The Mt. Philo Inn commune was established in 1970 and lasted until 1975. During that time this group of activists were instrumental in forming People's Free Clinic, now known as Community Health Center in Burlington, serving a largely immigrant population, the Burlington Co-op, now the thriving City Market, Vermont Legal Aid, and The Schoolhouse, an alternative school.
A documentary (here) by the Vermont Historical Society and Vermont PBS was completed in 2018, examines the influx of back-to-the-landers, peace activists, and disenfranchised youth who flocked to Vermont in the 1970s in search of a different way to live. In the process, they precipitated progressive social and political change in the state that impacts Vermont to this day.
A second documentary, The Mt. Philo Inn Commune, was directed by Robert Machover & Michael Singer in 1973. It was remastered by the VTIFF (Vermont International Film Festival) and digitized by VAMP (Vermont Archive Movie Project) in 2018. It’s first screening was March 31, 2019 and it was shown to a standing-room-only crowd in the ballroom on June 16.
Click here to watch Mt. Philo Commune on Vimeo
Article describing the June 16 event in the Charlotte Citizen Here
A verbal history of the commune was recorded by member Bridget Downy-Meyer. Here She speaks of dropping out of UVM, becoming a single mother, working with draft resisters. She describes communal living at the Inn, and of transitioning into a collective, the decision-making process and the difficulty of arriving at consensus. She talks of founding of the People's Free Clinic, (now the essential Community Health Center, working with a mostly immigrant population), The Schoolhouse, an alternative school in Shelburne. and the relationship of Mount Philo to other communes. Topics include taking-in the homeless Earthworks commune children after a fire, open relationships, nudity, and child rearing. She ends the interview by describing the effect of the counterculture on Vermont.
An article about the commune in Seven Days, March 2019
The Living Theatre
The world-renowned performance group-- The Living Theatre, resided at the Mt. Philo Inn for nine months in 1974. Julian Beck and Judith Molina rose to fame in the world of international avant-garde theatre by producing a series of controversial theatrical works that attempted to marry politics and expression, trying to eliminate the distinction between life and art. Al Pacino said “The audience became the theater. They were the event. They were the play. And on one side of the theater was Judith Malina and on the other side was Julian Beck. They were controlling it on either side. They were orchestrating it. And it was literally the most exciting, vibrant alive thing that I - I can only describe it as changing my life. At the Mt. Philo Inn they created the political production "The Money Tower,"