"Probably the scariest thing about cemeteries is that music they play in your head when you drive by one." - Demetri Martin

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Welcome to iBrattleboro!

Welcome to iBrattleboro!
It's a local news source by and for the people of Brattleboro, Vermont, published continually. You can get involved in this experiment in citizen journalism by submitting meeting results, news, events, stories, reviews, how-to's, recipes, places to go, things to do, or anything else important to Brattleboro. Or, just drop by to see what others have contributed.

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Feb 20, 2003 to Feb 6, 2013


History section

Where's Walden

This article continues in the vein of my previous piece, Chain Reactions. The events described in both happen in roughly the same timespan, yet this one looks at impacts individuals can have. These articles share a common theme, that being; what are among the greatest assets of our country have come about as byproducts of our worst behavior. This is less a case of finding a silver lining, I prefer to see it as recognizing a lotus emerging from the muck. 

We know plenty about Henry David Thoreau’s famous retreat, and his legendary wanderings. However were it not for the meeting and influence of his Penobscot friends, Joe Aitteon and Joe Polis, Thoreau’s time at Walden pond might have been a singular episode rather than the start of a lifelong obsession. It was these friendships that took HDT from admirer of Nature to avid student, from a pastoral pastime to a central compulsion. 


BHS Podcast - First Peoples, Part II, with Rich Holschuh

Rich Holschuh serves on the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs and spends his nights and weekends investigating the story of Brattleboro and its peoples, dating to a time 12,000 years before William Brattle was even a twinkle...

In this podcast, Rich talks about his work uncovering the history of Brattleboro's first peoples and reconnecting modern peoples to that heritage.


Chain Reactions

135-65 Million years ago, shallow seas covered much of what would later be constellated as the Southern States.  More specifically, the ancient North American coastline corresponded with what is now termed the Mississippi Delta. As a result, the soil there, in a fairly narrow crescent, was particularly fertile due to the deposits of chalk and other alkaline elements. So fertile, in fact, that cotton production flourished to a greater degree there than anywhere else on the planet. 


This Week in Brattleboro History - First Peoples, Part I

Early Vermont histories portrayed this area's aboriginal peoples as transients who occasionally passed through southern Vermont, en route to and from Northern New York and Canada, but were ultimately not residents of the area and therefor had little claim on these lands.

In this podcast Joe Rivers and his intrepid band of middle school historians show that those early Vermont histories were very much mistaken.


The Reluctant Republic and the Breakdown of Secession

The founding of a nation-state must decide where its powers belong. In a nation where the dichotomy of centralization and decentralization proponents exists it is confronted with black or white propositions that actually create shades of gray tugging on both trends.

The United States Constitution was written to be a strongly centralist document with a smattering of decentralist characteristics. Some of the founding members thought that it lacked balance until the Bill of Rights satisfied their arguments against ratification.


Brattleboro Celebrates First Indigenous Peoples Day

It's not often that something happens that cries out to be corrected and then, in a matter of days, it is.  I'm not talking about Vermont's GMO law either (which Congress mooted within the month) – no, I'm talking about Indigenous Peoples Day which has been proposed, here and elsewhere, as a less racist and more fair alternative to traditional Columbus Day.  Unfortunately, honoring native American people was not something the Selectboard could get its collective mind around and Indigenous Peoples Day lost here in Brattleboro by a vote of 2-3.  But just when you thought all was lost, along comes Governor Shumlin with a state-wide proclamation of Indigenous Peoples Day, signed, sealed, and delivered.  What do you know, we get to celebrate Indigenous People's Day after


BHS Podcast 68 - This Week in Brattleboro History - Annette Spaulding & West River Petroglyph

In the spring of 1909, the completion of a new hydro-electric dam in Vernon created at 28 mile long lake, from Vermont's southern boarder with Massachusetts to Bellows Falls, as waters began to back up and subsume much of the river-adjacent countryside. On average, the water level rose 30 feet and eventually flooded more than 150 farms. Among the lands subsumed by permanent flood waters were a series of petroglyphs sites near the confluence of the West River and Connecticut River dating from a precolonial epoch, in the lands now known as Brattleboro, Vermont.

In August of 2015, after a 30-year search, underwater explorer Annette Spaulding found one of the petroglyph sites, subsumed in 1909 and unseen by persons for over a century.


History Today Column: Biography of Joe Pentland the Clown Performing at Island Park in 1861

Many circuses came to Brattleboro, thanks to the train. At the link below there is more information about the life of Pentland the famous clown, who was mentioned in the Today in History Column.


Here is the original post that Chris posted from a newspaper from that time. 


Lent’s Great National Circus which exhibits of the Island to-day is one of the oldest established as well as one of the most extensive exhibitions extant. Joe Pentland is the clown."


