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Dear Rotarians,

You can help the District 7870 Foundation's (501-c-3) endowment to maintain the Little Red Schoolhouse (www.littleredschoolhouse.us) in Wallingford, VT , the boyhood home of Paul Harris, by purchasing a brick, paver, or gear tooth in the new Memorial Garden (see below) with their choice of engraving. RI does not give any funds to maintain buildings such as this Rotary icon.

Also can own a piece of Rotary history as I have the outside light fixtures that were recently replaced after many decades years of lighting the LRS. Anyone can email me, via RGHF, for the pictures, condition, size, weight, etc. of the lights (there are three of the green enamel ones which may have to be rewired but in very good condition and the lantern light in somewhat rusted condition which was above the door) and make a bid.

Bids accepted until 1 December 2012. (now expired)
Richard A. Berryman DDS
DG 2014-15 District 7870

RGHF also supports the LRS at www.rghf.org/donors
 
 
 
 
The building was erected in 1818 by James Rustin, Great Grandfather of Paul Harris. It was known as the Old Chapel Building. It has been used variously as a church, grocery store, school, tea room, and as a trade school. During the 1930's, artisans in the village gave freely of their time and talents to teach their trades to the local youth of the area. Paul Harris, when he learned of the project, was thrilled to know the building was once again being used as a school.
In 1928, six Rutland Rotarians, who were boyhood friends of Paul, purchased this property and established the Paul P. Harris Testimonial, Inc. in honor of Rotary's founder. The Wallingford Rotary Club was given stewardship of the building in 1948 to operate and maintain it as a memorial to Paul. The corpora-tion was made up of the Vermont Rotarians who had attended the previous District 787 Conference. A special Corporation meeting was held in the building in 1962 at which time it was voted that the members of the Wallingford Club would henceforth be members of the Corporation. On July 1st of each year, the officers and directors of the club would automatically become the officers and trustees of the Corporation.

Immediately after the club gained a clear title to the building in 1962, the mem-bers voted to raze a 50 year old kitchen that had become outdated and con-structed a new modern facility. More than 90% of the construction was done by members of the club. By 1983, the building's roof needed replacing. However, the project could not start until after the annual auction in early August. The old roof and underlying structure were removed and completely replaced, with some of the original slate being reused. Partial funding for this project came from the sale of some of the original square nails that were removed during the construction. A trust fund was established to help make the building self-sustaining. Monies generated from the sale of schoolhouse commemorative plates and other fundraisers were donated to this fund.

In recent years, it was becoming more difficult for the Wallingford Rotary Club to maintain this historic Rotary building. Thus, after much thought and discussion at the club and district level, the Rotary District 7870 Foundation was formed and in 2007, the title and endowment fund were transferred to this new foundation. One of the primary goals of this new entity was to build up the endowment fund to insure the future operation and maintenance of the schoolhouse. The Schoolhouse Committee studied several alternatives over the ensuing years and ultimately settled on the Paul Harris Memorial Garden. It has been a huge success and has been generously supported by all the Rotary clubs in District 7870, many in 7850 and many other districts, NE PETS, the Rotary Global History Fellowship and many individual donors. It is hoped that clubs and individuals will continue to purchase bricks or pavers for the garden. The project‘s cost will be fully funded with the surplus going to the endowment fund. The Foundation is very grateful to the many volunteers who have worked so hard to bring the Paul Harris Memorial Garden to such a successful conclusion. It is with great pride that this garden was dedicated June 25, 2012.
 
HISTORY OF THE PAUL P. HARRIS TESTIMONIAL

The Rotarians of the 37th District (now District 7870) voted to take an option on the property known as the Old Chapel Building, erected in 1818 by James Rustin the great-grandfather of Paul Harris. A committee of eight members- Herman W. Vaughan Rutland, Vt.; John C. Fox, Rutland, Vt.; Thomas C. Cheney, Morrisville, Vt.; Hon. John E. Weeks, Middlebury, Vt.; Leandor Parkhurst, Concord, N.H.; R. A. McKelvey, Whitefield, N.H.; Rowland B. Jacobs, Lebanon, N.H.; and Rev. Walter Thorpe, Brandon, Vt. were appointed to organize a permanent organization to purchase, hold and control the property in Wallingford, Vermont. This committee became the first trustees of the Paul P. Harris Testimonial, Inc.. The building and lands were purchased in two deeds in 1928. The first deed from the First Congregational Church was dated August 17, 1928 and recorded in the Land Records of the Town of Wallingford, Vt. in Book 23, at Page 519 and the second deed Nellie and Henry B. Adams, husband and wife, and Harry B. Townsend recorded in said Land Records in Book 23, at Page 532, on December 14, 1928.

On September 5th 1928 The Paul P. Harris Testimonial, Inc. was legally organized for the following purposes among others:
“To establish and maintain in said Wallingford, reading and writing rooms, libraries, museums, archives, antheneums, places of meeting and assembly, education and entertainment, rest and recreation;
To collect and receive, accept and administer for altruistic and charitable purposes alone any and all funds, money, securities, property and estates subscribed, donated, given, granted, devised, bequeathed or otherwise devoted to the TESTIMONIAL to Paul P. Harris as the founder of Rotary International which is the principal object of this corporation.”

In addition to the foregoing ideas and to make the project exemplify the spirit of Rotary it is proposed to expand the original plan to include a trade school for boys.

