Abandoned Vermont: Gas Station

Gas station on Western Ave (Route 9) in Brattleboro, VT.

Not as mysterious as other abandoned places, but small gas stations from the 1930s (or 20s-50s really) are buildings that I find fascinating – like those on the Merritt Parkway in Connecticut or the one remaining gas station in the center of the Belt Parkway on southern Long Island, NY.  Though not exactly abandoned, it is currently vacant, which makes me worry about its fate. This one was most recently a Sunoco station and appears to have only one garage bay, a small front office, and a rear room.

Western Ave, Brattleboro, VT gas station.

Actually, this building is for sale. Look up listings for 205 Western Ave, Brattleboro, VT. A Trulia listing revealed some historic images. Unfortunately, the listing does not cite the source of the photos. It says that for the past 60 years, the station has been servicing the area. However, I always take realtor listings with a grain of salt.

205 Western Ave, Brattleoboro, VT. Image via Trulia.

205 Western Ave. Image via Trulia.

Read the seller’s notes – sounds like a great investment project! A former service station on Shelburne Road in Burlington, VT has been converted into a restaurant – The Spot. These are great buildings!



Dear Readers,

Life has a been a blur lately! Between final wedding preparations, house hunting and the process of making offers and buying, working, and trying to stay sane, my attention has been scattered near and far. That would be why the posting is sparse this week. The remaining days of June will be filled with much of the same activities, so I wanted to let you know that Preservation in Pink is on a mini vacation or more like a part time schedule now. Thanks for hanging in there with me.

However, come July, Preservation in Pink will be back with some awesome new guest bloggers, good summer stories and preservation thoughts, and soon – a brand new headquarters. (Well, the blog will be in the same place, but if all goes well, I’ll be blogging from another abode!)

For the time being, enjoy picture posts and let’s hope for some good end of June summer weather.



p.s. here’s one to start:

The coolest flowers I have ever seen. We came across them in Boston Common.

As preservationists, it is important for us to remember that landscape – the natural environment – contributes greatly to our built and cultural environment.  Sometimes taking time to enjoy a flower garden with historic buildings as the background is just as satisfying as gazing up at the building cornices.

More crazy flowers!

Does anyone know the name of these flowers?

You’re a Grand Old Flag

You’re a grand old flag,
You’re a high flying flag,
And forever in peace may you wave,
You’re the emblem of the Land I love,
The home of the free and the brave.
Every heart beats true
‘Neath the red, white, and blue,
Where there’s never a boast or brag,
But should auld acquaintance be forgot,
Keep your eye on the grand old flag.

American flag photograph by Erin O'Shea.


Happy Flag Day! Who else remembers Flag Day in elementary school? We’d all dress up in red, white, and blue, answer questions about the flag, and have a ceremony outside around the flag pole. One of my teachers had us sing “You’re a Grand Old Flag” after reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, every single day. Though, until recently, I hadn’t realized that those verses above are only the chorus of a song.

“You’re a Grand Old Flag” was written by George M. Cohan in 1906. He wrote it for his stage musical, George Washington, Jr. Find out more at the Library of Congress song collection.

Friday Travels in Images

I am out and about this Friday for a whirlwind trip for a friend’s wedding. Left to my own devices this morning, I am free to wander around the great city of Boston and turn whichever direction I choose. Since I am not an expert with the iphone camera, I am practicing and taking better photos with the real camera. But for the sake of a picture week, here are some happenings from today.






I will share more on flickr throughout the day so check the blog sidebar. Happy Friday to all!

Abandoned Vermont: House on Route 107

Located on a curve on a narrow road, this was not the easiest place to photograph, nor the best location for a house, but it caught my eye on Route 107. Luckily, there was a spot on the side of the road to pull over.

Looking at the side of the house.

An ell addition.

It appears that all architectural elements have been stripped from the house or destroyed.

Again, another unidentified house from my travels. If I find information, I’ll add it here.

The Highs and Lows of House Hunting

What could be more fun than perusing real estate listings and imagining which home you’d like to buy? For as long as I can remember, I have browsed realtor.com, just for the heck of it. My mom, my sisters and I would crowd around the IBM computer – back when we had dial-up – and scroll through the listings. We must have wanted an adventure. Even when I haven’t been in the market to buy a house, the real estate section of Preservation Magazine is thrilling. My other favorite site is Preservation North Carolina – imagine buying and restoring those homes – a dream come true!

