The town of Castleton is rich in American history. Charted in 1761, the town is best known as the meeting place of rebels Ethan Allen and later traitor Benedict Arnold. The duo planned their attack on Fort Ticonderoga at Castleton tavern. The town never had much sympathy for Tory sympathizers.
Today, America's colonial era is alive and well in Castleton. Residents are preparing for. the Castleton Colonial Day House Tour, an annual event that will be held this year on Saturday, Oct. 3, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This year's event will feature an outstanding collection of seven private homes, the recently refurbished D&H railroad station as well as public buildings, historic sites and galleries.
A special feature this year will be the Dake-Cook house built in 1809 is celebrating its 200th anniversary. The renowned architect Thomas Dake built this house for his bride Sally Deming. It includes one of Dake's trademark spiral staircases.
The Woodward-Albro house on Main Street is another fascinating addition to the tour this year. It was built in 1835 by Dr. Jonathon Woodward who attended the Castleton Medical College originally located on the lot adjacent to the house. One of Dr. Woodward's account books has remained in the house for 157 years despite the many families that have occupied the site.
Railroad buffs will enjoy touring the recently renovated D&H railroad station built in 1850. On display will be railroad books and memorabilia collected over the years by Castleton resident John Burditt whose first job at the age of 15 was with the Boston and Main Railroad.
A favorite stop on the tour is the Castleton Federated Church where visitors can see the beautifully carved pulpit, often described as builder Thomas Dake's architectural masterpiece. Also on the tour are: the Skinner-Cresci brick house c.1832 with its converted barn that once housed the paint and wagon shop of Eliah Bond; the Landgon-Hitchcock house completed in 1823 by Thomas Dake; and the Ranson-Rehlen house c.1846 with its curving Dake central staircase.
The Higley House, home of the Castleton Historical Society, will be open and visitors can tour the exhibits, antique tools, carriage collection and Castleton Womans Club period costume display. On display at the Higley House will be the famous Blue Cat Quilt depicting historic landmarks in town and highlights from the book The Blue Cat of Castleton. The quilt was entirely hand sewn and hand quilted with over 375 hours spent in creating the unique pattern of quilting stitches. .
Demonstrations of spinning, weaving and quilting will be found in homes along the tour. There will be organ and choral music at the Federated Church and a hammered dulcimer concert by Anne Marie Hampton.
Crafts and home made bake goods will add to the festivities on the Village Green. For additional information about Colonial Day call 468-5691.