West Bank: White River Jct. To Colebrook
( Originally Published 1919 )
R. 10 § 6. West Bank: White River Junction to Colebrook. 130.0 m.
This route follows the west bank of the Connecticut closely throughout. Except for fifteen miles between Waterford and Lunenburg it is State Highway, with the township lines marked by signs. The surface is mostly good dirt or gravel.
The old town of Norwich, the long rapids of Fifteen Mile Falls, above Barnet, and the wilder country northward to the Dixville Notch are the principal points of interest.
From White River Junction the road crosses the White river and passes through Wilder (2.0), a little village in the township of Hartford. Here the power of the Connecticut, Alcott's Falls, is utilized by the paper and pulp mills of the International Paper Company. Near the village are the old masonry locks of the canal built in 18r0 round the White River Falls. The road winds to the left, up and away from the Connecticut, and enters Christian St. (p 345), and then bears left into
5.0 NORWICH. Alt 398 ft. Pop (twp) 1252. Windsor Co. Settled 1763. Mfg. lumber products.
Norwich is a fine old town on the Connecticut opposite Hanover, for which it is the railway center. There is a pleasant tree-shaded Green, with an old church and some century-old houses. Just north of the village the Ompompanoosuc joins the Connecticut. Bloody Brook, which rises in the north-western part of the town and flows into the Connecticut, de-rives its name from a battle fought on the stream during the French and Indian War. In 1830 Captain Partridge established Norwich University here, which later removed to Northfield. Philip Hale, the music critic of Boston, is a native of Norwich.
Pompanoosuc (11.0) is a little village in Norwich township, stretching along the bank of the Connecticut just beyond the mouth of the Ompompanoosuc river. The chief interest of the community is in agriculture, but there is a furniture factory. Formerly copperas mined at Copperas Hill, ten miles to the northwest, was shipped from this point. Nearly 400 tons of it a year were converted into vitriol at works near Boston.
Crossing the Orange County line the route enters
15.5 THETFORD. Alt 600 ft. Pop (twp) 1182. Orange Co. Settled 1764.
This old country village, surrounded by lofty wooded hills, is principally engaged in farming. There are some old houses here and a meeting house erected in 1785. Thetford Center lies a few miles back from the Connecticut, but the village of East Thetford is on the bank of the river.
In 1911 the 150th anniversary of the chartering of the town was celebrated by a pageant which stimulated a new spirit of enthusiasm in this rural community. A soil and a farm management expert were brought here to aid in agricultural development, and the women organized the Thetford Kitchen for the sale of certain choice food products. Since then an annual celebration, the "Intercamp Frolic," is held each summer on the pageant grounds by Camp Hanoum and other girls' summer camps in this vicinity.
George Peabody, the famous philanthropist, spent part of his boyhood here at the home of his grandfather. During the later years of his life he gave a library to the village school at Thetford, now in the part of the village called Post Mills. Dean C. Worcester, a member of the Philippine commission, was born here.
23.5 FAIRLEE. Alt 436ft. Pop (twp) 438. Orange Co. Settled 1766.
Fairlee is a pleasant country village a mile from the river in the midst of very attractive scenery. A part of the village is situated at the foot of a great ledge, sometimes called the Palisades, which backs its `Street' at the upper end.
Lake Morey, a lovely little sheet of water, rich in Indian lore, is in the hills a mile from the Connecticut. It is the chief scenic attraction of the region and the center of a summer colony and the site of Wynona, Hokomoko, Aloha, and other wellknown summer camps for girls. The lakelet is about three miles long. A drive of about seven miles encircles it, and a little steamboat plies up and down. Eagle Cliff rises steeply 700 feet above its waters. At Glen Falls the water comes tumbling down a gorge over a huge moss-covered boulder, and has worn a horseshoe-shaped depression in the rocks. A shady path from this waterfall leads to the summit of Echo Mountain, which commands a good view.
Lake Morey bears the name of Captain Samuel Morey, who as early as 1790 began to consider navigation by steam.
Captain Morey made his first experimental trip with his steamboat on the Connecticut river on Sunday, during the hours when the people were at church, so that no one should see him in case of failure. On that memorable Sabbath in 1790 or thereabout this rude craft steamed up the river between Fairlee and Orford, and on the following day the inventor announced his success. The news must have reached Fulton, for soon after he consulted with Morey and ere long a steam-boat was launched on the Hudson. About 1820 Morey launched another boat on Lake Fairlee. The "Aunt Sally," as this was known, had a short existence, as it was sunk in 1821,-it is claimed, by enemies of Captain Morey in order that they might destroy evidence of a successful steamboat earlier than Fulton's.
