now where people
seem to be cocooning more, staying in their houses and watching TV, unlike 100 years ago where people were out walking in the evening and front porches were a main place for activities,” says Alan Nyiri, a local photographer and member of the Poultney Downtown Revitalization Commitee who has lived in Poultney for the past 25 years. “These events create an opportunity that might not otherwise exist to get people together and interact. Basically, to practice the time-honored art of visiting.”
From snowmobile parades organized by the Poultney Snow Devils to the annual chili cook-off held on Main Street every year, Poultney residents enjoy events that are unique to the community, and are seldom seen in larger towns across the country. On the second Saturday of August, residents and visitors to Poultney might find themselves in a bit of a traffic jam near the East Poultney Green. Starting in the 1930’s, East Poultney Day has been a big event that draws people in from all corners of the state
and New England, and some from even as far as California. “You can walk around the streets and see license plates from all over the country. They [vacationers] make a point of coming down to it,” says Nyiri. “But we also see people from the community spending the day on the East Poultney Green, and I suspect there are people who only see each other that one time of the year.”
See ACTIVITIES, pg. 25
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Happy 250th, Poultney! From All Of Us At The Young at Heart Senior Center The Young at Heart Senior Center, under the direction of Mary Thomas, with the help of 35 volunteers, is a focal point for local seniors; it’s their social center, coffee shop, dining hall, computer center, wellness center, exercise class and bingo hall. They can shop for inexpensive clothing in our Thrift Store, and go on a trip with friends to a place of interest. Free Bone Builders Classes are offered on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Blood Pressure and Foot Clinic on the first Friday of every month. Flu Clinics are offered every year, as well as 55 Alive Driving Safety Classes. Our goals for the upcoming year are to continue to expand our services to local seniors by providing a new in-home chore service for seniors living independently in their homes, in addition to the programs that we currently offer at the center and Meals On Wheels. The Green Mountain Outreach Program, a service provided by the Young At Heart Senior Center in Poultney, has been up and running for six months. Bob and Deb Buciak have completed over 125 chores with the help of 13 Volunteers. Besides shoveling mounds of snow last winter, the Green Mountain Senior Outreach Program volunteers have also planted a tree, provided transportation and did some Spring Cleaning work. Currently, we are serving 25 seniors. If you have a name of a senior who would benefit from this program, please do not hesitate to contact the Senior Center to see if they are eligible. If the chore is above and beyond what we can do, we will assist the senior in finding someone who will help them. Also, we are always looking for more volunteers.
Please call Deb Buciak, Outreach Coordinator, at 802-884-8036 for more information. Or call the Senior Center at 287-9200
Manchester Newspapers’ Poultney's 250th Birthday Special Edition - Week of September 12, 2011 - 25
Celebrating 250 years Activities Continued from page 20 Nyiri says that he’s been to the East Poultney day every year for the past 25 years, and that it has always been a nice weekend. East Poultney Day is an opportunity for visitors to socialize on the green, and enjoy arts and crafts, and listen to music by the Poultney town band. The Historical Society’s buildings and indoor exhibits are open, and visitors can check out the 1791 Union Academy, which is Vermont’s second
oldest school building. The Melodeon Factory and the 1897 schoolhouse are also open for the public to enjoy, allowing new and old Poultney residents alike the opportunity to see and learn about the towns heritage and unique history. About a month or so later, the Poultney Rotary Club hosts the annual Chili-Cookoff during the last weekend of September. Coinciding with Green Mountain College’s ‘Family and Friends Weekend’, the chili cook-off draws hundreds to downtown Poultney every year. During the cook-off, over 25 different cooks take the challenge to make the best chili in town. Visitors visit as many booths
as they’d like, and sample the chili, taking down notes and eventually casting their vote for the best chili in a number of categories. Later in the day, judges collect the votes and announce the winning chili in a couple of categories, such as “best vegetarian chili”, “best theme booth”, “people’s choice”, and the mighty “Vermont Chili Champion”, among others. Often, more than 800 people attend the event, which had its first annual in 1989. The crowd will be bigger this year, on Sept. 24, because the cookoff is part of the 250th celebration. “I go almost every year to try all the dif-
