THE ENGINE SHOW at the Old Stone House Museum

Museum Building

The museum building.

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P.O. Box 6 Wilmington, Vermont 05363

The eighth annual engine show at the Old Stone House Museum, Brown-ington, Vermont, sponsored by the Vermont Gas & Steam Engine Association, was held as usual on the third weekend of June, the 19th & 20th, 1993.

This relatively small show has grown so much that a new field was used this year. The old area, next to the museum, was devoted to the flea market.

There were 53 exhibitors, primarily coming from Vermont, New Hampshire and Quebec, Canada.

Although small, the show is one of the most friendly. No-hookup camping is provided. On Saturday night, country music is provided around a campfire by Floyd Brown and Ozzie Plomb of Island Pond, Vermont, with refreshments furnished by Reed Cherrington, the museum director. All registered exhibitors receive passes for guided tours of the museum.

The building presently housing the Old Stone House Museum was begun in 1834, and completed in 1836, by the Reverend Alexander Twilight. Twilight was the principal of the former Orleans County Grammar School, the only school of secondary education in the area at the time. The Old Stone House was built to be used as a dormitory for the students attending the school. It was named 'Athenian Hall.' The Reverend Twilight was also the pastor of the nearby Congregational Church. He is buried in the cemetery beside the church.

Reverend Twilight is believed to be the first black man to graduate from an American college (Middlebury College at Middlebury, Vermont, in 1823), and to be the first black man to serve in a state legislature (the Vermont legislature from 1836 to 1838).

The building, made of granite blocks, is four stories high, and contains 30 rooms. According to legend, an ox was used to raise the blocks to each level. At the completion of the building, there was no way to lower the ox to the ground, so he was butchered and barbecued for a feast for those that had worked on the building.

The building was used as a dormitory and for classrooms from the time that it was completed until the school closed in 1859. It then served as a private home and boarding house. In 1918 the Orleans County Historical Society purchased the building for $500.00, to be used as a museum.

The original academy building, a wooden structure, was moved from its site near the dormitory, and now serves as Grange Hall.

Today, 25 of the original 30 rooms of the stone building are filled with historical exhibits from Orleans County's past. The building itself has been changed very little. The original fireplace with a Dutch oven in the kitchen is intact, as well as 15 charcoal fireplaces that provided heat for the rooms. The water system, consisting of an outside cistern that collected water from the roof, remains.

The museum is open May 15-October 15 each year. A small admission fee is charged.