[Congressional Record Volume 146, Number 85 (Thursday, June 29, 2000)]
[Pages S6110-S6111]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


 Mr. JEFFORDS. Mr. President, I rise today to note the 100th 
anniversary of the Charter of Manchester Village.
  Manchester Village lies in the valley of the Battenkill River nestled 
between the Green Mountains to the east and the Taconic Mountains to 
the west. Due to its geography and topography, Manchester Village has 
been at the crossroads of the earliest trails and roads in Vermont. The 
slopes of Mount Equinox, which rise 3,800 feet above the village, 
provide numerous fresh water streams and natural springs for the 
enjoyment of the resident and visiting populations.
  From its earliest days to the period of the Civil War, Manchester was 
very much frontier country with numerous inns and taverns at its 
crossroads. In 1781, according to the town history detailed in the 1998 
Village Plan, ``there were no churches, but there were four taverns, a 
jail, a pillory and a whipping post.'' But by 1840, Vermont was the 
slowest growing state in the Union, as much of the natural resources of 
the state had been depleted, and wool imports from Australia had 
brought an end to a brief boom of sheep raising in Manchester and other 
parts of the state.
  Beginning just prior to the Civil War, however, tourists began to 
discover Manchester. In 1853, the Equinox Hotel was opened by Franklin 
Orvis, who converted an inn that had begun in 1770. In 1863, when Mrs. 
Abraham Lincoln and her son, Robert Todd, stepped off the ten o'clock 
train, Manchester's reputation was made. Later, Presidents Ulysses S. 
Grant, William Howard Taft, Benjamin Harrison, Theodore Roosevelt, and 
Vice-President James S. Sherman would follow as visitors to Manchester 
  Today, the Equinox remains as one of Vermont's grandest 
establishments. The Village is also home to Hildene, the summer home of 
Robert Todd Lincoln and now operated as a house museum. The Southern 
Vermont Art Center, the Mark Skinner Library, Burr and Burton Academy, 
and two world class golf courses can be found in Manchester Village, 
along with numerous delightful inns and hotels, charming churches, 
exquisite restaurants, engaging museums, enchanting galleries and 
unique shops.
  Manchester Village thrives today in large part due to careful 
planning and the guardianship of an impressive streetscape 
characterized by marble sidewalks, deep front lawns, large, historic 
buildings, and an absence of fences. Village residents have faced the 
challenge of responsible and active stewardship since the tourist boom 
of the second half of the 19th century, and the Village Charter is an 
important part of that history.
  For some details of the genesis of the incorporation of Manchester 
Village 100 years ago, I turn to ``The Manchester Village Charter,'' 
written by Mary Hard Bort and reprinted here by permission of the 
Manchester Journal. Congratulations to the Village of Manchester on the 
event of its 100th birthday. I ask that that be printed in the Record.
  The material follows.

                     The Manchester Village Charter

                          (By Mary Hard Bart)

       By 1900 a building boom was flourishing in Manchester 
     Village,. It was nearly impossible to hire a carpenter and 
     the ``summer people'' who intended to build ``cottages'' that 
     year often found it necessary to hire labor from out of town.
       Some twenty years earlier in 1880 Village boundaries had 
     been laid out by the town's selectmen and approved by the 
     Vermont Legislature for the purpose of providing fire 
     protection in Fire District #2 (the Village).

[[Page S6111]]

