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Letter: From Scytheville to Butmanville

To the Editor:

My Sept. 1 letter referred to the Scytheville district of Lebanon, which generated inquiries regarding its location, how it came to be so named, etc. To clarify: It is the area surrounding the junction of Slayton Hill Road with Route 4. At one time, a factory making scythes was in that vicinity. If you go through the underpass to Mascoma Street and turn left — at the top of the grade on the right is what was the Scytheville school. All of this is described very eloquently in Roger Carroll’s History of Lebanon.

Another Lebanon district is the Butmanville area of West Lebanon, once encompassing the area that begins approximately at what is now Romano Circle on South Main Street and extending south to the Mascoma River. The building that now houses RE/MAX real estate is the original Butman home and is shown in Robert Leavitt’s picture book of Lebanon. Over the years, the name applied to an area that gradually spread northward, so that most of South Main Street was usually referred to by that moniker. The naming of Butmanville is also explained in Carroll’s book. As “recently” as the 1940s, an original family descendant (William Butman) was seen frequently on Main Street in West Lebanon.

A very active railroad (the B&M) operated parallel to Butmanville. When trains of 80 or 90 cars that were pulled by two large steam engines passed, the whole area shook. But the railroad was the lifeblood of the area, so there was minimal complaining.

Will my reminiscing cause people to say again, “I live in Butmanville,” or prompt plaza stores to describe their location as “just south of Butmanville” in advertising? That would allow them to avoid mention of Route 12A, which invokes images of traffic congestion and inconsiderate motorists.

More likely, we will soon forget and once again travel through Butmanville, pass under I-89 to the plazas, and we will be grateful that they are there.

Gordon M. Stone

West Lebanon

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