The Library’s Cataloged Photograph Collection consists of over 1,600 photographs, as well as 1,384 glass plate negatives relating to the greater Rockingham, Vermont area. The inclusive date range is 1870-1976 and covers everything from town celebrations, famous local residents and visitors, the evolution of land use, public buildings, schools, disasters, railroad history, bridges and canals, a variety of industry to local theater productions and fundraising efforts.
This collection is a unique historical resource that the Library has been proud to care for and provide to the community. It was organized in 1976 to coincide with the Town's Bicentennial Celebration. At that time, a local photographer printed many of the glass plate negatives for inclusion in searchable print binders that are available for viewing at the Library. These same photographs are now available in digital form and can be viewed remotely on the Library’s website.
Specific treasures from the Cataloged Photograph Collection include the aerial views of the village of Bellows Falls, made in 1855, 1878, and 1886 by different local photographers from the same mountain-top location., These photographs document the village’s evolution from a naturalist’s playground documented in Henry David Thoreau’s journals, to a railroad hub connecting Boston to Montreal, to a thriving industrial center, which was at the heart of farm machine innovation in the 1890s. Other photographs of note include Teddy Roosevelt speaking at Morgan’s Field, a portrait of Hetty Green, the famous Wall Street genius and eccentric local personality, photographs documenting the construction of the Arch Bridge in 1904, and the earliest photograph of the town square, showing Horace Stone with his oxen at a watering trough.
The Rockingham Free Public Library’s Historical Collection consists of paintings, artifacts, books, photographs, postcards, glass plate negatives, bound newspapers and documents that reveal the area’s rich history as a railroad hub, industrial center, pre-Civil War vacation destination, Native American gathering place, dairy capital and cultural center. The Library currently displays many of the paintings and artifacts, including a butter churn and washing machine manufactured in Bellows Falls, and the Tucker Toll Bridge sign.
For more information, email the Reference & Historical Collection Librarian at [email protected], or call 802-463-4270.