uvm a - z directory search





UVM Notebook


Alumni Voice

Campaign Update

Class Notes

Ask An Alum

Extra Credit



Alumni news &






photo by Margery Sharp

Local Hero
Alumna keeps Woodstock’s history alive

For insight into Woodstock — past and present — one could find no better tour guide than Kathy Dimick Wendling ’54. Walk the streets of historic Woodstock with Wendling and you’ll learn where early 20th century Broadway actor Otis Skinner lived, the inn owned by Laurence Rockefeller, and that the first rope tow for skiing is just outside of town at Gilbert’s Hill.

Wendling has earned the unofficial title of Woodstock’s historian and shares her knowledge with the many tourists who migrate to one of the state’s most popular destinations. During the spring, she’s busy pointing out homesteads surrounding the town Green and recounting their histories to visitors. Summers, she leads tours through the Woodstock Historical Society’s Dana House Museum
“The pursuit of history is like doing detective work,” says Wendling, who was named “Citizen of the Year” by the Woodstock Historical Society in 2000. “Researching a story, a genealogy, or fitting facts together complete the puzzle.” Often her sleuthing winds up in her weekly column, “Historically Speaking,” which she has written since 1984 for The Vermont Standard, Woodstock’s newspaper.

Recently, Wendling took her work building Woodstock’s collective memory a step further by spearheading a drive to remove a five-panel 12 x 7 foot wallpaper replica of a painting from a private home. The panels, which depict an early American harbor scene, were donated to the Woodstock Historical Society. No one could identify the locale until, by chance, Wendling found a copy of the painting in her favorite art book. “Serendipity,” she says.

Painted by Frederick Catherwood in 1844, the scene shows Fort Columbus on Governor’s Island in New York Harbor looking toward New York City. The original is in the New York Public Library. Unearthing such gems is a peak moment for a local historian.

In 1989 with Woodstock Senior Center and Windsor Central Supervisory Union as sponsors, Wendling wrote a book, From One Room School to Union High School. Other writing/research projects have included creating an index to the 600-page diary (circa 1850-62) of Woodstock native Charles Cobb.

Wendling, a Richmond native, showed her aptitude for writing and history early — doing articles for the Christian Science Monitor while in high school, taking second in a state history essay contest, and going on to study English at UVM. Her Woodstock roots go deep as well. She waitressed summers at the Woodstock Inn where she met her future husband, who was the inn’s chef. Together, the couple ran their own inn and brought up two children.

This keeper of Woodstock’s history does her part for the University of Vermont’s Class of 1954, as well. Class secretary and a committee member for this summer’s 50th reunion, Wendling is generous with her time as she helps keep green and gold memories alive.
Margery Sharp