History

Vermont Historical Society

This year marks the centennial of the last long log drives on the Connecticut River. From the late 1800s and early 1900s, logs as big as 30 feet long were floated down the river to sawmills in Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Now two Vermonters are keeping the history alive, chronicling the history of the drives.

Erica Heilman / Courtesy Rumble Strip Vermont

Vaughn Hood was a 118-pound barber when he was drafted into the Vietnam War and he served as a combat soldier in from March 1969 to January 1970. And in Vaughn’s war, most men didn’t survive their first three-month tour. Now, he runs a hair salon in St. Johnsbury with his wife, Bev.

Donald Shedd

Donald Shedd stood in his Wallingford kitchen and pointed to a bright red baseball cap he planned to wear in Washington, D.C. "That’s my hat," said Shedd proudly. "First Marine Division, Guadalcanal."

Themba Hadebe / AP

The Montshire Museum in Norwich is about to receive a pretty remarkable donation: a cast of the bones of Homo naledi, an early humanoid and perhaps a direct ancestor of us. And thanks to efforts by researchers, those who would like a cast of their own can make one with a 3D printer.

Charlotte Albright / VPR

On Thursday, 50 Norwich University cadets began a 50-mile march from the original home of the military academy in Norwich to the current campus in Northfield.

Along the way they will stop at landmarks to get history lessons on foot.

Kathleen Masterson / VPR

Vermont is known for its iconic dairy cows, which regularly dot its lush green hillsides in summer. But in a pasture in Reading, the cattle look a bit different. 

EasyBuy4u / iStock.com

Vermonters are proud of many things: maple syrup, skiing, a presidential candidate and, of course, cheddar cheese.        

AP

Tuesday afternoon, Sen. Patrick Leahy cast the 15,000th vote of his Senate career. Leahy now ranks sixth on the Senate's all-time vote list and it is likely that he will move up to the number four spot sometime next year.

Sam Gale Rosen / VPR

On Saturday, Burlington's Fletcher Free Library held its annual Dewey Day Parade, in which a ten-foot puppet of Dewey is marched up and down Church Street.

Sensay / iStock.com

In his 2014 State of the State address, Gov. Peter Shumlin called attention to the heroin and opiate addiction crisis across Vermont. But this is not the first time that Vermont has faced an opiate epidemic.

Library of Congress

First of all, Vermont native John Dewey did not invent the Dewey Decimal System. That was another guy. He was however, one of the most important thinkers in all of American history, changing the world with his far-reaching insights into philosophy, education, politics, psychology, art, and more.

Photo: Christine Hadsel

In the early part of the last century, town halls and Grange halls were the social centers of rural communities. Adorning the stages of many of them were unique painted curtains created by traveling artists. 

The curtains languished for years until a Vermont woman took an interest in restoring them.

Melody Bodette / VPR

Volunteers at the Bixby Memorial Library in Vergennes are nearing the end of a two year project to document all of the artifacts in the library’s museum.

Many of items are Native American artifacts and some may need to be returned to the tribes they came from.

'The farm-yard club of Jotham' (1881) / Flickr/Library of Congress

It's not about to displace the cow as the go-to image people have when they think of the most iconic Vermont animal, but the Merino sheep has a deep and rich history of its own in the Green Mountain State.

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.

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