Sunday, October 26, 2014

Waterford (Vermont) Sugarhouse: But Which One?

At the Waterford Historical Group meetings (held at the Davies Memorial Library in Lower Waterford), we often find details on the old maps of town that intrigue us. One last summer turned out to be a bit discouraging -- at the time when the 1875 Beers map of the town was drawn, there was an important sugarhouse in the center of Waterford, owned by O. Cushman, on the Duck Pond Road.

It would be great to make a visit to the remains of this sugarhouse, even if it's just a cellar hole or a foundation edge. But, of course, sugarhouses (farm structures!) don't usually have cellars or foundations. And the more we studied the map, the more we all became sure that the location of this old sugarhouse is probably within today's tangle of gravel pits owned by the Town of Waterford and Pike, Inc. In other words, there's probably no trace to find. We'll just have to keep looking in old magazines and newspapers for a possible description of how much maple syrup came from that sugaring operation and whether it was a "destination" for local residents.

Meanwhile, this postcard, clearly labeled "Sugarhouse in Waterford," turned up at a postcard show in New Hampshire last summer. The photo looks recent enough (in full color!) so that this structure might still be standing. Is it the one on County Road North? I think the row of trees is too close to it. What do you think? Can you pinpoint its location? -- UPDATE: Thank you to Dave Morrison, who identified this sugarhouse as the one on the Frank Bullock property -- the landscape has since closed in somewhat around it but it is still standing. SECOND UPDATE: Vermont Life Autumn 1957 cover featured a 1951 photo of the same sugarhouse: click here.

All the details keep adding up to the history of our town.

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