Preservation Photos #228

Marble staircase in the old post office in White River Junction, VT. Now home to the Center for Cartoon Studies.

Marble staircase in the old post office in White River Junction, VT. Now home to the Center for Cartoon Studies.

A bit of history from the Hartford Historical Society:

Built in 1934 as a WPA Project, this building has seen life as a post office, Vermont District Court and as a privately owned office building. Located at the northeast corner of South Main and Gates Street, it is  a Neo-Classical Revival-style brick building with a round, arched opening and the inscription “United States Post Office” on its front. The first post office in White River Junction opened in 1849 after the town became a major railhead and was located at or near the train depot. It moved in 1890 to the Gates Block and subsequently relocated to this building in 1934. It was replaced by a new distribution center, built outside the historic district in 1964.

 

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.

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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.

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A beautiful ca. 1850 Greek Revival house.

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For sale by owner, the sign says.

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With a beautiful barn.

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

Stuck Inside?

If it’s snowing in Virginia (according to @umwhisp), it’s certainly snowing up north.

Sigh. What will we do with ourselves? Last week, I mentioned historical documentaries as a way to hide from the cold and not feel guilty about being inside. Are you sick of the glowing screens yet? Here’s another (mostly) inside adventure. Or at least something to make you feel better about being inside, dashing from one warm place to the next.

When you walk into a building, look up. Seriously. Do this everywhere. Most of us will scan the room to get our surroundings, and never look above our eye level. Do you know what you’re missing?

Ceilings! 

Look up!

Look up!

Okay, maybe this a form of entertainment only for preservation nerds. But hear me out. Preservation ABCs: C is for Ceiling as well as Battling Poor Lighting Choices begin to address the overlooked (or shall I say under-looked, ha) importance of ceilings and lighting and all elements above our heads.

Take note of where you are: residence, business, office. How high is the ceiling? What is the material: drywall, tin, plaster, tiles? What’s your immediate reaction when you look at it? What would you rather see? How do you define a good ceiling?

This exercise is not limited to historic buildings. Are you stuck with drop ceilings and florescent lighting? Wouldn’t something – anything be an improvement? Popcorn ceilings, aside.

Recently I was with a friend who mentioned she never thought to look up in places. And now, she has been noticing ceilings. Hooray!

Give it a try. Walk into a building. Look up. Once you learn to look up, it’s fun! And how you view your surroundings will be forever changed. Or you’ll think my love for good ceilings is verging on unhealthy.

Christ Church in Island Pond

As mentioned, now is the time to register for the Vermont Preservation Conference (May 2, 2014). The day before, please join us for a work day to aid in the restoration of Christ Church in Island Pond. You don’t have to be experienced, just able to follow directions and willing to help. A few photos of Christ Church in its current condition show the siding that needs to be replaced, windows repaired, and painting to be done. The interior is beautiful, and also needs some cleaning. Come join, it’ll be a preservation party!

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Bread Loaf Mountain Campus

A view to the Green Mountain range.

A view to the Green Mountain range, with a ski meet set up in the background.

Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf Mountain Campus sits in the hills of Ripton, Vermont, among the Green Mountains and Robert Frost’s country. Driving by, you could not miss this striking collection of matching buildings with yellow ochre wood cladding and deep green shutters, mostly in meticulous condition. What started as a summer resort in the 1860s by Joseph Battell, a prominent Middlebury resident, became the Bread Loaf School of English in 1915. Robert Frost lectured at the school from 1921 – 1963. In the summers, the campus hosts the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. In the winter the Rikert Nordic Ski Center operates out of the campus. It’s a beautiful site, winter or summer.

One of the many residential cottages on the campus.

One of the many residential cottages on the campus.

Steamboat type porches adorn this campus residence.

Steamboat type porches adorn this campus residence.

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Another view of unique windows and impressive porches.

These diamond shaped windows are an interesting feature.

These diamond shaped windows are an interesting feature.

Real shutters, original winows, and well maintained buildings are highlights of this campus.

Real shutters, original windows, and well maintained buildings are highlights of this campus.

Utilities are well hidden on these porches.

Utilities are well hidden on these porches.

The Bread Loaf Inn (not a public inn), built in 1861 is in need of more maintenance than the other buildings.

The Bread Loaf Inn (not a public inn), built in 1861 is in need of more maintenance than the other buildings.

A view from the fields (currently used for skiing).

A view from the fields (currently used for skiing).

Bread Loaf Campus is worth a weekend drive if you’re in Vermont, whether you are skiing or sight-seeing.

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?