Hard’ack Recreation Area – in Saint Albans, Vermont – features family-friendly in/outdoor entertainment options. That includes well-manicured hiking trails on the adjacent Aldis Hill. But local historians say that back in the day the scenery was rather rough and tumble.
Old-timers attest a grey wolf was running wild in the area and killing the livestock of local farmers. One crisp autumn day in 1839, Lawrence Brainerd finally had enough. Firearm in hand, he hiked to the top of the 850-foot-hill and once-and-for-all showed the aggressive animal who’s boss.
To this day, there’s no agreement on who erected the 1,700-pound stone monument… and why. Some surmise Brainerd’s son-in-law (railroad exec turned Vermont governor J. Gregory Smith) placed the marker to promote regional pride and as a kind of offbeat tourist attraction. News reports at the time noted there was “much excitement at the slaying of the animal.”
The monument was originally laid horizontally in the ground. This caused it to get constantly covered in dirt, leaves, and snow. Wishing to preserve local history (and perhaps legend), in the summer of 2023 a group of volunteers relocated the marker a few feet from its original location and attached it to a nearby boulder using hydraulic cement and steel rebar.
Once a landmark that was simply stumbled upon if you were lucky (many explorers gave up in frustration), today a short trail is clearly marked as “Wolf Monument Way.”
The stone’s inscription reads: “On this spot in the year 1839 Lawrence Brainerd shot a grey wolf which had been ravaging the Northeast part of Franklin Co. The great beast measured six feet in length.”