Queer lives and queer histories in Vermont were often kept private for good reason: the fear of losing one’s job, home, or family. The fear of violence. But it’s important to know that LGBTQ people are here, have always been here, and are part of the state’s history.
It can seem like every town in Vermont once had a pharmacist brewing their own special blend of medicine. Some of these cures were derived from herbal folk remedies. Others were created from a lot of alcohol, some food coloring, and a pinch of carefully honed hokum.
A massive wooden printing press made in the mid-17th century has a place of pride in the Vermont History Museum, and not just because it’s old. It represents both the history of written law in the state, and the crucial role that journalism – the press – plays in a democracy.
Plenty of Vermont’s historic buildings are exactly the traditional homes, churches, and meeting houses commonly associated with small New England towns. But as the state changed in the 20th century, its architecture did too. Now, experts are looking more closely at buildings that look nothing like what came before — and in some cases, look nothing like buildings anywhere else.
People have raced cars in the Green Mountains since 1903. There were racetracks in every corner of the state: at fairgrounds, in farmers’ back fields, and finally at dozens of dedicated racetracks. Thousands of Vermonters have been drivers, mechanics, track officials, and spectators at those tracks over the past 115 years. The Vermont Historical Society recorded their stories for a new oral history collection as part of their latest exhibit, Anything for Speed: Automobile Racing in Vermont. On our latest history podcast, learn about the state's racing scene from the people who created it.
Many of Vermont’s cemeteries date back multiple centuries. They’re filled with worn-down stones that may only offer glimpses of the personal histories of the dead. But these cemeteries still hold lessons for the people who visit and research them today.
Many Vermonters felt a sense of liberation during the nation’s first “bike boom” in the 1890s. Bikes became cheaper and easier to ride, eventually revolutionizing personal transportation and recreation.
Vermont's early bike clubs were the province of elites: mostly wealthy, white men. But underrepresented groups took up the new technology soon after, and today's bicycle groups provide mobility and community to a wide range of residents.
Vermonters love weather. They love bragging about it, complaining about it, hiding inside from it, and playing outside in it. It’s a topic of conversation across the state.
One expert believes that's due to Vermont's constantly changing conditions.
"Weather can be pretty extreme," says Roger Hill, a forecaster who runs Weathering Heights and appears on Radio Vermont stations. "There's a sort of normalcy bias that we all have that we carry with us. We don't realize that it can be really off-the-charts extreme."
Hill says Vermont's position halfway between the tropics and the poles contributes to that variability. And it's caused many of the state's most historic weather events.
In this podcast, Roger Hill describes the past and future of Vermont's weather patterns. Amanda Gustin and Eileen Corcoran examine an antique weather station. Steve Long shows how a landscape tells the story of the Hurricane of 1938. And Larry Coffin recounts Vermont's "Year Without a Summer."