Of course, it’s so much easier and more fun to browse and dream when it’s not exactly reality. When you aren’t tied to a particular location, for whatever the reason, that big farmhouse in the middle of nowhere looks perfect.

As you can infer, Vinny and I are in the market for a house in central Vermont. We have our priorities and a realistic budget to keep in mind, which automatically eliminates the majority of the housing stock in Vermont. Since we grew up on Long Island, we’re quite familiar with the high cost of living. Unfortunately, Vermont also has that reputation. Housing is expensive, even in this market, and even when you are not afraid of a “fixer-upper.” (I draw the line at needing new foundations and floor beams.)

So what’s a house-hunting preservationist to do? We keep looking and looking and reminding ourselves that buying a home does not mean that we have to live in it forever. Still there are some things that cannot be compromised. For instance, I will not buy a home that was built after 1940, give or take (I have my reasons). I cannot live in a ranch house because I grew up in one. We want some form of a yard – for the barbecue and a patio. And the house must get a lot of sunlight. So really that’s just basic needs in a house for us. What are yours? How about wants? I want a house with architectural character – so much that I should call it a need.

One house we loved did not work out. Another just was not what the pictures implied; they are deceiving. With few afffordable homes on the market, in places where we can live, this can be disheartening. I will not bore you with all of our house hunting, but there is one house that we will remember for a long time.

To start with, look up 89 Prospect Street in Montpelier, VT. Some listings have more pictures than other sites.

This house caught our eye first because of the price and then because of the detail and the original windows. The listing said that most of the hard work had been done already. From pictures the inside appeared gutted. But we were intrigued and so excited to see it. We were lucky to have the owner there to tell us the story of the house and his story with it.

The current owner bought the house 1-2 years ago and has been working on it ever since. When he bought it, an 89 year old man had been living there in one part of the firsr floor. He had not been upstairs in more than a few years. The roof leaked and the floors were caving in. So the new owner tore our the plaster (aaah! no!) and the floors. He salvaged as much as he wanted. This did include leaving the original windows and removing, labeling and storing window and door trim. I was so excited when he said the R value is barely achieved through windows; walls are more important. The owner has been rebuilding the foundation and has replaced floor joists and beams and rewired the electricity. His work has been incredible in effort and appreciation of the house (it is not perfect if we are talking restoration, but commendable).

This 2.5 story, 1895 Queen Anne house was breathtaking. We were practically speechless. It is simply amazing just how captivating a house can be, even one that has been stripped and gutted. The best part, aside from the windows, was the wall construction: vertical 1×4″ boards make up all of the walls. Talk about a solid house.

The house is beautiful, as simple and as understated as that sounds.

We wish we could buy it. What’s the catch? The amount of work left is immense; we would go bankrupt. Nor would we be able to heat it. The attic is bigger than our current apartment; the entire house is just too much house for us.

So we are wishing that the right people find 89 Prospect Street; a spectacular house awaits them. We are grateful for the experience of seeing that house.

As for us? We will keep on house hunting and wishing that all houses find someone to love them. It is a long road ahead.

Abandoned Vermont: Sap Shack

Continuing on a journey across Vermont Route 107, friends and I came across this abandoned building and advertisement. It reads: “M Thompson and Sons / Sap Shack / Maple Syrup for Sale.” 

Route 107 Sap Shack

Still visible before spring leaves are in full bloom.

Rear of the sap shack building.

You can also call a “sap shack” a “sugar shack”  or “sugar house.” Sugar houses remain common on the Vermont landscape.  The gable roof, the sheet metal roof, the ventilator, and the (possible) woodshed on the rear of the building are indicative of a sugar house. To read about Vermont agricultural buildings and their significance, read the Multiple Property Document Form – Agricultural Resources of Vermont. Sugar houses are on page F-102 (or 151 according to adobe PDF).

Regarding this particular sugar house, all that turned up in a search was a 2008 photo of the building – abandoned then, too.