Saint Albans Community History Fund Announced

The Board of Trustees of the St. Albans Historical Society & Museum is pleased to announce the creation of the Saint Albans Community History Fund, which provides mini-grants to schools, non-profits, and community organizations for events or activities that promote the history and heritage of the greater St. Albans, Vermont community.

“Our goal is to help students, educators, and community members engage with the people and places of​ ​our past, by supporting projects, programs, and special events that highlight greater St. Albans,” said Alex Lehning, Executive Director. “We believe that our community has a unique story to tell, and a special place in the history of Vermont. There are so many important regional and national historical connections right here in our own backyard, including ties to the Civil War, the ​age of rail, and even the governor’s office. We hope to encourage area efforts to preserve and share that common heritage beyond the walls of the Museum.”

This program was created with the remaining funds from the 150th St. Albans Raid Anniversary Commemoration. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Learn more and apply at

In Memoriam


With his loving family close by his side, St. Albans native Bryan Jay Powers, 63, lost his arduous battle with cancer on May 17, 2015.

Born Oct. 28, 1951, Bryan is survived by his wife of 41 years, Dale (Martell) Powers, whom he married while he was still an active member of the U.S Navy. He also leaves behind his daughter, Kelly and her husband, Keith Wakefield, of Fairfax, and his son, Nathan and his special friend, Kali Bilodeau, of St. Albans.

When Bryan married Dale on Sept. 21, 1974, he became a part of the Martell clan, a large and bustling family that welcomed Bryan with open arms. To the Martells, he was more than an in-law. Through five decades he was a fixture at family functions, famous for reminding the myriad of siblings, in-laws, nieces, nephews and associated friends to “take all you want, eat all you take” as they descended on an often chaotic buffet line. At the end of his life, his youngest sister-in-law, Sophia Greenia, provided gentle, respectful care for which Bryan was genuinely appreciative.

His parents both passed before him, his mother Florence Cline Powers in 2013 and his father James in 1979. His brother Avery predeceased him in 1983. His brother Mark and his wife, Lucy, of St. Albans survive him.

Bryan began work as a teenager, assisting his father at Powers Pharmacy in St. Albans. He spent to bulk of his career (1978 to 2002) as a characterization development technician at IBM in Essex Junction, and worked as a government contractor with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in St. Albans until 2012. He was honored to serve in the U.S. Navy from 1970 to1976, enlisting while still in high school. A Vietnam War veteran, he was aboard the ammunition ship USS Nitro while it was based in Subic Bay in the Philippines. He was a member of the Vietnam Veterans of America, the USS Nitro Association, American Legion Post Green Mountain Post #1 and VFW Post #758.

A 1971 graduate of BFA-St. Albans, Bryan had a special fondness for the Rail City and its history. He served as board member for the St. Albans Historical Society since 1990 and oversaw the collections of the St. Albans Historical Museum as it became a vibrant showcase of the Franklin County community. He was an avid collector of any and all St. Albans memorabilia. He also served as a sexton at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church and volunteered at Martha’s Kitchen.

As Bryan struggled with his illness, he relied heavily on the advice and direction of Dr. Dennis Sanders and the staff at the St. Albans office of the Vermont Center for Cancer Medicine and Blood Disorders. His family will forever be thankful of the care he received.

Calling hours will be Thursday, May 21 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Heald Funeral Home, 87 South Main Street, St. Albans. His funeral service will be held Friday, May 22nd, at 2 p.m. at the First Baptist Church, 29 Congress Street, St. Albans. Interment with military honors will follow at the Georgia Plain Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Bryan’s name to the St. Albans Historical Society & Museum, P.O. Box 722., St. Albans, VT 05478 or Martha’s Kitchen, P.O. Box 1561, St. Albans, VT 05478. Messages of condolence to Bryan’s family are welcome at

Mysteries at the Museum

Grab the popcorn and set your DVR! Vermont author Michelle Arnosky Sherburne, of Newbury, will be featured in a segment highlighting the story of St. Albans Raid – as well as an artifact from the Museum’s collection – in the Travel Channel’s “Mysteries at the Museum” series, airing this Friday, May 8 at 9pm.


Special thanks to (left to right) Optomen crew cameraman Tom, producer Clare Keating, sound man Dan, Michelle Arnosky Sherburne, Vermont author, electrical/production person Brian and Museum Executive Director Alex Lehning.

