Mo & Terry Smedley


Part IV - Burlington, VT: Shelburne Farms and Museum

No trains today.  We spent the entire day at Shelburne Farms and Museum, located just outside of Burlington. 

The Farms were originally founded by Lila Vanderbilt Webb and her husband William Seward (of Seward's Folly fame) as a demonstration farm using the latest agricultural technology.  Of course, what made the latest technology possible at the farm was a pretty much unlimited bankroll from the Vanderbilts.  Today the Farm is operated as a non-profit educational facility.

The Museum is a separate facility, which is really a "collection of collections" amassed by Electra Webb (married to the son of Lila Vanderbilt Webb,  and heir to the Vanderbilt fortune).   Electra's collections represent an incredibly diverse cross-section of Americana.  One of the most notable displays is the preserved 220-foot SS Ticonderoga steam vessel, moved in its entirety overland from Lake Champlain two miles away.  The relocation of this vessel is a remarkable engineering feat that took over two months to complete.

The pictures here are just a very small sampling of the exhibits that can be found within the 45 acre museum.

When we arrived in Burlington, we were greeted by a beautiful sunset over Lake Champlain.  This building, now a Unitarian Church, is located in the center of Burlington.  It reminded us of the town square in "Back to the Future" An early morning view across Lake Champlain from our hotel room. A distant view of the "barn" at Shelburne Farms.
The "barn" Another view of the "barn" The grounds of the Farm are on the shores of Lake Champlain Kids gotta love this poster in one of the classrooms.
Another classroom poster showing the progression from the soil (a rock with a calcium deposit) to cheese.  One of the Farm's commercial products is cheese.  We sampled several different varieties of cheddar here. On to the Museum from the Farm....One of the exhibits is of American circus history, including an incredibly detailed replica of a two-mile long circus parade. The "Hemispheres" wagon, pulled by a 40-horse hitch.
The old woman in a shoe Camel sedan chair.  These camel pictures are for Kathy and Betsy. Team of camels pulling a wagon.  The story of the miniature circus parade
A separate exhibit of miniatures from a circus performance A fascinating story of the American circus day Mo's the Circus Ringmaster The complete 220-foot SS Ticonderoga, relocated two miles overland from Lake Champlain
The SS Ticonderoga is a very rare example of a side wheel steamer A most unusual way to look at the hull of a vessel Electra was concerned that the steamship would appear "lonely" in its landlocked display, so she had a real lighthouse dismantled and rebuilt at the museum adjacent to the steamship The finely polished steel and brass of the Ticonderoga's control room
The Ticonderoga used a "walking beam" to transfer the vertical motion of the steam cylinders to the paddle wheel's connecting rod The interior staircase of the Ticonderoga The Museum has an extensive collection of carriages.  Here is the equivalent of a horse-drawn "bus", that was used to transport schoolchildren I was impressed with the construction of the front (steering) axle.  Check out the rotating and lubricated support plates, and the lateral and transverse springs
A demonstration of printing with wooden type in the print shop.   Lead type was historically stored in wooden cases - the upper case held the capital letters, the lower case held the others.  Now we understand the origin of the terms "upper case" and "lower case"! Mo put me in jail A list of popular expressions written on the chalkboard of a 19th century schoolhouse.  Of note:  "What you are to be you are now becoming".  That motto (substituting "we" for "you") appears as the class motto in my 1971 Chief Sealth Cache yearbook A two-lane covered bridge, originally constructed in 1845.  It was dismantled, relocated and reconstructed at the museum in 1949.
Two-lane covered bridge An extensive collection of late 19th century American quilts.  This is a close-up of a hexagonal pattern quiltl A couple of "crazy quilts"... ..."crazy quilt"
A squirrel cage toy.  Nest boxes for the live squirrel(s) are at each end.  The rotating cage moves the figures at the top of the toy In the "Folk Art" building, a staircase rug depicting early American transportation A tooth sculpture that was originally used to mark a dentist's office