Clipped From The Burlington Free Press

VermontHist Member Photo

Clipped by VermontHist

RIDING WITH A PURPOSE MAKING THE HILLS LIVE (By C. E. BENNETT) As we were driving along the foot of Cardiff Hill on the north side of Hannibal, Missouri, nothing strange about its appearance appealed to me, yet within me there was a sense of "awe, a feeling that strange yet natural boys were playing about. So I asked of "a modem Huckleberry Finn, "What is there so wonderful about this hill?" "This long ridge is only a hill, but Mark Twain in his book. Huckleberry Finn, brought life to the hill, or .putting it another way he recognized 'and pictured in his mind characters and events which occurred on the steep slopes and on the top of this now famous Cardiff Hill. What he . did not see, his imagination filled in me oetaus. As I listened to Huckleberry, my mind was prone to wander, "Why years ago until it was possible to drive can't we all make hills and moun- moun- j carriages up to the summit, tains live? Why Is It necessary for us j "Did automobiles come up this first to rely upon authors to do the rea- rea- j road, Jake?" soning and the Imagining for us? "Oh no! It was not until after 1929 Then, too. why do authors pick out when the legislature voted two thou-some thou-some thou-some insignificant hills while there sand dollars that the road was made are so many others that might attract satisfactory or automobiles. This their attention?" j one was never very wide, but now My thought shifted the scenes quick- quick- ! with the one just being completed ly to Mount Philo in Vermont. Why ' down the other side, automobiles haven't authors made more of this I won't have to meet because of the rise of ground which would tower high i one way traffic. This will make Mount above Cardiff Hill in its beautiful, nat ural setting? It would far surpass the region tramped over by Huckleberry Huckleberry Inn and Tom Sawyer with the gang. To me it is more interesting to make up individual stories of what I think happened or imagined might have happened in a certain place. Mount Philo offers an admirable place for one to let his mind wander. As he stands on its summit, he can go back in thought to when creatures in the ocean played around its base. Standing on the top of this tiny island island one can perceive the ocean as it recedes leaving a whale which is now on exhibition in Montpeller, between the foot of the mountain and Lake Champlain. When the Four Brother islands were deeply submerged and Rock Dunder was known only by deep water creatures, sea gulls no doubt had their habitation on the top of Mount Philo. It may be that our reveries will be disturbed by Jake who has watched with keen interest more recent developments. developments. "See this road running closer to the mountain? That at one time was an important highway. Right over to j the north of us was a famous inn 1 where the stages stopped on their way to and from Burlington. At Mount Philo Inn on the left lived Frank Lewis many years." "What did he have to do with Mount Philo?" we asked. "If you'll imagine that time has shifted back to March 25. 1901," said i Jake, "we'll see something inter esting." "Up here it's kind of chilly. There he comes now," Jake exclaimed as he imagined the past repeating itself. itself. "Just what do you see, Jake," we asked with interest? "There he is coming from back of Mount Philo Inn. Can't you see the horses drawing the plough, and the men? On they come. The plough begins begins to turn up the furrow. The sods are pulled by hand Into the center, for the team goes back making a furrow furrow which leaves a space wide enough for a carriage track. Can't you see," cried Jake, "a long portion of the road is already made? They are coming coming on up." By thus time we too are enthusiastic as we, through our imagination, be hold the road developing thirty-three thirty-three thirty-three Philo much more popular, for many autoists dreaded to ascend such a steep grade on a road so narrow that cars could scarcely meet." As we gaze fully fifty miles in each direction, Mount Philo presents new interests. Easily we can appreciate why so many come to the restful inn for a day, week or for the entire summer, and as our mind goes back to Mount Philo itself, we ask. "Jake, how did they come to call this mountain, Philo?" "That is partly in the realm of legend and partly in reality. They tell us that one time an old Indian by the name of Philo dwelt on the side of this mountain. He was so kind and helpful to the white settlers that they honored his name by calling this. Mount Philo, but there would be good reasons for calling it Humphrey's Mountain." "Why would you give it that name, Jake?" "The Humphreys are the ones who used to own it. In the great desire to keep it in its natural state and to have it enjoyed by the public the Humphreys were the ones who gave the mountain to Vermont. So I say in some way the name, Humphrey, should be connected with this mountain." To Jake Mount Philo lives just as Cardiff Hill lived in the mind of Mark Twain. All hills can be made to live if we will only get acquainted with the people who once inhabited their slopes, or, lacking these details. we may picture in mind those scenes which may have occurred but in any event are interesting to us because we behold them.

Clipped from
  1. The Burlington Free Press,
  2. 01 Sep 1934, Sat,
  3. Page 4

VermontHist Member Photo

Want to comment on this Clipping? Sign up for a free account, or sign in