SIA Vermont Tour: Part Two

A recap of the Saturday tour of the Society for Industrial Archaeology’s Vermont 2010 Fall Tour. Read Part One.

To recap, the day began bright and early (well, more like dreary and foggy, but the sun soon appeared) with visits to the Green Mountain Power Plant No. 19, Shelburne Museum, Shelburne Farms, and a jaunt over to Magic Hat Brewery. Those stops comprised the Burlington/Shelburne portion of our day, and then we were Montpelier bound once more.

On the return trip along I-89, we turned off at exit 11 towards Richmond to visit the East Monitor Barn, sister to the restored/reconstructed West Monitor Barn. Thanks to our wonderful tour organizer, Seth, we were able to stop for a while, walk in and around the barn to explore and gaze at the construction, take pictures, and enjoy the gorgeous Saturday afternoon. For me, it was the highlight of the trip. On how many tours do you get to just traipse [gently] through a historic barn? We had to bushwhack a bit to get to the rear of the barn, which made it all the more fun.


The East Monitor Barn in Richmond, VT.



The interior of the main floor of the East Monitor Barn.



The ground level of the barn, a former dairy stable.



The East Monitor Barn -- check out the ghost lines.



Looking up the monitor.


After we’d been entertained by our barn explorations, the bus headed back to Montpelier. Later that evening we all gathered at the Socialist Labor Party Hall in Barre, VT for a banquet and lecture. The hall is a National Historic Landmark, built by the Italian immigrants of Barre. The building is fascinating and undergoing restoration work (donations appreciated!). While the dinner was in the main hall, we had the opportunity to stroll through other spaces of the buildings on the first floor and in the basement.


Old Labor Hall in Barre, VT.



The Labor Hall in the evening.


{Sorry for the blurry Labor Hall photos!} The lecture was given by Ilaria Brancoli Busdraghi of Middlebury College. She gave a wonderful talk about the immigration of Italian granite workers to Barre.

Additionally, dinner was fabulous, catered by JDC’s Just Delicious Catering, which is a part of the Vermont Fresh Network. As an added bonus, the coffee served was my absolute favorite: Vermont Coffee Company, Dark Roast. And the company of fellow SIA members was terrific. Everyone is extremely welcoming, friendly, and knowledgeable. Seriously, these industrial archaeologists have an overwhelming amount of knowledge. There is always an interesting conversation, no matter which direction you turn.

Credit for this amazing day of tour is due to Seth DePasqual, the organizer of the event and fellow SIA member. He planned the tour from all the way from Michigan! Great job, Seth. I only wish I would have more time than just Saturday. Maybe next time.

Young professionals and students, you should really think about joining! The SIA rocks!

SIA Vermont Tour 2010: Part One

Each year the Society for Industrial Archaeology hosts a conference and a separate fall tour for its members. The fall tour is no papers and all fun (kind of like field trip days at school, but for a few days!) The Society traveled throughout Vermont during September 16-19, 2010. They were based in Montpelier, which allowed for easy access to the Barre Granite Quarries, the American Precision Museum, the Orange County Copper Mines, Burlington, walking tours of historic towns, and of course some covered bridges.

While in Colorado Springs in June 2010 for the SIA Conference (see previous posts: SIA 2010 Overview. Part One. Part Two. Part Three. Part Four), I had the pleasure of presenting a paper and meeting many members, some of whom were fall tour organizers. Well, they were psyched to meet someone in Vermont to help with aspects of the fall tour. Before I knew it, I volunteered to help with the Vermont tour! And I’m glad I did. While I did not have the opportunity to attend the entire tour, I joined in for the day on Saturday September 18. What fun we had! Without making this post too long, I’ll divide it into two parts. Read on for part one.

The bus departed from the Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier at a bright and early 7:30am (you can’t waste those touring days by sleeping in!) We headed north I-89 through the typical heavy morning fog, but by the time we arrived at the Green Mountain Power Plant No. 19 in Essex Junction, the shine was shining beautifully. Here we had a plant, which has been generating electricity at Hubbel Falls since 1917.  The 10,000 horsepower plant was at that time the largest in the state.  Today, Plant 19 provides power to 4,000 area homes, saving roughly 60,000 barrels of oil annually. {These facts are borrowed from the SIA Fall Tour brochure.}


Interior of the Green Mountain Power Plant



The power plant as seen along the river.


After the power plant, we headed to Shelburne Museum, where we visited the Ticonderoga, a restored 220 ft steamboat, which is a National Historic Landmark. This boat was in service on Lake Champlain from 1906-1955, when it was transported two miles overland, on a railroad specifically built for it. Today the steamboat is restored and visitors can walk inside. The guides were terrific, and one of them remembered traveling on the Ticonderoga as a young boy.


The Ticonderoga.



Just part of the machinery which attracts the SIA crowd.


From Shelburne Museum we traveled down the road to Shelburne Farms, where we saw perfect views of Lake Champlain, the impressive structure of the Breeding Barn, and partook in some cheese tasting! (It’s absolutely delicious.)


Overlooking Lake Champlain towards the Adirondack Mountains.



You can never have too many views of Lake Champlain.



Inside the breeding barn, which is currently undergoing restoration.



Inside the breeding barn, looking up at some of the metal ties.


Shelburne Museum and Shelburne Farms are absolutely beautiful and both warrant much longer visits if you have the time. However on limited time, you’d want to see both, which is cause for our busy day. After Shelburne Farms, we stopped at Magic Hat Brewery in South Burlington. (Who doesn’t love the process of brewing and some free samples?)

Already it had been quite a busy day and we were only at about 4pm by the time we left Magic Hat. What’s next? A barn in Richmond, VT and a dinner and lecture in a NHL. Stay tuned for more SIA fun!

Read Part Two.

Preservation Photos #51

Interior of the 1917 Green Mountain Power Plant No. 19 in Essex Junction, VT.

Photo taken a day of tour with the Society for Industrial Archaeology (story to follow!)