cabin 1938

I came across this picture of our family cabin in Vermont the other night. Judging by the new construction look (both in the landscaping and in the building) it was probably taken around 1938. This little building has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. My grandfather, the town doctor in the small Vermont town of Bradford, bought a 200 acres homestead on the side of Wrights Mountain around 1935. Though it had once been a small farm with a cluster of buildings, only the granite skeleton of cellars and foundations remained. He built this small one room cabin in 1937 or 1938 on one of the foundations, right next to a cellar hole lined with massive granite stones. The story goes that he built it so he could keep track of my grandmother and his children (my dad and his brother and sister). Apparently Gramma Lizzie wasn’t all the happy living the fishbowl life of small town doctor’s wife so she would pack up the kids periodically and head off for different adventures. We’ve been told she had one of the first trailers brought into the state and used to go camping with the kids along the banks of the local rivers. (Obviously before the days of KOA campgrounds!). But whether he had it built to keep track of Lizzie or just to give himself a get-away place not too far from town doesn’t really matter. We will be forever grateful for the gift that he gave his future generations.
The Cabin hasn’t really changed much over the years. I don’t know when it was shingled in red, but it has always been that way as far as I remember. The pond was dug in the…uummmm..1950’s something (Elna remembers that, I don’t), a back porch was added in the early 60’s (I remember that), electricity was added in (around?) 1964 to accommodate the new fangled Destroilet (Yes, it was a gas toilet. Honest.) When I was a youngun’, there were cows that roamed the property from a neighboring farm. I don’t know why that ended, but we haven’t had any bovines around for probably 20 years. Some of the property has been sold off (we’re down to about 100 acres), and we’ve built a new road. The Destroilet bit the dust a decade or so ago, and a good old fashioned outhouse has served us well ever since. We still use the same well I carried water from as a teenager (the original well was replaced in the 60’s sometime), and although we now have water pumped up to close to the cabin, we still claim “no running water” with pride. No TV, barely a good radio signal, and no phone. (OK, cell phones work up there sometimes, but that’s a pretty recent development. And while it’s nice to be able to call for a tow truck (like last summer), it seems just wrong somehow when the phone actually rings.) Pear trees have grown up in the cellar hole – the perfect spot for a hammock. The red wooden boat that we fished from with Grampy Doc has been replaced with an aluminum one from Sears (though it seems to leak about the same). Here is The Cabin today (well, not today, but within the last couple of years!) –


Doc and Lizzie left The Cabin to my parents, and they left it to the four of us kids. And it brings all of us great joy to see the latest generation (Lizzie and Doc’s great-great grandchildren) enjoying it and loving it as they did. And we do.
Thank you, dear grandparents!

11 thoughts on “Memories”

  1. I love your old and new photos. And the little bit of history is interesting too. The cabin is a beautiful and special place.

  2. Listed as “my favorite place in the world”! A very, very grateful great-granddaughter 🙂 Love you Aunt Steph…now I can show this to people and get the story right 😉

  3. Was your grandfather Dr. Dwinell. If so, I am one of the many babies he delivered at Woodsville’s Cottage Hospital. He actually came to Fairlee and picked up my mom (in labor) and took her to the hospital. What doctors did then (1942). .

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