Vermont’s Merino Miracle: Lessons from a Landscape of Lambs
March 12 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm$22
LECTURE AT THE MANCHESTER COMMUNITY LIBRARY
At the dawn of the 19th Century, Vermont was a patchwork of subsistence farms, slowly creeping along the valleys and climbing to the tops of the highest hills. There was development, but no specialty was bringing in big capital. That would change after 1811, when diplomat William Jarvis brought a flock of Merino sheep in from Spain. The Merino sheep industry grew exponentially in the decades that followed. At its height in 1840, there were 1,681,000 sheep in Vermont—six sheep for every person in the state. Vermonters thought the Merino miracle would never end, yet ten years later it was finished. How could such a boom go bust so quickly, and what landscape lessons did it leave behind?
This lecture is sponsored by the Green Mountain Academy for Lifelong Learning — register at GMALL; admission is $22pp. Limited to 15.
The guest speaker is Jan Albers, a historian, museum administrator and consultant. and author of Hands on the Land: A History of the Vermont Landscape. Jan grew up on a dairy farm in Minnesota and has a BA from Carleton College and a Ph.D. in British and American history from Yale. She lives in Weybridge with her professor husband, Paul Monod. She currently serves as president of the board of the Vermont Historical Society.