July 02, 2008
Bennington, Hubbardton, Calvin Coolidge, Constitution House Host Celebrations
MONTPELIER, Vt. – As the nation prepares for its birthday party, Vermont’s historic sites are offering unique events to help residents and visitors discover the stories of Vermont’s contributions to early American history.
Special events at the Old Constitution House, the Bennington Battle Monument, and the Calvin Coolidge Historic Sites will range from re-enactments of Revolutionary War battles and the birth of Vermont’s constitution to a reading of the Declaration of Independence and a ceremony honoring Calvin Coolidge, the only U.S. President born on the Fourth of July.
“The Fourth of July is a holiday grounded in our nation’s history, and these sites and events are a wonderful way to connect to that history,” said John Dumville, Director of Historic Sites for the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation.
On Friday, July 4, the President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site celebrates the birth of the nation as well as its 30th president. The public is invited to gather at the village green at noon, when a delegation of the Vermont National Guard will lead a march to the Plymouth Notch Cemetery where a wreath from the White House will be placed at the President’s gravesite
Former U.S. Ambassador Peter Galbraith will conduct a brief ceremony with members of the Coolidge family in attendance, and a chicken barbecue follows at the site’s restaurant, The Wilder House.
At 2:00 p.m., actor Steve Wood will perform as Abraham Lincoln in the village church, and at 3:30 p.m., the Triada Music Festival will give a concert. Plymouth resident Fred DePaul will offer wagon rides 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and members of Fiber Arts in Vermont will do “sheep to shawl” demonstrations throughout the day.
At the Bennington Battle Monument on Friday, July 4th, there will be colonial games for children starting at 11:00 a.m. and Willy Jones will give his traditional reading of the Declaration of Independence at 1:00 p.m. Musical entertainment with Bennington’s own Katie Beck and Jay Sager will follow the reading.
On July 5 and 6, visitors can step back into the past at the Battle of Hubbardton Revolutionary War Encampment, which this year celebrates the 231st anniversary of the only Revolutionary War battle fought in Vermont.
“This was a key engagement between the British army and American troops under General Arthur St. Clair,” said Dumville. “While the battle was basically a draw, the bravery of these Americans allowed the rest of the army to escape, paving the way for later victories at Bennington and Saratoga that turned the tide of the Revolutionary War.”
Activities for the whole family include re-enactors performing tactical military demonstrations and drilling lessons; guided camp and battlefield tours, courts martial, camp life activities, Mistress Davenport’s Schoolroom, a history scavenger hunt, and colonial games.
There will be a performance by Seth Warner Mount Independence Fife & Drum Corps Saturday afternoon and a demonstration of Revolutionary War tactical maneuvers Sunday morning, followed by a symbolic Revolutionary relay to send news about the battle to the Old Constitution House in Windsor.
A re-enactor will leave Hubbardton on foot Sunday morning, and another will arrive at the Old Constitution House at 4 p.m. in the afternoon to relay the news of the Battle of Hubbardton and the American withdrawal from Mount Independence and Fort Ticonderoga to those assembled.
“This marks one of the most exciting episodes in Vermont’s history,” Dumville said. “It was here that on July 7, 1777, delegates to the Windsor Convention adopted Vermont’s constitution in the fury of a thunderstorm.”
As news of the Hubbardton Battle reached Windsor that day, he explained, the constitutional delegates meeting at Elijah West’s tavern had adjourned for the day and almost immediately disbanded to meet the threat.
“A sudden thunderstorm delayed them long enough so that the constitution could be voted on and accepted,” Dumville said. “West’s tavern soon became known as the Old Constitution House and is now a state-owned historic site.”
Re-enactors and traditional artisans in period attire will give tours that focus on Vermont’s early years and the first constitution in America to prohibit slavery on both Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
On Saturday July 5 at the Bennington Battle Monument Virginia Meyer will present Herbs in Colonial America, an illustrated presentation on the growing and use of herbs then and now.
The Art of the Powder horn will also be featured as Peter Sansone will demonstrate the carving of his distinctively styled powder horns and the hand tooled leather bags they were carried in. These events take place between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
On Sunday July 6 Vintage Voices Interpreters will present Fashionable Times, where they will model their reproduction clothing spanning the decades. A narration by Anne Bugbee will give a brief history of the outfits and their time period. The fashion show takes place in the Old First Church Barn from 2:30 p.m. until 3:30 p.m.
To learn more, visit: www.HistoricVermont.org/sites
Source: Agency of Commerce and Community Development
Last Updated at: July 02, 2008 09:23:20