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. 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; dues were 25 cents.

In 1970, Barbara and Charles Carpenter led a community effort to restore the West Hill School.  This building was used by the town for storing road equipment, which broke through the floor. The town 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.
 
In
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 that this one-room schoolhouse, that was once District No. 4, is now as a museum and learning center.  (Photo by Will Walters.)

The Main Street Historical Society Museum 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. The old school building was refurbished, mainly with funds raised by the International Organization of Good Templars. I.O.G.T. used the building for meetings. It was also as a town meeting place for receptions, parties, plays and public suppers.  
 
When the I.O.G.T. was no longer active, the building passed to the Morrill Relief Corps, which was dedicated to helping Civil War veterans.  ( See Woman's Relief Corps .) In time, that mission became unnecessary and the Modern Woodmen shared the space until the building was sold in September 1947 to Robert and Jennie Brimblecombe, with the deed restriction that it may never be used for dances.  Dancing was outlawed in Cabot when the building was built; the restriction remains in the deed.  Promenades were allowed, however.  The piano, chairs and some other furnishings were donated to the Cabot United Church, and the stage backdrop and roll-up curtain went to Willey Memorial Hall. 

Robert "Bob" Brimblecombe used the building as 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 were many renovations and additions.  Display cases and furniture were added, electricity and a security system installed, new shelving built and, recently, an extensive research center supported by computer files.  Both floors contain artifacts and exhibits, generously donated by families and individuals - all directly connected to Cabot's history.  Renovations were carefully planned to retain the  character and charm the building once had. The upstairs stage, meeting room, and paneled ceiling are intact. The building has no water, telephone, or central heating, but a big wood stove on the ground floor provides warmth and ambiance in chilly weather.

In 2007, The Vermont Museum and Gallery Alliance, under the direction of Chris Hadsel, restored two stage curtains at Willey Hall in Cabot, one of which, a woodland scene, now adorns the stage in our building.  The other, a copy of a Culver painting done in 1880, "Along the Oregon Trail," was originally in the "new" 1863 school.  It was moved to the Willey Hall when the present school was built in 1938.  There is an old photo (at left) showing a different stage curtain in our I.O.G.T. building before 1863.  That curtain was never located.  It may have gone to the new school in 1863.  The stage curtain we have in our building now (photo below left) was authenticated by Ms. Hadsel as having been
painted  about the same time as the Culver copy and may have  replaced the original in the I.O.G.T. building when the Culver curtain went to the school.  After changing ownership several times, the auditorium was no longer used. We think the curtain was stored in the Willey Hill for safekeeping. It was found by President Bonnie Dannenberg about a year before the Vermont Museum and Gallery Alliance people began their restoration of the Culver curtain. We asked the Town of Cabot to return it to our Historical Society Museum. The Willey Building Committee agreed, and the next year it was restored by Ms. Hadsel and her group. It is now back on the stage in our museum. In his memoir, "History of My Generation in Cabot Vermont, 1874 - 1951," (See: The Blodgett Papers .) 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 was done, the paper collections of photographs, newspaper clippings, manuscripts, and documents are being preserved. Numerous albums and digital records are available for visitors' research. 

The Apple Pie Festival, started in 1999, has grown into a highly-anticipated fundraiser.
The first Apple Pie Festival was in the foyer of the Main Street Museum. The following year events were in the Main Street Museum, the Cabot United Church vestry, and the Masonic Hall. The Festival was then relocated to the Cabot School gymnasium, where hundreds of pies are sold and dozens compete for recognition of their baking accomplishments. The Apple Pie Festival is the primary fund raiser for the Cabot Historical Society. We try to keep membership dues low to encourage anyone interested in Cabot's history to join.
 
Cabot Historical Society meetings are held from May through October. The Main Street Museum is open on July Fourth and other times during July and August (see schedule), or by appointment.  The West Hill Schoolhouse is open by appointment. (Contact Bonnie Dannenberg, bonniesd@together.net or petedann@together.net) for an appointment.
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