the beginning of the 19th century, a natural curiosity in a rock at Bellows
Falls excited interest in scientific circles of the country. Near the head
of the canal, upon the point of rock extending into the Connecticut River,
between the canal and the foundation of the present Sullivan Railroad
Bridge, there was the clearly defined footprint of a huge bird of some
unknown species. It was described as an exact reproduction of an exaggerated
hen's track, and measured five feet in length. It had an appearance like
that of a bird stepping into a plastic substance, as of the rock when in its
formative stage, and ever thereafter remaining as left by the imprint of the
foot. It was in a particularly hard specimen of gneiss rock, which at that
point was in layers of about one foot thick. For many years, this curiosity
attracted the interest of visitors, travelers and scientists. It was
described in different publications of the day, and strangers coming here
frequently requested to be guided to its location as one of the attractions
of the place. About the year 1800, the faculty of Dartmouth College arranged
to secure the curiosity for their museum. A time was set for the removal to
Hanover of the section of stone in which it was embedded. Some
unappreciative and jealous persons, learning of the plan to remove it, a day
or two before the proposed visit blew the interesting specimen into
fragments with powder, rather than have it taken from this vicinity.
Based on: The Connecticut River Valley in southern Vermont and New Hampshire: historical sketches, Rutland, Vt.: Tuttle Co., Marble City Press, 1929.
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