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Voices / View from yesteryear

‘I can’t very well prevent Marlboro from getting any bigger than it is already’

How would a 13-year-old resident in 1971 imagine her small town 50 years later, in 2021? With three-lane highways, an airport, and lots of skiing, for starters. And cemetery maintenance.

Allison Turner wrote these predictions as a school assignment as a 13-year-old in 1973. Turner, now the science laboratory coordinator at Marlboro College and a civic volunteer, thanks the Marlboro Historical Society for preserving the document. (“Hey — I got the bus right .... though it doesn’t have very many stops,” she observes. “I think the town population isn’t drastically off, though it’s less than I predicted. And we’ve still got six years to implement other items.”


In the year 2025, Marlboro, Vermont will be different. The swamp on Sunset Lake Road will be drained and have apartment buildings built on top of it. A shopping plaza could be built on the field across from the Muller’s Golden Eagle Motel, which by then would be five stories high and hold 550 people.

There will be about one drug store, three supermarkets, two hardware stores, a toy and candy store, two clothing department stores, and an art shop (ten altogether), which is quite a difference from the amount we have now: none.

All I hope is that Marlboro won’t get to be to big, because I don’t like cities. However I can’t very well prevent Marlboro from getting any bigger than it already is, especially because it already has tourists coming to ski on Hogback, and also they come in the fall to watch the leaves turn colors.

A bus will be running from Brattleboro to about where the Silver Skates is and then on to Hogback Ski Area with many other stops in between.

There will be a hospital near Marlboro College and another one near Higley Hill Road. The college might have around 1,500 students and teachers, and the rest of Marlboro’s population will be around 2,000.

* * *

The one and only church that is here now will be gone, with the post office, town clerk’s office, Town House, and the Whetstone Inn, and in their place will be an airport.

Many other churches will be built all over Marlboro in such places as next to Phelps Cemetery, which will be left where it is but someone will go to it every week, prop up any loose headstones, mend any damage in the stone wall, mow the grass in and around the cemetery which will be there by then, and plant plant flowers around the edge.

Hogback will still be the only ski area, but the lifts, slopes, and trails will be on both sides of the mountain. It will have two chairlifts: one will go up on each side (the north side and the south).

Route 9 will not exist, but there will be a three-lane highway going straight from Brattleboro and route 91 to Wilmington and then on to New York.

South Pond will be dammed and be much larger; there will be a beach three quarters of the way around it. South Pond will have become a public swimming and boating access.

There will be a two-lane highway from Halifax (near the Butterfield Road) to Dover and Newfane. There will also be a park on either side of Town Hill Road, and Town Hill Road will be paved.

South Road and Sunset Lake Road will be slightly straightened out and become a through road from Dummerston to Halifax.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #518 (Wednesday, July 10, 2019). This story appeared on page D1.

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