Old Stone House Day
|Annual Meeting of the Orleans County Historical Society 9:30 am
Oxen Demonstration 10am-2pm
MUSEUM OPEN HOUSE – 11am to 3pm
Farmers Market, Crafts, Demonstrations of Old Time Trades
BROWNINGTON – A year ago the oxen helped bring the Grammar School back home to the site where it was built in 1823, from 1/3 mile down the road where it was moved in 1869. This Sunday, August 13, they are coming back again to its Grand Opening on Old Stone House Day, the annual celebration of local history that has been held by the Orleans County Historical Society since 1915.
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the oxen will be demonstrating their skills on the historic Brownington Common, now reinstated between the Grammar School and the Brownington Congregational Church. Teams will also be on the museum grounds, pulling the little model Grammar School on logs, and pulling some heavy loads, hitched together with the jingle bobs forged last year before the big move.
Lunch and pie a la mode will be served in the Grammar School, with a view out the newly restored windows onto the oxen corral. The Brownington Ladies Aid will also serve lunch on the lawn near the Old Stone House Museum, which along with two barns of antique equipment, will be open for self- guided tours.
The Grammar School was the first secondary school in Orleans County, and the headmaster Alexander Twilight built the Old Stone House as a dormitory to house out of town students. Since 1925 the massive 4-story granite Old Stone House has been the historical museum of Orleans County, with thousands of artifacts in 25 rooms, including furniture, textiles, tools, paintings, folk art, and the stuff of everyday life. The new special exhibit of Rufus Porter murals and painted furniture is in the first floor gallery.
Alexander Twilight was the first African American to graduate from an American college and the first to be elected to public office. Samuel Read Hall, the first teacher educator in the United States, also spent the last 25 years of his life in the Brownington Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
On Old Stone House Day there will be demonstrations of blacksmithing, rope making, basket making, violin making, spinning, rug hooking, and lace making. There will be a farmers market, craft vendors, and local historical society exhibits. And the old fashioned toys and games will be out for the children to play with, as well as the costume box. At 1 p.m. there will be a pie auction under the big tent on the museum lawn.
Then, from 2 to 4 p.m. the Vermont Fiddle Orchestra will perform, ending with a contra-dance. The VFO is a multi-generational community orchestra of musicians who enjoy learning, playing and sharing the traditional music of New England, Appalachia, and Down South, as well as Quebecois, Swedish, Irish and Scottish tunes. Besides fiddlers, it includes guitar, cello, bass, banjo, mandolin, flute, pennywhistle and accordion players.
Old Stone House Day is the traditional time of the annual meeting of the Orleans County Historical Society. This year that will happen in the Grammar School at 9:30 a.m. so as not to interrupt the events of the day. All current members can vote on new trustees and hear reports of 2016, a big year for the museum, when the final piece of the historic neighborhood came home.
Admission to Old Stone House Day is $5 per carload. Bikers can park for free on the long bicycle rack just donated by the Orleans Elementary School. On Saturday evening before Old Stone House Day, from 4 to 7:30, the Amish Families or Brownington will be putting on a benefit fish fry in the Grammar School.