“The Pond,” as it is referred to locally, has always been central to life in Brookfield; as a source of recreation for swimming, fishing, boating and ice skating, and as the main focal point around which the town grew.
It was the place where festivals happened, many ceremonies were held, and the backdrop to which local and visiting couples were married. It was used all four seasons for races, ice harvesting, catching a meal or just cooling off and enjoying the day.
When, frozen, it was typical for residents to cross the icy pond to save themselves time getting from one side to the other. Unfortunately, in 1813, local resident Daniel Belknap crossed the pond while it was covered by only a thin layer of ice. Mr. Belknap fell through the ice and drowned.
In response to the tragedy, Luther Adams and several of his neighbors decided it was time to finally build a bridge across the pond.
Adams and others wanted to make certain that people could cross the pond safely. Together they pitched in for the cost of materials and labor and a basic bridge was built. The bridge was no more than logs bound together on top of the ice. When the ice melted, the logs floated, and the first Brookfield Floating Bridge was open for use.
Townsfolk now had a safer way to get from one side to the other, but in short order it was clear it was not an ideal bridge. Old logs became waterlogged and begin to sink, so logs had to be replaced every few years.
Despite the maintenance required to keep it operational, in March of 1826, Brookfield town records indicate the townsfolk voted to “lay a road across the pond by Colt’s Mills,” making the first floating bridge a town owned structure and part of the official town road system. Today the bridge is an official section of VT Route 65.