Colchester Historical Society

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Our 2023-2024 Calendar is available.  Just click on the Activity Calendar link in the left menu.  


Our next meeting is November 13 at 7PM at our society house, 828 Main St, Colchester, VT

Harvest Festivals – Celebrations and Symbols 
presented by Michelle Penca.  

Across time and from many places, people have celebrated the end of the growing season. The celebrations share similarities that highlight the multicultural nature of harvest festivals. Join the Colchester Historical Society to learn about the cultivation of thankfulness and gratitude from New England traditions and those of other places. Sample some old-fashioned treats, make a leaf for a gratitude tree, and take home some ideas that you can use in your family's next harvest celebration. Refreshments will follow the program.

If you'd like a free tour of our historic Parsonage building, please arrive at 6 p.m.


Here is our Autumn 2023 Newsletter  Find out what has been happening at the Historical Society and some interesting tidbits about Colchester history. 


Local Historical Books for Sale
Just in time for the holiday shopping season, we are offering two local historical books for sale, as well as a lovely postcard of the former Nourse's Corner.  These can be purchased at the Town Clerk's Office and at Burnham Memorial Library. All proceeds benefit the Historical Society. 


Several Historical Society members learned how to properly clean cemetery monuments under the instruction of VOCA.  Here are a few of them.

Cleaning Monuments


This new addition to our Historical Society House was donated to us by Martha Mazza.  The medicine cabinet was rescued from Clarey's Bayside after it burned down in 1964.

Clarey's Bayside Medicine Cabinet OutsideClarey's Bayside Medicine Cabinet Inside+++++++++++++++++++++

If you are not already a member of the Historical Society, please think about joining.  It is easy. Just click here or use the Member Application Link at the left and print the application.  Then send it along with your dues to the address listed.   For current members, don't forget that annual dues are now due:  $15 per person or $25 for a family. 


In case you missed the November meeting with Dick Mazza presenting the history and some stories about his family's store on Lakeshore Drive here is a link to a recording provided by Pam Heinrich MacPherson.  Thank you, Pam.


We are still looking for the following:

1601 West Lakeshore Drive was at one time a hot spot for eating and dancing.   Does anyone remember eating or dancing at "Sonny's" in the  1930's to 1960's?  Later it was known as Finney's Fine Foods.  The Historical Society and the present owner are looking for memories and photos from that earlier time.  Check out the newsletter for more details about this request plus find out what your historical society is planning in the next several months.  

Also, we are looking for photos or memories from another eating establishment, the Sombrero,  that used to be just on the Colchester side of the Heineberg bridge.  Any takers?

We are still trying to find out who these people are.  These paintings were found in the attic of the former parsonage of the Congregational Church.  Details are in the Summer 2022 newsletter. Unknown Couple


 Driving Tours.  

Have you checked out the Driving Tours of Colchester yet? There are still no lines and no charge and many interesting spots are just waiting for you to visit.  And by the way, we are proud to announce that the Vermont Historical Society recently presented us with a League of Local Historical Societies & Museums Award of Merit for our Self-Guided Historical Driving Tour.  So start touring around and find out more about your town!

You can find a link to several Driving Tours of Colchester on the left panel.  There are tours of Colchester Center, the Malletts Bay Area, the Airport Park Area, the Fort Ethan Allen Area and even the Town Cemeteries.  You can download the files for your navigator  (not the driver!) to use as you drive around to the locations described.  We hope you enjoy finding more about the historical locations of our great town.


Here are some interesting historical documents and links that you should check out:

  • There is a lot of interesting historical information available online on this website and our Facebook page .  Also checkout the Vermont Historical Society website which you can access here
  • The historic Log Schoolhouse at Airport Park is now closed for the season but you can still take virtual tours by selecting the Log Schoolhouse Restoration link in the left menu.

Log School House After Restoration - Outside


Be sure to "Like" and "Follow" us on our Facebook page.


  •  Have program suggestions? Contact Suzanne Furst at 802-658-3706.
  • Don't forget to browse our Vintage Photos section. If you have photos to add contact Bob Furst by email or phone: 802-658-3706.
  • If want to join the society dues are only $15.00 a year for one person, $25.00 for a family.

    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.

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


Vintage Photo of the Historical Society House


Recent Meetings

May 14 2018:   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. The walls of the NY State House in Albany are lined with marble from the Malletts Bay quarries. This presentation was recorded and available at the Historical Society on a DVD.

Malletts Bay Marble on the walls in the New York State Capital Building

April 9, 2018:  The North Country involvement in the War of 1812 was the topic for the April 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.

March 10, 2018:  Researching Your Family History was the topic for the March 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.

February 10,  2018:   Carmen Brunelle told us all about the First 30 Years of Barbie Dolls illustrated by selections from her large collection. 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.

Carmen Brunelle and Barbie Doll