       In 1894 John Marsden came to Manchester from Utica, NY and 
     contracted to purchase the springs on Equinox Mountain from 
     the Fire District and rights of way for a water system. Prior 
     to this time water for fighting fires was stored in huge 
     barrels strategically placed throughout the Village and 
     individual households were supplied by wells, or springs, or 
       Pipes were laid, a reservoir built and The Manchester Water 
     Company was formed in October 1894. The company had purchased 
     all the water contracts, springs, rights of way and conduits 
     from the Marsden family. Officers of the corporation included 
     Mr. Marsden, Mason Colburn of Manchester Center, J.W. Fowler 
     of Manchester Depot and E.C. Orvis of the Village. The 
     Marsden family continued to manage the water company until it 
     was purchased by the Town of Manchester in 1980.
       With a water system in place, the need for a sewage system 
     was pressing. The inadequacy of the open trench installed by 
     Franklin Orvis in 1882 was apparent and, in the spring of 
     1900, public spirited Village residents borrowed enough 
     capital to build proper sewer lines through District #2. Many 
     householders put in bathrooms at this time and eschewed the 
     outhouses that had served their modest needs up til then. 
     These sewer lines emptied directly into the Bauerkill and it 
     was not until 1935 that a modern sewage treatment plant was 
     built with federal funds, appropriated Village funds and 
     private contributions.
       Back in 1858 citizens of the Village had petitioned the 
     Legislature for authority to create a charter and had 
     received permission to do so but no action had ever been 
     taken. Now, at the end of the century, an entity with the 
     authority to purchase and construct a sewer, to provide 
     street lights, to regulate the width and grade of roads and 
     sidewalks, to prohibit certain activities, regulate others 
     and to protect property was clearly in order.
       The desire on the part of Village leaders to develop 
     Manchester as a fine summer resort with all the amenities 
     city people expected proved to be a strong incentive for 
     action. These men whose vision of a thriving summer resort 
     led to the building of elegant summer cottages, a golf course 
     and the opening of new streets were not satisfied with the 
     progress being made by the town in providing services they 
     deemed essential.
       Village voters were called to a series of meetings at the 
     Courthouse where the need for a charter was explained and by 
     October a bill was presented by Edward C. Orvis. He was the 
     son of Franklin Orvis and the current operator of the Equinox 
     House, a selectman for eight years and a representative and, 
     later, senator in the Vermont Legislature. Also on the 
     committee were William B. Edgerton, well-known realtor and 
     creator of several spacious summer estates, and Charles F. 
     Orvis, now elderly but with a wisdom greatly valued and 
     respected in the village. He was the proprietor of the Orvis 
     Inn as well as the manufacturer of fishing equipment.
       On November 11, 1900 the Bill of Incorporation for the 
     Village of Manchester, Vermont passed in the House of 
     Representatives and was signed by the governor.
       On December 3, 1900 the voters of Fire District #2 met at 
     the Courthouse and following an explanation of the provisions 
     of the charter, adopted the Village Charter, unanimously. The 
     Charter compels the Village to assume the obligations and 
     duties of Fire District #2, which ceased to exist with the 
     adoption of the charter. Also incumbent upon it is care of 
     its highways, bridges and sidewalks. Permitted are 
     improvements to public grounds, sidewalks and parks and 
     ordinances compelling property owners to remove ice, snow and 
     garbage from their property. Also allowed are street lights 
     provided by the Village and the purchase or construction of 
     sewers as well as the regulation of the width and grade of 
     streets and sidewalks.
       Elected to serve this new Village of Manchester were: 
     Edward C. Orvis, as president, D.K. Simonds, clerk, George 
     Towsley, treasurer and Trustee; C.F. Orvis, Hiram Eggleston, 
     M.J. Covey and Charles H. Hawley. Promptly on January 10, 
     1901, according to provisions in the Charter, the Village of 
     Manchester purchased from private investors, the sewer that 
     served it.
       Quickly following on the heels of incorporation, the 
     Manchester Development Association was formed in 1901 to 
     promote tourism in the area. This group, made up of full-time 
     and summer residents, underwrote the printing of 15,000 
     promotional booklets extolling the virtues of Manchester-in-
     the-Mountains as a summer resort. Its newly opened golf 
     course (the Ekwanok), its pure spring water, its 
     ``salubious'' climate were sure to bring people here.
       In 1912 the Village hired a special police officer for the 
     summer to control the traffic. The mix of automobiles and 
     horses had created some dangerous situations and some 
     automobile drivers were accused of driving too fast for 
       In 1921, the year after women secured the vote, Mrs. George 
     Orvis, who had taken over the Equinox Hotel after her 
     husband's death, was elected president of the Village.
       Assaults on the integrity of the Village as a separate 
     entity have been vigorously repelled. In 1956 a measure to 
     consolidate the Village with the Town was soundly defeated 
     and, though fire protection and police protection are 
     provided by the Town of Manchester, the Village retains its 
     own planning and zoning boards and its own road department 
     and the privilege of hiring additional police officers if it 
     deems that necessary.
       Numerous amendments had been made to the charter over time. 
     As estates bloomed land was added to the Village, other 
     amendments brought the charter up to date as time went on. A 
     new document was written to bring the charter up to date in 
     language and in provision and it was approved by the Town of 
     Manchester and by Village voters and by the Legislature in 
       For one hundred years Manchester Village has existed as a 
     recognized legal entity with the rights, privileges and 
     obligations that follow. Its officers today guard its 
     integrity with as much vigor as did their predecessors.
       July 2000.