Author Judy Chaves shares secrets of Mt. Philo

Judy has obviously done a lot of research, along with hiking the mountain itself, and she talked at length about the changing landscape and land-use history of the mountain.

Multiple slides showed the changes in the landscape of Philo over the years, which, as she noted, corresponded to the changes in how land was used throughout Vermont during the same time period.

The audience was enthralled seeing early photos of Mt. Philo when the mountain and surrounding countryside was home to sheep farms, a time period when much of Vermont, including Mt. Philo, was cleared. Slides of Mt. Philo during this period showed a “naked” mountain compared to what we see today. Our local mountain, in conjunction with the Mt. Philo Inn, was later a tourist destination complete with gazebos. The familiar western view of Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks has always been a draw for hikers and visitors. Although the land between Philo and the lake has changed over the years, today’s visitors see the same view as did the visitors in the early 20th century.  

Judy piqued the interest of the audience, showing slides of trees, boulders and remnants still to be seen on Philo, which can let us then imagine the mountain in another age. Her book, published by the Vermont Historical Society, could be purchased at the presentation, with Judy offering to autograph each copy. She challenged listeners to use her guide to locate the various places she photographed showing pieces of the history of Mt. Philo.

Judy will be leading a guided hike up Mt. Philo on Saturday, Aug. 18. The hike is free, although limited to 20 people; hikers will need to pay the entrance fee to the park. Registration for the hike (9:00 a.m. or 12:30 p.m.) can be done online on the Vermont Historical Society website.

Note: This was the first “Monthly Event at the Grange,” designed to bring the community together in the historic Charlotte Grange Hall by offering various events that will appeal to a wide range of folks. This  event was organized and hosted by Bill Stuono and Grange member Heather Manning. Our next “Monthly Event” will be Wednesday evening, Sept. 12, and will be an “open mic” event. The evening is being organized by Mike Walker, and anyone interested in more information can email Mike. 

On Sunday, Sept. 16, there will be a craft and farm market again at the Grange Hall. The organizer for this event is Jenny Cole. To participate as a vendor, contact Jenny. Watch the “News from the Charlotte Grange” column in this paper for further information on both these and future events. If you have an idea about an event you’d like to see hosted at the Grange Hall, please contact Heather Manning.