This Place in History: Smith Maple Crest Farm

Vermont Historical Society

SHREWSBURY CENTER, Vt.

At ‘This Place in History’ we’re in Shrewsbury with Executive Director of the Vermont Historical Society Steve Perkins.

“We have a quintessential Vermont view right over our shoulders. This is the old Stephen Gleason Tavern welcoming visitors to Shrewsbury from over 200 years ago. And it’s part of the Maple Crest Farm which has been in the Smith family for generations. Donna Smith, who’s part of that family, is going to talk to us about the farm and the tavern,” explained Perkins.

“Stephen Gleason migrated here to Shrewsbury from Petersham, Massachusetts in 1805. There was always an argument when the house was built. It finally came down to it was 1808 and finished in 1811. And the bricks were all made right here on site,” said Smith.

“It’s a very unique house when you look at it from the front. There are two entrances. Which one will I go in? Why is it designed that way?” asked Perkins.

“It was designed that way to begin with because it was a tavern. But, also there are three front rooms in the brick part. One was a tavern, one was a little hall and we’re sitting in what was known as the post office, which was the first post office in the town of Shrewsbury,” answered Smith.

“How long did this operate as a tavern?” asked Perkins.

“Not long. They lost the [alcohol] license because the town went dry in 1835,” said Smith.

“The Gleasons were the first generation. Steven Gleason’s son, H. C. Gleason, owned three cheese factories, one of which the foundation still exists beyond the long, red barn. And, I have ledgers and things from where he shipped his cheese way out west,” added Smith.

“This part was the center of Shrewsbury and served the community. There was a doctor in the gray house down the road. There was a carriage and wheel shop. And in front of the garage in the house next door was a blacksmith shop.”

“People who were on the Crown Point Road from Charlestown, New Hampshire, crossed through here and went on their way to Rutland and up north. It was in 1835 that everything moved down to Cuttingsville because the train went through,” explained Smith.

“This was the original center of town on that historic road, pre-Revolutionary road, that connected what was the wilderness at the time,” concluded Perkins.

After ending the dairy operation in the 1980s, the Smith Maple Crest Farm is now known for its grass-fed beef, its sugaring operation, producing 5000 gallons each year and for welcoming guests as a bed and breakfast. For more information, click here.

To view a map of Vermont’s historic site markers, click here.

For more ‘This Place in History’, click here.

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