The ruins of Waterbury’s Little River Settlement can be explored today in the Little River State Park. Once a thriving community, many years ago the residents abandoned their homes and businesses here making it a ghost town. While the abandoned homesteads aren’t creepy per se, it can be unsettling to see belongings left behind as families left their lives to be reclaimed by nature. To check out these former homesteads, cemetery and more,
take a hike on the History Trail throughout the Little River State Park, an informative and beautiful trek through history and what it has left behind.
Deep woods have reclaimed this community.
The buildings may be gone, but 19th century farming remains, foundations, cemeteries and more can be found.
For over 100 years, Little River was an active community.
At one point, several businesses, five schools and as many as 50 families called this area home. Pictured are the remains of Gideon Ricker's Farm.
During the 1920s and early 1930s, the last of those families left for good.
Nature has reclaimed the remains of the abandoned town.
The area's earliest settlers arrived in the late 1700s.
During its most active period, the Little River community covered about 4,000 acres. Most people lived north of today's Waterbury Dam in an area called the Ricker Mountain district.
Most of the Little River residents were farmers who used the rocky, mountainside terrain to grow crops, as well as raise cows, goats, pigs and chickens.
The soil conditions made farming difficult, however a few businesses, specifically sawmills, took advantage of wood supplies and access to waterways to leverage their insustry.
Daily life could be difficult.
Children assisted their parents in farming and butchering to provide food for their family.
For children, attending school was a challenge.
Long wagon rides up the mountain to reach the district schoolhouse took their toll, especially in the winter when the journey was made by sleigh. Each morning some children had to arrive early to start the fire.
By the late 1800s, families were leaving the Little River community.
One by one they abandoned their homes and barns to start lives elsewhere, leaving tools and other household items behind, some of which can still be seen today. Pictured are hikers at the former Ezra Fuller farm.
During the mid-20th century, most of the abandoned homes and barns fell into decay.
However, a single farmhouse on Ricker Mountain survived. Local preservation helped to keep the house in decent shape, and at over 140 years later, the house still stands. Pictured is broken glass on the foundation at the Gideon Ricker Farm.
This fascinating History Hike is worth a trek.
Plan on spending half the day to fully explore the area and check out this Vermont ghost town that nature is reclaiming.