You can’t get there from here: Stories from the day the bridge closed
ADDISON — On Saturday, Oct. 19, the Chimney Point State Historic Site in Addison, Vt., and Crown Point State Historic Site in Crown Point, N.Y., team up to offer a day-long multi-disciplinary seminar on the 10th anniversary of the Oct. 16, 2009, closing of the 1929 Lake Champlain Bridge.
The day explores the findings, consequences, and memories of the historic moment of the bridge closure and aftermath. The day begins at Chimney Point, with an illustrated talk by Vermont State Archeologist Jess Robinson on the archaeological findings on the Vermont side of the bridge project. This is followed by a living history exposition on the grounds with personages from Chimney Point’s past, who will expound on these findings and the site history. Lunch is included in the day.
Walk or drive over to Crown Point for the afternoon. Programing includes a moderated panel of local business owners, activists, and community members who were eyewitnesses to the closure and/or fought to get a new bridge.
The day ends with a presentation and discussion with Ted Zoli, structural engineer of the Lake Champlain Bridge. He will elucidate on the impressive engineering that went into the original structure and the unique aspects of constructing the new bridge.
This day will delve into an extraordinary moment in time and an opportunity to reflect on the impact of change, persistence and vision. The fee for the day is $25 and includes lunch and refreshments. Call 802-759-2412 to pre-register. Space is limited. Pre-registration and pre-payment are required.
Chimney Point (Vermont) and Crown Point (New York) state historic sites are located on either end of the Lake Champlain Bridge.
9:30 a.m.: Chimney Point: Registration and coffee.
10 a.m.: Jess Robinson, PhD, Vermont State Archaeologist, presents the exciting archaeological discoveries made on the Vermont side of the lake as part of the Lake Champlain Bridge project. He participated in the field work, when he worked for the University of Vermont Consulting Archaeology Program.
11:15 a.m.-12 noon: Chimney Point site grounds will be inhabited by living history personages from Chimney Point’s past, discussing the ways people have adapted to the lake crossing through time.
12 noon-1:15 p.m.: Lunch and refreshments, allows for a walk over the bridge.
1:15-2:45 p.m.: Moderated panel discussion, Q and A with eyewitnesses, activists, and politicians integral to the rebuild of the bridge. Stories, memories and poems from Lorraine Franklin, Karen Hennessey, Jean Arleen Breed, site managers Tom Hughes and Elsa Gilbertson, and Lake Champlain Tourism director Suzanne Maye. Vermont State Rep. Diane Lanpher of Vergennes and New York State Rep. Teresa Sayward lend their insights into the discussions within the two state legislatures at the time.
3-4:15 p.m.: Ted Zoli, the structural engineer of the 2011 Lake Champlain Bridge, will present on bridge construction techniques, of both the original and new bridges and provides his unique perspective on building a new icon for the region.
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