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Rock inscribed with the Lord's Prayer.
Rock inscribed with the Lord's Prayer.

Lord's Prayer Rock

Field review by the editors.

Bristol, Vermont

What is it with Vermont and Ancient Egypt? Egyptian hieroglyphics were the inspiration for the Lord's Prayer carved onto a slanted slab of granite along Route 17, scant miles from Middlebury's grave of the Egyptian Mummy.

A 19th century physician, Joseph C. Greene, of Buffalo, NY, thought of hieroglyphs when planning a way to commemorate his boyhood in the Bristol, Vermont area. He'd grown up in South Starksboro, and one of his jobs had been to deliver logs to the Bristol sawmill. The journey down the mountain, via 9 Bridges Road or the Drake Woods Road was fraught with difficult switchbacks and stream crossings. When Greene reached the big slab of rock and a level byway, he'd always say a silent prayer, knowing the worst of the trek was behind him.

Rock inscribed with the Lord's Prayer.

It became known as Bristol Rock. In 1891, Greene paid a carver to engrave the Lord's Prayer (full version, not the Roman Catholic abridged version) on the slab. He had his own name added: Joseph C. Greene M.D.

There is another story -- that Greene was upset by the cursing and swearing of passing logging wagon drivers. So he had the prayer carved to make them think twice before taking the Lord's name in vain.

Greene's long gone, but his slab endures, like an onramp to Heaven.

If you're heading east on Rt. 17 from Bristol, watch carefully or you may miss it, since it's angled eastward on this narrow road. There is a small pull-off, with concrete picnic tables and a barbecue pit.

Picture-taking is dangerous. There's no shoulder, and a steep, sometimes muddy bank on the opposite side. The best angle on Lord's Prayer Rock is achieved by standing in the middle of the road, but traffic flies towards you like souls speeding to Hell (or for Ancient Egyptians, speed-boating with Ra to the Tuat).

So snap with extreme caution -- accidents have occurred there. Maybe it is an onramp to Heaven.

Lord's Prayer Rock

Rte 116, Bristol, VT
East of town on Rte 116, eastbound side, and angled eastward so it's difficult to see.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

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In the region:
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