A 100-Mile Mountainscape
Marlboro, pre-1900. Collection of Marlboro Historical Society.
This stretch of the Molly Stark Byway is remarkable for its undeveloped character and the famous breathtaking 100-mile view at the Hogback Mountain scenic overlook that provides unparalleled views of southern Vermont, northern Massachusetts, and southwestern New Hampshire uplands and valleys.
The Green Mountains lie atop some of the earth's oldest bedrock, formed about a billion years ago. About 440 million years ago, they once towered as tall as the Himalayas, before gradually eroding to their present height. They now stretch north to south in Vermont for 160 miles, averaging a width of 30 miles, and are largely made up of a metamorphic rock called schist. Glaciers advanced and retreated over the area at least 4 times, hitting their last period of maximum coverage about 20,000 years ago.
Hogback Ski Area
Opened in February 1947 on Mount Olga, Hogback Ski Area was a family-oriented recreational area. Trails were selected and cut the previous year by members of the nearby Brattleboro Outing Club (one of the first such clubs in the United States). Originally, there was no base lodge and people walked from the parking lot right onto the slopes. A warming hut was built at the bottom of the original lift where food was delivered by toboggan. Initially, the trails were unnamed and trail grooming was performed by members of the Brattleboro Outing Club who side-slipped slopes in exchange for a free day of skiing. The mountain was forced to close in 1986 by a combination of meager snowfall and increasing insurance costs. Now, the old lift lines and huts are crumbling and the trails on which many children learned to ski are reverting back to woods.
The town of Marlboro (first chartered in 1751) is one of the few existing concentra-tions of buildings along the original turnpike route. Once located at a vital commercial crossroads along the original Great Albany Road until the road was re-routed one mile north, Marlboro at various times featured two inns, a brick schoolhouse, a frame schoolhouse, a carpenter, black-smith, wheelwright, wagon maker, a tanning house, ashery, post office, parsonages, a doctor-in-residence, chair factory, and the town pond. Marlboro of yesteryear included such rural pursuits as agriculture (dairies, grains, flax, wool, potatoes, and fruit), lumbering, quarrying, sugaring, soap- and charcoal-making. Marlboro was also once the site of a highly unpopular "Great Road" tollgate and is now famous as the home of Marlboro College and the internationally renowned Marlboro Music Festival, founded by Rudolph Serkin.
Hogback rope tow, circa 1950. Collection of Marlboro Historical Society.
Did You Know?
... that a half-billion years ago what is now Vermont was once located around the equator? Continental Drift was responsible for the gradual northern migration of this equatorial land mass.
... that when Hogback Ski Mountain was active decades ago, an All-day Lift Ticket cost $6, the Rope Tow (which only operated on weekends) was $3, and Adult Season Tickets cost $75?