About Us

The Cabot Historical Society was founded in the fall of 1965.  A group of interested ladies met at Mrs. Abbie Orne's home and elected officers:  Mrs. Beatrice Perry, president; Mrs. Abbie Orne, vice president; Mrs. Helen Wellman, secretary; and Mrs. Ruth Peck, treasurer. Their first project was to research early settlers in Cabot and the first fund raiser was a food sale. At that time, the few artifacts belonging to the historical society were kept at the Willey Building; and dues were 25 cents.

In 1970, Barbara and Charles Carpenter headed up a community effort to restore the West Hill School.  This building had been used by the town for storing road equipment, which broke through the floor, and they had then rented it to a nearby resident who used it for stor
age.   The group persuaded the town to give them the old building so they could restore it for the historical society.  With community support and grant money, the building was repaired and saved, and historical society meetings were held there.
1992, David Book, a teacher at Cabot School, and his Heritage Class students, completed restoration of the old school.  See:  Labor of Love.  Books, desks, school maps and memorabilia were painstakingly researched, items cleaned and put on display to create a school room right out of the 1800's.  The Cabot Historical Society is proud to include the school that had once served District No. 4, now as a museum and learning center along with the Main Street building.  (Photo by Will Walters.)

The Main Street Historical Society Building was purchased in 1978.  It is a two-story building  which served as the first school in Cabot Village, School District No. 8.  A new school buildi
ng was built in 1863, and the old school building was refurbished, mainly with funds raised by the International Organization of Good Templars (I.O.G.T.) for their meetings and was used as a town meeting place for receptions, parties, plays and public suppers.  
When the I.O.G.T. was no longer active, the building was passed to the Morrill Relief Corps, which was dedicated to helping Civil War veterans.  Over time, that mission became unnecessary and the Modern Woodmen shared the space until the building was sold in September, 1947 to Robert and Jennie Brimblecomb, with the reservation that it should never be used for dancing.  Dancing was outlawed in Cabot at the time the building was built and the restriction remained on the deed over the years.  Promenades were allowed, however.  The piano, chairs and some other furnishings were given to the Cabot United Church, and the stage backdrop and roll-up curtain went to Willey Memorial Hall. 

Robert "Bob" Brimblecomb turned the building into a plumbing shop until he turned the business over to his two sons, Leslie and Percy, in 1965.  In 1978, the brothers sold it to the Cabot Historical Society. 

Under a series of presidents including Eva Kurz, Leonard Spencer, Amanda Legare, R. D. Eno, Bonnie Dannenberg and their respective boards, there have been numerous renovations and additions.  Display cases and furniture have been added, electricity and a security system installed, new shelving built and most recently an extensive research center with computers.  Both floors contain numerous artifacts and exhibits, generously donated by families and individuals - all with  a direct connection to Cabot history.  Renovations have been carefully planned to retain the  character and charm the building once had, with the upstairs stage, meeting room and paneled ceiling intact.    The building remains without water or telephone or central heating, but a big wood stove on the ground floor provides plenty of heat and ambiance in chilly weather.

The Vermont Museum and Gallery Alliance, under the direction of Chris Hadsel, in 2007 restored two stage curtains at Willey Hall in Cabot, one of which, a woodland scene, is now at our building.  The other, said to be a copy of a Culver painting done in 1880, "Along the Oregon Trail," was originally in the "new" school built in 1863 and was moved to Willey Hall when the present school was built in 1938.  There is a photo (see photo at left) showing a different stage curtain in our I.O.G.T. building previous to 1863.  That curtain has never been located.  It may have been taken to the new school in 1863.  The stage curtain we now have in our building (photo below left) was authenticated by Ms. Hadsel as having been
painted in about the same era as the Culver copy and may have been a replacement in the I.O.G.T. building when the Culver curtain was taken to the school.  After changing ownership several times, the auditorium was no longer used, and we believe this curtain was at that time taken to the Willey Hill for safe keeping. It was discovered by President Bonnie Dannenberg about a year before the Vermont Museum and Gallery Alliance people began their restoration on the Culver curtain and asked that it be returned to our Historical Society Building.  The Willey Building Committee agreed, and the following year it was restored by Ms. Hadsel and her group and is now on display at our building. In his memoir, "History of My Generation in Cabot Vermont, 1874 - 1951," Fred Blaney Blodgett wrote about the water-powered carriage factory in the hollow beside the Winooski River, at the foot of present-day Clough Lane, off Elm Street and mentioned two painters in the shop, Clark and Heath, who painted the curtain in the Willey Hall.

Under the direction of President Bonnie Dannenberg, a complete inventory of artifacts has been taken, the paper collections of photographs, newspaper clippings, manuscripts and documents are being preserved with numerous albums  and computers with digital records now available for visitors to view and use for research.   The Apple Pie Festival, started in 1999, has grown into a highly anticipated and profitable fund raiser. 
The first Apple Pie Festival was held in the foyer of the Main St. building and the following year in both the Main St. building and the church vestry with some events in the Masonic Hall. The event was finally moved to the gymnasium where hundreds of pies are sold and dozens of competitors vie for recognition of their baking accomplishments. This festival is the primary fund raiser for our Historical Society.
Cabot Historical Society meetings are held from May until October, and the Main Street museum is open on July Fourth and other times during July and August (see schedule), or by appointment.  (Contact Bonnie Dannenberg, bonniesd@together.net or petedann@together.net) for an appointment.
Cabot Today