Go Fish? Lost Meal Blamed For Broken Window

Richard Keefer points to a boarded-up window that was broken over the weekend at the former Meeting House in Fluvanna. Keefer believes a large bird may have dropped a fish that then struck the window. P-J photo by Eric Tichy

FLUVANNA — Richard Keefer knew something fishy was going on when he came across all the broken glass Saturday morning.

“‘What in the world is this?'” Keefer recalled asking himself after finding the broken window in a rear room of the former Meeting House on Fluvanna Avenue Extension.

As a trustee and member of the Fluvanna Community Historical Society’s board of directors, he was there that morning doing some handy work as part of ongoing renovation efforts to the 200-year-old structure.

At first, Keefer wondered if someone had taken a shot at the window that faces Fluvanna Cemetery. However, a quick scan of the empty room yielded no clues beyond the shards of glass.

From there, the investigation was on.

“I came outside and I started looking around,” Keefer told The Post-Journal during a tour of the building Monday. “I looked up at the window and there’s a mud mark by the window. And I thought, ‘What in the world — how is there a mud mark? What was thrown up there?'”

The likely culprit was spotted in the snow: a fish, almost certainly a bass, known to heavily populate Chautauqua Lake.

Keefer could see no human tracks in the snow to suggest someone had been back there. Upon further inspection, he did notice faint bird markings all around the now half-eaten fish.

Later on Saturday morning, Keefer called Paul Volpe and Andy Tanner, fellow trustees with the historical society. None could make heads or fishtails of the strange sight.

One of the trustees joked: “If I wouldn’t have seen it, I wouldn’t have believed it.”

A check with the Ellicott Police Department confirmed there were no reports of vandalism over the weekend.

After thinking it over, Keefer believes a large bird must have been responsible for the broken window and dead fish.

“I imagine it had to be dropped by, I’m going to say, an eagle,” he said. “Grabbed it out of the lake, was taking it home for supper … dropped it and it come flying down through and hit the window. I’ve never heard of a fish breaking a window.”

About eight or nine years ago, while at River Rock Retreat near Midway State Park, Keefer saw an eagle swoop into the lake and grab a fish. A quick Google search also returns several stories of eagles or other large birds dropping fish on unsuspecting motorists.

For the time being, the window has been boarded up.

As Keefer noted, funds have been limited for the historical society in its renovation of the old Meeting House. Past fundraisers have most recently gone toward the installation of a new roof.

First built in the 1820s, the building served as the community’s school, church, library and town hall. For more information on the Fluvanna Community Historical Society, visit fluvannahistory.com


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