Incorporated May 12, 1975
The Society was founded for the purpose of bringing together those people interested in the history of the Town of Lyndon, Vermont. The Society's major function is to discover and collect any material which may help to establish or illustrate the history of the town...printed material, manuscripts, and objects illustrative of life, conditions, events and activities of the past and the present. The Society provides for the preservation of such material and for its accessibility, as far as may be feasible. It cooperates with officials in insuring the preservation and accessibility of the records and archives of the town and the preservation of historic buildings, monuments and markers. The Society disseminates historical information and arouses interest in the past by publishing historical material, by holding meetings and discussions, by marking historic buildings, sites and trails, and by using all media to awaken public interest.
Officers for 2017-2018
Eric Paris, President Charles Somers, Vice-President
Sylvia Dodge, Secretary Patricia Jauch, Treasurer
"Lyndon Legacy" (newsletter) Editor: Bonnie Paris Ott
"Legacy" Index (1987-2008)
Theodore N. Vail Mansion (circa 1920), now the site of Lyndon State College.
Meetings are held at least four times a year (January/April/June/October) - at the Cobleigh Library in Lyndonville in the fall and winter months and, generally, at the Town House in Lyndon Center during the spring and summer - with special events and exhibits conducted periodically. Membership dues are just $5.00 per year which includes a subscription to the Society's quarterly publication, "Lyndon Legacy." Currently we have over 200 members. We invite you to join us by sending name, mailing address and check in the above amount to: Treasurer, Lyndon Historical Society, P.O. Box 85, Lyndon Center, Vermont (VT) 05850.
Lyndon Through the Years
Lyndonville is Vermont's only railroad-built community. It was constructed in 1866 to serve as a major railroad center in the region for passenger and freight traffic. Only two buildings remain, reminders of the heyday of rail service in the village when locomotives and cars were brought in for repairs. Stately homes around Bandstand Park in Lyndonville were originally built for railroad officials.
The town of Lyndon had already been organized 75 years before Lyndonville was built. In 1791, the same year Vermont became a state, Lyndon's first town meeting was held. Settlers had come from Rhode Island to farm, establish thriving businesses and build schools and churches.
Today the town of Lyndon is one of the few in the state with education from kindergarten through college level. Lyndon Institute is one of four independent, privately endowed schools in the state. It serves as the designated high school for Lyndon and surrounding towns. Lyndon State College is a four-year liberal arts school that had its humble beginnings as a one-year normal school.
In the late 1800s, Theodore N. Vail, the first president of the American Telephone & Telegraph Company, built a mansion and agricultural estate overlooking the town as a retreat from industrial life. That location eventually became the site of Lyndon State College in the 1950s.
In 1906, Elmer Darling, born in nearby East Burke, after making his fortune running the Fifth Avenue Hotel in New York City, built a mansion on a ridge north of Lyndonville, straddling the Lyndon-Burke line. His blooded cattle produced dairy products that were shipped throughout the East Coast. His mansion is privately owned today. The brick building that once was his creamery now houses a bed an inn and restaurant.
Bag Balm, an internationally known product, is still made in Lyndonville by the Dairy Association, the oldest family-owned building in town, founded in 1889.
Lyndon has five covered bridges, the greatest number in the Northeast Kingdom. Two are still used for traffic and all attract tourists for photo opportunities.
The Lyndon Outing Club is the one remaining volunteer-run ski hill in the state. Many top contenders in ski meets madetheir start here as toddlers.
The Fenton Chester Arena is a popular gathering place, featuring hockey tournaments for schools in the region, figure-skating exhibitions and a spring home and recreation show.
Lyndon has had a town band since 1865. Summer concerts Wednesday evenings attract young and old to Bandstand Park. The park is also the summer setting for an annual juried craft fair, a Rotary Club auction and a Stars & Stripes Festival with parade and entertainment. In August, the five-day Caledonia County Fair in Lyndon features traditional animal judging, floral and vegetable exhibits, horse pulling contests, demolition derby, a petting zoo, midway, cavalcade and nationally known musical entertainers.
The oldest public building in town, the Lyndon Town House in Lyndon Center, built in 1809, is the scene of historical exhibits and meetings of the Lyndon Historical Society and seasonal community events. It is concurrently being leased by Lyndon Institute to serve as a dance and music studio, a component of its Cultural Arts Center.
Behind the Town House, the Lyndon Center Cemetery has a Revolutionary War monument. Nearby is the Shores Museum, a Queen Anne-style working man's residence willed to the town by Dr. Venila Shores, whose father built the homestead in 1896.
Three handsome bronze statues, replicas of Italian Renaissance art, are outstanding landmarks. Commissioned in Italy and bequeathed to his home town by Civil War veteran Luther B. Harris are two Donatello lions and a Florentine wild boar fountain, a copy of the sculpture by Pietro Tacca.
Lyndon has a town meeting form of government with elected selectmen and an appointed municipal assistant. Its population is about 6,000.
The Lyndon Heritage Fund
February 15, 2001, marked the beginning of a $50,000 Fund-Raising Campaign
to restore/renovate/rehabilitate four treasured landmarks in Lyndon:
The Shores Memorial Museum , a Victorian homestead which provides a
living history of the 19th century, needed ceiling and flooring replacements.
The nearby District 6 Schoolhouse , built in 1857, required substantial
renovations. Our goal was to create a museum illustrating one-room schooling.
The interior of the 1809 Town House , Lyndon's oldest public building, needed
major remodeling and painting to better serve the community's public uses.
Built in 1865, the Randall Covered Bridge was critically in need of abutment
Thanks to the generosity of many contributors...individuals, businesses, and foundations listed below...the Lyndon Heritage Fund campaign of the Lyndon Historical Society has been able to make major repairs and renovations to help preserve our 1809 Town House, the Shores Memorial Museum, the District 6 Schoolhouse(restoration), and the Randall Covered Bridge. Although our target of $50,000 was exceeded by nearly 50%, the campaign is on-going since additional funding is needed to fully restore the bridge. The Society invites all who share our interest in preserving Lyndon's landmarks for future generations to add your contribution to the Fund.
Paul Wheeler, right, 2000-01 president of Lyndonville Rotary, presents a check for
$1,000 to Dick Boera, former treasurer of the Society, in front of the Town House
in Lyndon Center. The donation is in support of the Lyndon Heritage Fund.
(Photo by Jeanne Miles, courtesy of the Caledonian-Record)
Contributions, which are tax-deductible, may be made payable to the
Lyndon Heritage Fund and mailed to Lyndon Historical Society,
P.O. Box 85, Lyndon Center, VT 05850.
A Success Story
Restoration of the 1857-1900 District 6 One-Room Schoolhouse
CEMETERY MAPPING PROJECT
The Lyndon Town Clerk's Office has recently completed a computer mapping of the town cemetery in Lyndon Center. Although the information is not available online, the office will welcome inquiries regarding the location of relatives/ancestors graves; call (802) 626-5785. Sorry, we can't help with genealogical sleuthing... :o(
Vermont Historical Society
Lyndon's Covered Bridges
Vermont's Northland Journal
If you have suggestions or items of interest please send email to:
Original web page August 1997
Last updated 12/15/17........ARB