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Grafton Historical Society

"One of the finest Small Museums in the State of Vermont"
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Brick Meeting House
Daisy Turner, Storyteller
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Slide Show

    The Main Room:  We are pleased to announce that we have been chosen by the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing to be one of just 10 sites on the new Vermont African American Cultural Heritage Trail. The display depicts the life of the Turner Family and Daisy Turner, one of the 13 Turner children who lived to be 104 years old. 
 Our museum has collected well over 4,000 photographs of buildings, people and activities.
Photos are displayed in "wings" for easier viewing and labeling.



Grafton was the largest producer of soapstone in Vermont and one of the two largest in the United States. Ten to fifteen men worked in the quarries and teams of oxen drew wagon loads ofsoapstone blocks down the mountain to

J.L. Butterfield and Company finishing mill in nearby Cambridgeport. 




The Grafton Band

The Grafton Band, Vermont's oldest continuously performing band was formed in 1867 under the direction of Solomon F. Merrill of Keene, N.H. Today the band performs arrangements by a wide variety of composers. They meet to rehearse at the old fire station on Main Street, as they have since 1939.



The Pettengill Room

 The Phelps Hotel, experiencing its elegance. “The hotel was purchased in 1865 and run for the next 48 years by brothers Francis and Harlan Phelps. After spending eight years in California searching for gold, Harlan applied his entire Gold Rush fortune toward the purchase and enlargement of the Phelps Hotel with porches and a third story. Guests had commodes in their rooms, and there were ladies’ and men’s privies on the main floor, accessed through a catwalk off the second floor. The hotel kept its own dairy cow, while a pig in the basement made the kitchen scraps disappear.”
(Five Dollars and a Jug of Rum,
The History of Grafton, Vermont 1754-2000, pg. 56)






On the BACK PORCH get a glimpse of what bath time was like for children of the 18oo's. For instance, Saturday night bath time was a complicated process for Mother. Water had to be

heated,perhaps in the fireplace, and don't forget she made her own soap from potash and fat!  Girls bathed first (they were said to be cleaner) then more water was added, and the boys had a turn.  Usually there was little privacy...   "Who's Next?"         Also, there are old washing items and an old washing machine. Butter churns and other household items will convince you "A women's work is never done"

A complete display on Flax, from start to finish is a very interesting part of the new porch exhibit. Our household Yankee Make-do is newly displayed in the porch area for 2013.



 The BARN and its fine collection of farm and household tools and fire station equipment tell stories of lives that were simpler, yet much more physically demanding. Compare living and working today with what it was like back in the 1800’s.