Rich Lumber of Manchester and Wanakena, New York
In collaboration with the Manchester Historical Society:
In 1912, the Rich Lumber Company moved its operations from Wanakena, New York to Manchester, Vermont, to harvest the 12,000+ acres of woodlands of the Lye Brook wilderness and beyond. The company employed over 300 people, many of them Italian, Swedish, and French-Canadian immigrants. To house its employees, the company built a neighborhood along what is now Richville Road and Cass Terrace. Some of the employees rode the 16 miles of standard-gauge rail up into the mountains where they would live and work over the next several years. When the mill burned in 1919, the company did not rebuild, but a number of the workers stayed in Manchester, and the echoes of this endeavor still ring in the valley and mountains today. MHS curator Shawn Harrington and board member Bill Badger will be joined by special guest Robert Waibel to explore this chapter in Manchester’s history.
Shawn Harrington serves as Curator of the Manchester Historical Society and is a lifelong resident of Bennington County. His interest in history began at an early age when -as a second grader – he discovered The Shires of Bennington: A Pictorial History of a Vermont County (edited by Tyler Resch, Bennington Historical Society, 1975) in the library at the Shaftsbury Elementary School. Over the past 8 years, he has been digitizing the thousands of pieces in the MHS collection to use for outreach and education at local schools, as well as in print and social media. He has worked for the past two decades in the financial services industry with a tenure as a member of the New York Stock Exchange and resides in Manchester Center with his two sons.
Bill Badger is a 1970 magna cum laude graduate of Dartmouth College (B.A. Art History, Phi Beta Kappa) and a 1974 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Fine Arts (M. Architecture). He received a summer fellowship in Early American Arts and Decorative Arts from Historic Deerfield and a Dales Traveling Fellowship from the University of Pennsylvania. For several summers he worked as an architectural historian for the Historic American Building Survey (U.S. Department of Interior). He is a founding member and current Membership Chair of the Rutland Railroad Historical Society. Bill has been a dedicated board member of MHS for several decades. He and his wife, Pam, live in Manchester.