Charitable Groups at Work Around Town
There are a number of various groups doing excellent work to provide the many valuable services that help make Barnard a thriving small town Vermont community. The village of East Barnard is no exception here, and because of the strong, tight-knit community in that hamlet, East Barnard’s resources are listed separately below.
Barnard Community Trust
The Barnard Community Trust (BCT) was formed in 2012 as a local, non-profit organization committed to finding a way to save the much-loved Barnard General Store, which had temporarily closed. The BCT successfully rallied the community to chip in enough money to buy the store and property, found new owners to run the business, and thus reopened the store in Spring of 2013. Today, the mission of the BCT is to promote and enable the Town of Barnard to maintain and enhance our rural quality of life in a positive and sustainable way.
Because the BCT owns the Barnard General Store building and surrounding property, the trust is responsible for the property taxes and insurance on the building. It is also responsible for upkeep, which is no small order for a store that first opened in 1832. The BCT continues to raise funds to keep the Barnard General Store strong, stable, and healthy for years to come.
Currently contact information for the BCT is:
Barnard Community Trust, Inc.
PO Box 262
Barnard, Vermont, 05031
Tom Platner, President
Barnard Helping Hands
Under the guiding philosophy that neighbors should help neighbors, Barnard Helping Hands is an ever-expanding group of volunteers that match the community’s skills with its needs. If someone needs a ride to a doctor’s appointment, Barnard Helping Hands will find that ride. If someone needs help with a month’s rent, Barnard Helping Hands has funds on hand. The group distributes holiday food baskets and gift cards at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and collects gifts for children to spread some cheer. Every fall, Barnard Helping Hands holds a Firewood Fest, where neighbors come together to cut, split and deliver wood to Barnard residents that are in need of fuel assistance.
Do you need a helping hand? If so, please call or email:
To donate, please mail checks to:
Barnard Helping Hands
PO Box 888
Barnard, VT 05031
Silver Lake Association
The Barnard Silver Lake Association (BSLA) was formed in 1983 by a group of Barnard residents that wanted to protect the quality and future of Silver Lake. Throughout the years the BSLA has been very instrumental in monitoring the lake for invasive species and water quality as well as sponsoring many recreational activities. The BSLA endeavors to inform residents and visitors about water quality, aesthetics and safety. BSLAs mission is to protect Silver Lake from degradation; to preserve its beauty and environmental integrity; and to encourage safe and responsible enjoyment. BSLA is a volunteer organization that is funded by donations.
Currently BSLA contact information is:
Barnard Silver Lake Association
PO Box 142
Barnard, Vermont, 05031
Peter Stoddard, President
Craig Hadden, Treasurer
Silver Lake Progressive Club
The Silver Lake Progressive Club is a community-based ladies’ club in Barnard, Vermont, that has been active for over one hundred years. The club has its roots as a farmers’ wives’ guild, with experts from the Agricultural Extension Service providing women with advice on balanced nutrition and on canning, preserving, gardening, and other home-based arts. Back then, wives met at the Progressive Club while their husbands went to grange meetings. The “Progressive” in the name isn’t political by nature, but rather was a Victorian synonym for “Modern.” The Club evolved over time into a series of lunchtime potluck get-togethers during the warmer months, with speakers presenting on various topics.
For many years, the Progressive Club met in Ward Hall, but these days the group convenes in the Holway Community Room in the basement of Barnard’s Danforth Library. Presently, the Club meets six times per year and is known for its July 4th Bake Sale and its Town Meeting lunch. These two projects help provide the funding for the Club’s annual award of a scholarship to a Barnard high school senior, as well as its maintenance of gardens at the Town Hall and in the central traffic island.
The BEES (Barnard Educational Endeavor Society) are a society of parents, teachers, and community members who plan events for the children, organize teacher appreciation efforts, and provide support for student academic and extracurricular experiences. The group originally called itself The Parent’s Club, but in 1990 the BEES acronym was adopted as a reminder of the role Barnard Academy played in making the honeybee the state insect.
The Barnard Education Fund Committee
The Barnard Education Fund (BEF) was established in 2000 in an effort to generate grant money for support of Arts and Cultural enrichment at Barnard Academy. The Fund was created at a time when school budgets were under considerable pressure and tax revenue couldn’t cover enrichment activities. Twin Farms offered a matching grant challenge, which was oversubscribed by the local community, and since then, the BEF’s annual solicitation regularly generates a generous local response. As a result, BEF has been able to make annual grants of roughly $10,000.
