Colchester Historical Society

The March meeting of the Historical Society is a road trip that will be held Saturday, March 9, at 10AM in the Fort Ethan Allen Museum for a presentation on the fort by William Parkinson.   The museum is located at 11 Marcy Road at the eastern end of the fort near the large stone water tower.  We hope to see you there.  The museum can be seen on this map. The line shows the easiest way to get there.  South on Suzie Wilson Rd to light at Rt 15.  Turn right and stay in right lane. Turn right into the Fort at the first light on Rt 15.  The second right in the Fort is Marcy Road.  The museum is a brick building in the middle of the road and you can see the Stone Water Tower just ahead also if you followed the directions correctly!Map to Fort Ethan Allen Museum 

The Winter 2018-19 newsletter is now available.  Click on the link below to view it.

The full program schedule for this year is always available online.  Also if you haven't done so, it is time to renew your membership.  Dues are still a bargain at $5.00 per person or $10.00 for a family.  See Bob Furst at a meeting or send them to our mailing address shown in the right hand column. 

The Log Schoolhouse located on the bike path at Airport Park is now closed for the season but you still can visit it virturally by checking out the Log Schoolhouse link in the left hand column  



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If you want to contact the Colchester Historical Society,  you can email or call one of the officers listed in the right column.  You can also send us mail at:
                                              Colchester Historical Society
                                              c/o  Robert Furst
                                              245 Bluebird Dr
                                              Colchester, VT 05446


Vintage Photo of the Historical Society House


2017-2018 Meetings

  • Monday, Nov 12, at 7PM  a special Veteran's Day program was presented by Rick Heh  about his father, Lt Richard J Heh:  "A Prisoner Log of World War II POW".  Lt Heh, a navigator on a B17, spent the last year of WW II as a POW after his plane was shot down on a mission over occupied Belgium. While a prisoner, he kept a log of his activity.  After his release, he shared his logs with his family.  His son Rick shared them with the Historical Society in a fascinating and moving account of life in Stalag Luf III.  As a point of interest, this is the prison which was the site of the "Great Escape"  which occurred shortly before Lt Heh was incarcerated there.  Check out the Past & Present Events link for some pages from the presentation.
  • At our May 14th meeting, Bob Furst presented the results of his study of Marble Quarries and Lime Kilns in Colchester.  There was a large commercial Lime Kiln and quarry located at the northern end of Lime Kiln Rd that was in operation until 1970 when a lost contract caused it to shut down. The site was cleared and one of the two quarries was filled in.  In the Bay area several attempts were made to quarry marble at Malletts Head and Marble Island in particular.  The material while beautiful when polished was actually dolomite and not a pure marble. It was much harder to cut and polish.  In the late 1800's a processing plant was built on Malletts Head but costs drove it out of business by 1900.  The plant was converted into a club house which existed until 1976 when it burned down.  This presentation was recorded and available at the Historical Society on a DVD.
  • The North Country involvement in the War of 1812 was the topic for the April 9 meeting.  History and civics teacher Jason Barney presented the story of the origins and first year of the War of 1812 and Vermont's role in it. If you missed this talk, you missed an interesting introduction to the war. Great Britain started taking US sailors off merchant ships to man their war ships in their war with France. In response the Federal government restricted trade with Britain (Canada in this case for Vermonters). This affected the livelihood of many Northern Vermonters as Canada was their biggest trading partner. Smuggling goods to and from Canada became a way of life for many. The Black Snake was a notorious smuggling vessel that drew the attention of the Feds. The locals had to deal with both the Feds and Great Britain. So began the story.
  • Researching Your Family History was the topic for the Saturday March 10 meeting of the Historical Society. Christine Eldred, Colchester High School librarian, demonstrated how to begin researching family histories using methods from her own family history research. Her presentation focused on the best places and ways to get started with genealogy research. She also pointed out many of the free resources that are available to investigate your own family tree.
  • At the February 2018 meeting Carmen Brunelle told us all about the First 30 Years of Barbie Dolls illustrated by selections from her large collection of Barbies. In 2003 she set a goal of collecting Barbies from the first one in 1959 but stopped when she reached 30 years of them. The original Barbie was modeled after a German doll, Lilli, but had her own unique features which continued to evolve over time. Many of the early dolls had very expensive, well made clothing, some being designed by well known designers such as Dior and Yves Saint Laurent. It was a fascinating story. This presentation was recorded for future researchers.
  • On Nov 13 at 7PM, Dr Daniel Bean told us about Orphan Trains in Vermont - trains that transported orphaned and homeless children from crowded Eastern cities of the United States to foster homes located largely in rural areas. "It was fall in Enosburg Falls, VT in 1905 when the train from New York City arrived with about a dozen 3-4 year-old children from the New York Foundling Hospital. As the children lined up on the loading dock a nurse who had accompanied them read their tag and called the name of the family that had agreed to accept a new child into their home. This was Enosburg’s introduction to the concept of orphan trains and their riders. The concept of sending New York’s street children and foundlings out of the city and into the countryside for adoption or indenture was the brainchild of Charles Loring Brace, founding director of the Children’s Aid Society of NYC. By the time Congress put a stop to the practice in 1928 it is estimated that about 250,000 children had been “shipped out” of New York City. They traveled to every state, territory and Canada, including Vermont. A report by the CAS in 1910 lists 125 children having been sent to Vermont. That list does not include the children sent from the New York Foundling Hospital run by the Sisters of St. Vincent. The Enosburg Falls stop was to be the last stop for this particular train. Children on that train were left in Enosburg, Fairfield, and other towns along the way. Dr. Bean’s own father was on that 1905 train."      Information on these, and other orphan trains is sketchy at best. Many of the riders never mentioned the circumstances to their families, or if they did tended to downplay it. Others did write reports in later life. It is estimated that fewer than 500 of the riders are still alive today. Our current sources of information are the records of individual families and their relatives.  

On Monday, September 11, Chief Jennifer Morrison along with two early police officers, Ron Tatro and Jim Lockwood, described changes over the last 50 years in policing, women in law enforcement, equipment and technology improvements.   Ron and Jim gave us a real insight into the early days of policing with only three officers, 4 weeks of training and no radio communication equipment in the police car..  Chief Morrison described what it is like today, focusing on more community policing including youth and school involvement. She also talked about why Colchester officers tend to have long tenures - "this is a place where people truly come to make a difference,"  

Chief Morrison


  •  If you have any suggestions for a program contact Suzanne Furst at 802-658-3706.
  • Don't forget to browse our Vintage Photos section. If you have some photos that you would like to add, contact Bob Furst by email or phone: 802-658-3706.
  • If want to join the society dues are only $5.00 a year for one person, $10.00 for a family or $100 for an individual life membership.

    To become a member print the form from the link on the left. Fill out the form and bring it to a meeting or send it to the address shown.