Presidents Day honors for Plymouth Notch native son

PLYMOUTH NOTCH, Vt. (WCAX) Presidents Day honors our country's history. And here in Vermont, that history is preserved for one president in particular.

In 1872, one of Vermont's most famous residents was born in the back of a general store in Plymouth Notch. He went on to become the 30th president of the the United States.

"You can't think of Calvin Coolidge without thinking of Vermont," said David Pietrusza, the author of "1920: The Year of Six Presidents," which documents the election that propelled Coolidge into the national spotlight. "Harding, Coolidge, Wilson, the two Roosevelts -- Theodore and Franklin -- and Herbert Hoover. And that is an amazing cast of characters."

Harding went on to win the presidency with Coolidge landing the job as vice president.

"You had a very crowded field in both parties and we are seeing that this year in the Democratic Party," Pietrusza said.

Coolidge was born in the back of the Plymouth Notch general store where his family was living at the time. In 1923, after Harding's sudden death, Coolidge was administered the oath of office across the street in the family homestead. It put the tiny village on the national map.

"So the town, or I should say village of Plymouth Notch, became instantly famous and literally thousands of people were coming every day to check it out," said William Jenney with the President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site.

In the late 1940s, the state of Vermont began acquiring the land that would become the historic site, considered by any one of the best preserved in the country.

Coolidge was known for being being able to work across party lines, something lacking in today's politics, according to former Vermont Republican Governor Jim Douglas, who sits on the board of the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation

"Gone for now are the days where folks could reach across the aisle, develop a consensus. Compromise seems to have become a dirty word," Douglas said.

The historical site is open to the public from May to October. Anyone is encouraged to stop by to get a first hand look at presidential history right here in Vermont.

President Coolidge was not the only Vermont-born President. Chester Arthur, the 21st president, was born in Fairfield.