This Day in Brattleboro History, courtesy of Chris Grotke:


The ladies of the Brattleboro East Society, will hold a Fair at Wantastiquet Hall, on the third day of March next, when will be offered for sale a variety of both fancy and useful articles. There will be a Post Office connected, where all persons desirous, can be accommodated with letters from their friends in any part of the United States. The celebrated Bishop Glee Club, will entertain the company with some of the choicest music. Refreshments of all kinds will be provided, among which will be a loaf of cake containing a Gold Ring. Admittance 12 1/2 cents.


Larkin G. Mead, Jr., having secured the services of Signor Gagliardi of Rome, Italy, has commenced work upon the statue of Ethan Allen which has been ordered by the State of Vermont for the capitol at Montpelier.


The Festival of the Universalist Society, on Thursday evening of last week, was largely attended and unexpectedly successful. Thirty-one conundrums were presented and read, and Mr. Anonymous took the prize, which was donated in advance by that ubiquitous gentleman to the Society’s Treasurer.


We understand that the Vermont and Massachusetts Railroad Company are making arrangements for a new brick station-house in this village, to succeed the remains of the late frail, unsafe, and uncomfortable structure erected in the snow in 1849. The old building has been partially burned at two different times, to the manifest danger of other property.


The Eighth Regiment was mustered into service. At Ship Island the Eighth Regiment was assigned to the command of General John W. Phelps, who had begun to “organize and drill negroes,” for which he was reprimanded by General Butler.


The lecture of Prof. Snell at the Town Hall on Thursday evening, Feb. 10th, was well-attended, listened to with attention, and proved to be instructive and of practical utility. His subject was “The Telegraph.”


Lecture in the Universalist church next Sunday evening. Subject, “The Grumbling Laborers.”


The Brattleboro banks have done a very wise and timely thing in putting on a special night watchman to look after their interests. O.N. Stoughton has been assigned to that duty.


The ladies of the Unitarian society will give a “Pound Party” at the town hall on Friday evening next week. Every interested person will carry a package warranted to weigh one pound, and at a suitable hour these packages will be sold at auction without being opened.


How strange that Waite should have run away when, according to his own showing, the bank was owning him something like a quarter of a million dollars!


S.M. Waite seems to forget that figures enough to fill a whole newspaper could not wipe out the fact that the whole capital of the First National bank was dissipated under his management, that he raised not less that $65,000 on forged paper and fraudulent stock, and that he left less than $40,000 of available assets to pay $100,000 of liabilities to depositors and other creditors.


The warrant for the town meeting was posted yesterday. Besides the regular routine business of electing officers, raising money, etc. there is the following special article: “To see of the town will authorize the selectmen to sell and convey the town farm, and invest the proceeds of such sale in another farm for the benefit of said town.”


Samuel Simkoveze, the well known Jew peddler, is about to open a clothing store in the basement of Vinton’s block.


Crosby & Co. have the plans practically completed for there new three-story building to be erected on the old foundry site. Work will begin as soon as the spring opens.


The millenium may still be some way off, but it certainly speaks well for Brattleboro – a town now of some 7,000 population – that its police records show only three arrests for drunkenness during the past year.


There is a probability that a book-bindery will be opened here about the first of April.


The toboggan chute comes to a prosaic and practical end in its sale, for something less than $100, to Crosby & Co., who will use the lumber in their new building to be erected on the old foundry site.


The first mushrooms grown in Brattleboro commercially come from Allen’s greenhouses.


Sousa, “The March King,” and his celebrated band will give an afternoon performance at the Auditorium March 11.

