When Lyndon State College alumna Joyce Selby first arrived on campus more than 50 years ago, she was in awe of the place she'd be calling home.
"I thought to myself, I'm going to be living here for the next three years and it was breathtaking and I couldn't believe it," she said.
Joyce Selby Jacobs is talking about Vail Manor, the onetime estate of AT&T president T.N. Vail; a space that in 1951 became home to Lyndon.
"The boys and girls were all under one roof; the boys had the carriage room and the girls had to sign in and sign out, and we were very well-monitored," Selby Jacobs said.
But as times changed, so, too, did the campus. In 1974, leadership on grounds eventually decided that maintaining the mansion was becoming too much of a challenge, tearing down the space in favor of new facilities that share some of the same footprint. In the decades since, it's upset a number of grads who are now taking action.
"They come to the campus and there are no school buildings here that they have ever attended school in or lived in and it's rather shocking probably, it's like a foreign campus to them," Dick Collins said.
Collins is from the Class of 1953 and is part of a team of older alumni putting the finishing touches on this new museum space that will pay tribute to the college's roots. Wood paneling that once lined the walls of the mansion and chairs built for visits from President Taft will be part of the collection.
"Well, what we are trying to do is bring a presence of the Manor Vail period back to campus," Collins said.
Construction on the space inside the Vail Center has been underway since May and it's slated to open later this month.
"This is the first time I have seen the mural on the wall and it sort of takes me back," Selby Jacobs said.
If you want to see the museum for yourself, the official ribbon cutting is slated for Sept. 29 on the campus of Lyndon State College.
The Manor Vail Society says it's hopeful the museum will catch on with alumni. They want to eventually want to have a replica of part of the mansion on campus.
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