Chestnut Hill Rd
Home to Howard C. Rice – the founder of the Brattleboro reformer daily newspaper – and his remarkable family. This site is one of 40 historic places that will be Researched and made a part of the Brattleboro Words Trail
About the Research sites
The Brattleboro Words Project is working with the community to identify specific sites and themes significant to the study of words in Brattleboro and surrounding towns. Brattleboro Words Project leaders are helping to build Research Teams — classrooms/teachers, amateur historians, veterans, writers, artists and other community members — who will produce audio segments and other work to be incorporated into audio walking, biking and driving tours tours available on the BrattleboroWordsProject.org website.
The People of 100 Chestnut Hill
Howard C. Rice
Howard C. Rice became the first editor of the daily Reformer newspaper, after purchasing an interest in the paper in 1905, a few years after the Vermont Printing Co. purchased it from the founder, Lawyer Charles Davenport. In an historical narrative that he prepared for his family in 1958, Rice said the decision to publish a daily paper in Brattleboro was bold for the time.
"Despite the belief of many local residents that we were crazy in our view that Brattleboro would support a daily newspaper plus our own ignorance of the technique of daily publishing, The Reformer did well from the outset," Rice wrote in his personal history. At first, readers accustomed to getting their local news in weekly doses were a bit skeptical of having to read it every weekday evening, but with-out too much resistance these habits changed.
Marion McCune Rice
His sister Marion McCune Rice was a World War I American Red Cross nurse for four years and wrote many letters home describing the war and took hundreds of photographs. A documentary film “An American Nurse at War” focuses on Marion Rice’s wartime experience. The film was produced by her grandnephew Stephen L. Hooper, a Brattleboro native who currently lives in Keene, NH. In 1925 she was named director of the Simmons School of Public Health Nursing in Boston. She resided during the summers and retired in a small cottage on the opposite side of the reservoir at 90 Chestnut Hill until her death in 1955.
Howard C. Rice Jr
Howard and Amy’s son Howard C. Rice Jr. and his wife France Chalufour Rice lived at 160 Chestnut Hill in a house closer to the Retreat Tower. Howard C. Rice Jr. was appointed to the staff of Princeton University Library in 1948 and served as assistant librarian for rare books and special collections, with rank of associate professor, until his retirement in 1970. He wrote several books on Rudyard Kipling and his research papers are housed at the Marlboro College library named in honor of Howard C. and Amy Rice. Interestingly, another long-time editor and publisher of the Reformer, John S. Hooper married the Rice’s eldest daughter Marion Stetson Rice in the rose garden behind the house at 105 Chestnut Hill in 1931.
On The Map
Chestnut Hill Road is located near Downtown Brattleboro.