Fast-moving fires destroyed three pieces of Vermont’s history this month. As The Valley Reporter went to press on February 24, firefighters were still at the scene of a fire in Waitsfield Village that destroyed a historic village home. Earlier that day the Middlesex Methodist Church burned to the ground. The fire was reported at 11 a.m. and firefighters were on the scene at 11:15. The church was fully engulfed by noon and the fire quickly consumed the building.
The 115-year-old church was a beautiful building and a central, critical, historical part of Middlesex. Its loss is grievous and we mourn with our neighbors in Middlesex when any village loses such a major piece of its history.
And earlier this month, the River Road covered bridge in Troy that spans the Missisquoi River caught fire in a freak accident and burned. That fire started on February 6 after a snowmobile on the bridge stalled and caught fire. Firefighters arrived and had the fire contained within 20 minutes, but the bridges beams gave out and the 121-year-old bridge fell into the Missisquoi River.
The bright red bridge was built in 1910 and linked Veilleux and River Roads. It was 94-feet long and was one of the few covered bridges in the state constructed with external lateral bracing. It was also the only covered bridge in the state that used a wooden pin to hold the crisscrossed planks.
How horrible for Troy to lose an historic covered bridge that had long been part of its history. We mourn with our Vermont neighbors to the north.
No one will soon forget when Tropical Storm Irene hit Vermont in August 2011 flooding every corner of the state and sweeping away the Bartonsville covered bridge. That bridge was 141 years old at the time and spanned 151 feet over Williams River.
The loss of historic buildings, churches, barns and bridges is hard to accept. Empirically we know that everything humans build falls down in the end, but it doesn’t make it any easier.
As singer songwriter Patty Casey wrote, “It all comes down in the end, all the works of your hand, though built of stone and honesty, no earthly house shall ever stand.”
We send our sympathies.