Letter: More than a trail
I'm writing in reference to the decision regarding the Nov. 8 West River Trial decision.
The Reformer published a story in the weekend edition of Nov. 11/12 about this decision. I am mentioned in the decision. The author of the decision states, "... she seemed to refuse to refer to the abandoned railroad bed as a 'trail' during her testimony." The author is correct. I do refuse to refer to the railroad bed as a trail.
I attended elementary school at the West Dummerston School. The railroad bed is behind the former school. Standing at the playground of the school and looking across the river, the railroad bridge abutments are very apparent. They are still standing strong as a memorial to the historical West River Railroad. Driving on Route 30 and looking across the river, a quick glance will allow you to view piles of granite blocks from occasional loaded derailed railroad cars on their way to Brattleboro Railroad station. You can view the quarry that the granite blocks were cut from, located on Quarry Road.
This was an important industry for our area, and is an important historical site. It is important to my family history as well. My stepfather was employed at the quarry as a young man. My husband and I bought our home on Rice Farm Road in 1963 (which adjoins Quarry Road). Our property boarders the West River Railroad bed, it is the rear of my yard. My 1930's chicken house sits at the base of the railroad bed. A 10-minute walk from my home, up and over the bed to the base of Black Mountain brings you to where beautiful blue granite was quarried — the only section of the mountain that had this special blue stone.
Even now, we sometimes find an old railroad spike on our walks to carry home to add to our collection. My children grew up collecting these spikes and hearing stories of the old railroad.
I write all this to explain that to me, and to many others this area, The West River Railroad bed and history is too important and too much a part of us and our town to be forgotten, or to be referred to as a "trail," because it is so much more.
Dummerston, Dec. 5
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