Vermont Women's History Project

Enosburg

Description – points of interest in Enosburg Falls include:

Enosburg Historical Society – See great collection of WW1 era items and photos by Effie Merle Bashaw. Other notable Enosburg women include Susan Tolman Mills, Helen Elizabeth Tyler, Self-Guided Walking Tour of the Legacy of Enosburgh’s Spavin Cure Era available at Historical Society . The Opera House in Enosburg Falls .

Directions: From Carman Brook Farms, go back to four corners, go straight through onto Frontage Road. At 3.4 miles, take left onto 78 E towards Highgate Center. Stay on 78 for 10 miles through East Highgate, Shawville to Sheldon Jct. Turn left onto 105E. 7.0 miles to Enosburg Falls. ( Note Recreation Trail through area for biking and walking).Turn left on 108 N into downtown.
Enosburg Historical Society is on Railroad St.

The Opera House in Enosburg Falls is nearby on Depot St.

Hours and Contact Info: Enosburg Historical Society Janice Geraw janiceellen@vtlink.net 933-2102 Open Saturdays 10 – 2 June through October. The Opera House open by appt. Barbara Hayes 933-2120.

 

Enosburg Opera House

Opera HouseThe Enosburg Opera House houses one of Vermont's famous "painted curtains".

The Painted Theater Curtain Project began in 1988 with a survey to find and assess the condition of Vermont's collection of painted curtains. At the time, there were a half dozen that were known, but the number is now up to over 150. Of that number, the Project has cleaned, mended, and judiciously in-painted 76 curtains as of January, 2005. About 65 of these have been installed for use on their home stages in town halls, grange halls, community theaters, and opera houses.  For more info, go to www.vmga.org 


Women of Note in Enosburg


Effie Merle Bashaw

Effie was born in Montgomery, but moved at the age of three, after her mother died, to the Hopkins homestead, which still stands in the northeast corner of Enosburg. She was a nurse by training. During World War I, Effie served as a Red Cross army nurse, in charge of a hospital unit in Riems, France. Her letters to her mother during this period reflect her desire to reassure her that she was in good health and safe, as opposed to reporting on the grim side of the war. She took numerous photographs during this period, and in some cases these reveal the destruction and despair that undoubtedly were being felt by everyone. After the war, Effie was in charge of the hospital unit of the South Puerto Rico Sugar Company for 21 years. She eventually returned to Enosburg. She died March 1984, nine months short of her 100th birthday.  A newspaper photograph shows her at a 1980 Memorial Day dedication ceremony in Enosburg Falls. There is a substantial collection of Effie's items from the WW I era on display at the Enosburg Historical Society.

Susan Tolman Mills

Susan lived in Enosburg Center as a young girl for the first ten years of her life. She was part of the Nichols family, one of Enosburg's "pioneer families". Her father operated Gilbert's Tannery out of the homestead, and it is still standing. When Susan was ten, the family moved to Ware, Massachusetts, but at age 80 she could still vividly recall her days in Enosburg and wrote a 6-page essay about this period in her life.

Susan taught for a time at Mount Holyoke College, teaching chemistry, science and theology.  In 1848, she married a Presbyterian missionary, Cyrus Mills, a young man born into poverty in Paris in 1819.  He was orphaned at an early age and worked his way through school and graduated from Williams College and Union Theological Seminary.

One month after their wedding, they moved to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) to preach and teach. Poor health from a bad climate necessitated their move to Hawaii where they became joint heads of Punahou College.  From there they relocated to California and purchased Benicia Ladies Academy in 1865.  They moved on to found a female seminary that soon became Mills College, located just outside of Oakland, which developed into, and is still today, a prominent institution of higher education.

Susan became its President upon the death of her husband in 1890, and continued in this post until 1909, when she retired at the age of 84.  She died in 1912 in the house that she and her husband built for themselves on the campus - a Vermont cape house that today serves as the College president's home.  The Art Gallery at Mills College is maintained by the endowment from the estate of Susan Mills.

The college stated that "President Mills was not a great scholar, although she inspired others to love learning, she was not a profound thinker, although she stimulated thought in others, she was not a musician bust she discovered and urged to a large work more than one of the world's famous musicians.  She was an organizer and administrator.  She will live in memory of men and women who have felt her influence and have been inspired by her life."

Helen Elizabeth Tyler

Helen Elizabeth Tyler, courtesy AAUW (PDF)

Ladies Village Improvement Society (LVIS)

This group was founded in Enosburg Falls in 1896 as a result of the local Baptist church's being struck by lightning and subsequently moved down the street. LVIS members pushed for the creation of a park in the space formerly occupied by the church and made it happen. These women made a LOT of things happen in Enosburg Falls for the better part of the next 100 years, such as moving a street out of the center of another green space, restoring the Opera House, and creating a heritage center. Membership in LVIS became an "expectation" for any woman new to the town. Among its presidents were Helen Tyler, known later as the "Wonder Girl of Broadway," and Mary Merrill Jeffords, grandmother to Senator Jim Jeffords. The group disbanded in 1996, but much of the physical character of Enosburg Falls today can be directly attributed to LVIS's good work.

Ladies Village Improvement Society (PDF)

June 2 - 5 -Vermont Dairy Festival

Location: Enosburg Falls, VT  - Arts & crafts, horse pulling, stage shows, two-hour parade on Saturday, entertainment on Sunday. Sponsored by the Enosburg Lions Club.

Contact: Robert Mays: 933-5921, website: www.vtfestivals.com/dairyfest 

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