Calvin Coolidge

Calvin Coolidge was born on July 4, 1872, in the downstairs bedroom of an apartment behind the general store in Plymouth Notch, Vermont.
His family lived there until 1876, when they moved into the farmhouse across the street.
In 1923, 47 years later, Coolidge was in that house when he heard that Harding had died, and that he was now the President of the United States. His father, a notary public, administered the oath of office in the living room, at 2:45 am.
Soon tourists began appearing in the town, which had a population of less than 30 people, most of whom were related. Now the entire town of Plymouth Notch is preserved as a memorial to Calvin Coolidge, and even fewer people live there.
Now designated as the Plymouth Notch Historic District, it is owned and operated by the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation, which was established by the state in 1947, with an immediate charge to address the situation at Plymouth Notch.
The farmhouse remained in the family, occupied by Calvin Coolidge’s father, until he died in 1926. In 1956, his grandson gave it to the state of Vermont, with the furnishings in place. It is now called the Coolidge Homestead.
The birthplace building was later acquired by the Vermont Division of Historic Preservation, and restored to its 1872 appearance.
In 1875, when Calvin Coolidge was three years old, his father purchased the general store. Florence Cilley, whose name is still on the sign above the entrance, ran the store from 1917 until 1945. She sold it to her daughter and son-in-law, who restored it to its 1923 form when Coolidge became president.
Though they held on to it for a while, the building is now owned by the state, though the store operates as its own business.
The Plymouth Cheese factory was built by local farmers (including Coolidge’s father) in 1890. The operation closed in 1934, but was reopened by the president’s son, John, in 1960.
The Vermont Division for Historic Preservation purchased it in 1998. Cheese-making was brought up to code, and continues here, with a store selling other locally made products too.
Upstairs are displays about cheese.
The state of Vermont opened a museum and education center here for the centennial of Coolidge’s birth, in 1972. It was expanded and retooled in 2010, and is operated by the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation.
Inside is a visitor center, gift shop, offices, and function rooms.
There is also a new and interactive exhibition all about the life and legacy of Calvin Coolidge.
Coolidge moved away from Plymouth Notch to go to school in 1887. After that he went to Amherst College in Massachusetts, then moved to nearby Northampton to study law.
He established his law practice in Northampton, where he lived the rest of his life. He rented the left half of this duplex house and lived here for 24 years as he became mayor of the city, governor of the state, and president of the nation.
After leaving office, Coolidge returned to the house, but a constant stream of visitation from a curious public took a toll on him and his neighbors.
He moved to a nearby house, located at the end of a street, with gates on the driveway, and lived there till he died, in 1933. It too was a rental.
He left his papers to the Forbes Library in Northampton. It is the only official presidential collection in a public town library.
Calvin Coolidge is buried in the small rural cemetery in Plymouth Notch, next to his wife and five generations of his family.
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