An old fashioned lantern, in the hands of an old man, has become the symbol in our eyes of the light that guided Paul Harris. Thus the light placed over the entrance was placed as a beacon light to many a lad in his upward climb to life and light and useful service among men.

The deed from the Paul P. Harris Testimonial, Inc. to the Officers of the Wallingford Rotary Club (Guido S. Malcarne, Donald E. Mead, and William B. McLaughlin) dated August 29, 1947 in the Town of Wallingford, Vt. Land Records in Book 27 at Page 472.

February 13, 1953 a letter was mailed to Rotary International requesting an annual allotment for the maintenance of the Paul P. Harris Building or if this was impossible for Rotary International to furnish advice relative to a plan of endowment that would insure the preservation of the Building.

On May 11, 1953 the Wallingford Rotary Club received word that the Board of Directors for R. I. had rejected the requests made by the club.

On February 6, 1956 the Wallingford, Vermont Club voted to contact the Wallingford Selectmen in regard to disposal of the Rotary Building. It was discussed with the Selectmen that the club was having financial difficulty operating and maintaining the building. At the conclusion of the meeting the members of the club were to contact the Selectmen at a later date to further discuss the building. No further reference can be found about this matter, as far as what transpired.

The District Trustees for the Paul P. Harris Testimonial, Inc. had not functioned properly, as they had not held an annual meeting or elected officers for many years, so the membership of the Paul P. Harris Testimonial, Incorporated petitioned the Superior Court in Rutland, Vermont on August 1, 1960 for an order authorizing the holding of an annual meeting of the said Paul P. Harris Testimonial, Incorporated at the Wallingford Rotary Club building in the Town of Wallingford, County of Rutland and State of Vermont at a future date at 7:30 P.M. EDT, for the transaction of the following business:

1. Election of Officers of the Corporation.
2. Amendment of the Articles of Association of the Corporation by deleting from said Articles of Association the provision thereof relating to membership and substituting in lieu thereof the following provision relating to membership:
“The Membership of the Paul P. Harris Testimonial, Incorporated shall consist of all members of the Wallingford Rotary Club, Wallingford, Vermont whose membership in said Rotary Club is certified to by the Secretary of said Club.”
3. To transact such other business as is necessary and proper.

The meeting warning was posted in the Rutland Herald and subsequently held in Wallingford, Vermont on December 16, 1963 at 7:45 P.M. and the Articles of Association were amended per the notice by the 16 members present who were members of the Testimonial.

Now as of July 1st each year the Officers and Directors of the Wallingford Club become the Officers and Directors of the Corporation.

Talks about financial support of the building commenced with Robert A. Manchester II, President of Rotary International on December 3, 1976 about financial support of the building. At a special meeting of the Paul P. Harris Testimonial, Inc. held December 20, 1976 a motion was made by Chester B. Eaton, Jr. and seconded by Irving Smith and passed unanimously:
Moved that the Paul P. Harris Testimonial, Inc. petition Rotary International for full financial support for the maintenance, upkeep and operation of the Paul Harris Memorial Building, Wallingford, Vermont. The Paul P. Harris Testimonial, Inc. will maintain title to the property and will supervise use of the property in the furtherance of the ideals of Rotary.

The Board of Directors of Rotary International, at its February 1977 meeting considered this Resolution and agreed it will give favorable consideration to this proposal that Rotary International undertake financial support of the building subject to Rotary International obtaining clear title to and having control over the operation of the memorial building.

At the annual meeting of the Paul P. Harris Testimonial, Inc. held in Wallingford, Vermont on April 18, 1977 the following resolution was passed:
Be it hereby resolved that the Paul P. Harris Testimonial, Inc. will consider granting clear and free title to the Paul P. Harris Memorial Building in Wallingford, Vermont to Rotary International provided that suitable arrangements can be concluded that guarantee continued perpetual use of the building by the Rotary Club of Wallingford, Vermont.

Upon receipt of this resolution Rotary International agreed to support the building by paying for any difference in the income versus expense in the operating budget up to $3,000 annually, which was later raised to $5,000.

The club and District Building Committee have been working on attaining a clear title to the building through a series of volunteer lawyers, who were not productive.

The deed from the Paul P. Harris Testimonial, Inc. to the Officers of the Wallingford Club had three conditions and must be followed:
1- The Grantees herein are to hold title as Trustees for the Wallingford Rotary Club and for the sole use and benefit of said Wallingford Rotary Club.
2- The lands and premises described and conveyed herein are not to be used or devoted to any purpose for personal profit or gain, but are to be used solely in furtherance of the purposes for which they have already been used by the Grantor herein and in commemoration of the late Paul P, Harris.
3- In the event that any of the conditions herein are broken or in the event that the Charter of the Wallingford Rotary Club shall expire, then and either event title shall pass to the Town of Wallingford, Vermont , provided the said Town of Wallingford accepts the same, upon the condition that the lands and premises shall be used solely in commemoration of the late Paul P. Harris and not for any purpose for profit or gain; and in the event that said Town of Wallingford refuses to accept these lands and premises upon said conditions, then and in that event the Title shall revert to the Grantor.

On January 5, 1998 the Town of Wallingford, Vermont Select Board voted to give up all rights to the Rotary Building per condition 3 of the deed. The vote was 3 for, 1 against, 1 abstain. This can be found in Misc. Book 11 Page 271 Select board’s Meeting Minutes.
 
 
Provided by RGHF member DG 14/15 Richard Berryman, D7870 and posted 15 August 2012 by Jack M. B. Selway
 
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