This Week in History (7/29 - 8/5)
10 years ago:
Demolition of the True Value building on East Main Street in Wilmington was scheduled to begin soon. The building, which housed a hardware store and laundromat, was being torn down to make way for a Family Dollar store and laundromat. The new building was built on the footprint of the former, and the design was similar to the original.
Following a vote to consolidate Wilmington and Whitingham’s pre-K-12 grades, Twin Valley School Board members were preparing to hold a bond vote for a project to renovate Deerfield Valley Elementary School (now Twin Valley Elementary School) and Whitingham School (now Twin Valley Middle High School).
15 years ago:
Art on the Mountain, a 16-day art show and fundraiser for the Deerfield Valley Health Care Volunteers, was cut short when the Halifax Planning Commission decided to cut the duration of the show by a week in response to neighbors’ concerns about the impact on their rural-residential neighborhood. Organizers said the decision could bankrupt the annual event.
John Perkins, author of “Confessions of an Economic Hitman,” was scheduled to talk with local residents at the Dover Free Library. Perkins claimed that, in his role as an international banker, he helped the US government and corporations cheat and control developing countries by saddling them with enormous debt they couldn’t repay. Most of the debt went to infrastructure construction, benefiting American corporations that built them and the American corporations that used the infrastructure after it was completed.
20 years ago:
The Wilmington Board of Civil Authority endorsed a House redistricting plan that would put Wilmington in a district with Dover and Stratton. Board members theorized that the move would likely increase the number of representatives with an anti-Act 60 stance, as Rep.Bob Rusten, of Halifax, and Rep. Rick Hube, of Londonderry, would likely be returned as representatives of their districts, along with the new “Windham 7” representative.
25 years ago:
The Putnam Memorial Health Corporation, owners of Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington, took over operations at the Deerfield Valley Health Center. The new owners promised improvements at the center, including an additional doctor and a $350,000 addition to the building.
Evelyn Keefe, a Wilmington fixture for many years, recalled a story about a former neighbor. “He couldn’t read or write, but he thought he was pretty smart,” she said. “One day some summer people rode by and asked him ‘Where does this road go?’ He said ‘Well, I’ve lived here for 150 years and it hasn’t gone anywhere yet.’”
30 years ago:
Some local politicians, residents, and nuclear watchdog groups urged the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to deactivate Yankee Rowe Nuclear Generating Station after it was revealed that the reactor’s 30-year-old containment vessel was becoming increasingly brittle. State Senator Jan Backus said the “crudest reason for continuing operations was money.”
Wilmington grappled with a deficit of $205,000, $190,000 of which selectboard members attributed to taxes, interest, and fees on Haystack property.
35 years ago:
Six members of the Wilmington High School Class of 1926 met at their 60th class reunion, including Helen Carpenter Cromack, Viola Bishop Morse, Dale T. Harris, Cora Gillett Davis, Alice Reynolds Rogers, and Dorothy Wimmelman Turner.
Whitingham was gearing up for its ninth Old Home Week celebration. Highlights included fireworks, children’s bike races, a Rosenschontz concert, helicopter rides on Town Hill, and the grand parade.
40 years ago:
Deerfield Valley Rescue and the Deerfield Valley Health Center purchased two-way radios, allowing rescue personnel to consult directly with doctors without relying on police to relay messages.
Verna Gagnon circulated a petition demanding that public hearings be held regarding a Vermont Public Service Board ruling that created separate summer and winter rate schedules for Green Mountain Power customers. GMP CEO Peter McTague also argued against the dual rate structure, claiming it was discriminatory.
45 years ago:
A satisfied customer of the Wilmington Post Office and postmaster Chanley May wrote, “After years of receiving miserable service from surly postal employees in Hollywood, FL, it is an absolute pleasure to deal with the friendly, considerate, helpful postal employees in Wilmington, VT. They’re tops.”
50 years ago:
Gov. Deane C. Davis was fighting federal efforts to build an east-west highway that would go through Bennington, Wilmington, and Brattleboro. Although the southern route would provide the most economic growth, according to a study conducted by the feds, Davis preferred a route that would travel through Rutland, Bethel, Montpelier, and St Johnsbury, which he believed would provide more opportunity for growth.
In Dover, a group of Handle Road residents gathered 130 signatures on a petition to prevent the town from blacktopping Handle Road.