The Tool Room

Tool Room in the Coolidge Homestead

This room is now used to display the various tools that were here at the time the Homestead was donated to the State.

The collection includes carpenter’s tools, a butter churn, butter mold, blacksmith’s tools, horse-shoeing tools and kit with two compartments for nails. A soldering outfit is on the lower right-hand shelf of the cupboard. President Coolidge’s fishing boots are on the floor. Carrie Brown Coolidge used the old post office in the corner when she was Postmaster. (Colonel John married Carrie in 1891. His first wife and the President’s mother, Victoria Josephine Moor, died in 1885.) The post office’s many compartments were useful for storing odds and ends; hanging on the side is a pair of steelyards for weighing.

The posters belonged to the President’s grandfather, Calvin Galusha Coolidge, who was a great horse fancier and breeder. The notice below the post office is signed by Plymouth school commissioners, all relatives of the President. Dated August 22, 1862, it announces that the Plymouth school teacher had gone south to "teach the rebels," and thus the school committee was obliged to hire a new man.

The colored poster is dated 1838 and advertises gargling oil for horses. There is no explanation of how horses were taught to gargle!

This room, the buttery, and the shed bedroom were finished into an apartment for Mr. and Mrs. Eugene C. Aldrich around 1890. Mr. Aldrich was the cheese maker in the factory operated by Colonel Coolidge and three other local farmers. The cheese factory still stands west of the Homestead.

After the Aldrich’s moved to the house east of the general store, this room was used as a "catchall" by Miss Aurora Pierce, the Colonel’s housekeeper. Many useful items she had collected, including 20 bushel baskets of birch bark, were found here when she died in 1956.

Colonel John was a remarkable example of "the versatile Vermonter." He was, at one time or other, a selectman, tax collector, road commissioner, school teacher, school superintendent, deputy sheriff, town constable, Justice of the Peace, Representative in the Vermont Legislature, State Senator, notary public, an insurance agent for Dun and Bradstreet, Colonel on Governor Stickney’s staff, and a sergeant in the Vermont National Guard. He was also a brick and stone mason, carriage maker, wheelwright, harness maker, undertaker, coffin maker, carpenter, tinsmith, plumber, blacksmith, bookkeeper, woodsman, cattle doctor, water dowser, farmer, mechanic, and storekeeper.

Calvin Coolidge wrote about his father in his autobiography: "... my father was very skillful with his hands... He had a complete set of tools, ample to do all kinds of building and carpenter work... . The lines he laid out were true and straight, and the curves regular. The work he did endured. If there were any physical requirements of country life which he could not perform, I do not know what it was."