William Hazelett Upson Bandstand
Middlebury Village Park
Built - 1975
The town of Middlebury is located in the western part of the state in the Champlain Valley. It is an historic town with a cultural and educational center and is also a tourist and vacation destination. There is always something to do in town be it eating at great restaurants, inns, shops, museums and libraries as well as theatre, college and sports venues. The town's annual Festival on the Green is an event that people come to from within the state and from all over the New England area. The mountains and open areas for winter and snow sports make it a very attractive place to visit.
Gamaliel Painter is the one credited with being the first owner of the land, then known as Salisbury, after the Revoultionary War ended. He acquired the ownership of the high ground which now overlooks the downtown and falls area. That property is known as Painter Property and is now owned by Middlebury College.
Middlebury decided to build its first bandstand in 1870 after interest in organizing a band came to be in the early 1860s. Several other bandstand were built from that point on in Middlebury Village Park. The one previous to the current bandstand was built in 1918 and was used until the late 1980s. This bandstand became a problem hangout due to local alcoholics who either had no home or didn't bother to go home during the summer months. The Village Trustees had problems keeping the storage area of the bandstand locked due to these vagrants. The bandstand was a simple octagon with lampposts and lights on top of each and had no roof which was a problem when summer showers would quickly cancel concerts. The structure was finally demolished by fire due to the carelessness of the alcoholic occupants.
In 1974, the Middlebury Garden Club began a drive to have a new bandstand built spearheaded by Doris Bowker who spent a considerable amount of time convincing the Middlebury Rotary Club to undertake the project and to present it to Middlebury as a gift. She though that it was a great time to also honor William Hazzlett Upson, of the town, who had become very famous for his Alexander Botts stories published by the Curtis Publishing Company in the Saturday Evening Post.
The project then got underway with Theron Wolcott commissioned to design and oversee the building of the structure using donated building materials and Rotarians as volunteer labor. The design included an O'gee roof with an octagonal plan large enough to hold a Bristol-sized band.
The bandstand was finally completed and the new William Hazlett Upson Bandstand was dedicated on Tuesday, June 12, 1975 at a formal ceremony with Mrs. Upson unveiling a plaque dedicating the bandstand.
INFORMATION PROVIDED BY:
David Clark, Librarian
Ilsley Public Library