History & Heritage
Calvin Coolidge Homestead, Plymouth
The birthplace and boyhood home of Calvin Coolidge, is one of the best-preserved presidential birthplaces in the nation. The small Vermont hill town is virtually unchanged since August 3, 1923, when, in the old family homestead, Vice President Coolidge was sworn in as the 30th President of the United States by his father. The homes of Coolidge's family and neighbors are carefully preserved, as are the village church, general store, cheese factory, and community dance hall that served as the 1924 Summer White House office. A modern Visitor Center, two museum stores, two walking trails, and an on-site restaurant (serving breakfast & lunch) are among the amenities. And, a special part of any visit to "The Notch" is the steep hillside cemetery where Calvin Coolidge rests with six generations of his family. Plymouth Notch is 6 miles south of US 4 on VT 100A. Nearby is the Coolidge State Park. The Site is part of a statewide system of historic sites owned and operated by the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation. There are now 11 buildings open to the public at Plymouth, from 9:30 am to 5 pm daily. Call 802-672-3773 for more information.
Hildene - The Lincoln Family Home is located in Manchester, VT. Each year Hildene's staff and volunteers welcome thousands of guests daily to the Lincoln home, grounds and walking trails. Your visit will include a brief video orientation in the Welcome Center (Beginning June 2007), a self-guided tour of the Lincoln home, a demonstration of the 1,000-pipe Aeolian organ and access to the formal gardens. You'll also want to visit the cutting and kitchen gardens, the observatory and the exhibits. Guided Tours are offered for the first tour of the day, by appointment at other times and on occasion when docents are available. You should allow approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Learn more on their website at www.hildene.org.
Saint Gaudens National Historic Site. Discover the beautiful home, studios and gardens of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, one of America’s greatest sculptors. Over 100 of his artworks can be seen in the galleries, from heroic public monuments to expressive portrait reliefs, and the gold coins which changed the look of American coinage. Enjoy summer concerts, explore nature trails, or indulge your hidden talents during a sculpture class. A unit of the National Park Service, this is a must-see site while visiting Vermont. Learn more on their website at www.nps.gov/saga.
Billings Farm and Museum. Visitors of all ages can experience the livestock, agricultural programs and history of a true Vermont working diary farm. Step back in time and tour the impeccably manicured grounds and the 1890 farmhouse that has been carefully restored to its nineteenth century heyday. Each season features a series of activities and special events with farm life exhibits, and activities and events for kids. Open daily. Visit their website for more information at www.billingsfarm.org.
Explore the Black River Academy Museum. The Academy was hartered in 1835 and received students from 26 states and 3 foreign countries throughout its 103 years of educating young men and women. Among its illustrious alumni is Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States. The building became a Museum in 1972 through alumni efforts. You can see a turn of the century schoolroom and ring the original school bell. There are exhibits of furniture, clothing, quilts, china, paintings; replicas of Ludlow's Main Street around the turn-of-the-century; and Calvin Coolidge memorabilia.
The museum also operates a Fiber Arts School throughout the year. Classes are available in spinning, weaving, knitting, chair caning, felting, needlework, and rug hooking. In addition, classes are arranged in tole painting, basket weaving, 19th century floor cloths and more. Catalogs are available. Open 12-4 pm., Tuesday through Saturday, from late May to mid-October. Call 802-228-5050 for more information.
The Fletcher Memorial Library in Ludlow was named one of Vermont's loveliest libraries, Fletcher Memorial hides its charms quietly behind a sturdy brick exterior facing the Village Green in Ludlow. Inside comes as a surprise, complete with vaulted ceilings, which have recently been repainted soft colors and gilded with "Dutch metal." The library was built in 1901 by Allen Fletcher, who later became a Vermont Governor (the former Castle Inn at the intersection of Routes 103 and 131 in Proctorsville was built as the family residence by Fletcher in 1905.) Fletcher built the Library to honor his father, Stoughton Fletcher, born and raised here before going West to make the family fortune. The Library is built in the later English Renaissance style and in addition to the vaulted ceilings, features a liberal use of marble and arched windows trimmed in oak.
Fletcher Memorial has two large, airy reading rooms and a children's room. There are thousands of volumes, including a large selection of new fiction, as well as Internet access on two computers. Call 802-228-8921 for more information and hours.
This is just a start. Visit the State of Vermont Chamber of Commerce website for more to see and learn in Vermont!