In the grand scheme of things, 100 years isn’t very long. However, with the technological advances we see happening around us, changes seem to be happening faster and faster. From town layouts and architecture to family life, things are evolving at a rapid pace. Just a century ago in Vermont, children were working in mills and helping out at their family farm – a far cry from the video game craze we see today. Let’s take a look back at Vermont life 100 years ago.
1. Vermont demographics from a century ago.
2. Diary of a 7 year old girl.
In 1911, 7-year-old Alice Bushnell from Strafford wrote in her diary every day. On January 31, 1911 it was 8 degrees below 0 and Alice didn't go to school. She wrote "I staid at home. Papa and Mama thought it was too cold for me to go.” On August 7, 1911, Alice tried something new: “I went swimming. It is the first time I ever did. I had lots of fun.” Old diaries are often used to learn about every day life a century ago.
3. Barre in the 1900s.
An old postcard shows the City Hall and Park in Barre.
Workers at the J.K. Pirie Granite Quarry in Barre.
5. Child Labor
All of these children were working in this North Pownal cotton mill in the 1910s.
6. Springfield, 1910s.
The Black River and Mills captured in Springfield.
7. Fair Haven 1910s.
A postcard depicting the slate quarry and mills in Fair Haven.
8. Albert Lavallee in 1911 outside the American Woolen Mill.
Albert Lavallee was 15 years old in 1911. He lived in Winooski with his father, mother, three brothers and six sisters. When Albert was 14, he left school to start working. Albert worked at the American Woolen Mill with his father, older brother and sisters.
9. Census record
Census records can be hard to read. This list shows the Lavallee (or Lavelly) family living in Winooski Village, part of Colchester.
10. St. Johnsbury a century ago.
A lovely image of a tree lined South Main Street in St. Johnsbury.
11. Gladys Bristol in 1912.
This is a photograph from Gladys Bristol's 8th birthday party in 1912. Gladys' father was a photographer.
12. East Dummerston in 1913.
This view of East Dummerston was reproduced from a postcard in 1913.
13. Windsor Club, Windsor
A wonderful picture of the four bowling lanes of the Windsor Club of Windsor around 1910. Note the different sets of bowling pins stored on a shelf above the pit areas for ten-pin bowling or duckpin bowling when the candlepins were not in use.
The White River in Sharon was full of floating logs in about 1910.
15. Brattleboro 1910s
A 'bird's-eye' view of Brattleboro, looking westward from near the summit of New Hampshire's Mount Wantastiquet, taken in 1905. In the foreground is Island Park, a recreational area that was mostly washed away by floods in the early 20th century, before flood-control dams were built upriver.
What do you find to be the biggest change in the last century in Vermont? Be sure to share your thoughts!