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Somehow it just doesn’t seem possible there could be a serious consideration of removing rather than repairing (replacing) the historic timber crib dam in Warren Village. The dam, and the resulting waterfall and mill pond with its covered bridge, is one of the most photographed sites in Vermont and, it could be argued, is an essential part of the single most important resource in the town – its beauty. It has long been loved and enjoyed by both villagers and visitors and represents a key anchor element of the historic fabric in a well-known National Historic Register District.
The history of Warren Village centers around its mills, and this is the last remaining intact site reflecting that heritage. Our visitors travel for miles to see the famous spot – it is the very center and essence of our beautiful town. That beauty generates not just peace and enjoyment for our citizens but real business, jobs, housing, etc.
The Warren Village Dam Preservation Trust has been working hard to preserve this historic treasure. They have applied to the state for a stream alteration permit, oddly necessary it seems, to save the long-existing structure. It is rumored the state would prefer to see the river returned to its “natural” state.
And what then would be the return of the river in a historic village district to its “natural” state? Are we to discuss removal of the rest of the built environment? The bridge abutments, houses, the retaining walls (congratulations to the Kingsbury folks for their beautiful stone work), rip-rap – all must go, and yet it still won’t be back to its natural state, of course. Is the silt-filled gravel pit presently there the natural state?
The Valley and its villages are so very special – so beautiful, because of the preserved and integrated state of its historic built and natural environments. Many of us moved here for that beauty. Our valued visitors come here for that beauty. It is our sustenance – embrace it before it is too late.
[Write to the state in support of the Stream Alteration Permit – Patrick Ross, P.E. River Management Engineer, 5 Perry St., Suite 80, Barre, VT 05641. And support the Warren Village Dam Preservation Trust – PO Box 81A, Warren, VT, 05674.]
The Schipas live in Warren Village.