Monday, January 12, 2009

Vermont Television Programs

Yesterday afternoon I watched two ETV programs about Vermont's past that I had taped when I was in the throes of proposal prep and didn't have time to watch. They were reruns from several years ago, but still really impressive. I had never seen footage of the 1927 flood before. A number of the still shots looked like the old snaps in the family album. I expect they looked like those in a lot of family albums. Some of the images I recognized from Hands on the Land and certainly the voice-over was right out of a lot of the material we've had at our disposal here. I took an image out of my proposal that I now see was dead on the money: basically I had envisioned a map of Vermont with a "central park" cutting right down the state. Turns out it would have been an expansion of the 1950's plan to put the "parkway" straight down the state on top of the Green Mountains. Sigh. (And, BTW, there was a slightly younger Lyman Orton in one of the programs! That was also a treat.)


  1. Clair,
    Quite a number of years ago when I was a photographer for the Vermont National Guard, I recall spending a day (mid-1970's) flying all around the State in a helicopter. I and the pilot were in a high-end Bell helicopter which could maneuver much like a roller-coaster as we zipped over mountain tops and buzzed down into the valleys.
    What I found remarkable, other than the open farm land in the Champlain valley, was the density of the forested landscape across much of Vermont. Even then, people were abuzz about development and logging but I must say, from the air, other than the occasional farm fields and village developent, Vermont was extremely undeveloped and the entire place looked far more beautiful than anything Olmstead could have imagined!

  2. I always pause over the few, very old, wide-angle views of Vermont landscapes that show a much diminished forestland. Which has now grown back. It's another piece in the complexity of Vermont issues. There is someone, mid-state I think, (or maybe a group) that is mapping Vermont's abandoned roads. I think this is a fascinating project. A very influential book (for me that is) is Alfred Watkins' The Old Straight Track, in which he traces straight routes across England which he maintains connected various sacred places, and which pre-dated the Roman roads. These tracks went over hills whereas the roads went around. I think it gave me my first thoughts on civilization's impact on the land. (I dunno why I put that here, it's just that it came into my brain just now.)