Vermont Photo Essay Project

May 06, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

VT July 2015 0026-EditMarching to Cal's GravesiteJuly 4th at Calvin Coolidge Birthplace

I am beginning a photo essay on a part of Vermont's history covering the time period from the French and Indian War to the late 1800's, known in the U.S. as the Gilded Age. For me this time period coincides with the initial development of Vermont as a region distinctly different from the original colonies to the emergence of Vermont as a state of independent thinkers with their own unique sensibility. Calvin Coolidge was our 30th President and the quintessential Vermonter. Although "Silent Cal" was decidedly a conservative "Yankee", a close examination of his speeches reveals the very essence (I think) of the Vermonter soul - a pronounced commitment to frugality and limited government with a fervid dedication to social justice. The social justice theme will probably recur in these posts. Below is a quote from a Calvin speech while reflecting on WWI and the speech is well worth reading.

Toleration and Liberalism: Speech before the American Legion Convention: Omaha, Nebraska | October 6, 1925 "We must reaffirm and reinforce our ancient faith in truth and justice, in charitableness and tolerance. We must make our supreme commitment to the everlasting spiritual forces of life. We must mobilize the conscience of mankind."

Calvin was born in Plymouth Notch, VT which is today a Vermont Historic Site and is preserved almost unchanged. Every year on July 4th a wreath is laid at his grave followed by a chicken dinner in the yard behind his mother's home, and all are welcome. This particular image was made in 2015 as the VT National Guard led the procession to the cemetery, probably the most humble gravesite of any president. I had positioned myself to have the tree hide the cars parked along the road near the Plymouth Notch village. In the background are the village church , the store that Calvin's father operated (and which also served as a summer White House), and attached to the store is the unpainted home where Calvin was born. The image was the processed in NIK Analog Efex using the options designed to simulate a wet plate. Olympus OM-D E-M5, m.zuiko 12-42mm/2.8 @ 31mm, f6.3, 1/250, ISO 200.


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