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Did you know? A sampling of local trivia

Did you know that sheep outnumbered settlers six to one when the Burlington & Rutland Railroad spiked its mainline through Burlington, Shelburne, Charlotte, Ferrisburgh and beyond in 1848? Here are some local firsts, lasts, biggest and other trivia from a new locally produced DVD. Queen City Park was a popular summer gathering place with hotel, stable, bowling alley, croquet grounds, grocery store, post office and annual Spiritualists gatherings into the 1920s. South Burlington, fashioned put of 17,000 acres from Burlington's rib in the 1800s, never warranted a train station in the heyday of passenger service. King George IIIs wedding was the social event of the 1760's. Even Vermonters competed for brownie points honoring Great Britains new queen. Charlotte had little time for glamour or politics, after bearing 15 children. By the American Revolution, "royalty" was a dirty word and locals took to pronouncing their town "Shar-lot" (sometimes leaving out the r entirely). The farming economy led a sunrise to sunset existence until railroad timetables made clocks necessary. The Robinsons, of Rokeby Museum fame, were the first local family to plan their day around the hands of a mechanical timepiece. Vergennes was platted at the head of navigation on Otter Creek, below the great falls where Thomas McDonoughs men built the fleet that won the 1812 Battle of Plattsburg. Imagine this peaceful place cradling the nations largest iron works-- Monkton Iron Company. In 1859, a Rutland passenger train departed from here with John Brown aboard. Vergennes station was the last this famed abolitionist saw of his native Northeast. His unsuccessful slave revolt at Harpers Ferry, Virginia and return home, in a pine box, sparked the American Civil War. New Haven Junctions attractive brick train station has presided over the junction of todays US 7 and state route 17 since 1868. Fifty years ago, this unassuming place housed a feed store, freight house, creamery, and anthracite coal business. Large national department store chains F.W. Woolworth and J.J. Newbury counted on Vermont Box Company for their wooden display racks. Bristol saw six trains a day at its stately depot. For 38 years, three months and seven days, lumber, coffins, potatoes and 55-gallon drums of maple syrup rolled out of town-- while coal and manufactured goods arrived daily. Improved roads, reliable, door-to-door personal transportation, and smoother, year-round driving wrote The Bristol Railroads final chapter, and the last train rolled out of town on April 12, 1930. The Jackman Family purchased the freight house, scale house, several sheds, coaling facility, and remaining rail yard for less than twenty-five hundred bucks. The Lathrops bought the station, adding only a dormer to the roofline. An impressive line-up of interviewees with more local tidbits appear in the new DVD Rutland Remnants 3: Burlington, Brandon and The Bridges Of Addison County ( $19.99, Tell-Tale Productions, Box 808, Colchester, VT or www.vermontmadevideos.com ). This unique 2 hour then and now salute to our area is available at Barnes & Noble (So. Burlington), Broughton Farm Supply, Buxtons Country Store, Depot Farm Supply (Leicester Jct.), Kennedy Brothers, Mikes Auto Parts (Colchester), The Flying Pig (Shelburne), Vergennes Variety, Vermonts Own Products (Middlebury and West Addison), Village Green Market (New Haven) and Woodware (Middlebury). Addison Countys covered bridges are very special. Middlebury lays claim to Vermonts eldest covered span Pulp Mill Bridge, crossing Otter Creek to the Weybridge town line since 1820. This relic rests upon a large vein of quality white marble, considered one of the best in the world. Richville Pond is spanned by East Shorehams covered railroad bridge, one of two remaining in Vermont. In 1951, the last train billowed smoke through the countys 109-foot long contribution to bridge-building. This functioning 1897 Howe-style monument to a bygone era is presently undergoing restoration.

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