Standoff at the Henry Covered Bridge and the new McWaters Park

The original Henry Bridge was built in the late 1760s and was the site of a historically important event.

Early Vermont settlers purchased their homesteads from Benning Wentworth, the colonial Governor of New Hampshire. But New York land speculators sued, claiming that the land was actually part of the colony of New York and that the Vermonter’s deeds were invalid.

Their suit succeeded and In July of 1774 a posse of three hundred men, led by the sheriff of Albany, attempted to evict John Breckenridge from his farm on the south side of the Walloomsac. They were confronted at the Henry Bridge by the Green Mountain Boys. After a tense armed standoff, the posse turned around and marched back to New York.

Breckinridge kept his farm, and Vermont was born.

The land east of the Henry Bridge and north of the Walloomsac is a park named in honor of Rob and Jeanne McWaters a couple who have devoted much of their lives to the benefit of the village of North Bennington. The area nearest the covered bridge includes a small parking lot, picnic tables and a bench where visitors may relax and contemplate the river.

A group of local organic gardeners is planting a “permanent forest garden” at the western end of the park. This is a combination of nut and fruit trees, berries, legumes and other carefully chosen plants which are ecologically compatible and which will produce food indefinitely without the use of fertilizers or pesticides.

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