Obama , Trudeau and the Haskell Opera House and Library on the Border
Peoples from Northern Vermont and Quebecers from the Eastern Townships, were very surprised and happy to hear the President, Mr. Barack Obama mentioning the wonderful example of cooperation between the USA and Canada by naming the Haskell Opera House and Library astride the Border in Derby Line Vt. and Stanstead, Quebec, Canada, (where I was born).
The mentioning of this famous building by The President was made during the first visit a White House by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on March 10th 2016. That famous Building was built in 1904. It was built by Mrs. Martha Stewart Haskell and her son Col. Horace Stewart Haskell in memory of her parents Catherine Horace Stewart and her husband Carlos Freeman Haskell. They wanted Americans and Canadians to have equal access to the Library and Opera House so they built it on the Border Line.
It has two entrances one from the Canadian side in Stanstead and one on the American side in
Derby Line Vt. In the building there is a black line marking the division of the Border. The price was $50,000.00, a huge sum then. It is a unique, historical , preserved and regularly utilized place for concerts, and mostly by its renown library containing more than 20,000 books mostly in English but with also a section of French books. It has two postal address, one in Derby Line USA one in Stanstead, Quebec, Canada. Beside the important well used library the historical building has a very special hall with a capacity of 400 persons. Many locals, internationals artists performed on the stage of this unique Opera House said to be a smaller replica of the Boston Opera House.
More than sixty years ago I started and ended my singing career in that Opera House. Me and another
student from my class sang ‘‘Alouette’’ during a concert regrouping various schools. If I remember well we knew by the applauses that we were not the stars of that night. We looked more like Abbott and Costello and or Laurel and Hardy. Anyway we were on that stage in this unique international place.
The administration of this unique place is done by seven volunteers (four from the USA side and three from
the Canadian side).It has been declared historical site by both countries and protected by laws of both countries.
How nice it is to remember and promote things that are still making our two countries unique and close.
You can go on the web to see this unique piece of art, its history, or take a little ride up north by Interstate
9l (through Vermont) up to Stanstead, the first village entering Quebec on Autoroute 55.