“We’re in an area of the Granite City that a lot of people might not know is within it, given what this is and what it’s been used for,” Mike Hoey said.
“We are within the city limits of Barre,” Vermont Historical Society executive director Steve Perkins said. “But we’re within this beautiful kind of conservation area called the Barre Cow Pasture! Why is it called the Barre Cow Pasture? We’ve invited the chair of the committee that oversees this area, Chris Russo-Fraysier, to take us on a little hike today.”
“This doesn’t look much like a cow pasture now, does it? But it once was a cow pasture where local owners grazed their cows,” Russo-Fraysier said. “It was probably — when the Abenakis owned it, obviously — it was wooded.”
“The city owned the land,” Perkins interjected.
“They used it to graze their horses, their work horses that were used in the city to plow streets and roll snow and other tasks that vehicles are used for these days,” Russo-Fraysier replied.
“Starting, I believe it was, shortly after the 1927 flood, this area started to see some uses that were a bit different from some of those,” Hoey said.
“Yes! There was apparently a Meadow Brook Country Club that was flooded out, and they wanted to go to higher grounds and the pasture was higher grounds for them,” Russo-Fraysier answered. “So, yeah, at one point this was a golf course.”
“You were telling us about some interesting trees here on the property,” Perkins added. “And we’ve got one right over here, over our shoulder.”
Russo-Fraysier asked, “It’s interesting, isn’t it?”
“It’s beautiful,” Perkins said. “How old is that tree?”
“I wish I knew how old that tree is,” Russo-Fraysier answered. “We should actually find somebody who can age it for us.”
“It has something very notable within it,” Hoey noted.
“The sugar tap! Yeah, a friend found that embedded in the tree on the far side,” Russo-Fraysier said. “It definitely shows the multiple uses of this property.”
Perkins asked, “So how can people come and visit the cow pasture?”
“Well, if they live in Barre City, there’s many ways that they could come and walk to the pasture,” Russo-Fraysier said. “There are side trails from different neighborhoods. There’s an entrance at the end of Maplewood Avenue and you could drive there; there’s a small parking lot there. On the Barre City website, under the Cow Pasture Stewardship Committee, there are some pieces of information and maps and the management plan for the property and documents. And there’s also — a prior member created a storybook walk to the pasture, so there’s a link to that.”