Colchester Historical Society

Marble Quarries and Lime Kilns in Colchester  - Monday May 14, 7PM

What is in a name? Why is there a place called Marble Island in Malletts Bay? What was going on at Lime Kiln Road? There is little evidence today of the reasons for the names of these places. But they were historically important to Colchester. Both Ruth Wright and Inge Schaefer, local historians, refer to them in their books.  Bob Furst started looking into these places last year to see if he could find out more about them and is going to present what he has found so far.  As usual this is a free event and open to all.  We hope to see you there.



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                                              Colchester Historical Society
                                              c/o  Robert Furst
                                              245 Bluebird Dr
                                              Colchester, VT 05446

Vintage Photo of the Historical Society House


2017-2018 Meetings

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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


  • Our One Room Log Schoolhouse Museum located at Airport Park is now closed for the year but you can still do a virtual visit on our website. Take a look using the menu on the left.
  • The activity calendar for 2017-2018 is now available - click on the link at the left to see what is coming up this fall.. 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.

  • On April 13th the Society was presented a $5000 grant from the state for repairs to the parsonage. If you have been by the house you will notice that it has been recently repainted.