Shaftsbury, Vermont

1920 - 1938
 
Frost found an historic stone house known locally as the "Peleg Cole House" in South Shaftsbury with the help of his literary friend Dorothy Canfield Fisher who lived nearby. The house was situated on a hill overlooking a wide valley and mountains to the east - another place with a beautiful view. He could take the train from North Bennington to his publisher in New York. The younger children went to a good local school. Frost said, "I mean to plant a new Garden of Eden with a thousand apple trees of some unforbidden variety."
 
 Frost sitting in front of the Stone House 1921
Photograph courtesy of Yankee Magazine
 
 The Stone House
Photograph by Lawrence Willard C. 1955
 
The Gulley
 
Courtesy of the Bennington Banner
 
 
 
 Frost's writing cottage at The Gulley
Photograph by Lawrence Willard
 
 
 
 
Back to Places and Poetry

Even in Franconia, Frost had felt burdened with the academic routine at Amherst because it interfered with his writing. He had resigned from the faculty in early 1920, before he moved to Shaftsbury. Frost wasn't here long before his life changed again. He was much in demand as a lecturer and traveled all over the country "barding around," as he called it. His life became a complex balancing act between family duties, writing, his professional and public career and his need to earn a living.

About this time, Frost was instrumental in founding the Bread Loaf School of English in Ripton, Vt. near Middlebury College. He would remain connected to this project for the rest of his life. It wasn't long before another offer was received from academe. The University of Michigan created the position of "Poet in Residence" especially for Frost with a full salary and few responsibilities which proved hard to resist. Frost was a great teacher, but academic life exhausted him. He needed time to write poetry. For the next 20 years, the colleges vied for his talents and time but Amherst was his principle home.

In the summer of 1922, Frost stayed up late one night writing for a new volume of poetry. At dawn he said he felt "intoxicated" from the marathon and walked out to get a breath of fresh air. An entirely different poem came to him and he came back into the house and wrote "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening", pretty much in one stroke. His new volume entitled New Hampshire won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. It was the first of four Pulitzers awarded to him.

In 1923, his son Carol married Lillian LaBatt and Frost generously gave them the Stone House as a wedding present. He was gone most of the time, but did live there when he was in Vermont. After the arrival of their first child, Prescott, in 1924, Frost decided he needed a farm of his own and started looking for another place for himself and Elinor. In 1928 Frost bought a nearby farm he called The Gulley. It took almost three years for renovations before Rob and Elinor moved in. Another volume of poetry entitled West-Running Brook was published that year. Meanwhile, son Carol planted the thousand apple trees of Mac Intosh, Northern Spy, and Red Astrachan
 
Frost continued to write, teach and travel all through the 30's. He won another Pulitzer in 1930 for Collected Poems and again in 1936 for A Further Range. His children were all married and he had 6 grandchildren. Then a series of family tragedies befell: Frost lost his daughter Marjorie in 1934 following childbirth, his beloved wife Elinor died in 1938 from a sudden heart attack, and his son Carol committed suicide in 1940. Frost was devastated by these losses and his life changed forever. The Shaftsbury period came to an end, but the Gulley remained in the family until Frost's death in 1963. Today, the Gulley is a private home. The Friends' have acquired the Stone House to operate as a Frost museum.
 
We need your help to support our goals - join us and become a Frost Friend