Beaver Pond trail in Proctor ties into history with new marker


The Beaver Pond committee in Proctor has marked the line where Rutland used to meet Pittsford before the founding of Proctor in the 1880s. Photo by Dale Christie

PROCTOR—Vermont was the last of the New England states to be settled by Europeans.  Whereas its neighbors saw permanent European settlement in the 1600s, Vermont was still “unclaimed” Abenaki land well into the 1700s.  It wasn’t even “Vermont” until after the Revolution.  Before then, it was a disputed “wilderness” between New York and New Hampshire, with these two states vying for control.

In the mid-1700s, New Hampshire’s governor, Benning Wentworth, began issuing land grants in what is now Vermont.  The state’s current configuration, wherein most town boundaries are surprisingly square, is the result of this intentional parceling of the territory into roughly equal pieces.  

And then there’s Proctor.

Proctor is an oddity among Vermont’s mosaic of rectangles, a jagged-edged sliver of land along Otter Creek, nestled among Pittsford, Rutland, and West Rutland.  It owes its unique shape to its unique history as a company town, founded by the owners of the Vermont Marble Company in 1886 and named after Redfield Proctor, the company’s president at the time.  The area that eventually became Proctor had previously been part of Pittsford and Rutland.

Recently, the Beaver Pond Committee (BPC) in Proctor planted a marker along one of their Beaver Pond hiking trails at the spot where it crosses the former boundary line between Pittsford and Rutland, as a reminder of Proctor’s unique history.

Dale Christie, a member of BPC, says, “I’m confident the new sign’s location and content is correct.”  There’s an old stone wall at the site that Christie believes delineated the old boundary.

“There’s a woman in Proctor, probably in her 80s now, who remembers a stone ‘jail marker’ at that spot as well,” Christie added.

The “jail markers” were marble posts erected along the boundary between Rutland and Pittsford to alert debt prisoners on work furlough from Rutland jail that they were about to leave the territory they were required to stay within.  Though no trace of a marker remains at the site of BPC’s new sign, anecdotal evidence suggests that it’s possible that one stood there at one time.  

Anyone interested in hiking along BPC’s trails, and experiencing a bit of history as well as nature, can find the trailhead on Florence Road in Proctor.  The new marker is on the Stone Trail.

Share this story:
Back to Top