Culture & Education for the Community
The Charles B. Danforth Library
The Charles B. Danforth Library dates back to 1927, when a local physician, Dr. Danforth, gave the town a section of brook-side land on Route 12 in the village. The structure was designed and built under the auspices of a Reverend Holway, who not only raised the funds and ran the construction project, but also helped acquire books to stock the collection. In 2005, residents of Barnard voted for funds for substantial renovations to the Danforth building, and at that point the dark cellar was repurposed to become what is now a bright and inviting community space, the Holway Room. A new bathroom, heating system, and a wider staircase rounded out the renovations.
The Danforth Library is run entirely by volunteers and is a hybrid of old and new. For example, while we still use a hand-written checkout system, we also offer free high-speed fiber optic internet service to our patrons as well as a large-screen media center in the downstairs Holway Community Room.
The Danforth’s Book Room upstairs offers a wide range of materials from classics to best sellers, books of history, science, biography and memoir, as well as field guides, cook books, DVDs, audio books, and much more. There is comfortable space to read or work, including a special Children’s Corner. Generous, book-loving townspeople often bring donations, and a fund is available for the purchase of new books. The Holway Room downstairs provides free space for a variety of community-based activities and events such as yoga and meditation classes, local group meetings, book group discussions, and fabric arts collaborations. The Library’s open hours can vary but are always posted on a sign by the front door.
Currently the library hours are:
Saturdays: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Wednesdays: 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Phone: 234-9408 (during open hours)
Trustees: Kimberly Barnhart, Margaret Edwards, Suzy Hickey, Judy Maynes, and Edythe Wright
Barnard Historical Society
On a Fall day in 1977, the Barnard Historical Society was born. At a meeting organized by the Silver Lake Progressive Club, local history enthusiasts from Barnard, East Barnard, and Pomfret joined to form the society with the goal of keeping the town and region’s vital history alive. In its first year, the Society met in different locations around town, as volunteers collected historical artifacts and stored them in the basement of the Danforth Library.
In 1960, Lois Larcom Horn, a school teacher from Massachusetts, bought the original Village School House, built in 1858 on Route 12 just a half mile north of the general store. Ms. Horn used the schoolhouse as a summer cottage for 42 years, and then, in 2002, donated the building to the Barnard Historical Society.
The plaque on the outside of the School House reads:
“It has taken many people and many years to create the beautiful history that is Barnard, Vermont. On this day, August 20, 2005, we dedicate the former Village School as the new and permanent home of The Barnard Historical Society. Within the walls of this old school house is the story of our beloved town.”
Today, residents and visitors alike can go to the old school house building to pore through the Barnard Historical Society’s comprehensive records of local history, genealogy and vital statistics.
Staying Connected in Barnard
Even though you might not want to think about the outside world when you’re in Barnard, you can still stay connected.
The Barnard Post Office
Located right on Silver Lake at 6430 Stage Road. The Barnard Post Office’s hours often change these days, but can be found in their entry on the United States Postal Service website.
ECFiber is a community-owned, fiber-optic network that delivers high-speed Internet to every home, business, and civic institution in its territory, which includes Barnard. ECFiber began its build-out in Barnard in 2011 and continues its mission to build and operate a universal, open access, fiber-to-the premises network, bringing state-of-the art connectivity to every home, business and civic institution in all of its member towns.
Free Wireless Internet (WiFi)
If you need to check your email or research something online, you can find free wireless internet at a few spots around Barnard including:
- The Barnard General Store
- Silver Lake State Park
- The East Barnard Community Club
Your Faith in Barnard
The town of Barnard hosts three churches, two of which are active, including the East Barnard Church.
The First Universalist Church
The First Universalist Church and Society of Barnard welcomes all faiths, and sits idyllically on the southern shore of Silver Lake. The building, constructed in 1844, is itself a beautiful example of a High Greek Revival style construction. The First Universalist Church and Society was founded in 1802, and even after two centuries continues to provide a place for reflection, spiritual exploration, fellowship and action. The church encourages people of many different religious faiths, ethnic and racial backgrounds and sexual orientation and welcomes everyone. The church hosts many weddings and special events throughout the year.
Silver Lake Chapel
Located across from the Town Hall on the shores of Silver Lake, the Silver Lake Chapel was originally built by Congregationalists and was then deeded to the Methodists in 1864. Silver Lake Chapel purchased the building in 1957. Today, the chapel is currently closed, and the building has been purchased for renovation.
Keeping Barnard Safe
If you have an emergency, call 911. If you would like to know more about the groups that work and volunteer to keep Barnard safe, keep reading.
The town of Barnard hosts two Fire Departments, including the Broad Brook Volunteer Fire Department in East Barnard.
Barnard Volunteer Fire Department
The Barnard Volunteer Fire Department (BVFD) was formed in 1956, after a house caught fire on the shores of Silver Lake. Worried that the homes in town were vulnerable, relying on help from too far away, locals met and volunteered to respond to fires and emergencies in town. For a few decades the BVFD was funded by donations and dues from homeowners, but in 1993 the Town of Barnard stepped in to act as fundraiser for the department’s budget. The guaranteed funding allowed for bank loans, and by 2001 the BVFD purchased its first ever new firetruck.
