• Castleton’s many faces
    February 06,2014
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    Most communities have personalities that tend toward leadership positions. If a town has more than one such personality, sometimes they get along and sometimes they don’t.

    Castleton has certainly had such personalities over the years, but it has something else that makes it unique. It has geography.

    There’s a stretch of Main Street in Castleton, running east and west of the main entrance to the college. This was one of the earliest sections settled, and the residences and businesses are close together.

    Then, after a fairly open space, there’s Castleton Corners, where Routes 30 and 4 cross. That section has its own set of businesses and residences.

    Farther west is Hydeville, around the south end of the lake.

    Farther south on Route 30, there are residences which, with that route’s crossroads, form their own geographic unity.

    Then, of course, there’s the lake with its numerous waterfront properties and businesses that serve them. While it is true that the owners of many such properties do not live there, and some are not even residents of the town, the location of such properties gives a kind of unity to how the owners approach town problems.

    A residence up near the Hubbardton town line can have needs different from waterfront properties, Castleton Corners or Main Street needs.

    Sometimes — not always, but sometimes — I would hear a Hydeville resident express an opinion that the Main Street people had given short shrift to something the Hydeville person felt was important.

    Sometimes if you hear a Castleton resident express an opinion on an issue, you can tell which part of town he comes from.

    Fifty years ago, a woman working at the Ellis Orchard warehouse lived on North Street two or three miles north of Main Street. She said to me once:

    “Well, those of us who live on Poverty Knob have our own ideas about what should be done.”

    I have no idea if there’s still such a location called Poverty Knob, but the phrase indicated how Castleton’s dynamic can be influenced by geography, as well as by economics.

    Kendall Wild is a retired editor of the Herald.
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