Christmas in Early America

In Europe, holiday traditions during the Christmas season go back hundreds of years; however, here in New England such traditions have a much shorter history. In early 17th-centruy Europe, the period around Christmas was marked by festive merriment. Celebrants decorated churches, exchanged gifts, caroled, feasted, and drank. 

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Cemetery Stone Discovered

In Europe, holiday traditions during the Christmas season go back hundreds of years; however, here in New England such traditions have a much shorter history. In early 17th-centruy Europe, the period around Christmas was marked by festive merriment. Celebrants decorated churches, exchanged gifts, caroled, feasted, and drank. 

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The West Woodstock Bridge

For the last few years, I have had to cross the West Woodstock Bridge nearly every day. You will not likely find tourists standing in front of it to pose for a photo. I am glad for that because it would take away from the sense of enjoyment I find in coming around the bend in the road, to see if there is another vehicle waiting to cross on the other side. You see, the bridge only allows for one vehicle to cross at a time. Tourists would prove to be a distraction at that crossing. I have found that the iron bridge makes me stop and notice my surroundings. I hear the rumble of the steel beneath my wheels and I notice how high or low the river is according to how much rain we have had. Before turning either way on College Hill Road, I usually get a final wave of thanks to a neighbor for letting me pass once more over the Ottauquechee River. For the few years I have been living here, I have begun to think of this bridge as a neighborhood structure, not another wooden box for a selfie opportunity. In an odd way, it has become a part of my Woodstock identity.

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Paul Revere Bells

Did you know that bells have played an important role in Woodstock's history? As early as 1789, one might have heard a bell from the West Woodstock meetinghouse calling out to its citizens to attend Town Meeting. By 1791, the courthouse located on the corner of The Green and Mountain Avenue would herald the important news of the community.  Henry Swan Dana, author of The History of Woodstock, tells us that people of the village would come out of their houses and businesses to hear the bell and determine why it was being rung. It also served as a fire alarm and marked the opening session of court. There have been many bells of this type over the years, such as the one located in the present-day Court House (built in 1855). Woodstock is also fortunate to have bells that have religious connections including five Revere bells, the most of any town in New England.

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The Village Hotel & Fairbanks Block

Did you know that the Eagle Hotel, on the site of the Woodstock Inn, was not the only major hotel in Woodstock in the 19th century? In fact, a wood-framed hotel dominated the corner of Central and Elm Streets. Elisha Taylor built this hotel in 1796. Taylor named it the Village Hotel. “When the house was ready to be opened, he announced the fact in the following manner:--

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Annual Meeting 2018

We would like to invite our members to join us next week on November 13 at 6:30 p.m. for our Annual Meeting at the Woodstock History Center. We will be saying goodbye to our good friend and President, Heidi Lang, who is moving and exploring new adventures in northern Vermont. Also, Edith Phyfe is finishing her term as trustee. She has been a positive and experienced board member who has worked for the greater good of the organization. Several interesting donations and acquisitions will be on view this year in our barn gallery. We hope that you can join us. 

ANNUAL MEETING AGENDA
November 13th, 2018
6:30 p.m.
 
 
6:30            President’s Remarks, Heidi Lang
                  
6:35            Treasurer’s Report: Tom Hartman
 
6:45            Action Item: Election of Officers & Trustees
 
Officer Slate:
President, Kim French; Vice-President, F. Charlie Degener; Treasurer, Tom Hartman; Secretary, Barbara Drufovka       
 
New Trustees
Roy Bates
Bob Benz
Bruce Coffin
Donna Steed
 
7:00            New President’s Remarks: Outgoing Trustee Acknowledgements
                  
7:15            Light refreshment and snacks in the education center barn. Interesting donations and acquisitions from the past year will be on display.