Dr. Robinson's 3-4 classroom blog from 2012-2016

The students in Dr. Robinson's 3-4 Team studied South Hero History for 6 years and took many field trips around town.
Click on this link to see where the students went around town and what townsfolk they met along the way.


At the end of 2018 Lake Champlain Access Television [LCATV] started filming our presentations. Their output is 2 to 4 times sharper than the videos I was putting up. That means it takes a little longer to get the video to start. [The reason I reduced the quality level of my videos.] Their production is different than mine and you will notice that immediately.
When you click on a video, it starts to load. It will take about 30 seconds [an eternity when you are waiting] to start playing. The speakers will start to sound and the video will look like it is not running for about 23 seconds. LCATV puts up an identification POSTER for those 23 seconds. Don't be alarmed, it is running if you can hear the sound.

The old WEB guy

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Annual Meeting and Sandbar Restaurant Program by Bill and Ron Phelps

Sept. 18, 2013 Dear SHHS Members, We would like to invite you to our very first SHHS Annual Meeting on Oct. 4, 2013 at the Folsom School starting at 6:30. We will be voting on the By-Laws which a committee worked on this year. We will present a Treasurer's report and a budget for next year. We will ask for your input into projects you would like to see the society consider and future programs you would like to see the society host. We will also host Bill and Ron Phelps telling stories of their grandfather Benajah Phelps and their great-uncle Sydney Phelps who built and operated the Sandbar Restaurant, otherwise known as the Phelps House. In addition to collecting tolls for the bridge, they operated an inn and a restaurant. This grandfather also planted the trees at the south end of South Street. Great-grandfather Benajah was also postmaster, as well as having fought in the Civil War. All are welcome to share in an important part of our local history. Members have received via email or snail mail
the President's report of the society's activities for the past year and a copy of the By-Laws which we will need to vote on that night. Please take a moment to look them over and if you have any questions you may email us or call our president, Terry Robinson at 372-3933. Thank you for your input and support. We hope to see you Friday, Oct. 4. Your SHHS Executive board, President-Terry Robinson Vice-president-Peg Clark Treasurer-Sue Crowley Secretary--Dolf Wirsing Trustees-Bret Corbin, Judy Duval, Ken Rocheleau and Hazel Quelch

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Pictures From Two Campgrounds--Lakeside and Skyland

A few stories from our program;
Ron Phelps would pick raspberries for 10 cents a quart for his Grandma and she would sell them to Skyland for 65cents!!
Loved the stories about the vacationers who ended up having summer romances with the locals and ended up married and living in South Hero!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Friday, Sept. 6th at 7PM at Folsom School--Two Historic Campgrounds

Two Historic Campgrounds Featured by So. Hero Historical Society Friday, Sept. 6th at seven o’clock at Folsom Ed. Center the So Hero Historical Society will reminisce about Skyland and Lakeside Campgrounds. Both at one time offered campers delicious communal dinners. Both hosted campers who returned season after season and now have become residents of South Hero. Priscilla Norton Arnold, third generation owner/manager of Skyland will share stories of Skyland, which was purchased by her grandparents, William and Mable Norton in l927. Many of us have fond memories of her father, our local doctor, whom we would see every day at eight o’clock as he drove up South Street to make his rounds. He was one of the last to make house calls. Skyland no longer serves meals, but it does have rustic cabins, RV campsites, as well as tent sites. Priscilla and her husband, Jack Arnold have managed the popular campground for several years. Lakeside was managed by the Giffords for many years. Although it is no longer operated as a campground it holds many happy memories by many former campers , such as Sandy Gregg, who will share stories and photos. Both the Nortons and the Giffords were not only business people, but also active in the community as a whole. Participating in church, plays, masons, and many other community activities. All are welcome to share our memories of an important part of our community. Email southherohistoricalsociety@gmail.com if you have any questions.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

South Hero Historical Society to present TALES FROM THE INN-This Program has been postponed. We will let you know when it has been rescheduled. Once a tavern offering spirits and a bed to the weary traveler, now a respected financial institution. Join the South Hero Historical Society on Friday, August 16th at 7:00 P.M. and learn about the evolution of the South Hero Inn or Island House as it was called in the early years. Christine Allard, branch manager of our local Merchants Bank, will share her collection of Inn memorabilia assembled from customers and former town residents that had connections to the old stone building long ago. Christine is intrigued by the Inn's long history and will show photos of building modifications over the years and chronicle the institution's colorful proprietors. Ruth Gregg Evans, owner of the Inn in the 1960's and former Congregational Church organist and soloist, will join us for the evening. She will share many stories of her experiences running the bustling establishment with its wide array of intriguing guests. We will learn hidden secrets such as how, in the absence of a town bank in years past, she would exchange large bills for dollars from the church's Sunday collection plate in order to make change for customers. This was know as the "Money Changers in the Temple." Other tales will include how Ruth's daughter conveniently changed her waitress schedule in order to coincide with dinner visits from boys athletic teams from New York and the tale of the bleak winter night the furnace went out and Ruth nearly burned down the building trying to relight it. Be with us for an evening of history, a good measure of country humor and a song from Ruth's repertoire.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

South Hero Bicentennial Museum

The museum is located in the old Landon Memorial Library building on Rt. 2 which was erected in 1925 by Susan Hall Landon as a memorial to her son Arthur, who died in France after serving our country in WW I.

