Friday, September 25, 2009

The Books and Blown-Up Bridge of Franco-Vermont: Chimney Point

Welcome to the History Books!

Just as I'd like to welcome you all to Chimney Point, VT and this lovely and interesting book-locale, I'd also like to welcome you to a new point in this blog's historical value: we've now entered a period of documenting something that no longer exists, in the discussion and photography of this itinerant bibliotourist. Let me explain: when I visited the Chimney-Point museum and visitor's center last August, I photographed the sign and path leading up to the museum. I'd just driven from the west, from New York State, over the Crown Point Bridge (aka the Champlain Bridge), which connected Crown Point, NY with Chimney Point, VT. The bridge can be seen in my first photo above, to the very right, as well as in the following wikipedia article about it:

I had noticed when driving across the very narrow and very high bridge, that it had become a one lane bridge, and that the other lanes were closed. Four months later, that is this past December, it was announced that repairs to the bridge were too costly, and that the bridge would have to be demolished! Who knew that I was in harm's way, just to find that book-in-culture opportunity!!? Well, on December 28th, just more than a week ago, they imploded that old bridge. The first link below shows a rather dull video of underwater cracks in the base of the bridge. And for the pyrophilics in the audience, you can view this display on the following link:

Underwater video of cracks in the base:


The video commentator tells us that an Idaho based demolition group used ~800 lbs. of explosives for the job, and my inside sources have reported that the group worked tirelessly through fog (seen on video!) and very cold temperatures to get this done by the appointed date and time.

Well, I suppose we can go back to last summer, when all of this was still a future unknown, and the trees still held tight to their green leaves, and the grass was lush, and the fragrant scents of farmer'ly Vermont were entertaining my bibliotouristic nostrils. Yes, it was a fine trip, which yielded many delights to the human senses of sight, sound, hearing, and scent. The next photo is a nearer shot of the Chimney Point visitor's center and museum. It was decorated with the fleur de lis of French design, appeal, and history, hanging from the wrap-around porch. Flowerpots held varieties of blooms, which matched the colors of the house and surrounding buildings. All around, it was a palette of good design and tastefulness, which was a mark of the general comfort and hospitality of Vermont. The tourist center hostess was very nice, and asked if I needed any sort of help, direction, or guidance. It was just the right amount of hospitality interaction, a little more than a midwestern smile and stopping short of Latter Day Saint missionary friendliness. The woman showed me some maps of Vermont and told me about the museum and the 400th Anniversary of Champlain's voyage. Of course, when she left me to my devices, I toured the little book shop and snapped a few photos for you kind readers, especially the specific classifications of "Franco-Vermont" and "General Vermont," as well as material on "Native Americans." It was a good little book shop, which I enjoyed finding and exploring.

Such as it were, the stately little museum-bookshop home of Chimney Point, now in the annals of explosives history. At least by association. This was in some respects accidental, this find. But that's how many of my bibliotours are: accidental finds. I cannot promise that I'll be taking photos or commenting on other "soon to be demolished" locales, but perhaps there may be some value in documenting a few such places. In a few more weeks, I'll be featuring a Chicago Coffee shop called Mercury Cafe, which had its own fairly sizable lending library, with its own classification system! The value of this article, moderately similar to today's piece, will be that the Mercury Cafe no longer exists, going under with the economic downturn. So, a quiet but active passion for bibliotours may just keep a simple record of something for the unknown future, in our untamed present, and almost (or sometimes thought to be) lost past. It's always good to see that other results or benefits can come from simple dedication to one's interests, even if it's seen as a lazy habit of hunting for old books in old places.


  1. I love your writing style!!!!!

  2. Can't wait to read your blog entry on the extinct cafe. It is hard to believe that the economy is so bad. And today the data came in about joblessness was worse than predicted. It is totally scary. Thank you for being a grounded sage. You are one WE CAN BELIEVE IN!!!!!!!!

  3. I agree with 1:14. You are the grounded sage; your description of the ebb and flow of everyday life is comforting in a time of so much uncertainty. Thank you so much.