The House on Garden Street

Rut Reader spring coverOriginally printed in the Spring 2015 edition of Rutland Magazine, this article represents only a portion of the information I discovered in my research. It is my hope that one day I’ll be able to add to this story, either in a fuller non-fiction piece or a fictional one (both of which would include a little ghostly action…)


Rut Reader spring pg 1At the opening of the twentieth century, when a nickel plater named Edgar Wood had risen in society to become an attorney, Rutland was on the verge of complete electrification and bustling with industry. My home, one of the first built on the newly opened Garden Street (renamed Kendall Avenue) in 1887, was home to the Wood family for three-quarters of a century. Its lack of fireplace or chimney, the wrought-iron heating grates, parquet floors, rounded-cornered walls, and molded ceilings are all indications of modernization around 1912, in the midst of an era of great change—for the Woods, for Rutland, and for the country.

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A skating rink?! Fourteen year old Florence Wood was no doubt excited to learn that the opulent Bicycle Club rink, built in 1884, would be within sight of their soon-to-be built family home on a new street bracketed by the grand Baxter estate on Grove Avenue and attorney Redfield Kendall’s lofty home perched high on the corner of Main Street.

What Florence couldn’t foresee was, even before her home was finished, the skating rink would be defunct and within a decade torn down. Neither could she know that the day-to-day life of her little family—the emotional details of which we will never know—would be a reflection of their times in a way only we, in retrospect, can now recognize. Continue reading

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Tracking up to Lake Bomoseen

The fountain behind Trak-In which was once a attraction at Bomoseen Park.

The fountain behind Trak-In which was once an attraction at Bomoseen Park.

Part 2 of two stories on the Rutland Trolley. See Part 1 here.

Emerging from the greenery which threatens to envelope it, it looks like a beehive, one of those conical ones that Pooh Bear would get excited about. But it is actually a fountain, and it sits behind the Trak-In Restaurant on Route 30 in Bomoseen. A century ago, this rock formation with its metal water spout was a novelty, which, along with other attractions, drew large crowds to Bomoseen Park.

Bomoseen Trolley Park was the last stop on a spur, which from 1906 to 1918 extended off the main trolley line which ran from Rutland to West Rutland to Castleton Corners (and on to Fair Haven or Poultney). One of many amusement parks Continue reading

When the trolley tracked through town

trolleys

Part 1 of two stories on the Rutland Trolley. See Part 2 here.

When the street was dug up in front of Green Mountain Power’s new Energy Innovation Center on Merchants Row in the fall of 2013, the workers hit steel. Hiding just below the asphalt on which we daily drive our (one- or two-person, gas-guzzling, road-hogging) cars, they had discovered tracks to another time: The Trolley Era.

It was a short-lived era in Rutland; approximately 40 years, from 1882 to 1924, with its heyday spanning from 1913 to 1916. But the trolley was an innovation that changed the scenery and infrastructure of Rutland County, where people built their homes, and the way in which they spent their weekends. Continue reading

Berenice R. Tuttle: A force to be reckoned with

Berenice TuttleOne of my favorite buildings in Rutland, one I was thrilled to see renovated, is the Tuttle Building on Center Street. The wide central staircase is gorgeous. That it disappears into a false ceiling adds an air of mystery, prompting me to turn in my imagination to a time when slick-haired, ink-smudged men were hurrying up and down, stacks of paper in arm. And apparently there was also at least one long- (or maybe a not so long-) skirted woman. Continue reading

Julia Dorr: Vermont’s most famous and best loved poets

julia dorrI knew Julia Dorr’s name. I’ve parked in front of the library and Grace Church enough times for the name atop the green historical marker to bury itself somewhere in my subconscious. But when I looked up her name in preparation for writing this article, I realized I hadn’t read what was on that sign with any attention at all.

You’d think I would have. Continue reading