Lyndon's oldest manufacturing business is the Dairy Association Company, the makers of Bag Balm. Originally designed to sooth cows' teats, Bag Balm is also used by people for scraped knees, chapped hands, and dozens of other afflictions. Bag Balm has gained an international reputation and is used by skiers, marathoners, kayakers, commercial fishermen, and cement workers. In 1983, Charles Kuralt filmed the Company's operation for his AOn The Road@ series.
In 1890, W. Irving Powers, clerk and treasurer of Vail's Speedwell Farms, organized the Lyndon Creamery. The creamery became part of a chain of 14 creameries in Vermont and New Hampshire, as well as a large branch in Boston. It was the first separator creamery in the area. Butter was made in the morning, shipped by rail in ice chests and was used in Boston hotels for the evening meal.
After the 1894 fire, a new bank building was built on Broad Street in Lyndonville. Two bronze lions, Donatello replicas, were installed in front of the building in 1905.
Alson N. Wetherbee bought a novelty shop, which in 1911 was located on East Street. The building burned in 1914 and the shop was relocated near Lyndon Corner. Wetherbee ran the shop until 1945, when he sold it to the Hills Manufacturing Company. The mill sawed and dressed lumber as well as making candlepins, chair spindles, toy tenpins, base ball bats, spools for ribbons and toy tops. During World War II, the company stopped making toys and took on defense contracts.
The Hotel Darling was built after the 1924 fire and was known as the "Gem in the Green". This phrase was adopted to promote all of Lyndonville. After many prosperous years, the Hotel had financial troubles. In 1980 it was re-opened for senior apartments and meal site. The dining room remains with its original furniture.
Vermont Tap and Dye Company was moved to Lyndonville in 1930 by the new owner, C. H, Davis, from Newport, where it had been in operation for ten years. The original plant building was unique for its time, two levels with rows of windows all around. The business grew and expanded including a gauge plant on Pudding Hill. American Saw & Tool of Louisville, Kentucky purchased the business on January 1, 1957. The parent company changed its name to Vermont American because of its high regard for its Vermont acquisition. In February of 1957 the workers voted to join the Steelworkers Union. Tom Breslin was the regional Steelworker representative from Concord, New Hampshire, who negotiated the first contract in 1957 and continued to do so for the next twenty years. The other negotiators were Lee Thomas, Jr., Bill Bryant, Dale Gibson, and Mr. Hanson, who was the plant supervisor under the former owner, C. H. Davis. The Company wanted to initiate incentives, rating the average production of a machine and giving workers a bonus if they exceeded the standard rate. The group met for six weeks discussing this and other issues. Management thought the talks were going well and were surprised in April 15, 1957 to have the union team call for a settlement on the remaining issues or there would be Ano work@ the next day. At eight o'clock that night they had a contract! The workers received raises from twenty to seventy-five cents an hour and a reduction in the workweek from fifty to forty hours, as well as a grievance procedure. The company got their incentives program. There were grievances over the years and a short strike in the early 1960s. In 1963 Breslin negotiated a pension plan for the workers, which he considered his crowning achievement. In 1977, the plant was expanded and the owners made the statement that Ait was good business to remain in Lyndonville, in the community where we have the support of our workers for so many years@. In the early 1980s, the company struggled and the owners considered moving out of Lyndonville.
The Miss Lyndonville Diner on Route 5 is related to the Miss Vermonter in St. Johnsbury, but it is not as big and has fewer out of state license plates in the parking lot. The original dining car has been enclosed, but is still very much in evidence. AGriddley@ (burgers with just enough grease), and fries with gravy are two popular items. Locals read the paper and catch up on news at the counter. The diner is open at 6:00 a.m. and stays open until the last person leaves after supper.
Lyndonville was established as a village as a result of the railroad. There was no commercial activity in the area before 1857 when the railroad came through Lyndon. After a fire burned the railroad buildings in St. Johnsbury, the shops of the Connecticut and Passumpsic River Railroad were moved to Lyndonville in 1866, on more than 300 acres purchased by the railroad. It was as a railroad town that Lyndonville reached its peak of prosperity. After the Canadian Pacific bought the railroad, passenger service was discontinued and in 1970 the old brick station was torn down.
There were five covered bridges in town. The Center or Sandborn Bridge was built in 1869. It is the finest example of Paddleford construction in Vermont. The bridge was moved to Lyndonville in 1960 and is used as a real estate office. West of Route 5 at the Junction of Route 114 in Lyndonville was Miller's Run, an open style bridge. The bridge was repaired in 1816 and rebuilt in 1841. In 1980, the State Agency of Transportation wanted to replace old, one-lane covered bridges on the state highway system with new two lane concrete, roofless bridges. Residents opposed the plan, arguing that a wider bridge would increase traffic and endanger the town's heritage. In 1994/95 Miller's Run Bridge was removed, disassembled, reassembled and replaced, complete with a new pedestrian walkway. In the fall of 1995 the bridge was dedicated with a procession of coaches, antique cars, joggers and bicyclists across its red oak deck. The Randall Bridge is north of Lyndonville just off Route 114. In 1965 a new concrete bridge was built, but the old bridge was not removed. In Lyndon Corners at Little York Street there was the Chamberlain Mill Bridge. Maps of 1795 show this bridge, but both the mill and bridge are gone. The Schoolhouse Bridge, between Chapel Street on US Route 5 and School Street in Lyndon Corner, was built in 1872 and covered in 1879. The bridge included unique covered walkways on either side. In 1971 as part of the Interstate construction, the bridge was by-passed and became part of an Interstate rest area.
In 1883, Lyndonville bought a fire engine, but had no place to store it. The Village Trustees were ordered to build an engine house and village hall for $4000 or less. Thus, the Music Hall was erected. The fire engine was housed in the basement adjacent to police headquarters, a jailhouse, rest rooms and furnace room. The building was used for silent movies, flower shows, basketball games, lectures, concerts, roller skating, dances and school graduation ceremonies. In 1941, Lowell Thomas, the great radio personality and explorer, gave a lecture for more than 900 people. The admission charge was one dollar plus ten-cent tax. Fire leveled the building in 1954, ending 70 years as the center of Lyndonville's social life.
In 1880, an eleven-foot high iron fountain was added to Bandstand Park in Lyndonville. In 1952 town crews removed it in order to reduce town maintenance work. Townspeople replaced it in 1977 with a small fountain. Depot, or Railroad, Park was built next to the RR Station in Lyndonville. It is now called Memorial Park. In 1878, a bandstand was built in the park on Broad Street, moved in 1888 to Depot Park, then in 1912 to Main Street Park.