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Memories of The Bridge

Nancy Schulz. Photo by John Lazenby.
In June 1993, as a recent transplant to Montpelier, I responded to a notice recruiting volunteers for the creation of a new community newspaper. Soon thereafter, I met Nat Frothingham, who invited me immediately to join the fledgling board. I was surprised to receive the invitation. After all, I didn’t know Montpelier and Nat didn’t know what I could contribute to the effort. (As it turned out, this was my first — but not my last — experience with that unique Vermont way of doing things. Essentially, it goes like this: You show up at a meeting of some committee, club, group, etc., to learn more. By your second meeting, you find yourself elected president.)

I accepted Nat’s invitation and became not only a board member of this organization but also an ad sales representative. Because this was a completely volunteer start up, there was no money. To pay for the printing, we’d need to have ad revenue. I remember going from door to door in Montpelier’s downtown, explaining the concept to business owners and requesting their support. As it turned out, all that “shoe leather” proved to be a helpful way to meet and get to know a variety of merchants over the years.

Before the paper could launch its first issue in December 1993, it needed a name. Suggestions were solicited and, ultimately, The Montpelier Bridge was chosen. Tremendous care went into the creation of each issue. I remember sitting in Steve Larose’s living room with a group, all of us proofreading and going over every page with a fine-tooth comb. The real estate listing was one feature that was extremely popular (and continues to be so to this day). Many readers enjoy seeing who sold, who bought, and what was the purchase price. 

It was through the newspaper that I first met Jake Brown, Phil Dodd, Kate Mueller, Greg Gerdel, Dan Renfro, Bernie Folta, Mason Singer, and many others who played a role in the life of the paper.

My involvement with The Bridge as a board member, ad sales rep, and occasional writer lasted seven years. After I left in 2000, I watched The Bridge grow over time. It eventually moved into larger office space, started publishing much more frequently, and was able to pay staff and freelance writers. I think it’s fair to say that Montpelier is a better town because it’s had The Bridge as part of the fabric of the community for the past 30 years. 

When not bicycling, paddling, or hiking, Nancy enjoys leading programs at the senior center, picking up litter, and cleaning up graffiti.