Abandoned Vermont: Reading House

Over the years, I’ve driven past this house many times getting that “abandoned” vibe from it, then noticing broken windows, overgrown brush, yet a mowed lawn. Maybe it wasn’t entirely abandoned, but certainly no one lived in this house. Finally I stopped to take some photographs. Considering how long it’s been neglected and vacant, it is in good condition. Who needs a house in Reading, Vermont? Advice for when you cannot information about a property (e.g. if it’s for sale): call the town offices.

Surrounded by trees.

Surrounded by trees.

The side of the house.

The side of the house.

The rear of the house is a bit more worn. But the slate roof is gorgeous.

The rear of the house is a bit more worn. But the slate roof is gorgeous.

The porch has seen better days, and this rear ell.

The porch has seen better days, and this rear ell.

Beautiful back porch (you probably remember this photo from an Instagram post).

Beautiful back porch (you probably remember this photo from an Instagram post).

The interior is not too far gone.

The interior is not too far gone.

Seen through the back door, not in such great shape.

Seen through the back door, not in such great shape.

But it might need some plaster. This Rutland Patching Plaster is from nearby Rutland, VT!

But it might need some plaster. This Rutland Patching Plaster is from nearby Rutland, VT!

Beautiful doorknobs!

Beautiful doorknobs!

Barn view from the porch.

Barn view from the porch.

Front of the barn.

Front of the barn.

The front of the house is hard to see from the road, as the road sits further behind this photographer.

The front of the house is hard to see from the road, as the road sits further behind this photographer.

What a beautiful property, isn’t it? It hasn’t been surveyed (that I can find), and is not listed in the State or National Register. However, I’m sure you could make a strong case for eligibility in Reading, VT. What do you love most: original windows, hardwood, wood details, doorknobs, slate roof?

Abandoned Vermont: South Hero Stables

Dirt roads, lake views, farm houses, cornfields, open fields, vineyards, ice cream: South Hero is part of the Champlain Islands in northwestern Vermont and is bustling with summer visitors. Hop on your bike as far south as Burlington, cruise the Island Line (including a bike ferry) and end up in South Hero to pedal along the lake shore and dirt roads. A recent bike ride in South Hero took me past this seemingly abandoned (or at least forgotten for this year) farmhouse and its matching stables. A few photographs taken from the road. 

Small farmhouse

Small farmhouse, closed up for the season (though this was mid-summer, not the time you leave Vermont).

Matching stables across the road from the house, have not been used in a while.

Matching stables across the road from the house, have not been used in a while.

Another view of the stables. They must be nice inside!

Another view of the stables. They must be nice inside! Based on the novelty siding, the additions likely date to the 1920s.

Stable entrance and windows.

Stable entrance and windows. Perhaps a barn enlarged over the years (note the clapboard siding and the novelty siding). Grass and weeds are growing in the flower boxes.

View while cruising around South Hero.

View while cruising around South Hero.

And a stop at Snowfarm Vineyard, locally owned and operated.

And a stop at Snowfarm Vineyard, locally owned and operated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abandoned Vermont: Hubbardton Church

The shore of Lake Bomoseen is a popular summer camp area in Vermont. Up here, “summer camp” is like “summer cottage” or “beach house” as opposed to kids’ “summer camp”. The terminology threw me at first, since I grew up on the ocean, not a lake. Historic districts and houses line Vermont Route 30 (sitting practically on the road in some places!) and winding roads around the lake. This 1925 church appears on the map as the Hubbardton Congregational Church, but a lack of signage and unsuccessful searching gives me few answers to its fate. The church appears to be used as only storage.

View from the across the street.

View from the across the street. You can see how close it sits on the highway.

Beautiful Queen Anne windows.

Beautiful Queen Anne windows that remain in good condition.

Belfry.

Belfry.

Boarded up and not in use.

Boarded up and not in use, this is the front entrance.

Absestos siding covers shingles underneath, which would be more fitting for its Queen Anne details.

Asbestos siding covers shingles underneath, which would be more fitting for its Queen Anne details.

South elevation. View from the grass parking area.

South elevation. View from the grass parking area.

This side of the roof is in need of repair.

This side of the roof is in need of repair.

North elevation.

North elevation.

I could only see in the window by holding the camera above my head.

I could only see in the window by holding the camera above my head.

Rural Vermont is filled with small, wood-frame white churches. While some remain in service and others have been converted to alternative uses, there are many with the same fate as this Hubbardton Church. How can we help these buildings? Those of you in rural areas, what solutions have you seen?

Click images for larger files and to zoom in. 

Abandoned Vermont: Highgate Falls Church

It’s a good time to address underused churches in Vermont. The Vermont Historic Preservation & Downtown Conference features a work day at Christ Church on Thursday May 1, 2014. Too many of our churches sit empty with small, shrinking congregations, extremely limited (or no) funding, and an uncertain fate. The case of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Highgate, VT is one of the many that is not abandoned, but is underused. It is used seasonally for weddings. Members of the church currently attend services in nearby Swanton, VT. Currently this church appears to be in good condition.

