The East Montpelier Historical Society was organized in 1979 to support the writing of Across the Onion. Ellen Hill and Lyn Blackwell were the co-founders. The Society filled the need for a non-profit group to publish and raise money for the book and to stimulate interest in the town’s history. The purpose was to build understanding and appreciation for local heritage by bringing together people of all ages who were interested in the history of the town and the preservation of its historic resources.
The society wrote a grant for funds from the Vermont Historical Society and received an appropriation from the town to underwrite the production of Across the Onion. Neighborhood meetings were held to gather memories of people living in different areas of the town. Ellen Hill took a series of photos of houses and barns and duplicated photos borrowed from local families to supplement these. Her deep and abiding interest in the town’s history has left us a great legacy of research, publications, photographs, and other collections of ephemera.
One early project was a partnership with 8th grade teachers at U-32 in which students wrote an essay about a specific topic in their town’s history. These were judged & cash prizes awarded, plus the essays were published in the World Newspaper. One year, the Society had a float in a parade in Montpelier.
The Society fell dormant about 1984 until it was resurrected in 1989. It has been active since that time and has now shares a joint program schedule with the Calais Historical Society.