by Laura Andrews
Norman J. Marcotte was born in Charlotte and lived on Carpenter Road until he moved to Shelburne in 1951, at which point he started his company, Marcotte Appliance. He went to school on Carpenter Road as well, in the schoolhouse that went through grade eight. There were 12 kids in his class. He now runs the company with his oldest son. Living in Charlotte, Norman could hear the foxhunts that took place at Shelburne Farms. He knew the second the hunt started, as he could hear the hound dogs from five miles away. The sound of the fire alarm also carried across the town line. The firemen, as well as everyone else in Shelburne or Charlotte, knew where the fire was by the number of times the alarm sounded, once for one part of Shelburne, two for another part, etc.
The Shelburne Museum, founded in 1947, was the town’s first attraction. When Norman moved to Shelburne just a few years after that, he bought a piece of land from a farmer on Route 7, across from the museum. He paid 500 dollars for the land when he was 19, built his own house upon it, and moved into when he got married shortly thereafter. The house he built is now the flower shop, “In Full Bloom.” The Marcottes have watched Shelburne grow up around them from their spot in the center of town. Norman remembers when the Shelburne Museum moved the steamboat Ticonderoga two miles from the lake to the museum. In 1955, the 220-foot ship was transported on two railroad tracks, and a portion of Route 7 was closed for three days during the process. The Shelburne Inn was also a popular place for dining and people passing through.
Norman moved his family to the property where he currently lives in 1959. He recalled how rural Shelburne was when he moved here: “All farming country,” he said. The property the Shelburne Supermarket now occupies was the site of the Webster and Thomas dairy farms. The Marcottes are proud to be one of the Shelburne businesses that have grown and thrived in the town for decades. Another is Rice Lumber, which has grown exponentially since Dennison Rice started it in 1930. Marcotte Appliance found success when it became the second largest farming equipment supplier in the Unites States and Canada in 1986. Like the Marcottes’ company, Shelburne continues to grow and prosper.
Laura Andrews, a Shelburne resident, graduated last week from CVU. She researched, interviewed, and wrote about a few of the many multi-generational families of the Town as part of her Grad Challenge Project. The Shelburne News is pleased to share these stories with our readers. This is the last of Laura’s series of interviews, and we thank her for these articles!