The Townshend Town Hall and Opera House were built entirely with funds donated by Kate Cathan Dutton in honor of her husband and son. It seems quite likely that Mrs. Dutton’s funding also provided the six Stuart painted theater curtains as they were purchased in 1922, the same year that the building was erected. At any rate, the choice of scenes certainly seems to reflects the sophisticated taste of an educated and well-traveled individual. The Streetcar Scene is considered by Christine Hadsel, Vermont Painted Theater Curtains Project Director, to be one of the most unusual of the 140 curtains so far discovered in Vermont. It is unique, she says, because of the professionalism of the artistic detail and because of its celebration of 1920’s modern-day technology. While the locomotive curtain also depicts modern technology, it is more stylized and lacks in detail.
About Henry Dutton
Henry F. Dutton, Henry F. Dutton, Lt. Col., Company H, 8th Regiment, was the highest-ranking Civil War soldier to come from Townshend. Badly wounded in the arm at Opequon Creek, Virginia, Dutton returned to Townshend to convalesce and was discharged in 1865.
Dutton’s connection with a young slave from Louisiana gave him a unique place in Townshend’s history. The story is told that while Capt. Dutton’s Company H was encamped in Louisiana, they led an escaped slave to a place of safety. Later the ex-slave, Winfield Scott Montgomery, accompanied Dutton home to Vermont and was accorded full companion-ship with Dutton’s children. Montgomery attended high school at Leland and Gray and went on to earn a medical degree, become a teacher, school administrator, and finally a supervisor of schools in Washington, D.C. Meanwhile, Dutton eventually settled in Florida, died in 1916, and was buried in the Oakwood Cemetery in Townshend, Vermont.
Source: A Stitch in Time, A History of Townshend, VT