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.
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.
The view from Route 7A (Main Street) in Manchester, VT.
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).
The front porch.
On the front porch.
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.
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.
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.
Central tower, showing original windows and details. The sign barely reads “Kendalls Spavin Cure,” but it’s still there.
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!
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. Original windows in those dormers.
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 Kendall’s Spavin Cure, courtesy of the Boston Public Library. Click for source.
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.
A stone wall runs along the property, up to the woodshed.
The front door. And, look at the brick and granite.
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.
The woodshed, much less elaborate than the brick structure.
Two windows on this side, and a good view of the slate roof.
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.
Bloomfield, VT is a small crossroads on the Connecticut River. Across the bridge is Stratford, NH. The general store is closed and not many houses populate this town. This church sits next to the town offices, the former school. Based on the piles of boxes in the windows, the church is abandoned or sorely neglected and used for storage. This poor thing has seen better days (note the missing steeple). The neighbors’ stuff is piled in the rear and on one side of the building, so I didn’t snap photos of all elevations.
Churches seem to be common abandoned or neglected buildings. What can we do about these? Another topic for another time, perhaps.
Found off Vermont Route 100 in Warren, this mill has gone through many reincarnations, but sits empty today. A brief history of this site, from History of the Town of Warren compiled by Katharine Carlton Hartshorn.
Fire, as well as high water, plagued the mill business. Palmer and Wakefield lost a mill by fire. Henry W. Brooks lost his by fire in 1947 and again in 1949. And the Bobbin Mill originally built by Erastus Butterfield in 1878 burned down in the early 1930′s when owned by Parker and Ford. They began rebuilding on a shoestring in 1932, but fire struck again before completion. It was finally rebuilt and run as a mill for twenty-five years. Under the ownership of Barry Simpson and David Sellers in 1974, the Bobbin Mill was again damaged by fire. It was rebuilt and became the birthplace of several manufacturing businesses, including Union Woodworks, Vermont Iron Stove Works, Vermont Castings, North Wind Power Company, and Dirt Road Company.
The mill showing damage and decay.
Hunter Bobbin Mill appears on the exterior.
The mill is composed of many blocks, likely additions from the various industries that have been located in the building.
The Double Press Cornice Brake. Industrial archaeologists: who can shed some light on this one?
The power source for operating the mill.
Twin Motor Electric.
Another view of the exterior, missing a few walls.
Around the corner.
Lincoln Brook Falls
Take a walk on the trail while you’re in the Mad River Valley. The water is blue and the rocks are worn from the falls, and even in the late fall, it was a peaceful (albeit chilly) place for a stroll.
The Longmeadown Inn sits quietly on US Route 5 in Wells River; 1832 on the sign refers to its construction date. Its hsitory is traveler based: inn, stagecoach stop, tavern, bed & breakfast. It’s for sale, so neglected is likely the more appropriate term than abandoned. But this building is included here because it has that historic & abandoned look about it, looking the same in March 2013 as it did in June 2012. Fortunately, it’s in good condition. Any interested buyers?
The inn’s sign welcoming travels.
A wide front porch for greeting and mingling.
The main brick block with ell and frame additions.
Looking up at the weathered brick and granite lintels and sills.
Around back, the additions don’t look any better. Note the array of fire escapes, too.
A view to the show the thickness of the brick wall construction. Look at the distance between the two window sashes.
Fire escapes on the side.
The building has a beautiful backdrop. The grounds have terraces that slope down to the river. It’s easy to see why an inn would be situated here, amongst the beautiful Vermont landscape.
A house in Wolcott, Vermont sits on the bend in road, settled quietly and subtly into the landscape. Warm weather foliage hides much of its facade, but the colder months allow for improved views of the house. This appears to be another one whose owner/occupant began a significant renovation and have since stopped, for reasons unknown.
Wolcott VT – See the new basement foundation?
This house is full of architectural details & original windows.
The doors and windows are secure and blocked. Someone still cares about this house.
Looking up at the entryway.
Original window, storm, and shutter in disrepair.
Possibly a kitchen window over a sink on the interior. Maybe this window was simply turned 90 degrees (see the change in clapboard pattern).
Another view of the front and side, with the basement foundation.
Interior view through broken window. Organized and stripped, but work was ongoing at some point.
Plaster ceiling, beadboard, stacked wood.
The house appears square and in good condition still; here’s to hoping its owners return.
Abandoned for what looks like decades, this house is long gone, looking even worse on the interior than it does on the exterior. The interior, sadly, has been destroyed, missing floors, walls, joists, everything. But this house remains a story sitting on the sunny hillside down a dirt road. At one point, people lived here and loved this house.
An Italianate style house.
The frame of an outbuilding remains.
Closer view. You can see the windows were once boarded up, but now have mostly been removed.
A small porch. Note how the coat of paint stops above the porch nearest the eaves, as though no one could reach there.
Some paint here, some paint there. And the glass is no more in most of the windows.
Weathered and partially painted.
Aside from being completely destroyed on the inside, the exterior clapboard has been removed in places.
And that is one reason why we document: to remember, to see the potential, to hope we can prevent this from happening to other abandoned or neglected homes.
This striking 1796 Federal style house in Vergennes, Vermont is the General Samuel Strong House. It is a favorite mystery to many passersby. Unoccupied for decades, this house is more neglected than abandoned, but every Christmas season there is a fresh wreath on the door and the community keeps an eye on the house year round.
Christmas wreath on the front door.
View from the sidewalk.
From the street. In the foliage months, you can barely see the house.
The side entrance has been removed.
Rear of the house, where a porch previously existed.
Boarded up windows, but check out the lintels.
Classic clapboard shot with alligatoring paint.
And we are in luck. This house has been documented by the Historic American Building Survey (HABS) in 1936. Find photographs and floor plans here via the Library of Congress. Here is the house in better days:
The Samuel Strong House in Vergennes as documented for HABS/Library of Congress. Click for digital source.
What a beauty.
This one room schoolhouse sits on a dirt road in southern Vermont. It appears to be recently inhabited, though the current broken windows, messy interior and damaged foundation say that no one uses the building currently. However, it is far from gone and certainly worthy of preservation. It is one of the oldest structures in Dover.
The 1790 Little Red Schoolhouse in Dover, VT.
A garage addition.
The front entrance of the schoolhouse.
Above the door,
This 1790 schoolhouse was updated with large windows to meet new school standards, likely in the early decades of the 20th century.
Looking through a broken window you can see the original ceiling and added acoustic tile ceiling, historic light fixtures and a mix of furniture.
Have you seen any other 18th century schoolhouses where you live?