News Releases

July 01, 2010

Vermont’s Constitution To Have Birthday Party

WINDSOR, Vt. – There won’t be cake, but it will still be a party.

Period re-enactors will help Vermont’s Constitution celebrate its 233rd birthday at the Old Constitution House in Windsor on Saturday, July 10, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

“1777 Constitution Day commemorates one of the most exciting episodes in Vermont’s history,” said William Jenney, Regional Historic Site Administrator for the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation. “The fact that you can still visit the tavern where our state’s constitution was adopted – literally the birthplace of Vermont – is even more of a cause for celebration.”

In early July 1777, delegates to the Windsor Convention adopted Vermont’s constitution literally “amidst a baptism of thunder, lightning, and rain” as news of the British invasion on the western side of the Republic reached Windsor on July 8.

“The constitutional delegates had just adjourned for the day at Elijah West’s tavern when word of the American army’s withdrawal from Mount Independence and Fort Ticonderoga and the Battle of Hubbardton reached Windsor,” Jenney said.

The group almost immediately disbanded to respond to the threat, he said. But a sudden violent thunderstorm delayed them long enough so that the Constitution could be voted on and adopted, and West’s tavern soon became known as the Old Constitution House, now a state-owned historic site.

On July 10 the public is invited to join re-enactors and traditional artisans at the old tavern where it all began. Guides in period attire will give tours that focus on Vermont’s early years and the first constitution in America to prohibit slavery, as well as the shortest.

“At 6,323 words, Vermont’s 1777 Constitution was extremely succinct,” Jenney said. “Even today, at just under 8,500 words, Vermont’s Constitution is easily the shortest. The average state constitution is about 34,000 words; the U.S. Constitution is only 7,500 words.”

The event culminates at 2:00 p.m. when a messenger on horseback will re-enact the delivery of the news about the British invasion to the Old Constitution House.

The Old Constitution House State Historic Site is located at 16 North Main Street in Windsor and is open through October 11, Saturdays, Sundays and Monday holidays, 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

For further information call (802) 672-3773, or visit www.HistoricVermont.org/sites

Source: Division for Historic Preservation
Last Updated at: July 01, 2010 14:37:47