Chris Grotke’s daily visitation to the annals of Brattleboro history can be found on the front page of

March 17 Talk: The Theatrical, Eccentric, Flamboyant Madame Sherri

In celebration of Women’s History Month
The Theatrical, Eccentric, Flamboyant Madame Sherri
A talk by Eric Stanway
Tues., March 17   7 p.m.
Brattleboro Historical Society History Center at the Masonic Temple
196 Main St., Brattleboro

Stanway is author of “Madame Sherri: The Special Edition,” an expanded
biography of the diva of the 20’s who scandalized the locals for years
before succumbing to poverty and dying in a Brattleboro boarding house,
leaving her castle in the woods of West Chesterfield, N.H., to crumble to

Stanway is a writer, artist and musician who has authored more than 15
books of New England history, including Mysteries of Monadnock, The Old
Rindge House, Haunted Hillsborough County, The Victorian, and Mad Ghosts
and Englishmen.

Free Winter Lecture Series: Textiles and Fashion in Early America

Beginning Sunday, January 25, 2 p.m.

Historic Deerfield will present a free winter lecture series,”Textiles and Fashion in Early America” this winter, with lectures on Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m. in January, February, and March at the Deerfield Community Center, 16 Memorial Street, in Old Deerfield. The lecture series is part of the celebration, “Fashioning a Legacy: The 50th Anniversary of the Helen Geier Flynt Textile Gallery.”


The first lecture, entitled “Exquisite Selections: Masterpieces from the Historic Deerfield Collection” will be presented on Sunday, January 25. David E. Lazaro, Associate Curator of Textiles for Historic Deerfield, will give an in-depth look at the Helen Geier Flynt Textile Collection, which today numbers some 8,000 objects including clothing, accessories, and domestic textiles, assembled by Historic Deerfield founders Helen Geier Flynt and Henry N. Flynt.

The lecture series continues with “Boarding in Boston: Education, Embroidery and Refinement in the Late Colonial Period,” on Sunday, February 22, presented by Pamela Parmal of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Mass., and “Patterns of Their Time: Design in Printed Textiles” on Sunday, March 22, presented by Linda Eaton of Winterthur Museum, Wilmington, Del.


The Brattleboro Historical Society has agreed to partner with Vermont Public Television and the Community Council of VPT to bring film premiers and events to Brattleboro.

West River Winter

A two man disaster squad, with ax and rope, has cut through cakes of ice backed up by the West River. Note the off-center hitch enabling horses to follow track rather than navigate heavier snow in center ridge of road.West River Ice

BUHS Students Speak with Sergei Khrushchev

Dr. Sergei Khrushchev, son of Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, spoke via Skype this morning, with Bill Holiday’s Brattleboro Union High School class about the Cuban Missile Crisis, the GDR & the Berlin Wall, and offered his perspective on Russia & the Ukraine in the current political climate. (Listen to Full Audio of the Conversation)

Gabriella Coburn Meets with BUHS Students to Discuss her Escape from Hungary

Gabriella Coburn visited Bill Holiday’s Brattleboro Union High School history class today to discuss the Hungarian Uprising of 1956 and her escape from Hungary to life in the United States.  (Listen to Full Audio of the Presentation)

An American Nurse at War

Brattleboro Historical Society presented ‘An American Nurse at War’ – The Story of WWI Red Cross Nurse Marion McCune Rice – on Sunday 9 November 2014. Presented by Steve Hooper with help from Tom Durnford.


A WTSA Radio Tribute to Andy Natowich

Denny Robinson and Bill Holiday pay tribute to Coach Andy Natowich, who died October 30 at the age of 95.

Andy Natowich was a long-time football and baseball coach at Brattleboro Union High School.  He went on to win four state championships in football, including a 1965 championship team that is still widely regarded as the best single football team in state history. He continued as baseball coach until 1974 and remained a stalwart presence in the community throughout his life.

Bill Holiday and Denny Robinson, both members of that famed 1965 state champion football team, recalled their experiences with Coach Natowich in this rare, commercial-free, radio tribute, broadcast on WTSA, Saturday, November 8, 2014.

