In 1947, twelve men organized a fire squad, trained together and fought fires in Rutland County’s West Pawlet and bordering villages in Vermont and New York.
Next Sunday, family members and others will parade past Bob Jones’ farm, through Spruce Gum and into the village as they honor the founding members of the West Pawlet Volunteer Fire Department: Lawrence Beecher, Edward Connors, James Cramer, George Folger, Robert Godette, Allen Lyng, Charles Morris, Camillus “Mickey” Nelson, Thomas Nelson, Jack “Boss” Roberts, Romayn “Babe” Winn, and Otis Woodard.
The first firehouse, where the fire truck was housed, is seen in the photo above, with the town jail. Although West Pawlet was a “dry” town (Vermont had a local option), the New York State line is the western border. There were five bars immediately over the NY state line while the railroad tracks behind ran through Vermont at that juncture.
The parade is part of next weekend’s celebration of 75 years of the WPVFD saving buildings and lives.
Friday, June 17 kicks off the festivities with a 1947 Firehouse Hoe Down fast forwarded to 2022. It’s an evening of dancing and camaraderie from 7 – 11 pm at the West Pawlet Fire House located on Route 153 in the Center of West Pawlet Village. Music will be provided by DJ Krystal Krystal, non-alcoholic beverages and refreshments will be available for sale. Those over 21 years of age may BYOB. Price of admission is $5.
Saturday, June 18 changes 1947 Fire House Bingo into a Las Vegas-style Casino Night. Games will begin in the Fire House at 6 pm and end around 9 pm followed by a raffle for prizes donated by area businesses. Refreshments will be available for sale and (again) those over 21 can BYOB. Admission for this event is $20 for the first $125 in chips; more chips will be offered at a discounted price.
Sunday, June 19, Father’s Day, offers a 1947 Fireman’s Parade fast forwarded into a 2022 Fireman’s Parade. Interesting vehicles and people will wind their way down Route 153 from Bob Jones’ Farm, through Spruce Gum and into the Village. In many ways the little town is just like it was in 1947 with farms, slate quarries and village homes.
Pull up a chair, sit on a fence, wave to the marchers and cheer them on. Passing the World War I Memorial in the center of the village, the parade will end at the West Pawlet Fire House. After the parade, there will be food, music, games, bounce house and a Saw Dust Pile. For further information or to put an entry in the parade, contact Craig Watrous, Sr., WPVFD Secretary at email@example.com.
As of the 2020 census, West Pawlet in Rutland County had a population of 220, slightly more than the population of the village of Pawlet at the town center. It’s located near the Bennington county line and shares a state line with New York.