In the writing room right now ...

In the writing room right now ... I am working on book #3 in the Winds of Freedom series, a teen adventure series set in the 1850s in North Danville, Vermont. My 1852 Vermont adventure THIS ARDENT FLAME is scheduled for June 2021 publication with Five Star/Cengage -- I will give you updates and early order information as soon as I know! I'm also writing a memoir; revising a mystery; in the midst of a novel about a grandmother and her granddaughter; and always writing poems. Yes, I guess I do like multi-tasking! How about you?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Research Via Postcards

I was excited to purchase a hand-drawn tinted postcard last week that showed the YMCA Building in St. Johnsbury (Vermont) -- a building I've never seen, because it was destroyed by fire. When I first started paying attention to downtown fires, I thought the downtowns full of brick structures were safe. After all, you can't light a brick very well, can you?

But it turns out that brick buildings burn most often from the inside. After all, they are lined with wooden structures, which in turn are lined with wood and plaster walls. Many of the "stone" structures have the same susceptibility to fire. In the mystery I'm now writing, Cold Midnight, there's a cathedral-like church in town called Notre Dame des Victoires; in the 1900s, that was where the French-Canadian Catholics attended Mass ("Irish" and other "English-speaking" Catholics went to St. Aloysius). Notre Dame des Victoires was set on fire by an altarboy who placed a burning candle inside the wooden wall structure.

The color photo postcard here is taken at the top of Eastern Avenue, and I think the ornate architecture of the YMCA building shows over to the right; the building in the center of the card is the one where a lot of the action in Cold Midnight takes place -- on the roof!

This first black-and-white postcard is the Avenue House, which became the New Avenue House when rebuilt after a fire -- it was the closest hotel to the railroad depot. And now it's called Depot Square Apartments instead.

Last but not least, I was pleased to find today a postcard image of the Woman's Club home on Cherry Street. The St. Johnsbury Woman's Club was the group that invited "Mrs. General Custer" -- that is, Elizabeth (Libbie) Clift Bacon Custer -- to speak in town. A separate research project on the town's habit of inviting exciting speakers (1871-1901 in this case) can be found at with many more photos from various sources.

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