New Historic Marker Unveiling to Celebrate Acclaimed Local Author Mary E. Wilkins Freeman Kicks Off the 2019 Brattleboro Literary Festival Events

On Thursday, October 17th, at 11 a.m., the West Brattleboro Association, in conjunction with the Brattleboro Words Project and Brattleboro Literary Festival, are unveiling a Historic Marker commemorating four historic schools that stood near the current site of today’s Academy School, and acclaimed local author Mary E. Wilkins Freeman.

Mary E. Wilkins Freeman was repeatedly voted the most popular female author during the 19th century. Best known for her short stories, she published over 250 in her lifetime. Freeman spent a significant part of her life in Brattleboro, and credited Brattleboro for its influence on her writing and success. During her time here, Mary attended the Glenwood Ladies Seminary, one of the four schools being commemorated with the historic marker.


State Architectural Historian To Visit Brattleboro: Historic district walk and Certified Local Government presentation

On Wednesday, June 19, 2019 the public is invited to explore historic preservation with the Brattleboro Planning Services Department and members of local boards and commissions. Devin Colman, State Architectural Historian, will make a presentation about Vermont’s Certified Local Government program. Then he will lead a walking tour of two neighborhoods listed as historic districts on the National Register of Historic Places. Come for either or both parts of the evening!


What Goes Around Comes Around!

Quote: I would build a wall of steel, a wall as high as Heaven, against the admission of a single one of those Southern Europeans who never thought the thoughts or spoke the language of a democracy in their lives.”
Clifford Walker (Governor of Georgia, addressing the “Second Imperial Klonvokation, September 1924)


Free Film Screening: Why We Fight

On Friday, March 8th  at 6 pm, join us at Brooks Memorial Library, as Brattleboro Solidarity shows  a FREE screening of the documentary “Why We Fight.” This film describes the rise and maintenance of the United States military–industrial complex and its 50-year involvement with the wars led by the United States to date, especially its 2003 Invasion of Iraq.


Great Brattleboro Movies at Brattleboro Historical Society

Yesterday I popped in the River Garden to see the Brattleboro exhibit we helped design with BHS, and was met with a surprise. The historical society has been given a treasure trove of old Brattleboro films.

This is a new project for them and they are just getting started. Bill Holiday explained to me that they had been given a big box of family films, and are currently in the process of having them digitized. The goal is to get 4k transfers for high-quality digital use. A few test reels were on display and they were amazing.


Great Exhibit About Brattleboro

There is a fabulous exhibit about Brattleboro in the Vermont Historical Society Museum in Montpelier.   The exhibit, titled Brattleboro-The Defining Decades, 1870-1920, has been produced by the Brattleboro Historical Society , the Estey Organ Museum, with installation design by Chris Grotke.


Brooks Memorial Library Closed Saturday and Monday for Veteran’s Day

In observance of the Veterans Day Holiday, Brooks Memorial Library will be CLOSED on Saturday, November 1oth, and Monday, November 12th. We will open as usual on Tuesday morning, November 13th at 10 am!

Originally known as Armistice Day, in honor of the end of WWI , and the treaty that was signed on on 11/11/18 at 11 am, the holiday was renamed Veteran’s Day in 1954.


State Architectural Historian Visits Brattleboro – Historic District Walks and Certified Local Government Presentation

On Wednesday, September 26, 2018 the public is invited to explore historic preservation with the Brattleboro Planning Services Department and members of local boards and commissions. Devin Colman, State Architectural Historian, will lead a walking tour of two neighborhoods listed as historic districts on the National Register of Historic Places. He will then make a presentation about Vermont’s Certified Local Government program.


War Lies

Lies have always been used to sell war to a public that would otherwise be leery about sending their sons off to fight and die.

That is why every major conflict is now accompanied by its own particular bodyguard of lies. From false flag attacks to dehumanization of the “enemy,” here are some facts to help debunk a century of war lies.


Today in Brattleboro History Feature

I enjoy reading the ‘Today in Brattleboro History’ feature. I especially enjoy seeing articles that indicate that the same ol’ same ol’ is going on in our town.

For example, from today’s:

1874 Fisk Finger Filched


1958: A Brattleboro Family Devastated and a Bridge Built

The Wong family plot is easy to find in Brattleboro’s Locust Ridge Cemetery on Black Mountain Road next to I-91. It’s the only gravestone facing south, consistent with Feng Shui. Lily, Stephen, and Emerson died 60 years ago on July 19, 1958, ages 29, 5, and 2. Two members of the family survived the terrible collision near the dangerous old Route 1 bridge in Belfast, Maine. Their spots are reserved and their birth dates already engraved. Arthur had just finished first grade at the Green Street School and was still in a coma when the stone was erected. The father, P. Lawrence Wong (also known as Paul or Laurence), was likely the only family member at the burial.


A Brattleboro History Exhibit

I thought it might be fun to tell you about a project (in-progress!) I’m working on with the Brattleboro Historical Society. It’s an exhibit all about Brattleboro that will be on display at the Vermont Historical Society in Montpelier, from August to January.

BHS hired me on to do exhibit design and project manage, two things I enjoy doing. I also love Brattleboro history.


Fair Housing and Freedom of Association

This essay is part of an ongoing dialogue with my nephew. It is a response to his contention that the Fair Housing Act of 1968 outlaw freedom of association, because  it force diversity on people. I had mentioned the history of lynching. Challenging the connection between lynching and the freedom of association argument, he responded: “The number of lynchings fell to essentially 0 well before LBJ was elected: http://xroads.virginia.edu/~MA03/faturoti/harlem/collage/lynchstats.html”

Dear Russell,

Lynchings were often not simply hangings:


The Barbarians

Although on some level I must have known this already, somehow I was surprised to learn (in a book on Celtic history called The Ancient Paths by Graham Robb) that the ancestors of most white Americans were the same people we remember in history as “the barbarian hordes.”


A Phil Hoff Story

Back in the ‘60s, I attended a conference of Electrical Utilities.

The conference was held in Lake George, NY, and the two keynote speakers were Nelson Rockefeller, then Governor of New York, and the newly elected Governor of Vermont, Phil Hoff.

Rockefeller was the first to arrive, and, arrive he did, with a huge entourage.


Woolen Mill

I noticed the history note about John Birge’s woolen mill burning down. There is an old woolen mill still standing on Birge Street. It is now apartments. I wonder if this is on the site of the one that burned? I’ve read that they made blankets there for the Union Army and later for Jordan Marsh.