You Can't Get There From Here: Stories From The Day The Bridge Closed


OCTOBER 19, 2019 10am-4:30pm

By late morning of October 16th, 2009, there were rumblings of the Lake Champlain Bridge to be closed. And by mid-afternoon, it was shut to all traffic, leaving those having to travel to either side stranded. Join Crown Point State Historic Site and Chimney Point Historic Site for a multi-disciplinary, day-long seminar as we explore the memories, findings and consequences of that historic moment.

The day will begin in Vermont at Chimney Point State Historic Site, with a presentation from the Vermont State Archeologist on the excavations during bridge construction. His presentation will be followed by a living history exposition on the site grounds by personages from Chimney Point’s past, who will expound on these exciting findings. Either walk or drive over the bridge to Crown Point State Historic Site for afternoon programing, that will consist of a moderated panel of local business owners, activists and community members that fought to have the bridge rebuilt and eyewitnesses to the closure that day. The day will end 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 as well as the unique aspects of constructing the new bridge. An extraordinary moment in time and an opportunity to reflect on the impact of change, persistence and vision.

9:30 am: Chimney Point: Registration + coffee

10am: (approximately 75 minutes) Jess Robinson, PhD, Vermont State Archaeologist, will begin the day with an illustrated lecture on the exciting archaeological discoveries made on the Vermont side of the lake as part of the Lake Champlain Bridge project. He participated in many of these findings, at the time working for the University of Vermont Consulting Archaeology Program.

  1. Chimney Point site grounds with be inhabited by living history personages from Chimney Point’s past, discussing the ways people have adapted to the lake crossing through time.

12:00-1:15p: Lunch and refreshments, allows for a walk over the bridge!

1:15-2:45p: (approximately 90 minutes) Moderated panel discussion, Q+A with eyewitnesses, activists and politicans 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, Lake Champlain Visitors Center manager, Suzanne Maye. Vt. Rep. Diane Lanpher and NY Rep. Teresa Sayward, lend their insights into the discussions within the legislature at the time.

3p – 4:15p: (approximately 75 minutes) Ted Zoli, the structural engineer of the current 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


Pre-registration required, $25 per person. Registration limited to 45.

To register, call Chimney Point at 802- 759-2412 or email