Copper: From Elizabeth Mine to Telegraph Wires

Project Description

The students at Open Fields School started the year by taking on personae from Thetford’s 1900 census records as a way to understand more about their local history. They constructed miniature wooden buildings to create an entire historical village. Many of the students chose to represent copper miners. This led them to an investigation of the nearby Elizabeth Copper Mine in Strafford, Vermont. As the students considered copper as a local resource, they wanted to know applications for which copper was used on a national scale. That led them to research the telegraph and its copper wires. Even the small town of Thetford had a telegraph and telephone company in the late 1800s.

A group of six students had the opportunity to work with Scott Miller from the Vermont Folklife Center to design, film, and edit a short documentary that would tell the story of some of the cultural, economical, and environmental impacts the Elizabeth Copper Mine has had on Thetford and Strafford residents over the years.