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The Vermont Afternoon Drive Wednesday 6/17/2015



by Chris Guenzler

I left the Rutland Railroad Museum and took US Highway 4 East out of Rutland.





Life is a highway!





Two cabooses at a BBQ joint at West Bridgewater. I pulled off the highway when I found the first covered bridge of this trip.









The Lincoln Covered Bridge. I drove east on US 4 to Taftsville where I found another covered bridge.





Taftsville Covered Bridge.





The waterfall at the Taftsville Covered Bridge. I then drove to my next stop at Quechee Gorge.

Quechee Gorge

This area was originally owned by the A. G. Dewey Company, a major wool processor who settled here in 1869. He soon established a woolen mill, employing as many as 500 people. Water from falls and the mill pond just above the gorge were used to power the facility. The mill saw few changes over the years, and was reportedly one of the oldest woolen mills in the country by the 1930s. However, some of the material made here was used to make baseball uniforms for the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees, and blankets for the US Army and Navy.

In 1952, the mill closed and soon after nearly all of the mill houses and buildings were demolished. Remains of mill and dam can still be seen at the head of the gorge. Quechee Gorge State Park began almost as soon as the mill closed. The US Army Corps of Engineers began taking land in the area in 1952 as part of a large flood control plan, which included the construction of the North Hartland Dam. Construction of the campground and picnic areas began later, in the spring of 1962. In 1965, the park was leased by the State of Vermont and turned over to the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation. Today, Quechee Gorge State Park is one of the most visited in the state.

Quechee Gorge State Park

Quechee Gorge, known as "Vermont's Little Grand Canyon," is Vermont's deepest gorge, formed by glacial activity approximately 13,000 years ago and now the route of the Ottauquechee River. The river is approximately 165 feet below the many viewing points along the canyon walls.

This area was originally owned by the A. G. Dewey Company, a major wool processor who settled here in 1869. He soon established a woolen mill, employing as many as 500 people. Water from falls and the mill pond just above the gorge were used to power the facility. The mill saw few changes over the years, and was reportedly one of the oldest woolen mills in the country by the 1930s. However, some of the material made here was used to make baseball uniforms for the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees, and blankets for the US Army and Navy.

In 1952, the mill closed and soon after nearly all of the mill houses and buildings were demolished. Remains of mill and dam can still be seen at the head of the gorge. Quechee Gorge State Park began almost as soon as the mill closed. The US Army Corps of Engineers began taking land in the area in 1952 as part of a large flood control plan, which included the construction of the North Hartland Dam. Construction of the campground and picnic areas began later, in the spring of 1962. In 1965, the park was leased by the State of Vermont and turned over to the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation. Today, Quechee Gorge State Park is one of the most visited in the state.





The Quechee Gorge Covered Bridge.





Me at the Quechee Gorge Covered Bridge.





The Quechee Gorge Waterfall. I then drove to US Highway 4 to the bridge over the Quechee Gorge.





Quechee Gorge views looking west.





Quechee Gorge view looking east.





Quechee Gorge views looking east. I then drove into Quechee Gorge Village.





The Diner at the Quechee Gorge Village. Next let us look at the Quechee Gorge Village Railroad which was not running on my visit.







The equipment of the Quechee Gorge Village train. From here I drove into White River Junction.





Boston & Maine 4-4-0 494 at White River Junction.





Boston & Maine wooden caboose.





White River Junction station.





Connecticut Southern Railroad 21226 at White River Jct. I left White River Jct on Interstate 89 heading to Barre, Vermont.





A highway view from Interstate 89. I exited that road and went into Barre.





The Montpelier and Barre Railroad station in Barre.





The display train in Barre which will be moved to the Granite Museum in Barre in the near future.





Barre & Chelsea GE 70 Toner 14.





The display flat car on this train set. I was hearing a train horn coming my way so I set up for pictures.







The Washington County Railroad Granite District train passes the Barre station. I then saw the train stop down the tracks so I drove over.





The Washington County Railroad Granite District train in Barre.





Natchez Railroad GP-38-2 2601.





Green Mountain Railroad GP-9 804.





One last look at the Washington County Railroad Granite District train in Barre. I next drove to the Hope Cementery.

Hope Cementery

I drove to the front gate of the Hope Cementery.

History



Each year visitors from all over the world tour Hope Cemetery in Barre, Vermont to see some of the finest examples of memorial design and granite craftsmanship ever produced.

Situated in the "Granite Capital of the World" Hope cemetery presents a rich and distinguished history of memorial art in stone, one of the oldest expressions of American Culture. For these reasons, Hope exerts a profound influence on the memorial art of other cemeteries throughout the country.

Hope cemetery was established in 1895 and originally contained 53 acres. Since that time it has expanded to a total of 65 acres. Edward P. Adams, a nationally known landscape architect, created the original plan for the cemetery. Each new section of grounds is the result of expert counsel and modern design. The careful planning and architectural standards of Hope reflect the most progressive principles in cemetery development.

Cemeteries are judged on their attractiveness to the community, their ease of maintenance and the opportunities they provide for families to memorialize and honor life. Hope Cemetery has achieved outstanding success in fulfilling these standards.

We hope your visit to our cemetery will be a rewarding experience and that you will obtain a better understanding of the importance of family memorials.