30.0 BRADFORD. Alt 400 ft. Pop (twp) 1372. Settled 1765. Mfg. buckets.
Bradford is a prosperous farming village at the confluence of the Wait and Connecticut rivers. In the village is the birthplace of Admiral Charles E. Clark, one of the eminent American officers in the Spanish-American War, whose exploit in bringing the battleship "Oregon" around Cape Horn is familiar to every schoolboy.
The attractive hill country back from the rivers is a good district for excursions. In the northwest part of the town is Wright's Mountain (2000 ft), which takes its name from one Wright who claimed to be a prophet and had a hermitage in a dismal cavern on the southern slope, now called the Devil's Den. Wait River is a beautiful stream, and the shaded drives along its banks are exceedingly picturesque. Another attraction is Roaring Brook, which dashes down over rocky ledges. The numerous other brooks about this region afford good trout-fishing.
After leaving Bradford our route lies through. one of the loveliest portions of the Upper Connecticut Valley. We continue over the rich alluvial meadows, with the range of mountains rising in terrace-like formation parallel with the river. Some of the most fertile farms in New England are situated along this stretch of the valley.
The little village of South Newbury (34.5), with its fine farming lands and background of mountains, is a part of the town of Newbury.
37.5 NEWBURY. Alt 450 ft. Pop (twp) 2035. Orange Co. Settled 1761. Mfg. cedar ware and dairy products.
Newbury is a beautiful old village standing on the terraces above the rich intervale of Ox Bow, the great bend in the river that almost cuts off this fertile meadow-land. There are some spacious, century-old homesteads on its main street, and the present inn is a pre-Revolutionary tavern remodeled and enlarged. Mt. Pulaski and other peaks here form a wooded background. To the 'east, across the river, is the old New Hampshire town of Haverhill, and beyond are the Pemigewasset and Franconia Mountains.
The fertile meadows here were the home of a large tribe of Indians before the white settlers came, but the red men abandoned the place in terror after Lovewell's battle at Pequawket.
Newbury, one of the oldest of Vermont towns, was founded about 1761 by General Jacob Bayley of Newbury, Mass., who was later prominent in the Revolutionary War and a friend of Washington. A detachment of British soldiers came here during the war to take Bayley, it is said, but a friend went over to the field where he was plowing and dropped a note in the furrow, saying, "The Philistines be upon thee, Samson!" On returning down the long furrow Bayley saw the note and made good his escape. Newbury was garrisoned later in the Revolution, and during the early history of Vermont, when river transportation was in vogue, was one of the most important towns in the State.
43.0 WELLS RIVER. Alt 500 ft. Pop 608. Orange Co. Mfg. paper, soaps, and lumber.
The incorporated village of Wells River, the largest of those comprising the town of Newbury, lies at the confluence of the river of that name with the Connecticut. Hale's Tavern here is the headquarters of the Fat Men's Club and is a wellknown hostelry. In 1830 a small steamer ascended the stream as far as Wells River, but steam navigation on this part of the Connecticut has never been developed.
The righthand road, crossing the Connecticut, joins the East Bank Route to the White Mountains at Woodsville and North Haverhill (p 362).
Crossing Wells River and the Caledonia County and Barnet town line, the route continues on the State Road up the valley, the scenery becoming ever more mountainous in character. At Dodge's Falls the river makes a considerable descent.
McIndoes Falls (51.7), the principal village of Barnet, a saw-mill center, lies at the pitch which finishes the long stretch of rapids known as Fifteen Mile Falls. These falls form one of the great waterpowers of the Connecticut soon to be the site of a million-dollar hydro-electric plant at Waterford. Here is sawed a considerable part of the great annual drive of logs from the headwaters of the river. Across the river in New Hampshire is Monroe, with Paddock Mountain a little to the south.
54.5 BARNET. Alt 452 ft. Pop (twp) 1707. Caledonia Co. Settled 1770.
Barnet, near the foot of the Fifteen Mile Falls, lies at a bend where the river turns from northeast to south. Stevens River, the outlet of Harvey's Lake, empties into the Connecticut at Barnet. About 150 rods from the mouth are some very picturesque falls.
