In the waning years of the 19th century, New England—and Vermont in particular—was a tangle of local manufacturing and mills, tying together networks of family farms. Wool and timber were plentiful, and rivers ran fast enough to keep mill wheels turning, with small community-based companies producing everything from cloth to croquet sets to hockey sticks, rakes, and ax handles. One of those company villages, Greenbank’s Hollow, anchored southern Danville, Vermont.
Today, Greenbank’s Hollow bears witness to a community erased by circumstance and time. Thanks to the efforts of the Danville Historical Society and several local supporters, the site has been restored as a historical park. Along the banks below, several cellar holes and original granite foundations remain visible along the small falls of the river where Greenbank’s woolen mill once churned out 700 yards of cloth a day. Most emblematic of this aura of a place out of time is the restored covered bridge, rebuilt at the exact location where the first had spanned Joe's Brook before the fire that changed everything.
Explore the remains of Greenbank's Hollow on a special Obscura Day tour lead by David Houston of the Danville Historical Society. We'll touch on the natural history and ecology of the site and examine what happened to the town, and how the past of Greenbank's Hollow continues to have relevant lessons for Vermont today.
Attendees are encouraged to bring their own picnic lunches for a post-tour discussion, and are welcome to stay afterwards to further explore and enjoy the grounds.
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