Green Mountain National Forest
231 North Main Street
Rutland, VT 05701
Region 9 Regional Office
626 East Wisconsin Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53202
|Nestled alongside the rutted, puddle-filled dirt road at the top of a gentle slope are the abandoned and overgrown remains of the late-19th century home of Alphonso and Marie Senecal. Once a diversified 50-acre farm with a view of Wallingford Pond, the visible evidence of the farm, homesteaded in 1874, includes characteristic stone walls, cellar hole, barbed wire, surface artifacts, spring box, hoary maples lining the front drive, and field stone piles. To the young or untrained eye, however, this all melds invisibly into "the woods".|
|The "Relics & Ruins 2000" camp broadened its focus to examine the changing landscape and the implications for the health of the local environment/ecosystem. We continued to integrate archaeology, archival research, and oral history with art (the emphasis was on watercolors, guided again by artist/teacher Steve Halford) and brought in specialists to present workshops on soil, water quality, wildlife habitat and botany. We also had John Layton, a professional photo-journalist, work with the students on black-and-white landscape photography.
These various lines of investigation and creative expression allowed our dozen Rutland County students to better understand what the landscape "story" was, how rapidly change can occur and that our actions and decisions about landscape management have tangible consequences.
|We made the site more visible through clearing and modest excavation. We recovered numerous late 19th and early 20th century artifacts indicative of the fabric of the structure, agricultural activities at the site while it was occupied, and hunting and recreational activities that took place at the site for the several decades after its abandonment. We were also fortunate to connect with the Senecal family descendants (grandchildren and great-grandchildren) who offered us personal reminiscences (e.g., "Alphonso's glass eye!"), historic photos, and genealogical details from their personal research efforts.|