On the Mount 40 years ago

by Stephen Zeoli

In 1979 and 1980, I was the caretaker/interpreter at Mount Independence State Historic Site. Things were quite different in those days. I counted it a good week if we got 25 visitors. The Visitor Center would not be built for another 15 years. People would squeeze through the gate and walk up the hill to a kiosk which was the “official” starting point for the Orange, Red and White Trails. Walkers had to keep an eye on the ground to avoid meadow muffins, as a heard of cows and a few horses roamed the site, which had the advantage of keeping the undergrowth under control.

I have a few photographs from that time, which some readers may find interesting.

The entrance to Mount Independence. The Visitor Center was still years in the future.
The Trail Kiosk was the starting point for hikes on the Mount. A guide map interpreted various sites along each of the Red, White and Orange Trails.
I added a fence around the kiosk to protect it from the cows, which liked to use it to scratch their itches. Other caretakers who came after me improved it further.
Cows kept the vegetation under control. This is out on the point with Mount Defiance in the background.
The DAR monument could be seen from afar.
The Southern Battery in 1980 (left) and today (right).

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