Barnet or Bust: Canals on the Connecticut River | Episode 221

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Running from the Canadian border to Long Island Sound, the Connecticut River cuts through the heart of New England. And for a period of about 40 years, a concerted effort was made to turn the rather wild and narrow river into a transportation superhighway to rival the Hudson. Between 1792 and 1835, seven canals were built to circumvent rapids, with the dream of making the river navigable as far as Barnet, Vermont, 280 miles from the Sound. In this virtual program, Andrew Gustafson, who has paddled most of the river by canoe, will trace the history of engineering and navigation, why the effort ultimately failed, and where this disused infrastructure can still be seen today.

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Downhill Skiing in America: Schussing Through History | Episode 187

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Hit the slopes with us as we explore the history of downhill skiing in the United States. We will look at the introduction of modern skiing by Norwegian immigrants, the evolution of Alpine skiing disciplines and equipment, and the explosion of the sport’s popularity after World War II, thanks to veterans of the famed 10th Mountain Division. We will also look at local connections – though New Yorkers routinely flock to northern resorts, multiple New York City parks once hosted ski hills (including Prospect Park), and today you can ski indoors at the nearby Meadowlands. We will even have guests joining live from slopes at Vermont’s Smugglers Notch and Quechee Ski Area, near where the country’s first ski lift started spinning in 1934.

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Steamboat Savant: The Case of Samuel Morey v. Robert Fulton | Episode 182

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While New Yorkers laud native son Robert Fulton as the father of the steamboat, his achievements were built upon the work of many other innovators, among them Samuel Morey. Born in Connecticut and raised in New Hampshire, Morey was a talented engineer who designed and built a series of working paddlewheel steamboats, which became a center of controversy – Morey claimed that Fulton built his steam navigation empire by stealing designs, with the help of his financial backer, the powerful Robert Livingston. In this program we will explore the contributions of Morey and others to early steamboat development, wade into this two-century-old controversy, and explore his namesake lake in Fairlee, Vermont, near where he did his early experiments.

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Three Generations of Conservation: The Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park | Episode 109

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Vermont is known for its natural beauty, but the National Park Service has only one property in the state, the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park. Established in 1992, the park tells the story of three men who occupied the same piece of land over time in the small town of Woodstock, and each had a unique impact on preserving the restoring the natural landscape: diplomat and writer George Perkins Marsh, railroad tycoon Frederick Billings, and scion Laurance Rockefeller. This virtual program will look at the history of conservation as told through this site, and explore some of the features of the park in and around Woodstock.

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