Take a Break: Green Mountain Ghost Town
Updated: Tuesday, March 4 2014, 07:21 PM EST
GLASTENBURY, Vt. -- Solitude and mystery shroud a town right in our backyard you might never have heard of, because it almost doesn't exist anymore. Glastenbury is only nine miles north of Bennington, but has no local government, and barely any residents. It has no shortage of stories, however, from the serene to the strange. Not many places in the eastern United States appear as lonely as this. Cold winters feel even colder in the deep woods of Glastenbury, Vermont. Linda Gallagher is one of eight residents. "It's an extremely unique place," she said. "We've traveled around a lot i don't know if I've ever seen another place that's quite like this because of the history of it."
Geographically, the town is rugged wilderness. In the late 1930's the state unincorporated Glastenbury. It's only government is one resident appointed "supervisor."
"Here's a settlement that had been prosperous and populated and now it's abandoned which gives it the name of a ghost town," said Tyler Resch, who wrote Glastenbury: The history of a Vermont ghost town . Timber logging and charcoal production put the town on the map, even though Glastenbury was a really a whole other world.
"It was very much like a cowboy town out west, it was very much a young man's place, not very many women, it was kind of a wild place," said Don Miller, Bennington Museum trustee.
There was a hotel, busy kilns burning the fruits of the forest. But once the trees were gone, so were the people. Linda has some of the only remaining reminders that this was desolate mountain once boasted a busy town. She says her home was the original town hall, and her family believes it was built around 1830.
What adds to Glastenbury's mystique is mystery. There have been several unsolved murders and disappearances in this area including one which led to the birth of the Vermont State Police.
Bennington College student Paula Welden disappeared in December, 1946. She took a winter hike in the mountains. Her body was never found, despite a search.
"It had been in the hands of the sheriff and the State's Attorney and there were some questions about the quality of the search and so-forth," Resch said.
One year earlier, Middie Rivers just vanished. "He was deer hunting in the fall," Resch said. "He disappeared. No body was ever found, nobody was ever accused."
"It's extremely windy here," Gallagher said. "We get winds that change direction constantly. I can understand how someone might get lost up in the woods."
At the same time, claims of the supernatural and a so-called Bennington Triangle add to ghost town storybook -- UFO sightings among them. Linda might believe it, and the thought that her hidden hamlet town might not be isolated, at all.
Occasionally, she sees "just some odd lights in the sky at times. But nothing that lingers. I keep looking for Bigfoot but I haven't seen it yet."