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Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site►
The Plymouth Notch National Historic Landmark district preserves the town where President Calvin Coolidge grew up. Calvin Coolidge became the 30th president of the United States when President Harding died suddenly from a heart attack. Coolidge had been visiting his family in Vermont, when news of Harding’s death reached him. Coolidge took the oath of office in his boyhood home. His father, a notary public, administered the oath in the sitting room of the homestead.
Calvin Coolidge’s eldest son inherited the homestead and donated it to the state of Vermont along with all of its furnishings. The State opened it as a historic site in 1957. I was able to take an abbreviated tour (due to covid-19 restrictions)with a docent. She told us about the president’s modest upbringing and his unique inauguration before encouraging us to explore the rooms on our own.
Aside from the Homestead, the village contains many of the buildings related to the Coolidge family history. My tour started in the Wilder Barn. The Wilder Barn was part of Coolidge’s maternal grandparents’ farm. Today it displays some interesting 19th-century farm implements, including a horse treadmill!
The Wilder Barn sits across the street from the mustard-yellow house where Coolidge’s mother grew up. The Cilley General Store is at that end of the block as well. Coolidge’s dad got his start in that store. Calvin Coolidge was born in the simple house attached to the store before the family moved into the larger homestead up the road.
The room above the store was large and used for town dances and other events. When Calvin Coolidge was president, he used that room as his summer White House in 1924. That was the year he had to return to Plymouth Notch to bury his youngest son. His son developed a blister while playing tennis in DC and died from the subsequent infection. Calvin Coolidge is also buried in the town cemetery along with his wife and many generations of his family.
The Post Office behind the general store is still operational. The church the Coolidge family attended still stands in the center of town. Coolidge’s father established the Plymouth Cheese Factory at the top of Main Street. The factory continues to produce the signature curd cheese. With Covid restrictions in place, dogs in tow and a thunderstorm bearing down on us, we were limited in our exploration of the town. I snapped some photos of the various buildings after the homestead tour and then we ran for the car as the rain started to fall.
Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site Posts►
- Plymouth Notch Historic District
Location: 3780 VT-100A, Plymouth, VT 05056
Designation: National Historic Landmark District
Date Designated/Established: June 23, 1965
Date of my visit: 7/30/2020