2014 Annual Report of the President & Trustees
The Swanton Historical Society has just completed its 30th year of serving its members and the Swanton community. This has been another in a series of interesting and challenging times as we prepare for the transition to new beginnings for our society. Since 1984 the Historical Society has been offering numerous educational and entertainment programs free and open to the public, including the following this past year:
January: “Engines of the Heart: Collecting Antique American Toy Trains”. For years, Fred Wiseman has shared his toy trains on layouts set up at Christmas time in the Swanton Railroad Depot Museum. In this unique Sunday afternoon program he shared examples of his “Prewar Lionel” train collection by discussing the interesting evolution of toy trains from crude, poorly detailed tin toys, before WWI, to highly detailed scale models just before WWII.
May: “Lincoln in Vermont”: Co-sponsored by the Vermont Humanities Council, noted historian Howard Coffin paid a visit to the Wildlife Refuge on a Sunday afternoon to entertain a large gathering of Swanton historians and their guests with his revelation of Abraham Lincoln’s relationship with Vermont, a state he admired but never visited.
June 8: “Mad Matt the Democrat: The Life of Matthew Lyon” Co-sponsored by the Vermont Humanities Council, noted author Vincent Feeney entertained his audience of Swanton historians on another Sunday afternoon at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church with stories of how this Green Mountain Boy, son-in-law to Thomas Chittenden, land speculator, entrepreneur and one of the most colorful characters in Vermont’s early years, reflected the political tensions of the times.
June 21-22: Vermont History Expo, at the Tunbridge World’s Fairgrounds, June 21-22 sponsored by the Vermont Historical Society. Swanton Historical Society paid tribute to Swanton’s artists and artisans with an exhibition in keeping with the theme: Artists & Artisans-Vermont’s Creative Heritage . Our exhibit featured scale models, photographs, paintings, marble samples and an antique hand-made quilt.
June 23: 30th Annual Meeting & Election of Officers, featured an Anniversary Birthday Cake Social with special musical entertainment provided by Jim Branca, popular local musician and personality . Officers and Trustees were elected by members in attendance.
July: Summer History Camp for Kids July 28-August 1 was conceived and facilitated by our Trustee, Becky Rupp, at Swanton Central School, for kids ages 6-11, or so. Kids were able to solve an archaeology puzzle; try their hands at weaving; experiment with the telegraph; build their own robot and find what was in the INVENTION BOX. The excitement and enthusiasm exhibited by those in attendance was something to behold.
October: OCTOBERFEST-2014 was celebrated on Sunday, October 19 at the Swanton RR Depot Museum with a big tent, refreshments, music, historical exhibits, arts & crafts for kids, pumpkin carving, and prizes. Participants this year also enjoyed cider & donuts and a free carved pumpkin to take home.
December: “Holiday Trains at the R.R. Depot” A continuation of our popular Christmas program with Fred Wiseman’s vintage 1915-1955 Lionel model trains and accessories operated by Swanton Historical Society volunteers. Certificates were awarded to each youngster who successfully operated the trains. Kid’s crafts and games were provided and supervised by Becky Rupp.
The following members of the Swanton Historical Society have graciously agreed to serve until the next Annual Meeting in June, 2015. They also serve as ex-officio members of the Board of Trustees.
Ronald F. Kilburn, President
Glen Gurwit, Vice-President
Polly Paré, Secretary
Gary Langlois, Treasurer
Curator/Membership: Linda Kelly
The following members serve as Trustees for three-year terms as shown below:
David Reissig (1st term ending 2015)
Rebecca Rupp (1st term ending 2015)
Neal Speer (1st term ending 2015)
Jason Barney (1st term ending 2016)
Rich Kelley (1st term ending 2016)
Helen Stimets (1st term ending 20160
Sheila Kittell (2nd term ending 2017)
Gloria Bechard (2nd term ending 2017)
Bruce Spaulding (Interim Trustee)
Community Resources: The Swanton Railroad Depot Museum and Toll House Bridge Museum located at 58 South River St. are open to the public from May-October, Wednesday-Saturday, from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM and at other times by appointment by calling the Historical Society at 868-5436. The Society also maintains a historical research facility in the lower level of the Swanton Public Library. Our facilities are fully accessible, free and open to the public, including all programs. Visit our website at www.swantonhistoricalsociety.org
Swanton is a very special place, rich in history, culture and tradition. The year 2013 is a very special year in the annals of our history, marking the 250th anniversary of the Charter of Swanton as one of the many Charters issued by Benning Wentworth, Royal Governor of New Hampshire on August 17, 1763. A community celebration is being organized at this time.
We all have much to share and to learn from each other, students & seniors alike. We welcome everyone to join our Society and to help us preserve and appreciate our heritage. I continue to be proud of our Society and its members and am honored to serve once again as President.
A special Thank You is due the citizens of Swanton and elsewhere who have supported us through the years and especially to those who have donated their time, financial assistance and historical items.
Respectfully submitted by: Ronald F. Kilburn, President, with assistance from the Officers and Trustees.