The Fletcher Farm School for the Arts and Crafts is operated by the Society of Vermont Artists and Craftsmen, Inc. The Board of Directors consists of a number of dedicated and diverse individuals who generously volunteer their time and talents. Our commitment is to quality arts and crafts education, to keep alive old traditions, and to teach new techniques in a special Vermont setting, at a reasonable cost to the public. Those individuals elected to the Board by the membership are as follows:
Layne Herschel - Chairman of the Board, School Committee Director
Carolyn Scott -Finance Director
Cynthia Sheehan - Arts and Craft Festivals Committee Director
Phyllis Gagnon - Director-at-Large
Cheryl Gantkin - Membership Director
Rigmor Frink - Auction Committee Director
Harold Bosco - -Marketing Committee Director
Joyce Fuller - Volunteer Committee Director
Cheryl Leiner - Publicity Director
Susan Chadwick - Board Secretary
Individual membership to the Society of Vermont Artists and Craftsmen, Inc. is open to any person. Please call us for more information regarding membership at (802) 228-8770.
HISTORY OF the Fletcher Family and our lovely Campus
In August 1783 Jesse Fletcher, a 20 year old veteran of the Revolutionary War, came from Westford, MA to visit his brother Josiah, who had settled on what is now the site of the Black River High School at the east end of the village of Ludlow. He found a good spring of ice cold water on land just over a mile east of the village and decided to build a home there.
Jesse brought his wife Lucy Keyes and a baby daughter to Vermont and built a frame house which is said to be the oldest frame building in town. It is now the kitchen wing of "The Farmhouse" used by the School. The larger west end of he house was built in 1805 to accommodate his growing family.
The upstairs part of this house included a large room which became the home of the Black River Lodge of Masons. It featured a vaulted ceiling. For over 100 years the ceiling was covered with blue paper and on it were pasted random gold stars.
In this house fourteen more children were born to Lucy and Jesse. The property was left to his bachelor son Timothy. In turn it passed to Sidney, son of Timothy's next younger brother, Elijah, Sidney sold the farm to his cousin, Stoughton Fletcher, Jr. who built the artificial pond, the Sugarhouse (Weave House) enlarged the barn and developed the spring across the road from the house. It was his hobby and his summer home, although he lived most of his life in Indianapolis, where he founded a bank.
Allen M. Fletcher, who was the youngest son of Jesse's youngest son, bought the farm from the heirs of his cousin Stoughton. He added to the buildings and to the forest land.
After being in the banking business in Indianapolis and in New York City, he returned to Vermont and built the stone mansion which is now the Castle Inn in Proctorsville. He served as Governor of Vermont in 1912-13.
Gov. Fletcher (Allen, Sr.), left the property to his widow, Mary E. Fletcher and his daughters, Fanny and Mary F. Charlton. Mrs. Charlton died May 25, 1983, at the age of 105.
In 1928 Mary Fletcher and her daughters gave the property to the National Board of the YWCA to be used as a training school for young women. This program was not successful and the property was given back to the Fletcher in 1933.
Then in 1933 the entire property, including more than 400 acres of forest land and meadows, about half in the town of Ludlow and half in Cavendish, was given to a newly formed non-profit educational foundation, Fletcher Farm, Inc., with the condition that the property should always be used for educational purposes for the inhabitants of the towns of Ludlow and Cavendish and such other, places as may be determined by the Trustees
For fifteen years the corporation offered programs in adult education, some of them experimental, courses in leadership for camps and clubs, seminars on rural problems, the problems of small churches, drama and a small amount of craft courses. The original Board of Trustees included such well known names as Dorothy Canfield Fisher and Robert Frost.
Craft Courses grew rapidly and in 1948 the Farmhouse, barns and sugar house were leased to the Society of Vermont Craftsmen, a non-profit organization, who have continuously operated the Fletcher Farm Craft School ever since. It's purpose is to provide instruction in the Arts and Crafts under the expert guidance of skilled professionals.