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OUR ARCHIVES AT WORK

“The Hidden History of Litchfield County”

Pete Vermilyea book resizedThe Kent Historical Society and Kent Memorial Library will present local author and prominent educator Peter Vermilyea as he discusses and signs his new book “The Hidden History of Litchfield County” on Sunday, February 8, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. at the Kent Town Hall. (Snow date Sunday, February 22, 2015 at 2:00 PM)

In his book and presentations, Vermilyea uncovers abundant clues all around us, and shares them with audiences and readers throughout the region. His curiosity takes him all over the local landscape, and he constantly turns up instances of history that still linger, if you open your eyes to see them.

Stonewalls and graveyards summon numerous stories from Vermilyea. He points out weed-choked railroad tracks that crisscross the county, in Kent and beyond, and brings our attention to a ruined cinderblock bunker in Warren that was once a crucial radar station during the Cold War. He reminds us of a catastrophic fire that devastated Winsted in 1908, forcing residents to flee the Odd Fellows boardinghouse in fear of their lives. In Bantam, art deco chairs made by the Warren McArthur Corporation were so appealing and comfortable that the War Department ordered bomber seats from the company during World War II. Vermilyea explores these and other juicy tales from the history of Litchfield County, Connecticut.

A resident of Litchfield, Mr. Vermilyea teaches history at Housatonic Valley Regional High School in Falls Village, Connecticut, and at Western Connecticut State University. A graduate of Gettysburg College, he is the director of the student scholarship program at his alma mater’s Civil War Institute. He is a member of the Litchfield Historical Society Board of Directors. He is the author or editor of three books and more than a dozen articles and maintains the Hidden in Plain Sight blog. In fact, the book grew from Vermilyea’s fascinating blog, which can be found at www.hiddeninplainsightblog.com. “The Hidden History of Litchfield County” boasts five-star reviews on Amazon, with such comments as, “extremely well-written and impressively researched,” and “it is amazing how many remnants of the nation’s past the author has uncovered…”

Vermilyea’s lecture will be particularly geared to Kent and its citizens, but everyone will want to attend. A long-time friend of both the Kent Historical Society and Kent Memorial Library, Vermilyea made ample use of the society’s archives in researching this book. Readers will find a handsome acknowledgement to the Kent Historical Society’s Curator, Marge Smith, on page 8.

His book, “The Hidden History of Litchfield County” will be available for purchase at the lecture by local bookstore House of Books. There will be a reception following the presentation. The program is free and open to the public. Donations are suggested and welcome. To register, please call 860-927-4587 or 860-927-3761, email assistant@kenthistoricalsociety.org or kmlinfo@biblio.org or register at the Library at kentmemoriallibrary.org and click on the events calendar.