Hunter: What Irene Changed

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(Host) The recent completion of repairs to Route 106 in Weathersfield, reminded
commentator Edith Hunter of what was changed by Tropical Storm Irene –
and what was not – in just one small corner of Vermont.

(Hunter) When tropical storm Irene hit the north east corner of Weathersfield,
the swollen Black River raced in from Cavendish. It carved out an
enormous chasm on Route 106 just south of Downer’s Four Corners.
of Downer’s, in the hamlet of Amsden, Branch Brook came roaring in from
Felchville, the major settlement in Reading just to the north. There,
two brooks merge with Branch Brook. amassing a powerful body of water.
was these brooks, according to a letter in the archives of the
Weathersfield Historical Society, that wiped out every bridge in
Felchville in the freshet of 1869.
The settlement of Amsden was
founded by Charles Amsden as he is built his fortune on limestone.
Arriving in town in 1849, young Amsden worked to develop the lime
business with Joseph Craigue who already had a small lime kiln there.
Charles Amsden soon married Craigue’s daughter. As the business grew, he
built two huge kilns, the bases of which may still be seen in Amsden
This year, on August 28th , when the raging waters of
Branch Brook turned down Amsden School Road, they leaped their banks and
flooded across the road. Part of the route of the historic Crown Point
Road in Weathersfield parallels Amsden School Road. The Eleven Mile
Marker (11 miles from the beginning of the road in Charlestown) sits at
the entrance to a driveway. The Marker was flooded, but did not move.
water rushed ahead flooding two private homes forcing the residents to
evacuate. The second home had once been the old Amsden District #8
schoolhouse, gift of Charles Amsden in 1884. It served as a school until
Amsden School Road ends at Route 131. The flood waters
raced across it and almost undermined the large building that Charles
Amsden built to house his store, the post office, the stage coach stop,
and his upstairs residence. This building, which has been deteriorating,
may be a total loss.
Rushing down into the hollow, flooding the
lower levels of the two old kilns, the water then surged down Branch
Brook Road. It severely damaged the road as well as the original Craigue
limekiln which probably predates 1850.
And finally, when the
raging waters reached the North Springfield Flood Control area, they
passed over the Crown Point Road 10 Mile Marker. It is on the National
Register of Historic Sites. This old marker also stood its ground.

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