The Village School House, one the earliest school buildings erected in Barnard, lends an authentic historic touch to the Barnard Historical Society. The Village School House is located just north of the town’s center and holds all of the artifacts and records of the Society, many of which came from the seventeen schoolhouses that once dotted the town. The inspiration behind the Barnard Historical Society came from the women of the Silver Lake Progressive Club, who met at Ward’s Hall (on Route 12) in 1977. The women decided that it would be nice to have a Historical Society in town to preserve as much of Barnard history as possible. They elected officers at the initial meeting and promptly set up shop at the Universalist Church in town. The Historical Society would later move to the Charles B. Danforth Library basement and finally settle at the old Village School House. The Historical Society is an active group of men and women who have staged Indian reenactments in town, offered occasional antique appraisals, and regularly present at the Vermont History Fair and the Vermont Expo. At their Village School House location, the Society has collected historical artifacts including children’s boots, pictures, old report cards, books, scrapbooks, and genealogy records among other items.
Though the Historical Society houses many artifacts, some of Barnard’s most fascinating history is recorded around town. In the center of town, the old Sugar House of Dorothy Thompson and Sinclair Lewis recently relocated to the site of the Dorothy Thompson Memorial Common, which became a historical site in 2002. Dorothy Thompson was a prominent journalist, political commentator and an avid opponent of Hitler. She encouraged many Europeans to follow her to Barnard, during World War II, providing them with jobs and housing once they arrived. Thompson was the first nationally syndicated female journalist and was exiled from Germany when she unveiled Hitler’s depravity before he had come to power. She married Sinclair Lewis, the Nobel Prize-winning author, and lived with him in Barnard. They are buried side by side in the Barnard Village Cemetery on the North Road. Other notable residents of Barnard are Sanford Roth, a famous painter who lived on the Stage Road, and famous German screenplay writer Carl Zuckmayer who lived on Route 12, at the top of the ledge-cut leading down toward South Barnard, during the early 1940s. Zuckmayer worked as a farmer during his Vermont years and wrote the play “The Devil’s General” which was based on the life of Ernst Udet while living in his Barnard home.
President: Cazimir Rozonewski
Vice President: Jenney Silva
Treasurer: Eleanor Tatro
Secretary: Shirley Garafano
Directors: Wesley Hennig, Delta Hennig, Alice Aikens, Louis Ahlen, Barbara Butler, Joan Lessard