On July 4, 1881 the Rutland County Historical Society held a celebration at Mason’s Point to name the island. It had been called the Island, then Chowder Island, and then Taghkannuc Island. Over 15,000 people were present at some point during the day. A barge, built by the Lake Bomoseen Transportation Company to carry 300 passengers at a time, traveled from Hydeville to Mason’s Point eight times during the course of the day, towed by the steamer Naomi. George Fuller of fair Haven explained how an Indian named Neshobe had helped the Green Mountain Boys fight the New Yorkers. Knowing the countryside well, Neshobe became one of the most noted scouts of his time. In 1924 the “Algonquinites” (of the Algonquin Hotel) formed the Neshobe Island Club which bought the island. There were only ten members at any one time, and memberships could be bought and sold. Members were allowed to bring guests but all activities were overseen by Alexander Woolcott, who later owned half the island. Dorothy Parker arrived for a weekend containing a garden hat, which was all she wore. Nudity was allowed, but intoxication was not. On another occasion Parker got drunk three days in a row. For this she was asked to leave the island. There are many wonderful stories about the many happenings on the island. The disbanding of the Neshobe Island Club came on January 23, 1943 , when Alexander Woolcott died of a heart attack while doing The Town Crier radio broadcast.
The theater and literary critic, Alexander Woollcott, owned Neshobe Island for many years. There are many stories about his guests from the Algonquin Round Table. Woollcott, Dorothy Parker's close friend and fellow member of the Algonquin Round Table, was literally larger than life. Harpo Marx described him as something that got loose from the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Woollcott had a charismatic personality that drew people to him.
Woollcott also wrote the single-most important biographical and critical assessment of Parker between 1916 and 1934. He wrote the famous evaluation of the conflicts that one finds in Dottie, in his 1934 book While Rome Burns:
"The outward social manner of Dorothy Parker is one calculated to confuse the unwary and unnerve even those most addicted to the incomparable boon of her company. You see, she is so odd a blend of Little Nell and Lady Macbeth. It is not so much the familiar phenomenon of a hand of steel in a velvet glove as a lacy sleeve with a bottle of vitriol concealed in its folds." The librarian at the library in Castleton was asked whose picture was on the east wall. The answer was Alexander Woolcott because he contributed a lot of money to the library. The Hennesseys owned the island from 1943 to 1964. Merritt Chandler purchased the island in 1964. The island is currently owned by Davene and Jerry Brown. Jerry and Davene Brown, the current owners of Neshobe Island, built a large home on Route 30 by the golf course in 2009. They bought Neshobe from the Chandler family (one of the Hubbardton Forge partners). The house has three stories and a circular stairwell connecting all three. The ground level includes a large two car garage plus an E-W garage also with a humongous ceiling along the entire N side to house a very large motor home. The second level has a great living area and is entered from a fourth garage off Route 30. The third level contains a Master Bedroom suite. There are lots of decks. The land was purchased from the golf course. Here it is on April 30, 2010.
Dance Pavilions In 1917 the trolley service was discontinued to Bomoseen Park and after the dance pavilion was moved to the Rutland Fairgrounds. In 1920, Bomoseen Park land was sold to the Lake Company which then sold it to Joseph Gibson. The pavilion was 106 by 90 feet and opened on June 22, 1921 as Gibson’s Crystal Ballroom. A big mirrored ball hung in the center of the ceiling. Colored lights shown on the ball from all corners giving the whole ballroom a magical appearance, and of course giving the ballroom its name. Approximately 1500 people attended opening night. Dances were held every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Security was tight and anyone smelling of liquor was not allowed on the dance floor. Dress for any dance was semi-formal. Women wore evening gowns, and men wore suits. At no time was a man allowed to remove his coat or tie. Mary Sondergeld’s parents met in Middlebury, VT at Calvi’s Ice Cream Parlor while attending summer school. Loretta Dillon was taking French and Charles Towne was taking a Bio Chemical course for medical school. They went dancing at Gibson’s Crystal Ballroom that summer.The end of Prohibition was the downfall of the pavilion. No longer content to just dance, people wanted a place where they could have a couple of drinks. However it continued to operate. In 1940 Gibson sold the ballroom to Joseph Pellerin who changed the name to the Casino. In 1940 and 1941 big names appeared: e.g. Jimmy Dorsey, Jack Teagarden, Gene Krupa, and Vaughn Monroe. In 1947 and 1948 included were Vaughn Monroe, Gene Krupa, Les Brown, Tommy Dorsey, and Woody Herman. After 1962 the Casino no longer offered dancing. During the winter of 1967, heavy snowfall caused the roof to cave in. Record snowfall during the winter of 1970 caused the collapse of the whole building.
at Crystal Ballroom. http://www.rutlandhistory.com/documents/RHSQ-Vol26-2-Spring1996.pdf
The Rutland Street Railway In 1882 a company, that later became CVPS built trolley tracks from Rutland to West Rutland. The trolley started service three years later on December 13, 1885. It was horse drawn until 1894 the horses were replaced by electricity. In the early 1900s the service was extended to Castleton, Castleton Corners, and to Fair Haven. Also at Castleton Corners there was a 3 mile extension north to the Lake House (later renamed the Trakenseen Hotel). Work on this extension began in June 1903, and included Bomoseen Park, which had a dance pavilion, swings, walkways, and a baseball diamond.
This open air trolley, pictured here in Rutland, VT,
operated between Rutland and Lake Bomoseen from 1904 to 1918.