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Spider Web Farm Burns Down After Decades as Vt. Attraction

The Spider Web Farm drew visitors to Williamstown to meet the craftsman who preserved real webs on wood

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    The owner of a quirky roadside attraction in central Vermont that was destroyed by fire says his first priority is figuring out how to get it all cleaned up. (Published Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016)

    The owner of a quirky roadside attraction in central Vermont that was destroyed by fire Tuesday said his first priority is figuring out how to get a massive pile of charred debris removed from his property.

    "It's a tragedy," Will Knight said Wednesday of the loss of his Spider Web Farm in Williamstown.

    Flames swallowed the three-story barn late Tuesday morning. Investigators blamed the flames on a mistake operating the wood stove inside the 150-year-old structure.

    For nearly 40 years, Knight's Spider Web Farm attracted visitors from all over who wanted to see how he preserved real spider webs on wooden plaques.

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    necn visited the attraction October 30, 2015, and asked Knight if the business had been a good one for him.

    "Yeah, sure," Knight answered. "My wife bought a new car!"

    The spider web farmer explained his preserved webs are tributes to the beauty of the natural world.

    "I appreciate nature," Knight said in 2015.

    But today, the showroom where Knight displayed his wares is gone. The damage was estimated to be at least $300,000, fire investigators said.

    Still, the 90-year-old was trying to stay positive Wednesday.

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    "Everything depends on your attitude," Knight said. "And the attitude is, keep happy."

    Asked if he's been able to keep happy since the loss of his building, Knight choked back tears as he said, "Things always get better. Can't get worse, right? So, they'll get better."

    Knight said he was very grateful his house next door wasn't damaged.

    What is still uncertain is if this web farmer will be able to continue his craft.

    "We've got to do something else," Knight said. "And that something else right now is clean up this mess."

    The senior citizen said friends and neighbors have been calling him with suggestions of ways he may be able to have the debris removed. He said he may inquire with the fire department about the possibility of a controlled burn.

    The Spider Web Farm, which billed itself as "the original web site" had operated in Williamstown since 1977; in its most recent location since 1983, Will Knight's son said.