I went to high school in the small Vermont town of Bellows Falls – there were just under 100 in our graduating class of 1960. Once an bustling railroad and paper town on the Connecticut river the town has only gotten sleepier since my time there. The last time I went through on the train the conductor announced it as ‘the little town that time forgot.’ Still I was surprised by the following story from the Brattleboro Reforemr. (Brattleboro is evidently still awake 20 miles to the south):
Thursday, December 27
BELLOWS FALLS – Whatever ghosts that hang around the Square might find it a little harder keeping warm this winter. A room of furs was recently uncovered in a basement vault under the Snow & Lear office supply store. For the past 30 or so years, the furs have been hanging on their racks in a climate controlled room that was probably once owned by Royal Furriers, an area business that closed sometime in the late 1970s.
Sam Haskins, the new owner of J&H Hardware, bought the whole building that includes the hardware store this past year. After walking around the basement Haskins guessed that there must be a couple of thousand feet of usable space hidden behind the walls.
He had not heard of Royal Furriers, and had no reason to believe that there was any hidden treasures within the wall. Instead, Haskins thought, as any good businessman would, that if he was paying for the space then he might as well put it to use.
His son, Jeremy, found some hinges bent backward where it appeared someone had tried to get in to the room. There was no way in, so the Haskinses decided to pound their way through. First they rented an electric hammer and started hacking away at
the wall. The next day they returned the hand-held hammer and rented a jackhammer.
They got through 18 inches of brick and mortar only to find another wall. They kept boring through four inches of wall board, and then another wall of cement. When they finally got through, the lights were on, the fan was spinning in the climate controlled vault, and the six-or-so furs were hanging on their racks, awaiting pick-up.
After reading through some of the records he found, Sam Haskins figured that no one had been in the room since the mid-70s. There were also a dozen or so suits, dresses and hats. “The fans were spinning and the furs were spotless,” Haskins said.
“Everything inside was very nice and clean. The fan was set on 65 degrees and that is exactly what the thermometer read. Everyone wants to know who has been paying the electricity bill.”
As a New Englander, that’s what interests me too. Read the whole thing here and Happy New Year!!!