The Old Grocery at the Village Green will be open to the public for the first time in years during an open house hosted by the Windham Historical Society Saturday, Sept. 24. Contributed / Windham Historical Society

The Windham Historical Society has been very busy this summer. If you’ve driven by the Village Green at 234 Windham Center Road, you might have noticed that the buildings are now all freshly painted and getting one step closer to being opened to the public.

To culminate all their hard work, the society is hosting a free open house and concert on the Green from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24.  The open house will introduce the public to the newly renovated Old Grocery building, originally located at the corner of Windham Center Road and Route 202. The structure was moved to the Village Green about two years ago. It is now all spruced up and set up to replicate a mercantile as it would have looked at the turn of the 20th century.

Generations Quartet will provide the entertainment during the free event. Contributed / Windham Historical Society

The store is filled to capacity with interesting artifacts and items that would have been sold at a country grocery store of the time. There are also exhibits that show the many uses the store had over the decades, which included a tailor shop and a cobbler shop in addition to being a general store. There is a unique telephone display that includes a switchboard identical to the one that served Windham in earlier days.

“We’re so excited to unveil the Old Grocery,” said building steward Linda Lunt, who is also the society’s treasurer. “We’ve been looking forward to this for a long time and it’s so wonderful and rewarding to see the end results and share them with the people of Windham.”

Another building that will be open for tours will be The Village School, the one-room schoolhouse on the Green. Visitors will meet the school marm, portrayed by society member Paula Sparks, who will discuss what a day in a 19th-century classroom was like. The school is set up like most classrooms of the day, complete with a pot belly stove, lessons on the blackboards, “McGuffey Readers,” inkwells and slates.

“It’s nice to be able to open back up to students after the two-year COVID break,” Sparks said. “We’re hoping that by opening the school to the public for the day, it will encourage more teachers to bring their students over for a lesson. We’ve missed the interaction with the kids and are looking forward to holding classes again.”


Contributed / Windham Historical Society

Another look into Windham’s past will be provided by Sam Simonson, the Society’s vice president and steward of the blacksmith shop. Simonson will discuss the importance of the smithy back in the days when horses were relied upon by local farmers and for transportation. He will also talk about the tasks a blacksmith would perform during his work day.

To add to the atmosphere during the open house, the society has lined up Generations Quartet, an old-time barbershop quartet, to perform songs from bygone days from 1-2 p.m. in the Green’s freshly stained gazebo.

Visitors are encouraged to bring a picnic lunch and some chairs and relax while enjoying the old-fashioned four-part harmony of this talented nostalgic group. The society will also be selling its delicious, legendary homemade desserts at the Old Grocery.

Come enjoy a pleasant stroll through the past and take advantage of a wonderful opportunity to see what fun can be had with history.

Haley Pal is a Windham resident and active member of the Windham Historical Society.

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