Note on Belva Lockwood in the Today in History Column

I saw the Today in History Column had a mention of a Belva Lockwood Burlesque, and thought that other readers would be interested in knowing that Belva was a famous advocate of women's rights in her day, and that men in numerous towns created Belva Lockwood burlesques, where they would mock her, apparently by dressing up in drag, and mocking her, as near as I can make of it from reading old books that have been digitized.

Here is the wikipedia biography.




This Week in Brattleboro History - That Time Irene Flooded Flat Street

Five years ago, this week, a freak-show hurricane cum tropical storm called Irene, dropped unprecedented amounts of rain on the state of Vermont. Brattleboro's many waterways swelled beyond their banks, including the Whetstone Brook, which crept, uninvited, on to Flat Street, creating a brown, muddy lake, damaging buildings and closing business.

BHS Trustee Joe Rivers spoke with Boys & Girls Clubs interim director, Ricky Davidson, about the day Irene visited ruination upon Brattleboro, the damage no one saw coming, and the equally tremendous swell of community spirit and generosity that aided a remarkable recovery.

Photo by and courtesy of Peter LaMorder


This Week in Brattleboro History - The Farmers Market

Ten years ago this week the Brattleboro Farmers Market announced it would purchase the old Creamery property in order to expand the Market. Have you ever wondered about the land where the Market is located? Here's a bit of it's history...


This Week in Brattleboro History - Henry, 1977

In 1977 the world was a different place, local car mechanic Henry Diemer reflects on the changes in Brattleboro and in the automotive world...


This Week in Brattleboro History - Nude Brattleboro

Nine years ago a naked skateboarder was stopped by police and warned that he could be fined $25—not for nudity---but for skateboarding on a Brattleboro sidewalk. Here's the story...



This Week in Brattleboro History - Casals, Ma & Marlboro Music

44 years ago romance, culture and inspiration were found at the Marlboro Music Festival. Here's the story....



1855 Account of Nearby Balloon Ascent

Vermont Phoenix, July 7th, 1855  "BALLOON ASCENT.—Mons Gustave Reynard, an experienced aeronaut, ascended in a balloon from Springfield on the 4th. The Springfield Republican says:

“The wind was high, and when the cords were loosed, the balloon with its daring aeronaut shot upward like a rocket. It rapidly rose and swept away to the east of north and in a very few minutes was lost behind a large bank of white clouds. When at an estimated height of four thousand feet, the aeronaut detached his parachute, an umbrella-like structure, to which was attached a live white cat in net work and basket. This came slowly and safely down, but was wafted so far north by the wind that it only reached the earth in Chicopee Falls. Pussy was very badly frightened, net unhurt.


The Brattleboro Historical Society Oral History Project presents Bill Holiday's Interview with Peter Gould

In 1969 Peter Gould was, "tired of the Vietnam War, [and] angry at my county," as he fled the disconsolate urban chaos in search of an alternative. He found it in at Packer Corners, in Guilford, Vermont and spent the next 9 years at the farm.

In June of 2016 Peter sat with Brattleboro educator and historian Bill Holiday to recount those times in Peter's personal narrative and the narrative of a remarkable place that lives on, nearly 50 years later.


Not as Nature Intended - The Vogue of Smooth Pudenda

Warning! This article contains adult related content. Viewer discretion is advised.

It might have been lice and crabs that first prompted men and women to deforest their pubic hairs. It was much easier to remove the offending critters by “deforestation” than to try pick the nits off through a tangle of curly hair. If you look at paintings and sculptures of nude men and women over time, however, curiously, they often have no genital hair. Historically, I haven’t found an explanation for this. Nevertheless, our recorded history of pubic hair removal dates back to antiquity. Our forebears of civilizations in Egyptian, Greek and Roman societies employed pubic hair removal, but it was more likely on a courtesan level.

It was the wealthy, upperclasses and monarchal courts who would have the free time to cosset themselves in the vogue and erotica of smooth pudenda. It was the poor, incoherent, uneducated masses who missed out on the fun erotica of the times. Perhaps, they devised their own?


The BHS Oral History Podcast: Bill Holiday's Year 2000 Interview with Andy Natowich

In 2000, BHS trustee and former head ball coach of the BUHS football team, Bill Holiday, interviewed venerated Brattleboro sports legend Andy Natowich.

The BHS Podcast is proud to present that interview, in its entirety, for the first time.


1879 Advertisement - The Self-Organist

This is an ad from the Phoenix here in Brattleboro in June of 1879. I include it here for all of you with dirty minds.


This Week in Brattleboro History Podcast - Brattleboro Historian Dick Mitchell

Dick Mitchell was an active Trustee of the Brattleboro Historical Society. He was born in Brattleboro in 1917 and passed away in 1990. What follows are memories of his growing up in the 1920's...


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