History

Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

It may not be highlighted in the history books, but one Vermont town claims it was the site of the first casualties of the Revolutionary War.

Earlier this month, master SCUBA diver Annette Spaulding of Rockingham found a mysterious rock carving beneath the Connecticut River that she had been searching for since 1979.

Ric Cengeri / VPR

Revolutionary War battles were accompanied by the simple music of wooden fifes and drums. The instruments are less in demand today, except among select audiences like drum corps and war re-enactors.

Lucky for them, Cooperman Company of Saxtons River still produces fifes, drums, tambourines, and other musical instruments. The modern process of making period instruments is a blend of historical technique and modern machinery.
 

Vermont Land Trust

The site of the nation’s first rope tow is up for sale. The Woodstock hill (which lies partly in Pomfret) is a strategic link between two other recreational treasures. So a conservation group hopes to purchase and conserve the property with the help of interested ski history buffs and outdoor sports enthusiasts.

Toby Talbot / AP

The Wabanaki Confederacy is an alliance of native American nations that first came together centuries ago. They meet regularly to renew ties of friendship and discuss issues facing the native peoples of a wide geographical region.

Jane Lindholm / VPR

One of the last wooden synagogue murals in the country, and possibly the last of its type in the world, spent 30 years behind a plaster wall in a rug store cum apartment building. On August 2, Burlington's Lost Shul Mural was unveiled at its new home at the Ohavi Zedek Synagogue.

Jane Lindholm / VPR

Since the 1920s, the Springfield Telescope Makers have been hosting the annual Stellafane Convention. This year's convention will run from August 13-16.

We're looking at the long history of Stellafane, and how Springfield became a center for amateur astronomy and a pilgrimage site for telescope-makers and stargazers of every stripe.

Ric Cengeri / VPR

When it comes to Revolutionary-era forts on Lake Champlain, Mount Independence seems to get short shrift behind others, like Fort Ticonderoga. Actually, the two were connected by a bridge and Mount Independence housed three times as many soldiers as Fort Ti in 1776.

Christophe Boisson / Thinkstock

There is a long history of military engagements between the United States and Canada, including secret full-scale invasion plans from as recent as the '20s and '30s.

Vermont Edition spoke to author Kevin Lippert about these plans, and his new book, War Plan Red: The United States' Secret Plan to Invade Canada and Canada's Secret Plan to Invade the United States.

Dan Cardon / New Moran

On the edge of Burlington's waterfront, away from the boathouse and the ECHO Lake Aquarium, next to the sailing center, is a three-tiered squat brick building known as the Moran Plant, where a new group of inspired developers is trying to drum up both excitement and money for what they see as the future home of a great community gathering point. 

Charlotte Albright / VPR

Dr. Seuss fans have a big treat this summer: An unpublished manuscript found among papers left by the late children's writer has just been released.

Right inside the entrance to the Dartmouth bookstore, there it is, a book that was almost lost to history. Almost a quarter century after the death of Dr. Seuss — a.k.a. Theodor Geisel — a new book is for sale.

Vermont Folklife Center

In her 104 years, the enigmatic storyteller and poet Daisy Turner became an important figure in Vermont folklife. Both her oration skills and attention to family history made her a compelling narrator of the African American experience in Vermont. Her family members also shared her passion for storytelling and documenting their family history from slavery to their 150-acre homestead in Grafton.

Nicole Hersey / State of Vermont Buildings & General Services

The state has a piece of land and historic farmhouse in Bolton that it wants to sell, but not for the price bidders have been willing to pay thus far. The land, known as the Lafreniere homestead, is currently part of Camel's Hump State Park.

Charlotte Albright / VPR

Natalie Kinsey-Warnock is a children's book author with deep roots in the Northeast Kingdom, who bases many of her books on her family history. Now, she's helping kids dig into their own family trees and tell their own stories with her Storykeepers project. They've uncovered secrets, surprises, and some unforgettable characters.

Ric Cengeri / VPR

The First Baptist Church in Burlington is looking for a new organist to play its 1864 tracker action organ.

VPR/Steve Zind

The weekly newspaper the The Herald of Randolph has a new publisher; only its fifth in the paper’s 140-year history. Despite the change, the paper will continue to be locally owned.

Toby Talbot / AP

The French first came to Vermont with Champlain in the early 17th century. And ever since, French Canada and the state of Vermont have been trading people, goods, and ideas. We've got the names to prove it - of both people and places - from Grand Isle to the state's families of Bodettes, Greniers, and Levesques. 

Ric Cengeri / VPR/file

Not every community is fortunate enough to have someone like Mariam Herwig, who died last Friday at the age of 91. Known to all as ‘Mim,’ Herwig was a historian, author and poet.

Fleming Museum

Pablo Picasso's masterpiece Les Demoiselles d'Avignon was one of the 20th century's most controversial pieces of art. Reviled and revered, it's been studied by art historians, railed against by other artists and used as inspiration for new paintings, sculptures and photographs.

The Fleming Museum of Art at the University of Vermont has put together a multi-media exhibit exploring Picasso's influences and why Demoiselles has engendered such strong reactions for more than 100 years.

Photo: Jack Rowell

This week, we're considering the role of storytelling for Vermont Reads, the Vermont Humanities Council's state-wide reading program. This year's book is Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie.

Haroun admires his father, the great story-teller Rashid, and his ability to keep crowds of people awestruck with the power of his tales. When he travels to a magical world to bring back the source of the stories, Haroun meets a mysterious page called Blabbermouth, a girl who masquerades for a time as a boy, and in her presence, Haroun finds himself without words.

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