The Nickwackett Fire House
The Nickwackett Fire House was built in 1860 as a Fire House and remained so until it became the home of the Rutland Historical Society in 1993 after a major renovation of the building. The exhibit includes a pictorial notebook which visually documents the before and after in the reconstruction of the building. A small exhibit case shows pictures and artifacts of the late 19th Century fire fighters who occupied the building.
Eight Generations of Rutland's History
The exhibit "Eight Generations of Rutland's History" is a visual sampling of (a) "18th Century Rutland (1770-1800)", (b) "The Quiet Years (1801-1830)", (c) "Marble and Railroads (1831-1860)", (d) "Civil War and Industry (1861-1892)", (e) "Urbanization (1893-1920)", (f) "Twenties, Depression and World War II (1921-1950)", (g) "Post-war and Post-railroad Rutland (1951-1980)", and (h) "Rutland Revitalized (1981-2010)".
Civil War Exhibit
The Civil War exhibit consists of a number of artifacts from the war and from Rutland during the period 1861 - 1863. Also included are numerous pictures with explanatory text, many of them quotes from participants and news media (mainly the Rutland Herald). The exhibit portrays the experience of the Civil War from the diverse perspectives of the Rutland men who fought, and also the citizens of Rutland who supported the troops while maintaining daily life throughout.
The Rutland Historical Society is not a county society but services the area of the "old" Town of Rutland which today includes the City of Rutland and the towns of Proctor, Rutland, and West Rutland. Its collections focus on these towns. The majority of the Society's collections are located on the second floor of the historical society building. Upon request materials are available for use on the main floor (handicapped accessible) where a guide to the collections may be found. A guide to the collections is also available on the website in the form of Finding Aids. The Society's holdings include over 1,000 books, over 350 boxes of documents, numerous maps, and tens of thousands of photographic images. You can view some of them at our online Image Gallery. The Society has a modest collection of artifacts including textiles. There are over 800 bound volumes of Rutland newspapers. Fortunately these have all been microfilmed and microfilm copies are available at the Rutland Free Library.
To preserve the originals and improve the public’s accessibility to information, the Society has undertaken a major effort to digitize these holdings and place them on the Society website.
Our collections include the Beer's Atlas Map of 1869 which shows the locations of homes and the names of the occupants, the Scott's Map of 1854 which offers similar information, a map of Socialboro [a New York Grant that included Rutland] from 1771 and the Plan of Rutland [New Hampshire Grants] probably done in 1794. The Sanborn Insurance maps of Rutland give the size and material of buildings as well as their location. Used in conjunction with a directory, these can be very informative about a building and its occupants. An 1890 and a 1925 map are available. The 1884 Beers map has been digitized and is offered for sale. A select sample of the map is available for viewing through this link.
Our collections also include the Rutland Municipal Court Records from the 1870's-1960's, genealogical files of Marvel Swan, photocopies of the Evergreen Cemetery records, numerous account books and ledgers, a collection of Rutland trainmen's notebooks, some hotel registers and numerous scrapbooks and photo albums. There are minutes books of some Rutland organizations and diaries and collections of letters. There are a number of books providing military rosters for various wars. The Society's periodical collection includes The Vermonter, Vermont Life and Vermont History.
Research on any historical topic needs to answer the question of "who?". The sources for information about people are numerous. One of the easiest and quickest to use, particularly if you have an approximate date, is the city directory. The Society has a collection of Rutland directories from 1867 to 1986. It also has a collection of Rutland telephone books from 1959 to the present. Except for one year, the directories through 1930 have been digitized and are available for viewing and search online. The Rutland Free Library has Federal Census records from 1791 to 1930 on microfilm. The Society has cemetery inscription books published by Margaret Jenks for all the towns of Rutland County. The Rutland City Public School attendance records provide teacher and student names for all classes of all the public schools from 1899 to 1963. The high school yearbook collection is also a great source of "people" information. There are Rutland Grand List property tax records year by year from 1815 to 1870 which are on microfilm at the Rutland Free Library. These are easier to use than the census records because they are in alphabetical order. Early Families of Rutland, compiled by Marvel G. Swan and Donald P. Swan, is particularly useful for researching people before 1850. This book is out of print, but has been digitized and is available for sale.
The Society library is not a circulating library but there are copy and scanning facilities available. Copies and prints are $.15 copy/page. Scans are free, but you would need to bring your own flash drive. Photographs may also be scanned or copied.
If you plan a visit, please contact us prior to making plans, for best results. Our volunteers can often prepare materials ahead of your arrival to make best use of your time. Thank you for visiting!