Thursday, August 6, 2015

Chapter 22 Tiemann Memoirs/Tourism

Following Chapter 22, is a brief history of the Black River Snow Carnival of 1936 and the beginning of tourism in Cavendish. For the prelude and links to all of the chapters go to Coming to Vermont (Cavendish): Memoirs of Philip Tiemann 

The first snow fortunately was late, and was taken off by two days of rain, I discovered that a strip of carriage-house roofing had blown off and I felt should be replaced at once, but this was delayed while I wait­ed out another snow storm. Snow soon melts off the sunny side of a paper­ed roof; but in cold weather the roofing becomes stiff and hard to handle and I had to bring the roll into the house to get warm before it could be unrolled without cracking.  So I cut it to length and warmed the tar and put up the ladders, and on a relatively mild afternoon got the job done. (There have been many repetitions.).

Somehow or other I found time for a bit of writing, trying to do it in the mornings when I was fresh; but things kept coming up. The next difficulty was the car radiator, It had leaked        [unable to make out words] in the spring so I drew it off to keep and refilled with water as needed. Come fall I was busy with other things and procrastinated, draining the radiator on cold nights. "You'll be sorry" Isabel predicted; and I knew it was taking a risk, but got away with it until finally I got around to dismounting the thing and 'soldering' it; only to find it still leaked. So it required a garage job after all, and I hated to spend the money.

As the holiday season approached Dinah dropped a bull calf, promptly named Carol (for Christmas) by Joyce. The, poor little creature was pretty cold out in the barn, but Dinah was a good mother and soon lapped him dry with some assistance on our part using burlap bags, Everything turned out well and we soon had an abundant milk supply. Isabel had learned how to make cottage cheese so we were well off for dairy products.

It was only a week before Christmas when we butchered the pig. I had a man come over to help, The brick arch and the huge iron kettle in the little old butchering house still were use able so I filled the kettle with water and built a fire under it very early in the morning. A temp­orary plank table had already been set up and the several knives ground to a fine edge. I very much disliked the killing: a pig especially is so vocal in a very human way that it is quite appalling, This one was duly stuck, and after being well bled was dipped in the almost boiling water for what the man thought was the right time, and then stretched on the table to have the bristles scraped off, I now discovered why a number of old tin candle-sticks had adorned the place: the sharp edges of the bell--bottoms are excellent scrapers and the stem of course makes a good hand-hold, A thoro job is important and is the hardest part, and so we used my Gillet [Gillette] safety-razor to finish. This finished, the creature was split open and eviscerated and hung up to cool. He wasn't big as pigs go, dressing only 125 pounds, but still was quite a bulk to handle. A couple of days later I cut him up as recommended by the government bulletin on the subject, and we had spare ribs for dinner, a tasty treat. We got two ten-pound hams and ten pounds of bacon, which I smoked over a fire of maple wood and corncobs in the bottom of a metal drum. Two five-pound shoulders were left fresh and two five-pound butts salted down; the two loins were frozen thanks to a five-below zero night; and there was ample scrap for sausage and fat for lard. This added considerably to our experience as well as to our larder.

Altho there was another big snowstorm it was very wet and did not last long; in fact, until the end of the year the winter was unusually open, This permitted rather late outdoor activity. I spent a couple of days helping neighbors saw as well as advancing my own work. And in the house it was very comfortable, with the new stove sending out controlled heat from its place on the living-room hearth and our recently acquired sofa facing it from the opposite wall.

The Ladies' Club served a dinner at the church to which everyone of course went, Then Isabel was entertainment chairman for a Christmas play in which all the children took part. There was also of course the local school party, but one of the kids was sick and I stayed home for company, and we rather mournfully watched the others, drive off in a jolly sleigh-party.

Naturally,' our own preparations for Christmas were as lavish as we could manage. We were able to afford a turkey and all the fixin's. It already seemed customary to go up in the pasture for a tree and greens some of which we shipped "home." Then on the Eve the Crèche was set up and the stockings hung and the tree trimmed; and, as before and many times since, we had a lovely time.

Black River Snow Carnival and Tourism: As has been seen in other chapters, as well as in Chapter 22, the Tiemann’s exported greens, maple syrup and other “made in Vermont” items for profit. In February 1936, the idea of “selling” the state to tourists began in the Black River Valley when over a thousand people came to the Black River Snow Carnival.

Skiing was on one run at the newly built Okemo Mountain while the bobsled competition took place on the 700 foot run built by the Civilian Conversation Corps in Proctorsville. The “Vermont Tribune” singled out the bobsled run as “the only one of its kind in New England and already attracting many winter sports enthusiasts to this locality.”

1930s Postcard of the Gorge
In that same year, while efforts were being made to build a new highway along the ridge of mountains-the Green Mountain Parkway-as a means to attract tourists, Cavendish, along with most of Windsor county voted against it

By 1937, there was a “vacation supplement” in the “Vermont Tribune,” which featured the Cavendish Gorge. Even though both the Gorge and Bobsled run were touted, Cavendish did not go about trying to advertise for tourists, yet more and more people started coming to the area for a week, the summer, and eventually the emergence of “second homes.” 

Unlike the Tiemann era, when most of the property was owned by year round residents, today, over 50% of Cavendish property is owned by non-residents.

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