March 3, 2024
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Haunted Vermont, Folklore & much more…

The Legendary (or Mythical) Origins of Mount Mansfield?

hiking mt mansfield vermont

Many of us long time Vermonters have heard this legend about Mount Mansfield before, yet many have not.

mount mansfield

The origin of the name Mount Mansfield is disputed amongst various sources. According to Wikipedia, the mountain was named after the town of Mansfield, Vermont, which existed until 1839 when it was divided between Underhill and Stowe.

However, there are competing theories about the origins of the town’s name. Some claim it was named for Mansfield, Connecticut, while others believe it was named after Moses Mansfield, a Connecticut landowner. An additional source suggests Mount Mansfield was originally called Mozodepowadso, or “Moosehead Mountain,” by the native Abenaki people.

It later acquired the English name Mansfield from settlers in the area. A third origin legend holds that the mountain was formed by a sleeping giant who never awoke1. Regardless of its contested naming history, Mount Mansfield derives its distinct human-like shape and facial profile—with a discernable forehead, nose, lips, chin, and Adam’s apple—from certain angular perspectives.

Mt Mansfield Vermont

A Sleeping Giant?

From a Stowe, Vermont newspaper published on August 17, 1858. One version of a legend on Mount Mansfield’s formation: A giant from the far off south many years ago was walking northward on an exploratory journey, when he arrived in the Stowe area.

At this point “being fatigued with his journey, as night came on he laid him down to sleep, and unfortunately, he has never since awoke, but like the giant Rip Van Winkle sleeps on.” For decades, people have pointed to scenic Mount Mansfield in attempts to creatively distinguish the mountain’s “chin, nose and giant forehead”.

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