Announcing the St. Albans Walking Tour App

In partnership with Bellows Free Academy High School, and with support from the Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership/Lake Champlain Basin Program and the Leadem Family Foundation, we are pleased to announce the creation of a St. Albans Walking Tour Mobile App! Explore our historic downtown (listed on the National Register of Historic Places) and learn more about the economic, political, social, architectural, – and even military history – of our community.

FREE and accessible anywhere, on any device, on any platform!

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Currently in Beta testing.

Sign up below to be notified on Launch Day, coming soon in May/June 2015!

Calcutta Fundraiser on May 30

Join us for our annual Calcutta fundraiser to support the St. Albans Historical Society & Museum. Tickets are only $100 each, and include dinner for two and one entry into the game – a chance to win the Grand Prize of $2,000!

6pm: Social Hour (Cash Bar available)
7pm: Dinner
8pm: Game Begins

There will also be a raffle and a game ball will be auctioned off during the evening. Catered by our friends at the Dairy Center.

Learn more on our Facebook page

Tickets are SOLD out – thank you for your support!

Museum & St. Albans Rotary to host April Mixer


The St. Albans Rotary Club and the St. Albans Historical Society & Museum are co-hosting the next Franklin County Regional Chamber of Commerce Mixer on Thursday, April 16 from 5:30 – 7:30pm in the Bliss Room.

Join us for a great evening of community networking and learn more about the Taylor Park Fountain restoration project, as well as the latest news and updates from both organizations. There will be appetizers and a cash bar provided by our friends at Tatro’s and Twiggs.

All attendees will be entered for a chance to win a free 2015 Museum membership. It’s only $5 for Chamber members and $8 for all others. Learn more or pre-register on our Facebook page. We hope to see you there!

Womanspeak coming to St. Albans

Thanks to the generosity of volunteer director John Bielicki, the St. Albans Historical Society & Museum is hosting a performance of the play “Womanspeak” by Gloria Goldsmith, in recognition of Women’s History Month. Admission is free.

The performance, in a readers theater format, will be Saturday, March 28 at 7pm in the Bliss Room. A rehearsal will be held on Thursday, March 26 at 7pm at the Museum. If you are not able to attend but would like to participate, be sure to let us know.

Please feel free to share this announcement with those who may be interested.

Womanspeak is a play about the lost history of American women. A Contemporary Woman is in search of her roots. Out of the past, Abigail Adams, Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, Margaret Sanger, Eleanor Roosevelt and others show her that she is part of a great tradition of women who contributed to our history. Originally produced for the California Commission on Rights, it was later presented at the Roxy Theatre in Hollywood.

Produced by special arrangement with Pioneer Drama Service, Inc., Englewood, Colorado

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute St. Albans Spring 2015 Lecture Series

All lectures will be on Wednesdays at 11am and will be held at the St. Albans Historical Society & Museum, in the Bliss Room (third floor), at the corner of Church and Bishop Streets in St. Albans. The site is handicap accessible with parking behind the museum.

Circle of Sawdust: The Mud, Myth, Mayhem and Magic of Circus
Presenter: Mr. Rob Mermin
February 4, 2015

Rob Mermin, founder of Vermont’s own Circus Smirkus, will entertain with personal anecdotes and film clips of wacky characters and wild escapades from his background as a mime/clown in European circuses.

The Four C’s of Madagascar
Presenter: Mr. Hank Kaestner
February 11, 2015

This presentation will be about the island nation of Madagascar, located off the south east coast of Africa, but hardly related to Africa at all. It was settled by people from Malaysia (the first ‘C’: culture). It is the world’s major source of vanilla (the second ‘C’: cultivation). It is one of the most endangered biospheres in the world as it has the highest percentage of endemic wildlife while degradation of its forest continues with now less than 10% remaining (the third ‘C’: Conservation). Its main export (vanilla) is threatened by the growing use of artificial vanilla flavors (the fourth ‘C’: cheating).

Stuck in Vermont with Eva
Presenter: Ms. Eva Sollberger
February 18, 2015

Get Stuck in Vermont with web video creator, Eva Sollberger. Every week Eva travels around our state meeting artists, farmers, chefs, athletes and quirky characters. Then she produces a web video about the experience which airs on Seven Days every Wednesday and on WCAX every Thursday. Eva has been making ‘Stuck in Vermont’ for the past 7 years and has received almost 3 million views on YouTube. Learn what it takes to produce fresh weekly video content and how an idea becomes a story.

