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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Burlington in Chittenden County, Vermont — The American Northeast (New England)
 

Ground Beneath Your Feet

Burlington Heritage Trail

 
 
Ground Beneath Your Feet Marker image. Click for full size.
By Alexander Schwarzmueller, September 22, 2021
1. Ground Beneath Your Feet Marker
Inscription.  If you were standing here 200 years ago, you'd be all wet. The natural shoreline ends about 500 feet behind you. Burlington's first dock was built here in 1810. Before that the waterfront consisted of raft logs tied to the shore. Cargo delivery was hard because big ships couldn't dock in the shallow water. Resourceful sailors pushed barrels containing pork, salt, rum or molasses overboard, and floated them to shore.

The waterfront began to take its current shape when the railroad came in 1849. Railroad companies filled swampy land to build rail yards, passenger stations, freight houses, warehouses, and transfer stations. The Rutland railroad built this pier in 1868, bringing tracks to the water's edge. Millions of tons of freight - and thousands of passengers - shuttled between ships and trains right where you stand.

By the 1870s, the waterfront was a thriving place. Factories, warehouses, shops, and massive stacks of lumber crowded the shore. Twelve wharves jutted into the lake. Burlington was the nation's third largest lumber port. So much wood was milled here in the 1880s that most of the waterfront is made up of sawdust!

The
Ground Beneath Your Feet Marker image. Click for full size.
By Alexander Schwarzmueller, September 22, 2021
2. Ground Beneath Your Feet Marker
Eastward view.
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lumber industry began to fade by the 1890s. By 1950, the automobile and airplane replaced the steamboat and locomotive. The waterfront became a lonely place. Only a few businesses remained and huge oil tanks had replaced the railroad tracks. Vermonters "rediscovered" the waterfront in te 1980s and created the vibrant recreation area you see today.

The 900-foot breakwater in Burlington Bay was built in the late 1830s to protect the waterfront from Lake Champlain's rough waters. The marble breakwater had a lighthouse at either end to warn ships entering the harbor. A lighthouse keeper maintained the lights. He lived in a house perched right on the breakwater!

Burlington's Waterfront in 1877.
 
Erected by Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceRailroads & StreetcarsWaterways & Vessels. A significant historical year for this entry is 1810.
 
Location. 44° 28.408′ N, 73° 13.293′ W. Marker is in Burlington, Vermont, in Chittenden County. Marker can be reached from Maple Street, 0.2 miles west of Railway Lane. Marker is at Perkins Pier. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1 Lavalley Lane, Burlington VT 05401, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Dr. Charles N. Perkins (within shouting distance of this marker); Vermont / Steamer "Vermont"
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(about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Lake Champlain Navy Memorial (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Lone Sailor (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Battle of Valcour Island (approx. 0.2 miles away); George Dewey, Admiral of the Navy, U.S.N. (approx. 0.2 miles away); Honor and Tradition (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Battle of Plattsburgh Bay (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Burlington.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on October 4, 2021. It was originally submitted on October 4, 2021, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York. This page has been viewed 37 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on October 4, 2021, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York.

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Dec. 1, 2021