“Notes from the Past” is a series of episodes jointly developed by Jim Davidson for the Rutland Historical Society and Caleb Wright of Channel 21 at PEG-TV, Rutland’s public access government channel. The series focuses on political and economic issues of the past that have a relevance to similar issues today.
Episode # 1 - "Settlement, Conflict and Government". The first episode discusses the 18th Century land controversy with New York and the credit problems of an economic system based on notes and accounts. The issues of home ownership and foreclosure threats and the credit impasse of the economy remind viewers that these issues have a close relationship to today's issues.
Episode # 2 - "Water, Water Everywhere". Very early in Rutland's history water power was the only source of power for d kinds of mills. This episode discusses water as a power source, as a short-lived canal idea, as an essential for personal use and its role in recreation. The program also deals with the development of water and sewer systems and the current issues caused by the aging water and sewer systems, many over 100 years old.
Episode # 3 -"The Division of Rutland". The original Town of Rutland today stands as four municipalities: the towns of Proctor, Rutland, West Rutland and the City of Rutland. This program presents the history of that division and discusses its impact on today.
Episode # 4 -"A History of Transportation in Rutland". Trains, autos and airplanes have all impacted the social and economic history of Rutland and leave issues to be resolved.
Episode # 5 -"The Communication Revolution". Early communication was by the printed word whether by book, newspaper or correspondence. Then came the electronic devices: telegraph, telephone, radio and television. What happens to the email and cell phone business records of the future?
Episode # 6 – "Public Safety". Jim Davidson of the Rutland Historical Society talks about the history of crime in Rutland and the protection from crime, particularly theft. Crimes of violence were infrequent. Protection from crime was pretty much in the hands of the county sheriff. As the population grew, so did crime. In the 1880s a village police force performed the police function. As the city of Rutland was organized a small full-time police force was employed. The program also talks about the development of the Rutland Fire Department from a volunteer fire department to a full-time professional fire department. The program includes a note about Rutland's major floods and fires. The program concludes with the note that crime is an unsolved issue in Rutland as well as most of America.
Episode # 7 – "Recreation". Jim Davidson of the Rutland Historical Society presents an overview of the history of recreation in Rutland. This includes the development of music and sports in Rutland's history. A number of buildings were built and primarily used for entertainment purposes. Rutland soon became the county center for entertainment from many traveling entertainers and later a center for movie theaters. The organization of a Rutland Bicycle Club in the 1880s stimulated great interest in the high-wheel bicycle. Roller skating and dancing also provided physical activity for both men and women. Through the years recreation interests and structures have changed greatly. Today's recreation has less physical activity, with much of today's recreation and entertainment found through an electronic device.
Episode # 8 - "The Development of Rutland's Infrastructure". Jim Davidson of the Rutland Historical Society talks about the changes in Rutland’s infrastructure from the 18th to the 21st Century. The program presents some of the issues that the community will face. Jim concludes with the point that although history may give some perspective on the issues, it can not offer the answers.
Episode # 9 - "Education". Jim Davidson of the Rutland Historical Society concludes a series of episodes on issues facing the local community. Education will need to include a process to stimulate creativity in the young as the education of the past although very useful, will no longer be sufficient for a rapidly changing future.