Theodore N. Vail
Vail, the first president of AT&T, came to Lyndon in 1883 to visit a friend and had his first good night's sleep in years. He was so attracted to the quiet dairy community and its people that he bought a farm. Gradually he increased his holdings by adding 20 adjacent farms and building a rambling white mansion. To Lyndon natives, Mr. Vail was royalty: his estate gave employment to many people, his Christmas parties for children were fabulous, and many famous people were entertained at his stately dinners (including President William Howard Taft and financier J. Pierpont Morgan). Mr. Vail served more than 20 years as president of Lyndon Institute's Board of Trustees and he saved the school from financial ruin in 1912. With his financial help, electricity was brought to the town, a public library was built, and Vermont's first paved road was built up to his estate. A regal era ended when he died in 1920. Those who knew Vail feel strongly that he would be very pleased to see that his beloved estate now houses Lyndon State College.
Elmer A. Darling
Darling was born and brought up in East Burke, received his college education at MIT and made his fortune as part owner of America's famous Fifth Avenue Hotel in New York City. He purchased a dairy farm in 1883 and gradually increased his holdings by buying all of the farms along the ridge south of his first purchase. The farmhouses were all painted yellow and the barns were painted red. Milk from the purebred Jersey cows was processed at a central creamery and much of the dairy products (including 70 pounds of cheese per day) were shipped to Darling's hotel in New York. Darling personally designed a 35-room mansion called Burklyn Hall because it straddled the Burke-Lyndon town line. Construction was completed in 1908 and Darling retired to live in Vermont full time. He was active in the community; founder and president of the Morgan Horse Club, served as president of the Lyndonville Savings Bank and also served as president of the Lyndon Institute's Board of Trustees. When the Institute's main building was completely destroyed by fire in 1922, Darling led 600 citizens in a campaign to raise funds to replace the building. When he died in April 1931, his bequest of two funds significantly expanded the Institute's endowment. When fire leveled the old "Hotel Lyndon", Darling was elected to head a building committee. He donated land on which a new, handsome, brick hotel was built. He also completely furnished the dining room. (Laplant)
Home of Tantoo (TANtoo) Cardinal. She moved to Lyndonville after shooting the movie "Where the Rivers Flow North" in 1994. She played Bangor, a tough independent women in the NEK, made by Caledonia Pictures, one of the most successful independent films for that year. Cardinal is committed to changing the image of Native Americans, and will only play independent, strong individuals in control. She grew up in Anzac, a native community in the wilds of northeastern Alberta. A metis of European, Cree and Chippewa ancestry, she was raised by her Cree grandmother. The murder of a brother, age 24, was never investigated, presumably because he was a Native American. Married at 18, she has an older son. She is now married to Tom Lawler, also an actor. Cardinal has a daughter Riel, born in 1988. She feels that the Native American movement is based on European political structures and ignores the Native way of consensus. "So much of the model was taken from the white man's political pyramid. They think that Joe Twostand is the leader of the community. Meanwhile, it is Eliza whom you never see in public, who Joe listens to. These are the things that whites are oblivious to." Feature Films: Legends of the Fall, Where the Rivers Flow North, Black Robe, Dances with Wolves, Candy Mountain, Loyalties, Places not our Own, Mustard Bath, Tecumseh, Lakota Woman, Death Wish. Television: North of 60, Nobody's Girls, Dr Quinn Medicine Woman, Lightning Field, Gunsmoke, Return to Dodge, Hers of the West, Before Columbus, Spirit Rider, By Way of the Stars, Street Legal, Children's Hour. Stage: Vermont Stage Company, "Mad River Rising", January 1998.
Lyndon is the home of Meryl Keegan, a painter who graduated from SUNY Oswego with a degree in Art Education. After teaching art for 14 years in New York and Vermont, she now paints full-time. She currently works in a unique, hybrid style that combines oil painting and photographic mosaics.
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