News archive special: Vermont History Expo

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(Host) Vermont’s past came to life at the Tunbridge Fairgrounds in June 2001. The occasion was the second annual Vermont History Expo. VPR’s Steve Zind visited with the local historical societies, re-enactors, speakers and musicians:

“This what they used to use for water pipe. Boring the hole through a log that is eight foot long. The hole is an inch and a quarter. Right through it. 1917, my father and grandfather done 3,300 feet of it. And for 3,300 feet, they got $80.”

“This is the Corinth Historical Society exhibit, and our exhibit this year is on Eleanor Hodgeman Porter and the Pollyanna stories. Eleanor Hodgeman Porter was an author around the turn of the century and her most famous creation is Pollyanna. And the town of Beldingsville, Vermont, which is described in the book, it’s a fictional town, but if you read the description it’s Corinth Corner.
What this is, is we put together a series of artifacts that the residents of Fairfield have used. The elders of Fairfield then went to the fifth and sixth grade in the school and had them guess what these were used for. And they had so much fun that we put together the exhibit on that.”

“The name of the town is Fair Haven, Vermont. What we’ve done here today is display some clocks from the Vermont Clock Company. Now the Vermont Clock Company was only open from 1896 till I think about 1904. In it’s heyday it employed 100 people, average salaries ranged from 2 cents to 25 cents an hour.”

“I am Captain Philamon Daniels, I was the first licensed woman steamboat pilot in the world. I received my license in 1887. Once in a while I had trouble with some men, ’cause they didn’t think I should be doing this and I had to push one overboard one time.”

“Island Pond was a Yankee community of about 200 farmers and overnight, when the railroad came, it became the great halfway point on the railroad. They build their terminal there. They made a huge railroad yard with for 1,200 cars. They built big shops, machine shops, coal chutes. The plan didn’t go because in 1912 the president of the railroad went down on the Titanic.”

“The topic this morning is a work in progress, my newest book called The Battered Stars. It is a book about Vermont during Ulysses Grant’s overland campaign, the 40 days of furious fighting. The cost to Vermont was 3,000 casualties.”

“Was there some particular function to the shape of the hat that’s flat? No it was a style statement, it was a fashion thing. Really, all the Confederates, the South and the North both had what was called a forge cap, or cappy. It wasn’t very practical, it didn’t keep out the sun or the water, the rain, but it was a style statement of the civil war.”

“The South Royalton Town Band I guess is its total name. I’ve been in the band parts of eight different decades, I think. I guess every town used to have a band, I’ve seen pictures of various coronet bands, but only a few have survived.”

This story on the Vermont History Expo originally aired June 25, 2001. Engineered by Chris Albertine.

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