Shelburne Historical Society taking story of shipbuilding in Shelburne to History Expo

Two sub chasers built by the Askes at Shelburne Shipyard during WWII.  This photo is from the Bailey-Howe Library collection.
Two sub chasers built by the Askes at Shelburne Shipyard during WWII.  This photo is from the Bailey-Howe Library collection.

By Roz Graham

This is a big weekend for history buffs in Vermont as the annual Vermont History Expo is held at Tunbridge Fair Grounds on Saturday and Sunday, June 17 and 18 from 10am to 5pm.

Shelburne’s newly reinvigorated Historical Society was excited to learn that this year’s theme was H2O: The Power of Water in Vermont History. “It seems like a perfect opportunity to highlight the history of shipbuilding in Shelburne, a history that many in Vermont, and even in Shelburne, may not know,” said SHS President Dorothea Penar.

“The focus of our exhibit is the Shelburne Shipyard,” she said. “The exhibit title is Shipbuilding for Commerce, Leisure, and War.  It is primarily a pictorial overview of the Shipyard history highlighting the steamboat era with pictures and of the steam-driven ships from the first ship built in Shelburne, the General Greene to the last ship built, the Ti. With the dominance of the railroads for commercial transportation along the Champlain Valley , the transition from the use of steam ships for commercial/freight to the importance of excursion trips on Lake Champlain on the elegant steamboats will be featured in the exhibit.”

Moving closer to modern times, the SHS exhibit will focus on the war time ships built at Shelburne Shipyard when it was owned by the Askes. The war contracts revived the shipbuilding at the shipyard and continued through the Korean War.

The History Expo also features family fun, heritage animals, music (including concerts both days by Shelburne native Rick Norcross with his Rick and the Ramblers Country Swing band), children’s games, crafters, let’s go fishing activities, genealogy exhibits, Vermont author talks, living history demonstrations, parades and more.

Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children, age 5 and under free, family day pass $20. And half price admission for visitors in period dress.

More information at www.vermonthistory.org/expo.

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