“Ever since I arrived at the state of manhood and acquainted myself with the general history of mankind, I have felt a sincere passion for liberty. The history of nations doomed to perpetual slavery, in consequence of yielding up to tyrants their natural born liberties, I read with a sort of philosophical horror; so that the first systematical and bloody attempt at Lexington, to enslave America, thoroughly electrified my mind, and fully determined me to take part with my country.”
-Ethan Allen’s Narrative of the capture of Ticonderoga: his captivity and treatment by the British / written by himself. 1779
Ethan Allen was the leader a group of men with a rebellious streak who became known as The Green Mountain Boys. They formed their militia to fight for their land holdings, called the New Hampshire Grants, in the disputed area of land between New York and New Hampshire, in what would become the state of Vermont.
They may have started out as a group defending their own interests, but they soon became instrumental in America’s fight for independence in the Revolutionary War, in battles such as the Battle of Bennington and the Capture of Fort Ticonderoga.
Read on to find out more details and history about the state of Vermont.
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Became a state: March 4, 1791
Nickname: The Green Mountain State
State Bird: Hermit Thrush
State Flower: Red Clover
State Tree: Sugar Maple
Motto: Freedom & Unity
Area: 9,616 mi²
Population: 624,594 (2016)
State Mammal: Morgan Horse
Rudyard Kipling wrote the Jungle Book in Vermont in 1894.
Kipling was born in Bombay, India, but lived with his family in Dummerston, VT from 1892 until 1896. And, it was here that he wrote the famous Jungle Book, as well as other stories. The house, called Naulakha or the Rudyard Kipling House, still stands today and is now a National Landmark.
Vermont is the only state that doesn’t have a McDonald’s in its state capital.
That’s right, Montpelier, which has the smallest population of any state capital in the country, has yet to join all the others and include the golden arches among its eateries.
Vermont was once its own country.
From 1777 to 1791 Vermont was its own country. The independent republic even printed its own money, called Vermont coppers, and had its own postal system.
The first photograph of a snowflake was taken here.
In 1885 Wilson A. Bentley became the first person to ever successfully photograph a snowflake. He continued his work for decades photographing thousands of unique and beautiful snowflakes.
Vermont has more covered bridges per square mile than any other state.
Vermont has over 100 covered bridges. And for over 100 years, until 2005, when a bridge in Ohio surpassed it, it had the longest covered bridge in the United States. The Windsor-Cornish Bridge, built in 1866, is 460 foot long and stretches across the Connecticut River from Windsor, VT to Cornish NH.
The leading Maple syrup-producing state.
Little Vermont pumps out some major amounts of delicious maple syrup each year. In recent years the state produces close to 2 million gallons of syrup, making it the leading producer by far, in the U.S.
This You-Tube video shows the Maple sugaring process in detail.
Vermont is the only New England state that does not border the Atlantic Ocean.
Of the 6 New England States: Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusettes, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, Vermont is the only one that is land-locked.
Vermont was the fourteenth state to join the Union.
Vermont was the only state among the New England states that wasn’t part of the original 13 colonies. But, it was the 14th, joining the union on March 4, 1791.
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Printables & Activities:
There have been 2 U.S. Presidents from Vermont:
Jacques Cartier is credited as the first European to see Vermont in 1535.
Samuel de Champlain was an explorer who claimed Vermont for France and discovered Lake Champlain in 1609.
John Deere, inventor and founder of the famous John Deere tractor company, was born in Rutland, VT in 1804.
Famous poet Robert Frost lived and worked in Vermont. You can read more about him and his work in my Robert Frost Fall Poetry Unit Study.
Lake Champlain is one of the biggest freshwater lakes in the United States. It is located in the northwest corner of the state and shares its borders with New York, and Canada. There is a legend of a mysterious lake monster living in its waters referred to as Champ. Read more about Champ: America’s Loch Ness Monster.
The Green Mountains are a mountain range running north to south through the middle of the state.
The Native American people that lived in the region of Vermont were primarily Abenaki. The word Abenaki means ” people of the dawn” referring to their geographical location. It also refers to their Algonquin language origins.
Places to Visit:
The Quechee Gorge is a mile long gorge located in Quechee (pronounced kwee-chee) VT. It is the state’s deepest canyon and a major tourist attraction. Views of the 165-foot deep canyon and the Ottaquehcee River are visible from the road that spans the gorge and from trails within the Quechee State Park.
The Long Trail
The Long Trail which spans 273 miles from Vermont’s southern border with Massachusettes to its northern border with Canada, was started in 1910 and completed in 1930. The Long Trail includes almost all of the Green Mountains major summits, including Vermont’s tallest peak, Mt. Mansfield. It is America’s oldest long-distance hiking trail and served as the inspiration for the more well known, Appalachian trail, which runs along 100 of the Long Trail’s southern miles.
Bennington Museum showcases the largest collection of work by Anna Mary Robertson or “Grandma” Moses. She is known for her folk art paintings that highlight rural country life.
With over 25 ski areas in the state, we have to talk about the winter sport of skiing. In 1934 Woodstock, VT is credited with installing the first rope tow at its ski area, exciting skiers from all over and propelling the state into a lucrative tourist attraction that continues today. You can read more about the history of skiing in Vermont. The two most popular being Killington Mountain Resort and Okemo Mountain Resort.
Ben & Jerry’s
Ben & Jerry’s was founded in a renovated Burlington, VT gas station in 1978. And, became one of the most famous and profitable ice cream brands in the U.S. While visiting, you can tour their factory and taste some of their sweet treats. For now, check out some of these 39 fun facts about Ben & Jerry’s.
This is one of my favorite books about Vermont. It is a picture book full of beautiful illustrations and the story of the author’s childhood in Vermont. It is full of so many details about the seasons, the struggles, and the joys that are living and working in this state. Like the rock picking the children do every spring before they can plant their gardens. My father was a rock picker as a child in his father’s fields as well. And, it is absolutely true that you will grow a lot of rocks in your gardens because the frost pushes them up again every winter no matter how many you pulled out of the ground the spring before.
The list below is historical fiction chapter books set in Vermont that would be great as read-alouds or independent reading.
If you know or learn some really cool facts that I didn’t include I’d love to hear about them.
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