Colchester Historical Society
Our Summer 2019 Newsletter is available here. Check it out!
The calendar for 2019-2020 is now available. Check the Activity Calendar link on the left column to see what is planned.
The first meeting in the Fall is Monday, September 9, 7PM. with Carleton Young, Ph.D, presenting "Voices From the Attic", stories of two Vermont soldiers who served in the Civil War. The stories are drawn from 250 letters he discovered in a wooden box tucked away in his parents' attic. The letters were written by the two soldiers while they were away from home fighting in the war.
Have you seen the flowers around the Historical Society House?. Thanks to the dedicated gardening team led by Annette and Claussen's Greenhouse and Perennial Farm and Chris Conant for helping beautify our grounds.
The Log School House in Airport Park is now open for the season.
If you have never visited it, now is the time. It is open Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 10AM to 2PM, always interesting, and best of all, it is FREE! You will find yourself transported to a late 1800s, early 1900s one room schoolhouse with many furnishings and artifacts from that period. Children can even write on slates with chalk as their ancestors once did.
It is a great place to take a break from your ride or walk on the Colchester and Causeway bike paths or from just playing in Airport Park. You can also find advertising brochures from many Vermont venues to plan some other adventure or find a place to eat..
Now we can't keep the schoolhouse open without the support of volunteers who greet visitors and explain its history.
A couple of hours several times during the summer is all it takes. Training is provided and then you are off to meet and talk to people from all over the world. What about it? Can you help? Call Carol Reichard 497-3036 and let her know that you are interested in helping.
Other historical events
The Vermont Automobile Enthusiast club is celebrating its 66th year. They meet monthly at the University Mall Parking Lot to display their cars in addition to other events during the year. The link below takes you to their calendar..
- 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.
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Monday, May 11, the Colchester Historical Society and Burnham Memorial Library co-hosted an Appraisal Night! People from the community brought in their "treasured items" and Peter O'Brien and Mike Heath of Estate Sales & Consignments shared with the group their estimate of its origin and value. It was fascinating to hear an explanation of each item and its value as a collectible.
Monday evening, April 15 at 7 PM, we traveled back in time with Martha Lang telling us about life at the Lang Family Camp on Spaulding West Shore or was it Spalding West Shore. It depended on who was writing about it.
Mar 9, 2019 The members traveled to the Fort Ethan Allen Museum. Dr William Parkinson took us on a virtual tour of the Fort, showing then and now photos and giving some details of what was happening at each place. The museum is in the old pump house for the stone water tower. Today it is modified from the time it was actively used.
Feb 9, 2019 Reid Allen presented the history of the Heineberg Bridge. Actually, there have been 4 bridges: the first was built in 1853 - named the Heineberg bridge presumably because Dr J.B. Heineberg was instrumental in getting it built. He had a farm off Porter's Point road and wanted to have a bridge across the Winooski instead of using the Richardson ferry. The second was built in 1862 to replace the original bridge which burned down that year. Then in 1935 the old wooden bridge was replaced by a steel bridge. Finally in the mid-1980's the steel bridge was replace by the current concrete bridge as part of the Burlington Beltline project. Reid presented the society with a framed copy of the original bridge. A digital file of this presentation is available at the Historical Society.
Nov 12, 2018 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.
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.
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 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.