The Preservation Trust of Vermont works with Partners for Sacred Spaces and the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation to host retreats that will aid organizations in developing uses for their churches. (This year’s is May 15-16 at the Grand Isle Lake House in Grand Isle, VT.)

Constructed in 1834.

Constructed in 1834.

Located in Highgate Falls, VT.

Located in Highgate Falls, VT.

The rear of the church.

The rear of the church.

You can see clear through the window across the church. Is anything more lovely than a historic window?

You can see clear through the window across the church. Is anything more lovely than a historic window?

Beautiful windows.

Beautiful windows.

The sign on the front of the church.

The sign on the front of the church.

This odd photo - pardon the blurry foreground, blame the iphone - shows the interior of the church. That is as much as I could see inside.

This odd photo – pardon the blurry foreground, blame the iphone – shows the interior of the church. That’s as much as I could see inside.

What a beauty. This church is located down the road from Highgate Manor and the Highgate Falls Lenticular truss. Read more about Highgate, a small town in Franklin County, northwestern Vermont.

 

Abandoned Vermont: Brandon House

Please note that this house is for sale, not abandoned. But I cannot answer to how long it’s been for sale. 

House for sale can hold the appearance and aura of abandonment. Of course there are reasons for this. Perhaps a family member died and it’s an estate sale. Or it was a seasonal home, rarely used. This house in Brandon, Vermont gives that longing look, the look that abandoned or neglected houses carry. It strikes me as a house filled with relics of the last family to the live there; culturally interesting items, but not much that someone would want to truck back to his or her home.

brandon1

Aside from that modern garage door, the house maintains much of its architectural integrity.

White house in the white winter snow. The windows look dark and cold, and the house immediately seemed to have that abandoned lure.

White house in the white winter snow. The windows look dark and cold, and the house immediately seemed to have that abandoned lure.

brandon3

A beautiful ca. 1850 Greek Revival house.

brandon5

For sale by owner, the sign says.

brandon4

With a beautiful barn.

Cross your fingers for this house; all it needs is a new owner and some love.

Abandoned Vermont: Randolph Coal & Ice Shed

In the center of Randolph, Vermont, just down the tracks from the Randolph Depot sits the former Randolph Coal and Ice Shed, ca. 1920. The railroad is no longer delivering coal to Randolph, but the structures sit relatively intact and intriguing.

The building sitting trackside.

The building sitting trackside.

Looking to the Randolph Depot.

Looking to the Randolph Depot (on left). It sits in a cluster of buildings.

Randolph Coal & Ice is still visible on the shed.

Randolph Coal & Ice is still visible on the shed.

View on the other side of the building.

View on the other side of the building.

Two large wooden silos held the coal.

Two large wooden silos held the coal.

Coal chutes.

Coal chutes.

Conveyor systems of buckets carried the coal.

Conveyor systems of buckets carried the coal, which is still visible throughout this building.

A door allowed access above the silos.

A door allowed access above the silos.

The coal shed is adjacent to the side rail.

The coal shed is adjacent to the side rail.

The rail industry has changed in the past 100 years, but these buildings allow us to understand how important this transportation network was to our country. Whether carrying passengers, agricultural products, timber, coal, quarry products, it was the best mode of transportation at the time. For this reason, towns were often built around the railroad and associated buildings were located prominently in the centers of our cities and towns. Do these rail buildings have a use? It’s hard, as they remain in railroad right-of-way, and often must be relocated. What could a former coal be used for in a new life? Any ideas?

Abandoned Vermont: Brandon High School

The trailer sitting in front of the high school adds to the abandoned feel.

The trailer sitting in front of the high school adds to the abandoned feel.

This 1916 building was constructed as the high school in Brandon, VT. It operated until around the 1960s, when the regional high school was built. Brandon High School has an owner (as all buildings do), with ideas of converting the building into condos/apartments. However, the building has been empty and neglected for many years.

Wouldn't it be nice to walk to these school doors?

Wouldn’t it be nice to walk to these school doors? Quiz: would you call this building Neoclassical Revival or Beaux Arts?

The front doors, closed and barricaded. Nice sidelights, transom, and details.

The front doors, closed and barricaded. Nice sidelights, transom, hardware, and details.

Looking through the front entrance.

Looking through the front entrance.

Cornerstone. 1916.

Marble cornerstone. 1916.

Brick details between the first and second stories.

Brick details between the first and second stories.

Side steps to nowhere. An addition removed?

Side steps to nowhere. An addition removed? Yikes.

That last step will get you. And note some deterioration on the door frame.

That last step will get you. And note some deterioration on the door frame.

Details.

Details.

View from the ground. The windows on the concrete foundation look into the (very deep) basement. The first and second floors were used as classroom space.

View from the ground. The windows on the concrete foundation look into the (very deep) basement. The first and second floors were used as classroom space.

