Barre Community History Project - In Grateful Memory of Maggie Bensen
What We Learned: Moving The River
Depot Square, like the other buildings on the south side of Main Street, was subject to continual flooding. On their field trip, the students discovered that the Stevens Branch of the Winooski River had been moved in 1910-1911 to avoid the constant disruption to business.
Have you ever wondered about the stream behind Depot Square? Sometimes peaceful— but other times roaring with terror? Have you ever wondered how it got there? Well, let me tell you. Back during when your grandparents lived, they moved the river.
The students compared maps of Barre to see the change in the Stevens Branch channel.
Changing the course of the river did help, but it did not prevent regular flooding.
Not long after the move was complete, Depot Square was again inundated, in the spring of 1912.
The 1927 flood did a lot of damage to the Depot Square. The railroads and some trains were flopped over. Since the railroads were damaged, they had to use the trolley tracks on Main Street.