Long before our days and nights were decided by social media event blasts, the preferred method of finding out what was going on in town was via an actual person who would stand in a public place simply shouting out news and events. In the small town of Woodstock, Vermont, this tradition lives on via a public chalkboard known as the Woodstock Town Crier.
Located on a small patch of grass in the center of town, the archaic message board fits right in among the iconically New England environs of the town. The tradition of appointing town criers was especially prevalent in Colonial New England and has inspired a number of local newspapers that bear the title to this day. However, Woodstock’s community board mirrors the original position more than any newspaper ever could by simply posting news and events taking place in the small town. Anyone with a public event can have it written up on the board just as if they were whispering into the ear of the screaming public servants of yore. Everything from a “Historic Herbal Medicine and Catnip Mouse Workshop” to church dinner services make the board. A large clock and thermometer flank the main board as well, essentially turning it into a sort of analog version of a smartphone.
Possibly surprisingly, the Woodstock Town Crier does not get vandalized with vulgar messages and drawings, speaking to the respect the town has for its history and traditions. Not to mention that it is maintained by the Woodstock Historical Society, a conservatory group whom it is not wise to cross unless you want to be the one who’s left crying.
Know Before You Go
The chalkboard is on the sidewalk at the corner of Elm and Central Street (route 4).