Historic Photos of West Dummerston and West Dummerston Village
For a long time, probably since Dummerston's early days, West Dummerston has enjoyed something of a separate identity. It has been a distinct neighborhood. Think of these photos, then, as a neighborhood album. Like all albums it is necessarily selective, but it represents a wide range of people, places, and activities.
While it is enjoyable to look back at our ancestors and at ourselves in days gone by, we cannot escape a certain melancholy. This is a common experience in viewing family albums, but with a whole community there is an added dimension. The fabric of family, social, and work life has loosened over time. Like nearly all small communities in Vermont and beyond, West Dummerston has been increasingly drawn out of its own orbit into the life of larger towns nearby. The village no longer has a school or a store (although there is a store on Route 30). The Maple Valley ski area is closed. More people commute to work; the quarry now belongs to the realm of industrial archeology. The local hyrdroelectric station is no more. The handsome Baptist Church has been well maintained but no longer has an active congregation. The Roman Catholic Church has been deconsecrated and is now in private hands as is the Grange Hall. The Grange as one resident recalls, was once the core, the social center, of West Dummerston. But for all that, life goes on. The former school now houses the Community Center and the Lydia Taft Pratt Library. Descendants of earlier generations still live here joined by newcomers who bring their hopes for a happy small-town life.
As always we welcome any information about the photos. Dates are given when known.
--Written by Charles Fish & Dummerston Historical Society, January 2008
Edited by Madeline Conley, January 2017
The school was located on Camp Arden Road and is now the home of Tom and Lou Zopf. On a slip of paper attached to the photo: "West Dummerston Pupils of Bridge School #6 with their teacher, Mrs. Abbie Adams." [Tier]
October 1942. [Tier]
Grace Burnett (1886-1963) was born and brought up in West Dummerston and went on to become Brattleboro, Vermont's first female physician. From Burnett albums. [Forrett]
Probably at home of his father, Charles Wilson. [Rostov]
At home, Rice Farm Road, seated at table under kerosene lamp, no electricity. 1969. [George]
Now closed but a long community treasure where many local children learned to ski. [Borgatti]
Founded in Marlboro in 1917 and moved to Dummerston in 1919, the non-profit organization continues today as a camp for girls ages 7-15. [Tier]
West River Road (now Rte. 30) below Williamsville. Paul and Terry Chapman have a copy of this photo dated late March, 1936. Similar pictures were taken over a number of years. Some ice jam photos are dated 1910. On the back of one photo: "Early 1900s. Clearing away ice in the Dummerston-Williamsville Road. This occured nearly every year when the spring thaws came. Sometimes the ice was so high that the workers hung their jackets on the crossarms of the telephone poles." [Bessette]