Winter Frost: Five Robert Frost Poems About Winter
Presenter: Mr. Peter Gilbert
February 25, 2015

Join Vermont Humanities Council executive director and executor of the Robert Frost estate, Peter Gilbert, for a discussion of five poems by Robert Frost that are about winter — from the first snowfall to the thawing winds of March. They are ‘The Onset,’ ‘Storm Fear,’ ‘An Old Man’s Winter Night,’ ‘Dust of Snow,’ and ‘To the Thawing Wind.’

South Africa Wildlife and Plants
Presenter: Mrs. Sheri Larsen
March 4, 2015

Sheri and Richard Larson will present a slideshow about the wildlife and plants they encountered in South Africa in 2011 during self-drive safaris in several national parks, including Kruger National Park and a visit to the Cape Town region. In addition, they will offer observations on the political and economic situation they found.

From Skiffs to Sail Ferries, the Small Boat Traditions of Lake Champlain
Presenter: Mr. Douglas Brooks
March 11, 2015

The stories of Vermont naval history and commercial shipping have been well documented by generations of historians. However, the traditions of small boat building throughout our state have remained untold. The bulk of our historic boatbuilding traditions involves Vermonters building their own boats, whether for pleasure or commercial use. The historical record illuminating this subject resides today mostly in family stories and photo collections. In this slide presentation, Douglas Brooks shares his research on these traditions and his work in recreating some of these historic vessels.

Even Boomers Grow Older – or — It Only Gets Worse
Presenter: Mr. Scott Funk, Financial Professional and Author
March 18, 2015

An Aging Advocate’s insights on aging, which we all do, and all dread. But considering the alternative, we might as well embrace the inevitable with laughter. After all, the best looking wrinkles come from smiling.

The White-tailed Deer – Forest Denizen
Presenter: Mr. Kurt Valenta
March 25, 2015

As part of the Exordium Nature Series, we take a closer look at the white-tailed deer. By moving through a variety of habitats through-out the year and taking full advantage of the adaptations with which Mother Nature has endowed it, deer have been able to prosper in the North Country. They are an important resource for many and bring a sense of beauty to the woods. The presentation will travel with the deer from spring and birth to the hardships of a cruel winter, allowing participants to appreciate the many challenges it must face.

A Current Assessment of Cold Hardy Grapevines in Northern Vermont
Presenter: Mr. Erich Marn
April 1, 2015
NOTE: Location for this lecture will be at Due North Winery, Franklin, Vermont

We will talk about the various types of grapes available to the northern grower and the the basics of vineyard establishment. This topic will focus specifically on wine varietals, include an in-winery overview of the winemaking principles, and finally will discuss expectations for future industry growth.

The St. Albans Boys of WWI: Joseph Evarts and the 103rd Machine Gun Battalion
Presenter: Mr. Brennan Gauthier
April 8, 2015

A large contingent of fresh-faced doughboys from Swanton and St. Albans travelled together to the trenches of France as a unified group of machine gunners. St. Albans’ own Joseph A. Evarts heroically led a company of local men through the gas, mud and rain of France and returned home in 1919. This presentation will highlight some of the battles and exploits of the St. Albans boys during the First World War and will hopefully shed some light on the “forgotten war.”

Birdscapin: Saving the Bird in the Bush
Presenter: Ms. Bridget Butler
April 15, 2015

Songbirds in our region are experiencing a number of stresses that impact their populations. Find out how you can provide a backyard haven and beyond for them through gardening and landscaping. Learn about making the most of your property for birds throughout the season and how to find resources in your community.

Inventive Vermonters
Presenter: Mr. Paul Wood
April 22, 2015

In spite of the state’s small population, there have been a large number of inventive Vermonters – especially for labor-saving agricultural tools and implements. Paul Wood, agricultural historian, will tell the story of some ingenious and surprising Vermont-invented and Vermont-made farm tools through an illustrated slide show. He will bring a variety of interesting tools and implements found on a typical Vermont farm and used in the field, barn, workshop and kitchen – from bull staff to sap regulator, ox bow pin to milk tester, and boot dryer to butter worker.

Membership Information

Payment of membership dues entitles subscribers to attend all sessions of the current semester. Lectures are also open to non-members for a fee of $5 per lecture. Semester membership fees are $40 per individual, or $70 per couple. Become a member today – learn more on the OLLI website.

Membership in your local OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) entitles you to attend programs at any of the other 7 OLLI sites throughout Vermont, as well as EEE-Burlington (Elder Education Enrichment). Your active OLLI membership also entitles you to the discounted member rate for the OLLI programs on the UVM campus. Simply present your membership card during the corresponding semester.