The West River Railroad Museum

This is one very cool little museum, beautifully restored with fun displays and knowledgeable docents. A hidden gem (just behind the General Store) in Newfane Village. The West River Railroad Museum is open to visitors Saturdays and Sundays from Noon to 5 pm from Memorial Day through Columbus Day Weekend. The Museum is also open by appointment. Click on the Historical Society of Windham County website for more info. Well worth a visit!

The West River Railroad Museum

Interested in a little history about the West River Railroad? The beautifully restored Railroad Station in Newfane, Vermont will soon be opening for the summer season. The West River Railroad Museum has an extensive collection of artifacts, manuscripts, photographs and documents on exhibit.

The Historical Society of Windham County announced the Grand Opening of the West River Railroad Museum in October, 2017. Since the purchase of the Station in 2014, The Windham County Historical Society has been restoring the Depot Building and its associated Water Tank House in Newfane, Vermont. Click HERE for the BCTV (Brattleboro Community TV) video of the grand opening.

The Museum of the Historical Society of Windham County is on the east side of Route 30 in the Historic Village of Newfane, diagonally across from the County Courthouse and the Newfane Common. The Museum is open from Memorial Day weekend in May through Columbus Day weekend in October, and is located on the main street (Rt.30) in Newfane, VT. For hours and information click HERE.

Windham County Historical Society 2nd Annual Soup Fest and Silent Auction


West River Railroad Depot, Newfane, Vermont

The Windham County Historical Society is going to 36 miles of trouble to hold their 2nd Annual Soup Fest and Silent Auction on Sunday, March 20, 2016.  Doors open at 4:00PM with a $5.00 admission at the NewBrook Fire Station (Route 30 in Newfane, VT).  The event will help raise funds for the Windham County Historical Society’s restoration of the 1880 Newfane Railroad Station as a Museum of the West River Railroad and annex to the Windham County Museum in Newfane.

You won’t have to ride the West River Railroad’s “36 Miles of Trouble” to enjoy a variety of soups from Brattleboro to South Londonderry. Ten restaurants from the 10 Depot towns along the old West River Railroad are bringing them to you: Whetstone Station (Brattleboro), Top of the Hill Grill (Dummerston), The Eatery (Williamsville), Rick’s Tavern (Newfane), Harmonyville Store (Townshend), Dam Diner (West Townshend), Bitter Sweet Memories Cafe (Wardsboro), D&J Jamaica Grocery (Jamaica), Whiskey Dicks (Winhall), The New American Grill (South Londonderry).

Silent Auction bidding and the 50/50 raffle begin at 4:00. Soup, bread and fixings will be served at 5:00 PM, followed by desserts. Silent auction bids and the 50/50 raffle will close at 5:30 PM. The Society welcomes items for the silent auction (goods and/or services) to help make this year’s event another success. If you have items you are willing to donate, please contact Jane Robinson at 896-6102 or Sally Topitzer at 365-7698.

An exhibit of the West River Railroad’s “36 Miles of Trouble” will be on display including the Newfane Railroad Station diorama (built by model craftsman of international renown Bill Banta, and on loan from Doug Cox), along with vintage photographs of the West River Railroad.

West River Trail Update & Annual Meeting Report

West River Trail Update & Annual Meeting Report

WRT at MarinaThe West River Trail is open. Please be aware that there are intersections between construction access and the trail path, and users should exercise extreme caution at these intersections. As an additional safety precaution, users of the West River Trail are reminded to keep pets on a leash in this area. Trail users should be aware that snow removal operations on I-91 may cause snow to fall on the trail.

The next Trail Talk will be held on February 21. Check the I-91 bridge construction website for details.

Friends of the West River Trail (FWRT) in the news. Story published in The Commons issue #292 (Wednesday, February 11, 2015), page B2. Written by Sarah Buckingham.

LONDONDERRY—Work is about to begin to restore the former Newfane depot for use as a railroad museum. The Friends of The West River Trail (FWRT) learned more about this project, and others, when the group held its annual meeting at the former South Londonderry depot last month.

Laura Wallingford-Bacon, president of the Windham County Historical Society in Newfane, said her organization purchased the 1880 building for $42,000 from the children of Fannie and Bill Mantel last fall. It had been in the Mantel family for around 50 years. The railroad went out of business in the 1930s. The purchase price includes historical artifacts in the station. The historical society plans to restore the building and incorporate a collection of artifacts from the West River Railroad that currently resides at the county history museum. South Londonderry and Newfane are the only two of the 10 original depots from the West River Railroad that still sit at their original sites. Other surviving depots that were later relocated can be found in West Dummerston and Williamsville. Wallingford-Bacon said the historical society hopes to raise funds to offset the purchase price and to restore the property and they have received an “encouraging response” to that campaign. The restoration will take place in six phases, with an estimated total cost of around $50,000. The first, and most urgent, phase — addressing drainage and replacing the roof — is expected to cost $16,000.

At the annual meeting, FWRT board members Lester Humphreys and Paul Cameron gave a presentation on the Riverstone Preserve, a 23-acre parcel which the group acquired in 2013. The land sits one mile north of the Marina restaurant in Brattleboro, between the West River Trail and the river itself. The southern section subcommittee purchased the land for $97,000. One-third of the purchase price was raised in donations and the rest came from a grant from the Vermont Housing Conservation Board. The Vermont Land Trust holds a conservation easement on the property.
Cameron gave an overview of the plant communities in the Riverstone Preserve, which include a sugar maple ostrich fern flood plain community; a river shore grassland that is home to several rare plants such as the great lobelia; and a river cobbleshore, where the FWRT are working to control invasive Japanese knotweed, the worst of several invasive plant species in the preserve. Cameron also reported that last spring a volunteer group formed to develop a management plan for the preserve. So far the group has completed a drainage project, built a trail connector with a board walk, removed an old shed, and continues to work removing invasive species. More volunteers are needed for projects happening this summer. FWRT would like to build stone steps, picnic table, a pavilion or shelter of some type, and an information kiosk.

The FWRT board of directors elected Greg Meulemans as board president and treasurer. Humphreys was voted in as vice president of the board and assistant treasurer for the trail’s lower section subcommittee, and Sharon Crossman the assistant treasurer of upper section.

Meulemans reported that FWRT has received a grant for mile markers which will be modeled after railroad markers and be installed along the trail this summer.


Reception and Celebration of the Old Newfane Railroad Station & the New West River Railroad Museum

Reception and Celebration of the Old Newfane Railroad Station & the New West River Railroad Museum

Dear Friends of the West River Trail,
Please join us to celebrate another West River Trail/Railroad milestone!
The Historical Society of Windham County cordially invites you to a reception and celebration of its purchase of the Old Newfane Railroad Station and the creation of the New West River Railroad Museum. A special reception with beverages and light food provided and musical interlude by Gene Morrison, will be followed by a slide presentation on the History of The West River Railroad (WRRR) by Glenn Annis. Glenn Annis is considered the foremost authority on the West River Railroad. Since his last public presentation over a decade and a half ago, Glenn has continued to research the WRRR. This presentation includes photographs and findings on the WRRR not previously shared publicly.

Date: Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014
Place: NewBrook Fire Station, Route 30, Newfane, VT
Time: 6:00 Special Reception; 6:45 Music by Gene Morrison; 7:00 Presentation: The History of the West River Railroad by Glenn Annis