Correction: This story was edited to reflect the fact that the fence was damaged Friday, August 30.
The new fence bordering the West Burying Ground on Greenbush Road, also known as the Barber Hill Cemetery, lasted for a lot less time than some of the centuries-old gravestones it protects. Only two months after the fence was installed, it appears to have been hit and significantly damaged by a passing motor vehicle.
Cemetery Commission Chair Victoria Zulkoski said that on Friday of Labor Day weekend she drove by the fence at around 11:00 a.m. and didn’t notice anything awry, but when she returned at 1:00 p.m. the damage was done.
“It looks to me like someone overcorrected and maybe even their trailer hit it,” she said. “It damaged three panels, but it didn’t knock any of them over.” She hypothesized that in an attempt to avoid running over a cyclist, the fence got clipped instead. “It’s right at that terrible blind corner and it’s at the height of biking season,” she said. Several of the fence panels are dented and there appears to be white paint left behind from the vehicle that hit the fence.
Zulkoski said she took photos of the damage and then called Town Administrator Dean Bloch and the Vermont State Police to record the incident for insurance reasons. Because of the holiday weekend, the police were too busy to send someone out to Charlotte but said photos and an estimate of the damage cost would be sufficient for insurance purposes.
Middlebury Fence Company installed the fence this summer, and luckily, Zulkoski said, “those panels are made to be replaced,” so repairing the damage won’t be too difficult. The fence was constructed so recently, she said, that she is still waiting for the gate to be delivered and installed to complete the original project.
Anyone with information about the damaged fence or what might have occurred is encouraged to contact Zulkoski or the Vermont State Police. “It’s too bad no one came forward to tell us,” Zulkoski said. “Somebody saw something.”