National Geographic : 1967 Aug
community in Champlain country. For years it rested on a plateau of prosperity and un changing social structure. A few established families owned the banks and other busi nesses, held public office, ran civic affairs. With World War II, the pattern changed. Droves of out-of-staters discovered the valley and selected Burlington as the most promising place to settle. Excellent opportunities for education and recreation attracted two cor porate giants: General Electric, which makes a rapid-fire gun for the Air Force there, and International Business Machines, which man ufactures computer components in nearby Essex Junction (page 182). In recruiting personnel for its Essex plant, IBM recently advertised an unusual fringe benefit-skin-diving for Revolutionary gun boats in nearby Lake Champlain. Such inducements obviously work. In 20 years Burlington has grown from 33,000 to 190 40,000-twice the state's pace-and the com- muter fallout radiates for more than 40 miles. Newcomers contribute substantially to Burlington's boom. Jay Wulfson, youthful President of Vermont Railways, reactivated freight service on 122 miles of idle track and now schedules daily runs to Bennington. It's Fun to Run a Railroad We were rolling south on one of his trains when I asked what brought him to Burlington. "Always wanted to own a railroad," he ex plained. "This one had failed, and no one else seemed to want it. So I leased the most pro ductive stretch, bought myself some boxcars and an engine, and went into business. Even if we weren't making money, which we are, I'd at least have a diesel to drive." Happily seated at the controls, he greeted a group of front-porch fans with a wave and a whistle toot. "I can tell you one thing," he smiled. "I never had this much fun in New Jersey."