From afar, local immigrant stories

BELLOWS FALLS, Vt. – The Rockingham Library and Rockingham Historic Preservation Commission will co-sponsor a program on the immigrant experience in Bellows Falls Saturday, Sept. 29 at noon at the Rockingham Library. Through family photos, keepsakes, and stories, experience what life was like for some Greek and Polish immigrants who settled in Bellows Falls during the early 20th century.

Local resident Mary Narkiewicz’s grandparents emigrated from the city of Wilno, Poland to settle in Westminster, Vt. around 1912, where they operated a dairy farm for many years. When the paper mills came to town, so did the Narkiewiczs. The family helped build the Polish church on the corner of Williams & Green St. Two of Mary’s cousins, Jim Narkiewicz and Jean Narkiewicz Berger, along with Great Aunt Theresa, will be on hand to help tell the story.

Local resident Catherine Goutas Bergmann’s grandfather came from a remote hill village in Greece. First immigrating to Missouri to be near extended family, he married and moved to Bellows Falls in the 1920s. Here, the Goutas established a luncheonette just off the Square and then moved across Rockingham St. to establish The Chimes Café. It was the first air-conditioned restaurant in the state with the first and only Moderne facade in town. The restaurant also had a jazz bar named The Hide Away on its lower floor accessible from Canal St.

Come to this event to find out the rest of these stories. This program is free and open to the public. For more information, call 802-463-4270, email programming@rockinghamlibrary.org, go to www.rockinghamlibrary.org, or stop by the library at 65 Westminster St. in Bellows Falls.

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