The town was granted to two sons of Phineas Stevens, who so gallantly defended the fort at Charlestown (p 338). Most of the early settlers were Scotch Presbyterians, and, true to their early training for many years they made large quantities of oatmeal.
Soon after leaving Barnet the road crosses the Passumpsic river, one of the best waterpower streams in Vermont; a few miles up its valley lies the town of St. Johnsbury, the home of the Fairbanks Scales.
There are many islands in the river near the mouth of the Passumpsic, and it was here that Rogers' Rangers, returning from their raid on the St. Francis Indians, failed to find the expected supply of pro-visions. Many of the famishing men died here, while others made a cannibal feast on the flesh of a slain Indian. In his retreat from St. Francis to Charlestown Rogers lost nearly half of his men, and it is said that in eighteen hours thirty-six of his men died here.
From Barnet to Waterford the road continues through the hamlet of East Barnet (57.0) along the Fifteen Mile Falls to Lower Waterford (64.0), where Route 46, from the White Mountains to St. Johnsbury and Burlington, forks to the left.
67.0 WATERFORD. Alt 800 ft. Pop (twp) 629. Caledonia Co. Settled 1783.
Waterford is a little farming town surrounded by wooded hills. A charter has been secured for a great power development here on the Fifteen Mile Falls, and it is expected that the corporation which has developed the power at Vernon (p 329) will develop at least 60,000 h.p. here.
The State Road ceases at this point. From here to Lunen-burg the river route is a town and county road, mostly in fair condition. Crossing the Essex County and Concord town line, it follows the river bank through a thinly populated country to South Lunenburg (79.0), a riverside hamlet, and
82.0 LUNENBURG. Alt 844 ft. Pop (twp) 880. Essex Co. Mfg. lumber and caskets.
Lunenburg is a fine old country town on the river meadows, backed by the Lunenburg Heights, which command a famous view of the White Mountains. The place is developing into a summer resort on account of the scenery and its proximity to White Mountain centers. Across the river is Lancaster.
This was one of the early settlements in Vermont (1768). In 1764 settlers arrived, supp0sing that they were locating in this town, but they found afterward that they were in Guildhall. They came from Northfield, Mass., in canoes, a distance of 150 miles.
The State Road commences again at Lunenburg and continues beside the river all the way to Colebrook.
94.5 GUILDHALL. Alt 874 ft. Pop (twp) 445. County-seat of Essex Co. Settled 1764. Mfg. lumber.
Guildhall is a farming town on the river meadows a little south of the New Hampshire town of Groveton. Back from the river the hills rise to a considerable elevation.
Burnside and Cow Mountains are the highest in the town; the latter, situated in the western part, immortalizes a hermit negro who lived here in the early days and was punished for stealing a cow.
The first settlement was in 1764 in a region which was then much frequented by the Indians. A blockhouse, built here during the Revolution, was afterward used as the first county jail. Among the natives are Henry W. Denison, who has been the legal adviser of the Japanese Department of Foreign Affairs since 1880, and Colonel Everett C. Benton of the John C. Paige Insurance Company, who has given the town a Library and a Masonic Hall.
103.0 MAIDSTONE. Alt 865 ft. Pop (twp) 175. Settled 1772.
Maidstone is said to have more acres of intervale than any other Vermont town on the Connecticut. In the western part of the town is Maidstone Lake, a beautiful sheet of water three miles long and one and a half miles wide. From the summit of Byron Mountain the view of the winding Connecticut seems to spell the word "Union."
Nearly three miles beyond the town line the route enters
106.5 BRUNSWICK. Pop (twp) 82. Essex Co. Settled 1780.
This township is almost an island because of the rivers which bound it, the Nulhegan river on the northwest, Paul Stream on the southeast, and the Connecticut on the east.
At Brunswick Springs (113.0), by the river, is a semicircle of mineral springs only a few feet apart, each of which has a different taste. Not far from here is Silver Lake, which has about twenty-eight acres. On the old Daniel Smith farm is a balanced granite boulder of 500 tons' weight upon so small a base that it has been called "The rock that stands on nothing."
Passing Coos (p 365), across the river, the road continues through Bloomfield (115.0) to
125.0 LEMINGTON. Pop 138. Essex Co. Settled 1781.
Monadnock Mountain (3025 ft), a mass of granite, is the most interesting feature of the town. A mineral spring issues from the eastern side of the mountain, and it is claimed that there are deposits of silver, lead, and copper.
Four miles up the river from Lemington the route crosses the river into