The following blog post was written for the Green Mountain Club by Reidun Nuquist, a long time GMC volunteer and leader of the Montpelier Section.
In March 1776, Abigail Adams wrote to her husband John away in Philadelphia with the Continental Congress, “. . . I desire you would Remember the Ladies. . . .” The Green Mountain Club remembers some of its remarkable ‘ladies’ with the names of Long Trail shelters and trails.
The Laura Woodward Shelter, north of Jay Peak, is named for Laura E. Woodward (1874–1960), a friend and colleague of Professor Will Monroe at the New Jersey State Normal School in Montclair. Woodward was an early president and frequent trip leader of the once dynamic New York Section, now folded. She must have been an inspiring person. Woodward’s long obituary in the Long Trail News describes “Her love of the Green Mountain Club, her enthusiasm for its aims and activities, her ebullient good spirits and her high Quaker ideals . . . .” The original Laura Woodward Shelter was built in 1930, when the Long Trail was still being cut to the Canadian border.
Two other shelters were named for women who, between them, ran the Green Mountain Club office in Rutland for half a century. Lula M. Tye (1888–1962) went to work as corresponding secretary in 1926. The Lula Tye Shelter that once stood by Little Rock Pond was, sad to say, demolished and replaced by Little Rock Pond Shelter. I, for one, regret that Tye’s name has been erased from the Long Trail guidebook.
Honora Minerva Hinchey (1895–1979) replaced Tye as secretary in 1955. Hinchey worked until she was eighty-two, when the club headquarters moved to Montpelier to be closer to the seat of government. The Minerva Hinchey Shelter, south of Clarendon, still welcomes hikers.
Three shelters were named for women whose family money funded their construction: Emily Proctor Shelter in the Breadloaf Wilderness, Butler Lodge on the south side of Mount Mansfield, and Fay Fuller Camp north of Bennington. Emily Proctor belonged to the influential Proctor family of the town of Proctor, home of the Vermont Marble Company. Mabel Taylor Butler was a member of the Burlington Section. Their namesake shelters still stand.
Fay Fuller Camp, a stone hut inaugurated in 1930, is, however, gone. Designed by Paul W. Thayer who also designed the Long Trail Lodge in Sherburne Pass, it may have been the only architect-designed shelter on the LT. It was named for Evelyn Faye Fuller (1869–1958), a journalist and teacher, who in 1890 became the first woman to climb Mount Rainier.
As for trails dedicated to women, the Laura Cowles Trail on the western side of Mount Mansfield is named for an early Burlington Section president and outdoors woman, Laura (Golden) Cowles (1878–1958), She scaled the six highest peaks in Vermont, and may have been one of the first women to climb Mount Mansfield in winter. Her husband, one of the GMC’s founders, named her “the pioneer in opening the Green Mountains of Vermont for the recreation, good health and pleasure of men as well as women, in winter as well as summer.”
I end on a lighter note with the naming of the Clara Bow Trail, a side trail in Nebraska Notch. Clara Bow (1905–1965), of silent films and talkies, starred in films like “Poisoned Paradise” and ‘Daughters of Pleasure.” She was called the perfect 1920s flapper. According to Gardiner Barnum’s “Place Names on Vermont’s Long Trail” (2007), the trail was named for the actress by Louis Puffer, because—like Bow— the trail is “beautiful but tough.”