Monday December 3, 2012

BENNINGTON -- Bennington’s "Big Chair" was welcomed back to town Saturday during an unveiling that brought both those familiar with the 19-foot, 1-inch original and those new to the entire spectacle. The finished replacement is 2 inches taller but looks identical and was placed in the same spot as the original, which sat at the corner of Harwood Hill and Northside Drive for more than three decades till 2000. Responsible for the original chair, former furniture store owners Kathleen and Bill Haynes were on hand for Saturday’s unveiling.

"It’s going to be a part of the lexicon again," said Steve Engle of Bennington, remarking on the original’s landmark status. "It is a monument." Engle brought his grandson, John Davis, 4.5, to the event. Asked if he had ever seen such a large chair, Davis shook his head and replied in the negative. Christopher LaFlamme Jr., the new furniture store’s owner responsible for bringing back the big seat, estimated the cost of the project at around $12,000, adding that sponsorships and discounts had more than halved the total budget. A contest running through the spring seeks the best photographs of the original, which will be added to a blank storyboard on-site.