ferent chili, but my favorite part is bumping into people that I haven’t seen in a while and catching up over a hot cup of homemade chili,” says Kevin Tarbell of Pawlet. “It’s a wonderful excuse to get together, and a pleasure to try out some awesome chili made with ingredients from the backyard.” So whether it’s Poultney’s big fireworks display on the fourth of July, or a local spaghetti dinner at one of the churches, Poultney has lots of opportunities for the community to come together to enjoy the town, and will continue to for centuries to come. (To find out more on the events happening in Poultney, visit www.poultneyvt.com)
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26 - September 12, 2011 - Manchester Newspapers' Poultney's 250th Birthday Special Edition
Celebrating 250 years The slate industr y has rich histor y locally The slate industry transformed Poultney in the last half of the 19th century. An agrarian community populated principally by Yankees became an industrialized town enriched by a diverse group of immigrants. Allegedly, the slate industry was due to an accidental event. According to an old story, around 1843, a farmer was showing his land to a prospective buyer. The buyer kicked at a mound of soil and looked at the rocks he dislodged. He exclaimed to the farmer “Why that is slate” The
1840s the Allen quarry was producing farmer then decided not to sell! 600 school slates per day. The slate industry began in our area, when Colonel Alonsen Allen started the first The first quarry in Immigration into the quarry on Scotch Hill in Slate Valley Poultney was Fair Haven in 1845. The Then in the 1850s first quarry in Poultney established in 1852 demand for roofing was the famed Eureka material emerged. Quarry established in Slate roofs could last 1852 by Daniel Hooker. 100 to 150 years, if The initial applications properly maintained. Processing of of slate products were school slates for slate for roofing required special skills writing and slate pencils. By the late
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which existed in abundance in Wales. The Welsh had been mining and processing slate since 1399. Skilled Welsh workers immigrated to the “Slate Valley” in droves. They were motivated by the depressed economy, high taxes, lack of social mobility in Wales and the opportunity they saw in America. Irish immigrants who had come to the area in the 1840s to build the railroads initially performed the unskilled
See SLATE, pg. 27
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Manchester Newspapers’ Poultney's 250th Birthday Special Edition - Week of September 12, 2011 - 27
Celebrating 250 years Slate Continued from page 26 tasks at the quarries. By 1860, some 450 workers ere employed by 16 companies. Applications of slate expanded to include vases, washbowls, bathing tubs, fireplaces, mantelpieces, tabletops, flooring tile and stairs.
Boom and Bust
The slate industry expanded in a series of booms and busts over the next forty years. By the 1900 there were nearly a thousand workers employed in 250
operating quarries. The 1900 to 1920 period saw Slavic and Italian immigrants working in the quarries. There are many descendants of these early Welsh, Irish, Slavic and Italian immigrants living in the area today. Some of these people progressed from workers to managers to owners of quarries. The great depression caused the complete collapse of the slate industry. Recovery after the Second World War was very slow due to the emergence of alternative roofing materials. Today, Poultney is the center of the Slate Valley, which straddles the New York and Vermont border and the slate
Visitors to Poultney who would like industry is expanding. This has been due to the need to replace all those roofs to learn more about the slate industry can visit the Slate Valley Museum in installed in the 19th century, the recognearby Granville, NY. nition of the long life The museum provides and value of slate The Great Depression exhibits of historical roofs , the requireused in the slate ment for fire proof caused the complete tools industry, displays showroofs imposed by the ing the science and art State of California collapse of the slate of slate quarrying, a and the revival of industry geological display showmany of the earlier ing how slate was applications. It is formed over many years estimated that the and photographs and videos showing Slate Valley has 38 companies employhow slate is processed ing 200 to 300 employees and producing $40 million a year of slate products.
Happy 250th, Poultney!
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28 - Week of September 12, 2011 - Manchester Newspapers' Poultney's 250th Birthday Special Edition
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Lots of plans to celebrate It all started in East Poultney A SPECIAL KEEPSAKE EDITION FOR THE TOWN OF POULTNEY PUBLISHED BY MANCHESTER NEWSP...