Vermont History

Summer 2005

Class nine



PART I: Vermont in the 1950s


Proverbs 22:28 "Remove Not The Ancient Landmark Which Thy Fathers Have Set."


In the end, did we decide: does it matter if Vermont’s landscape is an actual working landscape? Will Vermont’s identity be strengthened or weakened if its landscape is a fabricated rendering of “traditional” uses of the land?


Key Words and phrases:

C.V. Starr

Union Schools


Philip Hoff


The peak number of farms in VT was reported in 1880, as 34,522. In 1945 there were 26,490 family farms and sinking.


1920: 7600 textile workers (state’s high point).

1940: 5800 textile employees statewide, 2500 of whom worked at American Woolen.

1956: American Woolen Mill closed


1947: there were 535 sawmills; in 1962 there were 297.



Part II: “Small is Beautiful”


Key Words and phrases:


Act 250

Windham Regional Planning and

Development Commission

Taft Corners

Bread and Puppet Theater


1960: 72% of VT residents native

1970: 66%.

1980: 60%.

1990: 57%


Speaker at a Benson militia muster in 1792: “May Vermont be long defended from inundation which is threatened by the increase of aristocrats, who wish for a rich metropolis, and a poor peasantry.”


Does planning make thinking small possible or make it impossible?


J.W. Sanborn, UVM agriculture professor, 1909: “Our greatest obstacle to progress in agriculture is that Vermont farmers maintain as their slogan ‘small farms, well-tilled.’”


Frank Bryan, 1974: “what the world desperately needs is the community axiom, which promises a return to the good old days, to traditional American values, to a simple life of interpersonal relations where individuals still control events in society generally and in the government as well…If people move to Vermont they’ll be disappointed, because the ‘system axiom’ is taking over. This left Vermont efficient and bureaucratic, conducting decision-making in a centralized location and disdaining town meeting as a quaint ritual to placate the community types. Thus, Vermonters would be heavily taxed, isolated by choice, and spiteful to outsiders.”