This Week in History
10 years ago:
The Corse family celebrated 140 years at their farm in Whitingham with an open house. The event also celebrated the restoration of a barn and milking parlor after the original had been partially destroyed by a fire sparked by a lightning strike a year earlier. Leon and Roy Corse’s great-great-grandfather Charles Henry Corse purchased the 240-acre Whitingham farm on May 11, 1868.
15 years ago:
Wilmington Selectboard members shot down a proposal to study a joint Dover/Wilmington police department following a recommendation by Wilmington Police Chief Joe Szarejko. In his report, Szarejko listed several reasons not to pursue the matter, including differences in services required by each town.
West River Habitat for Humanity was looking for a qualified homeowner for a new house they planned to build in Wardsboro. WRHFH President Bill Berry said there were already plenty of volunteers and donations for the build.
20 years ago:
Wardsboro voters submitted a petition to the selectboard, asking the town to withhold $1 million in school taxes from the state. The action was taken in protest of Act 60, and asked the selectboard to put the money in escrow “until such time as present legal challenges (against Act 60) are fully ruled upon.”
Wilmington was planning a property reappraisal, under pressure from the state, for the first time in 14 years. At the time, town officials said increases in property valuations shouldn’t result in “any dramatic rise in taxes.”
Mount Snow announced a $5.2 million expansion plan. Projects included an expansion of the Children’s Learning Center terrain, including a new triple chairlift; the construction of a 125-seat steakhouse next to the Main Base Lodge; a new 3,000-square-foot welcome center; two new convenience stores, and numerous improvements.
25 years ago:
The Roadhouse burned to the ground in an early afternoon fire, despite the efforts of five local fire departments. By the time firefighters got to the scene, the building was fully involved, with flames shooting through the roof. The building was not occupied at the time, and no one was hurt in the blaze.
Wilmington School Board members created Wilmington High School’s first technology position. The position was half time, increasing to a full-time position by the third year. Perhaps ironically, the board also cut their technology line item by $20,000 as part of $88,000 in cuts they were under pressure to make.
35 years ago:
Gov. Richard Snelling vetoed a bill that would have raised Vermont’s drinking age from 18 to 19. “My strong feeling is that the majority of citizens should never vote to deprive a minority among them of equal rights of citizenship,” he explained of his decision.”
A Searsburg motel owner was arrested on charges that he had been living under a false identity and was actually Helmut Koenigsdorff, wanted in Germany on charges of fraud and impersonation. An employee at the motel and the owner of a Manchester restaurant were also arrested at the same time. Both were charged with falsifying documents and false claims of citizenship.
40 years ago:
Dover received approval of their application for 50% federal funding for a Taft Brook Recreation Area. The project, which was approved at the 1977 Town Meeting, would include a parking area, trails, benches, tables, grills, catwalks, stairs, bridges, and trash barrels. One selectboard member noted that “there are no places to rest, relax or plan (in Dover) that do not cost money.” The 2.8-acre, $20,000, park was projected to cost the town about $4,600 thanks to the federal funding and 30% aid from the state.
45 years ago:
Economic development is nothing new in Wilmington., according to a history article. A 16-page booklet on Wilmington, the “Green Mountain Gateway,” was produced in 1923 by the Wilmington Publicity Committee. The booklet included 14 photos of the sights and local amenities that visitors might enjoy, such as the hilltop views of the village, the Deerfield River, the Hoosac Tunnel & Wilmington Railroad, and Child’s Tavern, a “year-round hotel.” Photos also included a winter view of the snow-covered village and, more than 30 years before Mount Snow was established, a skier enjoying the fresh snowfall. According to the pamphlet, “Excellent schools, including a superior high school, three churches, a progressive public library, a bank, a fine Memorial Hall, good stores, excellent water system, electric lights, concrete sidewalks, rural mail routes, telephone service, good government, and intelligent public spirit make Wilmington a desirable place of residence.”
In his regular column, Dover Town Manager Jim Laseter wrote that the town had established “a new and exciting division of municipal government, Rumor Control Central.” Laseter addressed several rumors, including a story that the entire Dover Highway Department was vacationing in Florida.
50 years ago:
An editorial in the Deerfield Valley News called for more improvements in the valley. At the top of the list was the need for better, affordable housing for employees. “Workers that make the resort business in the valley run are caught in the high rent squeeze. Other resort areas, Vail for one, are building rent-controlled lodging facilities for their labor force. Should we?” Other improvements called for in the editorial included both a local bus service and a taxi service, a hiking trail along the ridge, and a solution to the traffic situation in Wilmington.