New on honest Abe’s site, five issues of Driftwind as produced by Walter J. Coates. All with Lovecraft contributions.

Looking quickly through my resources, I’m not sure that Lovecraft ever actually visited Montpelier in Vermont, to see Coates and his Press ‘at home’. They met, but Coates had to travel some hundred or so miles to talk with Lovecraft. Cook at least once made the trip to Montpelier, but quite possibly Lovecraft never made it?

Lovecraft commented on Coates being present at an amateur meeting… “Coates, [who has travelled] all the vast way down from the Montpelier region”. In another letter he has… “the indefatigable Walter J. Coates of Montpelier (editor of Driftwind) came down nearly a hundred miles to mingle in the throng.”

Which suggests Montpelier was rather inaccessible. Postcards from Cook were postmarked ‘North Montpelier’, and presumably so were letters to Lovecraft. Which might lead one to think that Coates was in the hills somewhere at the back of the town, as seen here…

However, Google Maps has North Montpelier / East Montpelier closely abutted together, a small narrow river-valley settlement located about five winding miles east of the main town. So perhaps there’s just a postmark / postbox confusion here. Possibly Coates used the Post Office at North Montpelier because it was the nearest, but where was he really?

I have however managed to get and colourise a card of “North Montpelier” itself, which suggests a rather sleepy place. Possibly we see here the main ‘one man and a dog’ stores and Post Office.

The place was on the often flooded Winooski River, and of that I found an evocative postcard which may interest Mythos RPG makers in need of photo-props for a 1920s ‘Whisperer in Darkness’ type adventure…

Update: The East Montpelier Historical Society has online a detailed historical essay on the Coates little magazine and its editor, including several photographs. Thanks to a prompt from a reader I’ve now been able to re-find this (the link had been broken) and it reveals the Coates / Driftwind location…

In November 1922, he and Nettie purchased the George Pray store in North Montpelier, and the Coateses and son John continued as the storekeepers.

Thus the store seen in the above picture would soon become the Coates store, as one can see the “Pray” signboard.