In the Village of Orleans, the first school was built in 1832 on the site where Masons Sunoco Station is located (as of 1970). It was a one story, one room building with three tiers of seats on each side of the room for the students. It was also used as a church, since there was no other church building in town. Twenty-three years later, it was moved across the street and ceased to be used. Later it was cut into two sections and used as dwellings. In 1855, a second school was built on the spot where Bensons Market is now located. It also served as a church and was the center of community life. A third school was constructed in 1873 on land where the Federated Church is now. It was two stories, the second one used as a ballroom for entertainment. In 1892, a third teacher was added to the staff, and a few years later, a fourth was added, making it necessary to move the social functions to the Valley House. In the early 1890's, when more space was needed, seven school meetings were called for to raise the $1,200 to add six additional rooms to the school. During this period, the high school consisted of one room on the second floor. Another remodeling and addition of a third floor was made in 1912. This building was used until 1967. In 1922, the cornerstone for a new high school was laid because of overcrowding in previous years. By March 1923, this Orleans High School was opened. In the early 1960's a lack of space and need for expanded curriculum created the organization of District No.10, to help facilitate the union of town high schools. Barton dropped out of the district. Another unsuccessful attempt occurred. Finally in 1964, union No.24 was organized and Lake Region High School was opened on September 11, 1967. The former Orleans High School was remodeled and used for the village's grade school. (Orleans 1820-1970)
Presently there are four schools in Barton town; Barton Graded School, a public elementary school; St. Pauls Elementary School, a private parochial school; Orleans Elementary School, a public K-8 school; and Lake Region Union High School, the high school for Barton and surrounding communities. The mascot for the high school is the Rangers. In 1985-86, the enrollment at the high school was 393. The dropout rate was 3.7% in 1982 and 4.5% in 1992. Statistics from 1986-87 show that 38.1% of high school graduates from Lake Region Union High School continued formal education.
In May of 1911, the first Catholic Mass was said outside of private homes in Orleans in the old Souliere Block. (The Souliere Block was taken down in 1968 for the construction of Route 91) The E.L. Chandler Company donated land in 1912 on the western side of Orleans (on the road to Barton village) for the construction of a Catholic Church. In 1914, St. Cecile's Church was constructed and dedicated on this spot. The "Oliver Dunham" place on East Street of Orleans was acquired in 1930 and St. Theresa's Catholic Church was built there.
The Barton Landing Methodist Church was organized in 1847. The first meetings were held in the schoolhouse. In 1858, a plain building was constructed for a church and it was used until 1874 when it was sold to the Congregationalist Church. (The Congregationalists housed their church in this building until 1962, when it was destroyed by fire.) In 1874, a large church was built by the Methodists, and was used also as a community hall until the Opera House was built. Between the years 1943 and 1950 the Methodist and Congregationalists had a temporary union, on a year to year basis. In 1950 a permanent union was established and it became the Orleans Federated Church in 1959. The old Methodist church was razed and the spot became a parking lot.
The place of South Barton first got a post office in 1861, and in 1909 it borrowed the place-name Willoughby from the neighboring town of Westmore. Westmore had a post office in an inn at Willoughby Lake between the years of 1853 to 1872 and again between 1884 and 1904. Since it was the closest stop on the railroad to Lake Willoughby, the South Barton post office thought that the stop could be called Willoughby, however the railroad management curiously elected to call the stop Kimball, probably after the first settler of Barton, Asa Kimball. The post office was discontinued in 1947, and only the most detailed of state maps even show the Kimball name nowadays. Locally the hamlet has sometimes been known as Jacksville. (Swift)
The new Barton Golf Club was opened on the May family farm in 1991 and is currently being expanded from 9 to 18 holes. With the old pig barn and machine shed nicely renovated into a clubhouse, the course is a very popular spot with locals and visitors alike.
During the early years of Orleans, a building called the Valley House was the center of much activity and community events.
Barton Village owns and runs the Pageant Park, which has a campground, waterfront, beach house, grills, and sports facilities. This park has been the source of some conflict over the recent years as Ms. Lou Little, the caretaker for many summers, was going to be prohibited from keeping her Lab mixed dog with her through the summer at her campsite in 1993. Village trustees feared that the dog would bite someone resulting in a suit against the village. A second issue in 1993 lies over the granting of a variance from the village's ordinance against open containers of alcohol. The trustees (two of the three were married to one another, Mr. and Mrs. Meehan) were worried that family participation would be discouraged if open containers were allowed as they had been in the past. Later in the spring of 1993, the Meehans resigned from the select board. The Meehans have some notoriety because they ran for US President in the 1992 campaign.
Included in the Crystal Lake area is the Crystal Lake State Park, built around 1942 during WWII by the Civilian Conservation Corps, a New Deal Program designed in Vermont by back-to-the-landers from the 1920's and 30's. (This is the prototype of President Clinton's AmeriCorps program.) The CCC also built the road over the mountain ledges to the camps on the other side of the lake. There is a Crystal Lake Historical Society and a Crystal Lake Falls Historic Division. The latter was honored with Barton's first National Register Listing.
Comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org Reviewed on 6/23/97