September Gallery Walk

Come join us on Friday, September 5 from 2-8PM at the History Center on Main Street. Volunteers will be ready to answer your questions and talk Brattleboro history with you. Some of our exhibits include 2 Doug Cox Train Station dioramas, a visual history of Island Park, Brattleboro baseball team memorabilia and an elaborate dollhouse made by Estey Organ Factory workers. We have books, cards, postcards and much more for sale as well, so come on down! Gallery Walk Sept. 6, 2014

February 7 Gallery Walk

Free admission: Open 4-8 for Gallery Walk.  Our toy display continues with a truck and a train specially crafted from wood and  handmade dolls as well as an amazing Estey employee-built furnished dollhouse. Glimpse at Rudyard Kipling through Mary Cabot’s personal journal entries (“Annals of Brattleboro, 1681-1895” author); peruse her amazing photo albums. Play a locally made Estey Field Organ. Read VT Phoenix weeklies from 1895.  Learn about Crosbys, Esteys, and Moodys. Inspect the Ft. Dummer replica;  Old signs, maps, prescriptions, gowns bottles and more.

December Gallery Walk – Toys

Free admission: Open 4-8 for Gallery Walk.  Our new display for the holidays is TOYS. See a truck and a train specially crafted from wood, and enjoy handmade dolls and much more. Glimpse Rudyard Kipling through Mary Cabot’s journal entries (“Annals of Brattleboro, 1681-1895” author); peruse her photo albums. Play a locally made Estey Field Organ. Read VT Phoenix weeklies from 1895.  Learn about Crosbys, Esteys, and Moodys. Inspect the Ft. Dummer replica;  Old signs, maps, prescriptions, gowns.

Voices From the Grave

We have added our Voices From the Grave recordings to our SoundCloud. These are voice actors speaking as several well known personalities from Brattleboro’s past. Josie Mansfield, Madame Sherri, and Jacob Estey come alive through sound. Listen here.

Richard Michelman to speak at Brattleboro History Center

Our Annual Meeting and Presentation will be held November 17, 2013 at 2pm, at the Brattleboro History Center, 196 Main Street, Brattleboro. It is open to the public and light refreshments will be served.

“Growing Up in Brattleboro” Richard Michelman is a Brattleboro native and the last surviving co-author of Before Our Time. Michelman, raised in Brattleboro, taught social studies in the Brattleboro school system. His interest in history and antiques started as a teenager and became a life-long avocation, attending and working at auctions, performing appraisals and sharing his knowledge. Michelman’s father was a downtown merchant for many years, owning Michelman’s (a mens clothing store) on Main Street. He will be sharing his collection of rare stereopticon views of Brattleboro.

before our time cover

Michelman is remembered by BHS board member Karen Davis:
I remember Richard Michelman as one of the sons of the kindly gentleman who owned and operated Michelman’s Men’s Clothing Store on Main Street, Ralph Michelman, during the 1950’s and ’60’s. Richard was active at an early age as a “runner” at different auction houses, showing the item up for auction to members of the audience so they would bid against each other more actively.  Then he would deliver the item to the highest bidder.
Eventually Richard offered his expertise with antiques to clients wanting advice or appraisals.  You know about the wonderful book on Brattleboro he co-authored, an excellent compilation of articles and photographs.

BHS Board Member Chip Cummings remembers:
Richard was my 8th social studies teacher and I am also a social studies teacher, mainly U.S. History.
It was for his class that I wrote a history of the Creamery bridge that ended up in the Reformer. A couple years later I wrote the Events of the Past column for the Reformer. Richard Richard Michelman certainly played a role in inspiring me.

Join us for a fascinating afternoon learning or reminiscing of times gone by in our Brattleboro.

October Gallery Walk

Visit the Brattleboro Historical Society in two locations for Gallery Walk  (we are #35) on Friday, October 4, 2014.

We are staffing our Research Room located on the third floor (enter back door, handicapped accessible) of the Municipal Center at 230 Main Street. Here we store our 10,000+ photographs, 100s of files relating Brattleboro’s rich history, newspapers from the 19th and 20th century, paper collections, maps and so much more.

Our History Center located in the Masonic Center at 196 Main Street will also be open where you can see ever changing artifact displays and purchase merchandise relating to the history of Brattleboro, including books, photos and more. Conveniently located just adjacent to the Baptist Church on Main Street.

We hope to see you there!