Almeron Goodell Farmhouse // 1863

The Little River area of Waterbury, Vermont, was a very sparsely developed area of farms located on the slope of Ricker Mountain, which was difficult to traverse and farm. Almeron Goodell (1834-1910) and his wife Luthera bought farmland here in 1863 and built this farmhouse that year from rough-hewn timbers on the land. In 1870, the couple and their seven-year-old son, Bert, had four cows, one horse, and a flock of chickens on their property – enough to supply the family’s needs. Life on Ricker Mountain was hard. By the late 1800s, the loss of soil fertility on the land prompted some farmers to abandon the hillsides for more fertile land in the valleys nearby or the free land offered in the American West. Additionally, the Green Mountain Power Company began purchasing farmland to erect a hydroelectric dam and reservoir in 1920, effectively abandoning the area. The Little River area was left behind, with abandoned farms, family cemeteries, and carriage roads, slowly returning back to the earth. Luckily for us, the area is preserved as part of the Little River State Park, where you can hike and explore the area, learning about the past inhabitants of the now ghost village. The Goodell Farmhouse is the only extant farmhouse left from this early settlement and a lasting reminder of how hard life was for many who settled in undeveloped land in New England. The farmhouse was used as a hunting lodge in the 1940s, likely the only reason it still stands to this day.

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