Images taken during the Bicentennial Open House

History of the Bicentennial Museum

The Landon Library served the town well for many years. When Folsom School was remodeled and enlarged during the 1970’s the town decided to incorporate the contents of the old library into the modern school facility to better serve both student and adult patrons.

The Landon building’s vacancy inspired thoughts of having a place to educate the public through exhibiting and demonstrating the usage of artifacts relating to the town’s rich history. A group of dedicated volunteers applied for and received a grant for $700.00 during the Bicentennial year to begin the South Hero Bicentennial Museum. The remainder of the establishment’s initial expenses were obtained through private donations.

The new museum opened to the public on July 1, 1976 with Bob Lawrence’s hand-carved sign above the door.


Many people helped make this dream come true. Initial organizers included Edna Lahue, Helen Tressler, Mary Sue Tourville, Mary Lou Fowler, Virginia Lyman, Polly McBride and Barbara Winch. Later Barb Winch, Pat Atwood and Lorrie Janick attended workshops sponsored by the VT Historical Society where they learned the proper handling of artifacts, the necessity of proper air circulation and humidity control, and how to encapsulate objects correctly.

Lorrie Janick made authentic curtains adhering to conservation standards for protecting the pieces from the sunlight. Later on Kay Anderson, Nancy Allen, Mary Pringle and Phyllis Johnson joined the team. Kay is responsible for the amazing scrapbook of South Hero newspaper articles that you will find inside.

For his Eagle Scout project, Zerai Hagos labeled objects and created a notebook of identification. Harlow White made the screens for the cellar windows and Malcolm Allen was kind enough to check the kerosene levels. Jonathan Wells is a faithful volunteer who has kept the lawn mowed and continues to today.

Currently on the board of directors are Hazel Quelch, Lorrie Janick, Bret Corbin and Patsy Robinson.

We thank you all!!

Monday, May 20, 2013

South Hero Rescue Squad and Fire Dept.

On May 3, 2013 we had a wonderful program with Allen Kinney, Guy Winch, Ray Allen and Malcolm Allen. Here are some pictures. Video will be coming soon.

Malcom Allen Trucking and Towing in the Islands--April 5, 3013

Hi All,
     We have been working hard to figure out how to get the most recent two videos on this website. If you put your email in the space to the right of the page, you will get an email when this website is updated. I will post a pictures here from Malcolm Allen's talk. We want to thank Malcolm immensely. The evening was most enjoyable and we have received numerous positive comments. We want you back! You just have a way of telling stories that warms the heart.


Monday, March 11, 2013

Old White Meeting House video 3.1.13

On March 1st we were delighted to be treated to some South Hero history through the lives of residents or former residents who went to the Old White Meeting House when it was a 5-8 school before the current Folsom School was built in 1949. Thanks go to former students Malcolm Allen, Guy Winch, Fay Chamberlain, Rod Larrow and to historians Paige Brownell (4th grader) and Bret Corbin and to Granny's Attic representative Judy Duval.

Click here to be linked to the two videos

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Old White Meeting House

The Old White Meeting House
By Paige Brownell (4th Grade Student--Folsom School)

Last October the 7-8 and 3-4 students from Folsom school walked to the Old White Meeting House on Rt. 2 in South Hero. The Old White Meeting House was one of the first public buildings in town and was used as the first church, and as a place for people in town to meet for different reasons. It is a sturdy building built by the best which at the time were barn carpenters.

    We learned the building was much grander when it was built in 1816 than it is now. That’s because the building originally had the cupola in front on top and not on the ground in the back. Many other towns in VT did not have a cupola on their White Meeting Houses and ours did.
It started out as a Methodist Church. Later it was a high school called Maple Lawn Academy. The teacher was named Fannie Stevens, and she taught grades 9-12 from 1900-1911.  It also was a 5-8 school until Folsom was built in 1949. Some people who live in South Hero today actually went to school there. For a little while after that it also had grades 9 and 10.

