2022 Swanton Historical Society
Annual Report of the President and the Trustees
Winter: Last winter featured the resumption of an annual tradition at the Ron Kilburn Transportation Museum. We felt we understood the safety issues involving the Covid variants circulating at the time, and decided to resume opening the depot for our “Holiday Trains.” To our surprise community members embraced the hours we were open. Several families stopped by and allowed us to show off our model trains.
Spring: With the departure of the cold weather the SHS prepared the Depot for reopening. After months of Covid precautions we decided to host our first public event. The deteriorating condition of the Hotel Riviére continued. With constant rumors of when the building would come down (it is well beyond being saved), Jason Barney put together a presentation on the long history of the building. The event was held at the Episcopal Church in Swanton and was very well attended. As of this writing the Riviére building is still up, but may not be for much longer.
Summer: The Historical Society Depot was open all summer thanks to our volunteers, Terry Tuck and Larry Rochon. We enjoyed one of our most successful seasons. The use of the Rec Trail has brought a good number of travelers to our location on the west bank of the Missisquoi River. We were honored when the family of Bill Lunna, our long-time volunteer and board member, asked if they could use the Depot for a reception after his funeral. We were happy to help. We maintained our summer hours, being open on Fridays and Saturdays. We also resumed our programming with board member Mike Barkyoumb giving a well-attended presentation on “The Steamboats of Lake Champlain.”
SHS board members tried to make the Research and Archive Room in the basement of the library available to the public on a fairly regular basis. For a couple of hours each Wednesday members of the board opened up the room and invited the public to come and take a look at our artifacts, do some research, or just experience the space. We hope to continue this effort for the foreseeable future.
Fall: The SHS extended the summer hours through most of the fall. Visitors continued to stop by and enjoy the unique facility. The SHS Board maintained the Wednesday volunteer hours in the Research and Archive room.
A unique treat in which the SHS participated was a trip to Highgate. We are fortunate to have Father Rob Spainhour on our board, and he offered to open up St. John’s Episcopal Church in Highgate Falls. It was great to experience the building’s old and unique history, especially as it related to the Allen family in Vermont.
President, Jason Barney
Vice-President, Glen Gurwit
Jahnessa Ryea (1st Term, ending in 2024)
Nick Brosseau (1st Term, ending in 2024)
Kayleigh Oldham (1st Term, ending in 2024)
Mike Barkyoumb (1st Term, ending in 2024
Robert Spainhour (1st Term, ending in 2023)
Bruce Spaulding (2nd Term, ending in 2023)
Don Lefebvre (2nd Term, ending in 2023)
Rich Kelley (3rd Term, ending in 2023)
Ron Kilburn (Lifetime Trustee)
Curator/Membership Chair: Open
Volunteer Opportunities: If you are interested in volunteering with the Swanton Historical Society, please contact Jason Barney at Jason.Barney@mvsdschools.org.
Once again we would like to thank Frances Hopkins for all of her hard work. Aside from Terry Tuck at the Depot, Fran is our primary volunteer. Much of the collection down in the Research and Archive Room has been organized by her. She does exceptional work for the SHS.
Community Resources: The Ron F. Kilburn Transportation Museum hosts the Railroad Depot, the Champlain Bridge Toll House, and the popular Walking Bridge across the Missisquoi River. It is located at 58 South River Street. To request information about Swanton’s history, please contact 1-802-370-4883 (Jason Barney) or 1-802-868-3892 (Ron Kilburn). The Society also maintains a research facility and museum in the lower level of the Swanton Public Library. Our facilities are fully accessible and open to the public by appointment. Visit our website at www.swantonhistoricalsociety.org.
Swanton is a unique place. It has a long history full of tradition from multiple cultures. We have much to share and learn from each other. We welcome interested individuals to join our Society and help us preserve and appreciate this town’s amazing heritage. I am proud of this area, and love the unique history of the region. I am honored to be a part of the Historical Society. We try to serve the community well and keep history alive.
Jason Barney, President