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Silent Night: 1940

Silent Night: 1940

March 1940. "Center of town. Woodstock, Vermont. Snowy night." Medium format acetate negative by Marion Post Wolcott. View full size.


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Marion Post Wolcott

Marion Post Wolcott was such a photographic genius. I have never seen a photo by her that failed to impress me.

Memories of chidhood

This shot could be main street, Bedford Quebec, in the 1950s, when I lived there as a kid. The only difference would be 40s and 50s cars, but the signage and buildings (and snow!) were the same.

This is what Hollywood was idealizing in the movies, and we thought we were living in a sleepy town. We were very lucky to actually live it.

Merry Christmas

Bedford Falls!

The lens of time,

Is it only me, or were snow falls and storms greater in the past. Was it solely because I was three feet tall that snow drifts were huge or have we segued into a period of global weather that favors lighter snow loads? I recall snow two stories high on the back of the farm, allowing you to just walk up onto the roof of the house to shovel off the snow, and summer floods that put 1950's cars under water.

Beautiful Vermont

Looks the same then as now, only with newer cars and roads. That is the thing I always loved about the Green Mountain State was it was like stepping back in time! Thanks for sharing this photo!

It's a Wonderful Photo

With great anticipation I look at this picture and fully expect to see Jimmy Stewart running down the street to bang on Mr. Potter's window and yell "Merry Christmas!"

Through the Looking Glass

It's hard to tear my eyes away from this picture. It's like you could step right into it and walk down the cold street. I love it!

Hard starting

The picture looks like a place I'd like to be, except for having to drive one of those cars. Back then it was carburetors with manual chokes, and 6-volt electrical systems -- no electronic fuel injection or engine management computers. As the late humorist Jean Shepherd once said, cars fell into two categories: "good starters, and hard starters." You definitely didn't want to own a hard starter in a New Hampshire winter. A hard starter potentially meant a spray can of starting fluid (ether), and (oh, the horror) jumper cables.

White Nights

Given the depth of field in the Woodstock photo and the likely slow film speed Wolcott would have been using, this is probably a 30 second exposure. It's pretty sharp, so there was probably no wind.

I am fond of night photographs in the snow, and have taken many over the years around New York City. My favorites include images of the Midtown skyline taken from Central Park. On snowy nights, light becomes diffuse and it's hard to get exposure right, but with practice and willingness to waste a lot of film, I can get some really striking images.

["Film"? How quaint! - Dave]

70 year old footprints

Woodstock, like most Vermont towns, hasn't changed that much since 1940. What struck me here was the many footprints in the snow. It looks like it was trudged yesterday, but of course, it was yesterday seventy years ago. The footprints gave hope of life, but looking over on the right,the darker side of the picture, I got cold shivers down my spine. I remember spending too many cold winter nights forty years later, waiting to get a ride from the train station in Brattleboro, which was also dark and lonely on winter nights.

Like being there.

What a stunning photo, who says time machines don't exist. This reminds me of the film "It's a Wonderful Life" and "Field of Dreams." Just to walk down this street as seen here would be wonderful. Their are some great photographs on Shorpy but some of them just drag you into them, I feel this is one.

North Park Street

The house is the old White Cupboard Inn.

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Had to google it!

I had to Google this image to see if any of the structures are still standing. It is so beautiful.

I could make out the sign of the inn, on the left, partially reading "Cupboard Inn." From there, I was able to determine it is the "White Cupboard Inn" and the building is still standing, though it seems not to be used as an inn anymore, but rather some type of historic preservation or museum or attraction.

This visitor's guide lists and shows it in a photo (from 2008):

And this postcard shows it in 1952:

And here you can see it from the far, lower left:

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