 We saw people's names under the staircase. We think kids who went to school there in the past wrote them. It might have been that the kids got sent to the corner for being bad. We also saw a container of dried up glue in the closet. Maybe it was left over school supplies. We also saw evidence upstairs in Granny's Attic that there used to be desks nailed to the floor and we saw a hole in the wall where the flag used to hang. Oh, I forgot to mention, it’s the 60th anniversary of Granny’s Attic this year. That means they have been selling things for 60 years and making donations to various organizations in town all that time.

.       Bret Corbin met us when we got there. He told us a story about years ago when it was a church and a man used to sing beautifully. The man’s heart was broken when he was told that they were going to have services in a new church on South Street. He loved this church so much that he did not want it to be changed.

This church has a lot of memories that people still cherish today.

If you want to know more about the Old White Meeting House come to the next South Hero Historical Society meeting on Friday, March 1st at Folsom School at 7pm. I also want to thank Sharon Hayes, our librarian, who made a DVD of John Roy’s talk at the last Historical meeting. He was telling about South Hero when he was a kid; so make sure you look for it when you go to the South Hero Library . You can also see it on the South hero Historical Society website.

Historical Society Meeting—Friday, March 1, 2013

The Old White Meeting House is the building on Route 2 in South Hero which houses Granny's Attic upstairs and is the garage for the Fire Dept. downstairs. It started out in 1861 as the first church in town. It was a high school from 1900-1911 and was a grades 5-8 school for many years until Folsom was built in 1949.

Some people in town went to school there and they would love to share stories they remember. We are very pleased to present historians Paige Brownell and Bret Corbin, alums Fay Chamberlain, Rod Larrow, Malcolm Allen, and Guy Winch as well as Granny's Attic officer, Judy Duvall in a panel discussion of the history of life in South Hero as it relates to Granny's Attic, the Fire Dept., and the Old White Meeting House.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Some Info about the Sand Bar from UVM

South Hero, Vermont

"Sand Bar Bridge." ca. 1906. Photo courtesy University of Vermont Special Collections.

Settlers in South Hero originally utilized Native American footpaths as early transportation routes until the first roads were constructed, which were the result of a tax paid in physical labor, passed in 1779.[1] Resulting roads were wide enough for oxen carrying a yolk, but by 1791 the community voted to hire a work crew to build and repair roads funded by a one-cent per acre tax levied upon all landowners.[2]

Another obstacle in early transportation was the sand-bar, the only connection between South Hero and the Vermont mainland. From the start, the project chartered to O.G. Wheeler, Melvin Barnes and 33 others came together forming a company to connect the island with Milton.[3] Upon the arrival of the first settlers on the island, the sand-bar, a narrow strip of land exposed in low waters, was the only connection between South Hero and the mainland. When the lake was frozen the settlers could cross quite readily on the ice, but a good portion of the year they were completely isolated by the lake waters. The eastern end of the Sand-bar (from the present Sand-bar State Park) to Milton was a vast marsh with as much as eleven feet of quagmire, crossed only with great perseverance.[4]

The Sand Bar Bridge Company was founded, on November 11, 1847, in order to establish year round communication between South Hero and Milton, with a capital stock of $25,000 sold in $10.00 shares. The company was established to greatly benefit the people of South Hero and Grand Isle, for it furnished them direct and ready access to Milton. The island citizens, eager for the bridge, contributed liberally to its construction, by taking stock in the company. Several men took significantly large shares of stock, including Wallis Mott ($1,000), Lewis Mott ($1,000), Abner B. Landon ($1,000), Jesse Landon ($800), John Landon ($500) and James Mott ($500); many others took between $100 to $500, according to their means. The distance from South Hero to Milton across the lake is 1¼ miles in length. This part of the bridge was built by Samuel Boardman for $18,000.

Sandbar bridge, unknown date. Image from South Hero In the Garden Spot of Vermont. Courtesy University of Vermont Special Collections.

The road through the marsh, a distance of 2 miles, was built by A.G. Whittemore for $5,500. The entire cost of the structure, including toll-house, gate, fixtures and equipment was $24,016.62. While the people of South Hero purchased the stock of the company liberally, the enterprise had not proven to be a lucrative investment by way of cash returns, but as a public convenience, the bridge was the greatest advantage to the islanders, as it eased the burden of shipping produce to Milton for marketing.[5]

Although the earnings from the bridge were adequate, no dividend was ever paid to the stockholders, who paid the same toll as the others traveling the Sand-Bar. So much damage was done every spring by the ice and water, that all of the earnings were required to keep the bridge in repair. Hundreds of dollars were spent in labor by the stockholders and citizens just to maintain the bridge and make it passable in the spring when the ice had dissipated from the lake. The bridge was opened for public crossing, December 5, 1850.

Damage to sandbar bridge from ice, Spring 1907. Images from History of the South Hero Island, volume 1. Courtesy University of Vermont Special Collections.

