Thank you for your interest in our latest community history initiative, the Rail City History Project. For over a century St. Albans served as the home and hub for the Central Vermont Railway, connecting regional passengers, farm products, and other goods to stops around New England, Canada, and beyond. Founded and managed by local families, the CV was the largest employer in northwestern Vermont for decades – a local institution which honored our community as the “Rail City.” The sights, sounds, and rhythms of over 20 sets of tracks across our downtown district (which ran both day and night) were an inescapable element of everyday life. Operating across a dozen states by rail, as well as through a steamship and regional airline, the Central Vermont became a cornerstone of our local history.
The Saint Albans Museum is working diligently to collect and preserve the images, artifacts, documents, and other ephemera which detail this profound impact – before they are lost to time. There are two main components to our efforts: an exhibition redesign and an oral history project. First, these historic renovations will create and enhance our capacity to bring the stories of this bygone era to life, as visitors step back in time to engage the people, places, and technology that once made the Central Vermont the 7th largest railroad in America. The space will include life-size murals, historic photographic collages, a mini-documentary theater, a youth-activities area, a replica station office, and more! SAM is also conducting interviews with former railroad employees and their families, capturing those defining memories and moments about the critical economic and social role of the railroad in our community.
You can help ensure that the legacy of the “Rail City” is preserved now, and for future generations. This is the Museum’s most comprehensive research and renovation project in decades, and our success is only possible with your support. We are soliciting donations of both CV-related historical items and funding, as well as coordinating interviews.
- To become a sponsor or to make a donation by mail, click here – or make a safe and secure gift online. All contributors will be acknowledged with in-exhibit signage, and those who give at the $50, $100, or $250 will receive a special “thank you” gift
- To contribute a historical artifact, photograph, document, or other piece of CV-related ephemera, click here.
- Share your “Rail City” memory – complete this form and your story will be added to the museum’s archives, with potential for inclusion in our exhibit
This vital community history effort is “full steam ahead” because of your continued support, and all of us at the Saint Albans Museum thank you for helping us to preserve the legacy of the Central Vermont Railway – now and for generations to come.
Press Release Announcing the Rail City History Project