Just days after an alleged drunk driver damaged a famous gazebo on the town green in Townshend, Vermont, the community has started the process of seeking an insurance claim to repair the structure built for a Hollywood movie set.
The gazebo is from the 1988 Chevy Chase comedy "Funny Farm," which is about the many challenges a couple has relocating from a big city to rural Vermont.
The movie makers filmed on location in Townshend, and in other spots around southern Vermont, and decided to build a gazebo for their outdoor scenes in Townshend.
The town ended up adopting the gazebo, and made improvements to the set piece to enable it to become a permanent fixture on the village green, several longtime residents remembered.
Vermont State Police said a drunk driver crashed into the gazebo Friday night. According to Trooper Travis Valcourt, David Page III, 71, of Noank, Connecticut, drove his 2008 BMW sedan off Route 30 and onto the town common, travelling approximately 158 feet on the green until crashing into the gazebo and stopping.
Valcourt wrote in a news release that Page's breath alcohol concentration was .181 percent, more than twice the legal limit. Page was cited to appear in criminal court in Brattleboro on February 9 to face a drunk driving charge.
"He's fortunate he didn't get hurt," Townshend resident Ken Hoffmann said of Page, while expressing disappointment about the damage to the gazebo. "It's a feature that the town takes great pride in."
Ted Redfield, a math teacher at Leland & Gray Union Middle and High School in Townshend, appeared as an extra in "Funny Farm," and told necn that since then, the gazebo has become a popular spot for photos and town events.
"We never had [a gazebo] until the movie came," Redfield recalled. "When they built that and decided to keep it, I think it really enhanced the town."
Craig Hunt, the Townshend Select Board assistant, told necn by phone Monday that the community has already started the ball rolling on filing an insurance claim for repairs to its cinematic landmark.
Hunt said significant repairs will be needed to fix the gaping hole in the side of the gazebo, and to move the structure back onto its foundation, but described the work as doable.
Redfield said he was glad to hear planning was already underway to repair Townshend's cinematic landmark. "It'll be as good as new, I hope," Redfield said.