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2020 Update #19

Awaiting Friday’s Press Conference, Walking Into History

It’s tempting to see Thursday’s marvelously clear blue skies as a harbinger of better days to come. And why not?

As I mentioned in Tuesday’s update, we remain in a holding pattern on the downtown construction project. The resumption of outdoor work in Vermont by two-person crews, which began this week, does not allow for restarting the fairly complex operations that need to take place prior to the shutdown of Main Street and Merchants Row.

Town officials and VTrans management will once again tune in to the Governor’s Friday press conference with the hope that further loosening of restrictions on outdoor work will allow Middlebury’s downtown construction project to start up again.

I’ll summarize what we learn on Friday early next week once we’ve had an opportunity to consult with VTrans and Kubricky.

Historic Photos

In the meantime, I thought you might enjoy browsing a collection of historic Vermont photographs that reader Joseph Watson recently brought to my attention. Many of these black-and-white photographs show intriguing glimpses of Middlebury nearly 60 years ago.

The story goes that in the early 1960s one Francis Poulin walked the entire length of the Rutland Railroad—from Bennington to Alburg and from Rutland to Bellows Falls—taking thousands of photographs along the way.

On Poulin’s passing in 1996, the resulting photographic archive was purchased by the Rutland Railroad Historical Society. Eventually the collection was organized and digital scans of some 4,000 of the images made by local rail enthusiast and RRHS member Randy Lamframboise.

In 2010 the collection was donated to the Middlebury College Library Special Collections, where much of it is now viewable online.

Included in the collection are some 100 photographs taken from the rail corridor in Middlebury between the trestle bridge over Otter Creek and the rail yard. You can view these, as well as photographs from across the state, here.

Reproduced below is a photograph taken between the Merchants Row and Main Street bridges in May 1963. Note the cars parked on the Main Street Bridge! (And apologies to St. Stephen’s on behalf of Mr. Poulin for the misspelling.)

Finally, fast-forwarding back to 2020, a warm shout-out to Amey Ryan and the IPJ staff for purchasing and displaying the sign in Triangle Park thanking the essential workers who are out on the front lines keeping our world moving in these difficult days.

That’s all for today. See you soon.

Please keep your comments and questions coming. Send me an email at and I’ll try to cover it in my next update.

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