Hartland’s Big Day – Damon Hall Dedication
On December 2, 1915, The Honorary Clark C. Fitts of Brattleboro spoke at length about the importance of community life and how it forms a town’s character. “You of Hartland, with this beautiful building, are far richer than if mere money had been given, for here is great opportunity for the best community life. This building should be a center of the very best social life in the community and of the highest intellectual life as well.”
Mr. Fitts commented on civic life: “The trend of the times is radicalism. The referendum and recall are put out as remedies. Now the very essence of democracy is in getting together the men of the town in such community centers as this for a meeting of the minds and discussion.”
The dedication exercises closed with a medley of patriotic airs by a chorus, ending with “America” by the chorus, orchestra, and audience. After the program, all were invited to inspect the hall, and supper was served in the new dining room. Townspeople provided the food for what was probably the most notable meal ever served in Hartland. Six-hundred people enjoyed the bounty of the town. At eight o’clock, the orchestra played for a dance, preceded by a grand march with 87 couples. The hall may have been too crowded for comfortable dancing, but everyone seemed to have a lovely time. Supper was served until 10:30, and dancing went on until 1:30 a.m.
Damon Hall was a gift to the town from Mrs. William Emerson Damon, the children of Urias and Harriet Cotton Damon, the children of John and Lucy Damon Lamb, and the children of Merit and Lavinia Damon Penniman.