Winooski site gets historical marker and place on VT African American Heritage Trail

A Winooski site is getting recognition for the part it played in history with a historic site marker and a place on the Vermont African American Heritage Trail.

Winooski United Methodist Church is in the process of becoming a registered historic landmark, according to a newsletter sent to residents by Winooski Mayor Kristine Lott.

The church, which was erected in 1860 and continues to serve parishioners at 24 W. Allen St., is already listed on the Vermont African American Heritage Trail website.

The United Methodist Church in Winooski, Vermont. July 18, 2020.

“The UMC was the home church for many Buffalo Soldiers and their families from 1909 to 1913,” the site reads. “Soldiers who retired in the area helped rebuild the church after a fire. Their descendants continue worshiping at UMC.”

During the Civil War, four fighting regiments composed of African American soldiers fought for the Union Army. The 10th regiment, also known as the “Buffalo Soldiers,” were stationed at Fort Ethan Allen for a four year tour starting in 1909. During that time, Vermont’s African American population nearly tripled with the enlisted men and their families adding 1,500 people to the state. The new families got involved in their communities and some settled in the area that would become Winooski, according to information on the Winooski United Methodist Church website.

At least four soldiers retired from the Army and decided to stay in Winooski and as members of what was then called Winooski Methodist Episcopal Church when the regiment was called to Arizona. They were First Sergeant Willis Hatcher, Sergeant Silas Johnson, Staff Sergeant John Ralph Lyons and Corporal Beverly Thornton.

A new historic marker on the Vermont African American Heritage Trail commemorates the Buffalo Soldiers and their time at Fort Ethan Allen in Colchester.

When the church burned down in 1917, the soldiers were instrumental assisting with the rebuilding.

In 2001, the church was placed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places for its depiction of the Carpenter Gothic architectural style.

The Winooski United Methodist Church is one of 12 sites on the Vermont African American Heritage Trail.

Contact April Barton at abarton@freepressmedia.com or 802-660-1854. Follow her on Twitter @aprildbarton.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.