Along the Road
by GREEN MOUNTAIN BYWAY
Submitted by Barbara Baraw, Stowe Historical Society
Oliver Luce, first resident of Stowe, left Waterbury and stopped at the “Hill farm”. He transferred his family goods to a hand sled that he pulled over frozen ground to arrive at his plot of land near the intersection of Pucker St, and RT 100 north of Stowe village, April 1794. Where was the “Hill farm”, and what was his route?
One possibility is Brush Hill to cross the Waterbury Reservoir over Gregg Hill to Barnes Hill and down into Moscow along the Little River through Stowe Village to his new land. Could he have followed the Little River north through Moscow, along River Rd over Cady Hill to cross the river north east of the cemetery? One can see the possibility by viewing the Green Mt. By-Way recreation map or the Cultural and history map.
In 1816, Waterbury and Stowe became “Post Towns”. A postal route was established between Montpelier and Johnson through Waterbury, Stowe, Morristown Corners, Hyde Park to Johnson. Was the route through Waterbury Center? Was it over Gregg Hill, down Stowe-Waterbury Rd., along the east side of the Little River? (This is likely as the first post office was in Riverius Camp’s store in Mill Village, now called the Lower Village). North from Stowe it was “Hill – Stage Coach Rd.” to the west of the current Cady’s Falls Road, into the western end of Hyde Park Village, along the Lamoille River to Johnson.
By the 1850’s the current Route 100 from Waterbury Center to Stowe was sufficiently busy with heavy wagons getting stuck in the seasonal mud, a turnpike was chartered by the state. It was a plank road constructed of “soft wood” probably cedar and pine. By the time the electric railroad was built in 1897, the turnpike had fallen into disrepair and was abandoned. A portion of the turnpike became part of the railroad line, which in 1932 became the base for state Route 100 that was paved with concrete. There is a construction project scheduled to now remove that original concrete.
If you are curious as I am, some of these routes are part of the Green Mountain By-Way corridor. Brush Hill Rd offers expansive views, and beautiful working farms and local golf course. Guptil Road off of Route 100 takes you to Waterbury Center, from which you can take the “High Road” through south Stowe Hollow all the way to Stowe village.