To this day, all of the firemen are volunteers and receive no compensation. All of the construction projects that serve the department’s needs have been done by the volunteer members, and many have donated use of their construction equipment and employees. In 1998 a First Response group was formed within the department, and today the BVFD responds to any emergency in town. Because many such emergencies occur outside of homes and away from roads, the department now has off-road equipment and water rescue equipment.
You can learn more about the BVFD’s emergency services by visiting our sister Barnard Town Government website for more information.
Windsor County Sheriff
The police presence in Barnard is provided by the Windsor County Sheriff. Primarily, the sheriff’s office is involved with civil law violations and enforcement. The Windsor County Sheriff’s office is located at 62 Pleasant Street in downtown Woodstock, and can be reached at: 802-457-5211.
Stay Informed on What’s Going On in Barnard
The Barnard Bulletin
The definitive monthly newsletter serving the Barnard community, the Bulletin was launched in the 1980s in order to keep the voting residents of the town informed about the issues of the time. Today, you can subscribe to a print edition or you can read for free on the Barnard Bulletin website.
The Barnard Vital Communities Listserv
Launched in 2011, the Barnard Vital Communities listserv, a moderated subscription-based email discussion list with over 500 subscribers, provides an email discussion forum for topics specific to Barnard. It is not an official town government service, but a voluntary, non-profit driven effort. Residents are encouraged to subscribe and post; non-residents may subscribe, but are asked not to post.
The Barnard General Store Bulletin Boards
Much of what is going on in and around town can be found out by taking a look at the bulletin boards on the porch of the Barnard General Store.
Tucked into the corner of Barnard bordering Pomfret and Royalton is the peaceful hamlet of East Barnard, where the headwaters of the Broad Brook basin converge. East Barnard is a quintessential New England village with a historic white church, cemetery, firehouse, community hall, village green, and vintage houses, as well as a former store and schoolhouse. Though the charming village can be reached only by unpaved roads, it’s worth the visit.
Learn more about the resources that serve East Barnard below.
Originally built in 1834 and known then as the Church of the Broad Brook Union Society, the church has been in continuous operation ever since. In the early 1970s, the name was changed to the East Barnard Church, and it offers multi-denominational services to around six different denominational groups, depending on the community’s needs at any given time.
Services are now held only in the summer and on Christmas Eve but the church offers other activities to the community throughout the year and is available for weddings, funerals, and concerts. The building is handicap accessible. Beginning in 2005, the East Barnard Church began offering Compline services, which is one of seven daily chants originating in the monastic Catholic religion of the 13th century. The East Barnard Church has altered the service slightly by interspersing the chant with English language poetry.
Seasonal Sunday Services: 9:30 AM from Father’s Day in June through the end of August
Christmas Eve Service: 5:30 PM
The BBVFD primarily serves the East Barnard area with firefighting services, receiving aid support from the volunteer fire departments in Barnard , South Royalton, and Pomfret. Incorporated in 1955, the fire department serves the Broad Brook watershed from the recently renovated firehouse on the edge of East Barnard village. The firemen hold two special community events each year at the East Barnard Community Hall:
The Fun Day, which features a parade, a chicken barbecue, and old fashioned games, always held on the first Sunday after the 4th of July.
The much anticipated Oyster Stew Supper and raffle are always held on the third Saturday of October.
You can learn more about the BBVFA’s emergency services by visiting our sister Barnard Town Government website for more information.
East Barnard Community Club & Community Hall
The East Barnard Community Club was formed in the 1930s, growing out of the regional tradition of women’s social groups. In 1984 the Club took over the local Grange Hall, which was then renamed the East Barnard Community Hall. In 2011, men were invited to join the club after they pitched in to help with clean up and repair the hall after the floods of Tropical Storm Irene.
Today, free WiFi service is available on the porch of the Community Hall. Although the Hall is not winterized, it is available for rental during warmer months. The surrounding green offers picnic tables and playground equipment.
The Community Club regularly brings the village together for potlucks, porch concerts, work parties, and the lighting of the annual Christmas memory tree.
Far and away the biggest fundraiser in East Barnard is the annual Largely Local Dinner—a turkey dinner with all the fixings, apple crisp and ice cream, all sourced from local farms, vendors, and artisans—held every year on the first Saturday after Labor Day in September.
East Barnard Village Crier
Started in 2005 as a way for the Community Club to keep in touch with neighbors, the Crier e-group has grown to include nearly 150 households, a number that includes locals, seasonal residents, and old friends who have since moved away. Through this private listserv residents can share local events and news.