My visit















Views of the Hope Cementery in Barre, Vermont.

Next I drove to the former Rock of Ages Building where I came to see a steam engine on display.

Rock of Ages Brief History

George B. Milne, one of the three founders of Rock of Ages, opened his first granite manufacturing business in 1885. During the last decade of the nineteenth century he had several short-lived partnerships. In 1905, he joined forces with quarry owners James Boutwell and Harvey Varnum, forming Boutwell, Milne & Varnum Company ("BM&V").

The company operated quarries in Graniteville, selling Medium Barre and specializing in Dark Barre granite. Before 1930, "BM&V" did no manufacturing of its own. However, they knew that memorial manufacturers would buy Barre granite from them and not from their many competitors as long as they educated the public about the granite and its superior grade. BM&V also made alliances with manufacturers to provide guarantees. Each monument made of Barre granite from the BM&V quarries was guaranteed against checking, cracking and discoloration.

In 1914 BM&V hired Hayes Advertising of Burlington, Vermont, to increase the visibility of their national advertising campaign. The name "Rock of Ages" was chosen. From 1914 forward all Barre granite from the BM&V quarries was marketed as "Rock of Ages," gaining name-brand recognition for the granite that would prove instrumental in establishing market share when the company entered the highly competitive manufacturing market in 1930. The name proved so successful that it was adopted by the company when it incorporated in 1925.

Because of its national marketing presence, visitors coming to Vermont flocked to the BM&V quarries in Graniteville. By 1924, so many people were coming to look into the "holes," BM&V included a room for visitors in the floor plan of the new machinists' building. Called the "retiring room," this cheery room was furnished with wicker furniture and provided a place of rest for the many guests who visited.

In the 1930s, college-aged men, dressed in knickers, were hired during the summers. They escorted guests to a platform overlooking the "hole" and answered questions about the quarrying process. During the 1940s and 1950s the tour program grew, providing visitors with guided tours of both quarrying and manufacturing operations. The State of Vermont acknowledged the steady stream of visitors coming to see the Rock of Ages quarries and asked the company to compile travel information to assist the State with the placement of the new highways being planned in the 1950s and early 1960s.

To accommodate the growing tourism generated by the quarries, Rock of Ages built a 2,800-square-foot Visitors Center in 1962. By 1967, more than 100,000 visitors were coming to Barre each year to view the quarries and Craftsman Center (factory) at Rock of Ages.

In 1984 Rock of Ages was purchased by the Swenson Granite Works, headquartered in Concord, NH.

Swenson Granite is a family-owned business that has been quarrying and cutting granite in New England since 1883. Founded by Swedish immigrant John Swenson, the company is now headed by the fourth generation of the Swenson Family. For more than a century the Swenson name has remained synonymous with a steadfast commitment to quality and service. It is this commitment, combined with adaptability in the marketplace, which Swenson Granite credits for its longevity, growth and prosperity. When you purchase granite products from Swenson Granite, you are buying directly from the source. Please visit us online to learn more about our curbing and landscaping products.

The year 2014 marks the 90th anniversary of the opening of the first retiring room for visitors and the beginning of a new era in visitor services at Rock of Ages. On May 1, 2004, Rock of Ages opened a new 5,000-square-foot building, which houses a new Visitors Center and Memorial Design Studio. Designed by the firm of Gossens Bachman Architects of Montpelier, Vermont, the building features an eclectic mix of granite, wood and glass and is surrounded by trees to offer a sophisticated yet homey ambiance. The Visitors Center houses a theatre, displays, computer-based exhibits and a gift shop. The Memorial Design Studio features high-end, professionally lighted displays, exquisitely crafted memorials and stunning graphics. Its interior is based upon a design by Horst Design International of Cold Spring Harbor, New York.

The Rock of Ages Visitors Center in Graniteville continues its mission as an ambassador of goodwill for the company. Its thousands of guests marvel at the enormity of Smith Quarry and stand transfixed as they view a master sculptor transform Rock of Ages granite into an enduring work of art. Guests have an opportunity to try their hand at sandblasting their very own stone souvenir and bowling on the world's only outdoor granite bowling lane.

Today, Rock of Ages is the premier granite quarrier and manufacturer in North America. The company owns and operates granite quarries in several states and in Canada and is the largest producer of cemetery memorials in the US and Canada. The Rock of Ages Quarry Division supplies a variety of quality granites to stone manufacturers around the globe. Our Memorial Division fabricates traditional and cremation memorials, mausoleums, columbaria, features and civic memorials with a dedication to quality and customer service that is the standard by which all of our competitors are measured. The Rock of Ages Industrial Products Division fabricates precision surface plates, machine bases, pickling and acid tanks and press rolls for a variety of manufacturing applications.





Barre & Chelsea 0-6-0T 6 on display here. Now let us look at the former granite quarry at Graniteville, Vermont.











Views of the former granite quarry at Graniteville, Vermont. I headed back to Rutland.





Life is still a highway! I took Interstate 89 to Vermont 100/





The Stockbridge Covered Bridge. I then drove into Rutland and gassed up the rental car.





The front of the former Rutland Railway Light and Power Company car barn in Rutland. I returned to the Days Inn and washed my clothes. Robin returned from his Vermont Product and Parks Tour then we walked next door to the Ponderosa Steak House for dinner and I wrote this story before going to bed.



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