Downtown Woodstock has seen many changes in recent years. New stores and restaurants have opened, new trails have been added, new buildings constructed, events debuted, and more.
With all the changes, it can be easy to overlook the history that can be discovered in Woodstock.
A common question we get at the Woodstock Visitors Center is who is the most historically important figure from Woodstock. The answer to this question gives us a chance to point out that Woodstock has been home to two Rhodes Scholars: Dean Rusk, who served as Secretary of State under presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, and Eugene Booth, an atomic scientist who was involved with the Manhattan Project and the development of the atomic bomb. It is amazing to think that a small town like Woodstock produced two winners of this prestigious honor!
You can see history of Woodstock in the buildings of downtown. The current Woodstock Train Depot, which opened in 1912, now is home to the restaurant Freight Kitchen and Tap. The original depot sat a few yards north of today’s structure on the west side of the tracks, and was probably built in 1879, the year railroad construction reached Woodstock. The Woodstock Train Depot is the only building located in Woodstock that is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The next time you are in downtown, enjoying a meal at one of the restaurants, shopping at the stores, or having fun at a festival, keep in mind that you are surrounded by the history that has helped shape all that we love about Woodstock.
For those interested in the history of Woodstock, please consider becoming involved with Preservation Woodstock, Inc. This organization is dedicated to preserving the history of Woodstock for future generations. For more information, call 770-924-0406 or visit www.preservationwoodstock.com.
By Kyle Bennett, contributing writer and director of tourism for the Woodstock Downtown Development Authority. firstname.lastname@example.org