B y Jaime Thomas
Did you know that a few presidents lived in Washington County? How about Susan B. Anthony’s time spent here? Or that the county had a significant role in the Underground Railroad?
Those facts and more will be on display at the Washington County Historical Society’s History Fair next Saturday, Oct. 26.
School teaches children a lot of history about their country and the world, but it is not always so easy for a community to stay informed about its heritage. Debi Craig, event coordinator and past president for the society, said this is the third time the fair will be held locally.
“We went to a Vermont history fair, and we said, ‘Gee, we could do this in our own backyard,’” she said. At the event, which takes place at Granville Elementary School, many historians from throughout the county will have exhibits featuring history and unique features of their towns and villages.
“People will come up with good topics on their own, if you let them do it,” Craig said.
One booth, for example, will focus on the post offices in the county from the 1800s through the 1940s.
“This is not the first time this has happened,” Craig said of the Postal Service reducing its offices. She said all the small settlements in the area once had their own post offices. Other topics will include transportation history, Underground Railroad history, Civil War connections and more.
Some specific programs include the Historic Mills of Washington County at 11 a.m., the Postal Service in Washington County at 1 p.m. and How to Become Your Own Genealogist at 2 p.m.
There will also be a special program by the Slate Valley Museum for children entitled: “The Dream and the Reality: Immigration to the Slate Valley” at 1 p.m. This presentation will give children the opportunity to dig into a trunk of costumes and become an immigrant moving to Washington County.
Craig said there is a big push to bring many people, especially children, to the event.
“If we don’t start getting younger families involved these historical societies will disappear, because people don’t know about it, so they don’t care,” she said. “The kids can see what happened here before they were even born and before their parents and grandparents were born.
Throughout the fair, Granville Stewart’s Shop will be on site selling an assortment of sandwiches, chips and drinks at lunchtime as well as coffee and pastries in the morning.
The event, which takes place from 10 a.m.to 4 p.m., is free and open to the public, but donations will be accepted to defray expenses.
“It’s going to be a really interesting day and an opportunity to learn things about the county you might otherwise not,” Craig said.