Smuggler’s Notch Fireplaces, VT 2019
Smuggler’s Notch Fireplaces, VT 2019

Smuggler’s Notch Fireplaces, VT 2019

Smuggler’s Notch Fireplaces, VT 2019

CCC-era stone fireplaces need some TLC in this locally-loved state park nestled in Vermont’s mountains!

PROJECT PARTNERVermont Forest, Parks, and Recreation

SESSION DATES: June 16-21 (Volunteers & FPR Employees) and June 23-28 (Vermont Youth Conservation Corps)


SITE INFORMATION:         Site is RV/trailer accessible  Tent camping only   showers available

LOCATION:  Smuggler’s Notch State Park is located just an hour from Burlington. 

HistoriCorps does not charge for its volunteering projects. The majority of project costs are covered by our project partners and grants, but as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, HistoriCorps relies on donations to continue engaging volunteers to save significant historical sites across America for generations to come. Your donation of any amount will make an incredible difference! Increase your impact – make a generous gift today.

Project Site Description & History

A famous pass through the Green Mountains, Smugglers’ Notch is lined with thousand-foot cliffs. The pass name isn’t simply fanciful, though – during the early 1800s, under-resourced Vermonters ignored US-Canada embargoes and smuggled goods through the notch. Later, enslaved peoples in America made a run for freedom to Canada through the Notch. And in the 1920s, bootleggers used the pass to smuggle liquor in defiance of Prohibition. Nowadays, Smugglers’ Notch is an attractive state park, but its inviting picnic area firepits are in dire need of repair. HistoriCorps volunteers will camp onsite; and as you can imagine, this project will mostly involve masonry work!

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built these fireplaces, and with several decades of wear and tear, they are now in need of rehabilitation so they can once again provide the fires necessary for summertime hot dog and s’more roasting competitions. The CCC was a Depression-era poverty relief program of the US Government that put young men to work on public benefit projects, especially on public lands. Corps members would receive three square meals per day, and $30 per month – $25 of which was given directly to their families. 

Scope of Work

Volunteers worked alongside expert field staff to learn the following skills so as to rehabilitate this park’s historic fireplaces so they can be used and enjoyed once again.

  • Rebuild stone fireplaces: 100%

This plaque reads, “Smugglers Notch: the southern gateway to Mount Mansfield and Smugglers Notch is via Route 100, once a plank road, the bed for Mt. Mansfield Electric Rail Road, and one of the earliest concrete roads. From the village of Stowe, Route 108 meanders past the base of Mt. Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak at 4393 feet, and climbs through Smugglers Notch, the reputed route for cattle smugglers and hiding place for Lake Champlain pirates The BIG SPRING has been popular since the 19th century when its waters were claimed to have curative powers. The caves, which retain ice until July, the ski resort and the many trails attract hikers and travelers in all seasons.”

A peaceful campsite in Smuggler’s Notch State Park

Above and below: Two of ten fireplaces we will rebuild.