According to the Vermont Secretary of State’s office, Winooski was the most recent Vermont village to complete the process of breaking away from the town it was part of and becoming a city of its own. It was founded in 1866 as a village within the Town of Colchester.
In 1921, Winooski got permission from Vermont lawmakers to change its charter and break away. Winooski voters approved the charter change on Town Meeting Day the following March. On March 22, 1922, Winooski officially became the Onion City that Vermonters know today.
A centennial celebration committee is planning a city-wide party. It’s going to begin on Monday, March 7 — exactly 100 years to the day after the Town Meeting Day vote approving the withdrawal from Colchester. The centennial will continue through Saturday, March 12.
“COVID is this big unknown, so a lot of the events that we’re trying to plan are a hybrid model — either in-person or self-guided or virtual, or even a combination of some of those,” committee chair Amy Lafayette said Thursday night.
Some of the planning involves the use of local television airwaves. However, the air dates aren’t available yet.
“We also reached out to Vermont PBS to see if they would be interested in re-airing some documentaries related to the topic of Winooski the week of our centennial,” Lafayette said. “And we just heard back from them this week that they would be happy to do that.”
One of the documentaries is centered around Winooski photographer and UVM faculty member emeritus Dan Higgins. He’s compiling a centennial photo exhibit, to be titled ‘Winooski Then & Now’.
“I’m looking for ones that historically suggest a different way of the community being and also trying to hit as many different events as I can,” Higgins said. “I’m sort of aiming for a hundred photographs.”
The committee is also looking to combine two different types of maps other Vermont communities have developed for use on self-guided walking tours.
“There are some really beautiful ones for a lot of these towns — Vergennes and St. Albans — I think Shelburne has one,” Winooski Historical Society president Joe Perron said. “They’ll do one that’s kind of an historic walking tour, and then they’ll do one that’s more of a look at commerce and activities of the town.”
The Winooski Centennial Celebration Committee has its next meeting on Thursday, November 18.