The South Hero Landons contributed significantly to the Sand-Bar Bridge effort. Buel Landon (1821-1882), grandson of Thaddeus Landon, was director of "The Sand-Bar Bridge Company" and contributed much time and thought to the maintenance of the Sand-Bar crossing. Like other Landons, Buel was a successful farmer and fruit grower and was active in many town affairs and offices, such as assistant judge for Grand Isle County Court (1851-1861), Senator, for the Vermont Legislature from Grand Isle County (1876-1877) and served an unusually long term of service as South Hero Town Clerk from 1852 until his death in 1882, when his widow Miriam Phelps Landon was elected to succeed him and served until 1918, a total of 65 years.

John Landon oversaw the work on the Sand-Bar Bridge for many years. It was his double team that did most of the work, there being no machinery of any kind. For a considerable number of years he served as First director of "The Sand-Bar Bridge Company." Not one man in South Hero devoted more time, interest and effort, and with very little compensation, to the arduous challenge of maintaining the fragile Sand-Bar crossing.

Transportation was pivotal to the growth of South Hero in the early half of the 19th century. The introduction of the railroad significantly opened up the South Hero to the rest of the Northeast. Work began on the Rutland Railroad in the winter of 1889 and began service to the Islands in 1901. In the winter of 1889, over 200 men were working at Allen's Point, South Hero and by the spring of that same year, another 300 men were working at Tromp's Point on Grand Isle.[6] Due to the high number of men arriving in South Hero to work on the railroad, the population of the town peaked far above its consistent norm. The crossing from Colchester Point to Allen's Point was constructed of three and a quarter miles of rock rubble stone embankments, which was the longest embankment of this type in the world at that time.

Rutland Railroad causeway at Allen's Point, unknown date. Image from South Hero In the Garden Spot of Vermont. Courtesy University of Vermont Special Collections.

The Rutland Railroad linked Boston and Montreal via Vermont, and traveled westward to Ogdensburgh, NY, on the Hudson River. For residents of Grande Isle and South Hero, this expansion of the railroad represented an opportunity to sell produce outside of the community and also allowed for improvements in the canning, drying and packaging of apples. The Islands also became an available destination for middle-class vacationers. The railroad was used until 1961, when it fell into financial difficulties.

Image from History of the South Hero Island, volume 1. Courtesy University of Vermont Special Collections.

Railroad station, unknown date. Image from South Hero In the Garden Spot of Vermont. Courtesy University of Vermont Special Collections.
[1] Allen L. Stratton, History of the South Hero Island being the Towns of South Hero and Grand Isle Vermont, Volume I, (Burlington: Queen City Printers, 1980), 70.
[2] Stratton, 72.
[3] Stratton, 92.
[4] Stratton, 98.
[5] Abby Hemenway, The Vermont Historical Gazetteer, Volume II, (Burlington: Abby M. Hemenway, 1871), 573.
[6] Stratton, 156.

Last modified May 17 2005 04:54 PM

Friday, February 1, 2013

John Roy talks about growing up in South Hero in the 40's

A wonderful night was had by all. Thank you, John for loving your childhood and all the wonderful places you had to play in South Hero. The photo below is a view from near his house of the creamery and the old road. We will publish a video of John's talk shortly.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Welcome to the first post of the South Hero Historical Society

The organizational meeting of the South Hero Historical Society was held on Thursday, October 18, 2012 at the South Hero Town Office. In attendance were Peg Clark, Stephanie O'Rourke, Malcolm Allen, Dolf Wirsing, Terry Robinson, Hazel Quelch, and Bret Corbin.

Officers were elected:
President: Terry Robinson
Vice President: Peg Clark
Secretary: Dolf Wirsing
Treasurer: Sue Crowley

The meeting concluded with all enjoying listening to some of Bret Corbin's tapes from the Vermont Folklife Center of an interview of his father, Horace Corbin, regarding the history of the Lake Champlain Transportation Company. Malcolm Allen also shared a number of anecdotal stories from when he was called with his wrecker to help out with some sticky situations at the ferry dock.

The second meeting of the South Hero Historical Society was held on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012 at the Folsom School in Terry Robinson's room. In attendance were Terry Robinson, Sue Crowley, Peg Clark, Penny Cunningham, Dolf Wirsing, Hazel Quelch, and Judy Duval.

Dues were set at $10 per individual and Sue will look into setting up a bank account at the Merchant's Bank and getting non-profit status with the state.

There was discussion about possible programs, the relationship between the society and the museum, and forming a by-laws committee to work on the society by-laws.

The first meeting of the by-laws committee was Jan. 17th at Folsom School.  The next meeting will be Jan. 31st at Folsom School.