The Burke Mountain Club in East Burke will celebrate its 100th birthday on Saturday, June 22. The celebration honors founder Elmer A. Darling who built the Club as both a library and social gathering place for his community.
The celebration will take place at the Club at 368 VT Rt 114 in East Burke from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. The community is invited for this free event that includes: live music, square dancing, old fashioned games, kids’ activities, craft demonstrations, a display of Darling’s personal belongings and cake and ice cream. The White Schoolhouse Museum on the grounds will provide a glimpse into life in the community 200 years ago. The schoolhouse was preserved and moved from its original location by Mr. Darling in 1923 and served as the Burke Historical Society.
“The Burke Mountain Club centennial is a landmark historic event for not only the community but for Vermont,” said Charlotte Downs, East Burke Community Librarian and Burke native. “The Club and this event honor the legacy of Elmer Daring whose contributions changed the course of history for my home town and is very personal for me and my family because my father worked for Mr. Darling and we grew up on one of the Darling properties. I really hope we have a huge turnout on the 22nd for this once-in-a-lifetime event.”
Elmer A. Darling was raised 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 – now known as Darling Ridge. 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 the Fifth Avenue Hotel, serving dignitaries and socialites of the era staying at the prestigious hotel. Darling personally oversaw the design of his 35-room mansion called Burklyn Hall because it straddled the Burke-Lyndon town line.
Construction was completed in 1908 and Darling split his time between New York City and Burke, returning to his Vermont home as often as he could, introducing the advancements of the day, including implementation of electricity and new water systems to East Burke. In 1919 he built the Burke Mountain Club at the age of 71 and was a leader 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.
The Burke Mountain Club was founded in 1919 by Elmer A. Darling and is not-for-profit organization that relies on the generous contributions of its members and the public-at-large. Besides serving as the community’s library; events, lectures and entertainment are offered year-round in this historic building.