Perhaps you’ve noticed, while traveling south on Rt. 142, this Vermont historical marker on the left side of the road, just beyond the entrance to Vernon Hall. This sign marks the location of Vernon’s very own Central Park. The park was an eight-acre summer amusement area that opened in 1895 and closed in the 1930s. It was developed by Julius O. Frost (1839-1913), an enterprising landowner, farmer, and grain merchant. The park included a Lincoln log cabin replica, a pavilion, gazebos, large swings and a trolley-wire ride. Earlier, the town pound was on this land owned by Dr. Cyrus Washburn, Vernon’s first resident physician, Vernon Green Nursing Home and the Vernon Birches now stand on this land.
The Lincoln log cabin at Central Park rotted away, leaving only its chimney standing. That was recently removed by the management of the Vernon Green Nursing Home as part of a landscaping project.
Vernon’s Central Park attracted workers from the Springfield Massachusetts Armory, and its band could use the large pavilion. There were gazebos placed to enjoy the river view, a “zoo” of some of J. O.’s unusual breeds, a version of what today is called a zipline, a replica of Lincoln’s log cabin birthplace, white wooden swings with two slatted seats facing each other. Its advertising also noted “iced water available at intervals,” and “lover’s lanes.”
By virtue of having its own flag stop on the railroad, the Park attracted hundreds of city people to the country. Many came with their own band, for dancing. Factories often had their own bands; locally the Estey Organ factory had one — it composed marches for the Estey Guards each year.
Because of the on-going pandemic the Historical Museum remains closed for the season. However, if you contact us at our new email address: firstname.lastname@example.org we would be happy to answer Vernon history questions or enroll you as a member of the Historians.