The building appears in solid condition. Looking into the building the ceilings have been removed, but the joists remain. Old school supplies lie scattered on the floor. Some windows are broken, but overall, the building appears to have potential, despite being empty for decades. Sending good vibes to Brandon, VT. This building sits just outside the designated historic district and within walking distance of Brandon’s downtown, which is filled with shops and restaurants. If you’re traveling in Vermont, it’s a great place to stop. (I’ve had ice cream a few times in the ice cream & antique shop…and sat on the giant chair with my sisters).

Abandoned Vermont: Manchester Inn

Manchester, Vermont is a popular high-style tourist destination with historic buildings, historic marble sidewalks, nearby recreation, shopping outlets – it’s picture perfect on so many streets. So you can imagine my surprise when I noticed this abandoned structure in the middle of historic Manchester.

On Main Street.

On Main Street.

I know I’ve driven by this building at least a few times in the past few years, maybe the fall day made its abandoned-ness more apparent. This was an interesting building. On the exterior it appeared that someone had attempted maintenance relatively recently. Yet peeking in the windows revealed peeling paint, water damage, and the usual vandalism inside. A sticker on the front door had a 2003 Conde Nast logo, so presumably the building had only been empty for a few years – likely not 10. It was weird. Check out these photos and see what I mean.

Marble sidewalks in Manchester.

Marble sidewalks in Manchester.

The view from Route 7A (Main Street) in Manchester, VT.

The view from Route 7A (Main Street) in Manchester, VT.

The property is much larger than you can see from the street.

The property is much larger than you can see from the street. Hmm, and a shallow roof pitch. That is never a good idea in cold climates.

A marble patio with an outdoor pool (not shown in photo).

A marble patio with an outdoor pool (not shown in photo).

The front porch.

The front porch.

On the front porch.

On the front porch.

Looking through the windows. It's amazing how much has deteriorated in just a few years.

Looking through the windows. It’s amazing how much has deteriorated in just a few years. If the first floor looks like this, what do the upper floors look like?

This takes "shuttered" to a new level.

This takes “shuttered” to a new level.

And the story? Well, the inn closed in 2009 due to foreclosure, and approved for demolition in 2011 by the Development Review Board. Recently purchased in 2013, the currents owners do not have a plan for the property. With its fate of demolition looming, the important questions will turn to documentation and infill.

Abandoned Vermont: Enosburg Falls Factory

The former Dr. B. J. Kendall Company factory sits boarded up and neglected on Vermont Route 105 in Enosburg Falls, Vermont. Enosburg Falls was put on the map when Dr. B. J. Kendall began manufacturing Kendall’s Spavin Cure in 1879. Spavin is a disease that occurs in livestock – a type of osteoarthritis that causes lameness.  Dr. Kendall’s business and the coming of the railroad brought this small, northern Vermont to a booming town at the turn of the 20th century.  The company operated until around the mid 20th century. Enosburg is still known for its dairy farms, and is designated the dairy capital of the world; each June Enosburg hosts the Dairy Days festival.

Front facade of the factory.

Front facade of the factory.

Central tower.

Central tower, showing original windows and details. The sign barely reads “Kendalls Spavin Cure,” but it’s still there.

Front entrance. Look in the front door and you can see original details and piles of stuff.

Front entrance as it looks today.  Look in the front door and you can see original details and piles of stuff.

Beneath the vinyl: beautiful clapboard!

Beneath the vinyl: beautiful clapboard!

Rear of the building: it appears that someone has done some maintenance work recently.

Rear of the building: it appears that someone has done some maintenance work recently. The roof looks fairly new and the cornice and brackets – up close – appear to be replaced.

Pigeons making themselves at home.

Pigeons making themselves at home. Original windows in those dormers.

Side entrance.

Side entrance.

In 2004, the Spavin Cure Historical Group started broadcasting a radio station from the building (note the large antenna on the central tower).  Vandals stole radio equipment in 2011, which put the radio station off air for a couple of years, but today the station remains on the air. The building falls into the category of not-really-abandoned, but neglected and in need of help, which is why it appears in this series.

Advertisement for spavin cure, courtesy of the Boston Public Library. Click for source.

Advertisement for Kendall’s Spavin Cure, courtesy of the Boston Public Library. Click for source.

Abandoned Vermont: Putney Schoolhouse

Schoolhouses are easy to recognize, especially one room schoolhouses that appear to have a bank of windows. This brick building in Putney, VT struck me as just that.

Sitting along the edge of the road.

Sitting along the edge of the road.

A stone wall runs along the property.

A stone wall runs along the property, up to the woodshed.

The front door.

The front door. And, look at the brick and granite.

The telltale bank of windows behind the plywood.

The telltale bank of windows behind the plywood, and rear windows for additional light. The windows appear to be intact, based on what little could be seen behind the plywood. 

Rear and side of the schoolhouse, more windows and a connected woodshed.

Rear and side of the schoolhouse, more windows and a connected woodshed.

The woodshed.

The woodshed, much less elaborate than the brick structure.

Two windows on this side.

Two windows on this side, and a good view of the slate roof. 

View across the road from the schoolhouse.

View across the road from the schoolhouse.

You can clearly see the potential in this building, even on a rainy summer afternoon. If you have information, please share.