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SIA 2010 Fall Tour
Vermont • September 16-19, 2010

Tyson Shaft (Shaft No. 1), Elizabeth Mine, ca. 1880-1888
Credit: Strafford Historical Society, Strafford, VT

SATURDAY, September 18, 2010 

Saturday Tour S1: All Copper, All Day Tour (early departure, all day tour) 

This tour will travel approximately 50 miles southeast of Montpelier to visit two of the three Appalachian sulfide copper mines of the Orange County "Copper Belt."  We will spend the morning at the largely undisturbed remains of the Ely Mine (1854-1905) in Vershire, an important mid-nineteenth century U.S. copper producer, where we will walk through sites representing all aspects of copper production including mining, beneficiating, roasting, and smelting as well as the remains of an extensive mining village.  In the afternoon we will visit the larger, nearby Elizabeth Mine (1809-1958) in South Strafford.  One of the top 20 U.S. copper mines in 1950s, it is an EPA superfund site currently undergoing reclamation.  During the tour EPA staff will explain cleanup planning and engineering, and staff from EPA Cultural Resources consultants PAL, Inc. will interpret the undisturbed, reclaimed and restored mining sites and landscapes, including an unusual nineteenth-century copperas (iron sulfate) works.  This industrial archaeology and landscapes tour will use vans for transportation to and around these rugged sites; be prepared for some moderately serious hiking. This tour would be inappropriate for members with mobility challenges.  Participants must be able to safely negotiate rough, steep terrain, and are required by our EPA hosts to wear substantial boots that come above the ankles. 

Steam ferry Ticonderoga, with its walking-beam marine engine, at the Shelburne Museum. Jet Lowe, HAER.

Saturday Tour S2: Burlington Tour (early departure, all day tour)  

Vermont’s Queen City provides the backdrop for this tour, which will feature numerous stops in the general vicinity of Burlington.  On our way north, we will shadow the force and influence of the Winooski River.  Our first stop will place us at Green Mountain Power’s Plant No. 19, which has been generating electricity at Hubbel Falls since 1917.  The 10,000 horsepower plant was at that time the largest in the state.  Today, Plant 19 provides power to 4,000 area homes, saving roughly 60,000 barrels of oil annually.  Moving closer to Lake Champlain, the Shelburne Museum will host a guided tour of one its prize pieces, the 220’ side-wheeler steam ferry Ticonderoga. The Ticonderoga is considered to be the only extant unmodified vessel of its type and features one of the only two remaining “walking-beam” marine steam engines remaining in the United States. Now located several miles inland on the museum grounds, this steel vessel was the last coal-powered ship in service on Lake Champlain and remains essentially unchanged.  The tour will give special attention to Ticonderoga’s engine room and related machinery.  Nearby on the Lake Champlain waterfront, Shelburne Farms operates as a non-profit organization dedicated to the stewardship of natural and agricultural resources.  The property features three major agricultural buildings—the Farm Barn, Breeding Barn, and Coach Barn and—and a number of other structures.  Our tour will highlight the commodious agricultural buildings and the farm’s artisanal cheese-making process.  As we near Burlington proper, the tour will divert to one of the northeast’s fastest growing brewing companies. Based in South Burlington, the Magic Hat Brewery has been supplying New England with superb ales since 1994.  The operation now produces 400 bottles of beer every minute and has since moved into the top 10 of all US craft brewers. Join us on a tour of Magic Hat’s brewing process as it plays out within a unique facility that promises to enchant with its wild aromas and ambiance.  If time permits, the tour may highlight the Burlington waterfront, including the decommissioned Moran Plant (coal-fired power plant) and remnants of the former lumber industry. 

Saturday Banquet - evening 

The banquet will be held at the Socialist Labor Party Hall (a National Historic Landmark) in the heart of the industrial center of Barre. The hall was constructed in 1900 by volunteers of the Italian community in Barre, as a meeting hall for the Socialist Labor Party.  From 1900 to 1936 the Hall served the community as a location to hold union meetings, political rallies, dances and sporting events, and a cooperative store opened in the hall's basement in 1901. The building has undergone some restoration work and again acts as a community hall. We will be welcomed by the venue's manager, Karen Lane, who is also Director of Barre's Aldrich Public Library. Ilaria Brancoli Busdraghi of Middlebury College will speak on the immigration of Italian granite workers to Barre. 


Weather in mid-September can be variable, with hot humid days still possible, and cool nights. Rain is possible. 

All of the usual SIA Road Rules will apply. Take special note of the hard hat requirement for the Friday Granite Tour (F1) and the shoe requirements for the Saturday Copper Mine Tour (S1). Please note the SIA Policy on Refunds. Tours and content are always subject to change, including cancellation.

Society for Industrial Archeology
Tel.: 906-487-1889

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