Gas lights were installed in the Town Hall in 1870. This improvement together with remodeling and painting resulted in “a town house equal in all respects to any existing in the state.” Kerosene replaced gas in 1889, and electric lighting came in 1891.
The Shepard Organ Co., formed in 1872 to make reed organs, was employing 22 people and averaging 2 church or parlor organs a day the next year. Shepard Organs and Lebanon Organs, among the finest made, were sold widely in this country and in Europe. (F-8)
An accurate survey of all streets in Lebanon and West Lebanon was made in 1873 and street signs were erected. Old maps indicate there were over 125 buildings standing in West Lebanon village in 1855 and over 160 in Lebanon village in 1860.
Kendrick & Davis, internationally known for the finest watchmakers’ tools and other-delicate instruments, has been in business in Lebanon since 1876. A Dust Proof Watch Key for key-wound watches, patented in 1874, led to the local name “The Key Shop.” (F-8)
The first and only town pump was erected in 1876 at the northeast corner of the common above a well constructed by citizens of the town. Its cool water gave “grateful refreshment to many thirsty men and beasts, and an unfailing source of pleasure to small boys.” (F-8)
Lebanon’s largest industry, Sturtevant Manufacturing Co., sold their furniture and woodworking shops to Mead, Mason & Co. in 1877. The latter employed about 400 men and made finished and upholstered furniture of all kinds until the shops burned in 1887. (F-8)
Coasting, a favorite winter sport in earlier days, was prohibited in 1877 within the limits of any public highway, with a penalty of $1. A good-natured conflict persisted between officers and children, and despite the law the sport prevailed.
The town of Lebanon bought Lyman’s Bridge in 1878 and declared it free. Heated disputes arose because tolls were still demanded on a small strip of private land in Vermont that joined the two turnpikes. A court settlement finally made the bridge legally free. (G-2)