Abandoned Vermont: Weathersfield Store

Often you will come across an abandoned building that has a similar form, even if it’s hidden beneath layers of additions and alterations from previous decades. Usually one room schoolhouses or 1930s service stations are good examples of easily identifiable forms. In Weathersfield, Vermont this building struck me as store or some combination of public service related businesses.

Weathersfield, Vermont

It has been damaged by the Tropical Storm Irene flooding, though I don’t know the extent of the damage prior to the flood. This image shows that an entire and some stairs have been removed.  There is nothing obviously impressive about the building in this state to any passerby, but the interest lies in the stories and the questions, as always.

Looking at this building, I was guessing it retained little of its historic integrity. And the cupola roof has seen better days. I’d guess the Tyvek paper has been there a while as well.

The front of the building: fenestration has been altered, too.

The side of the building: pairs of two-story bays with wood detailing intact, among all of the vinyl elsewhere.

A beautiful Italiante door with a steep step, vinyl siding covering the clapboard, and a roof soffet in need of repairs, among other maintenance.

I always like to know the story of a building, including its past and reason for its current condition. Normally PiP doesn’t share those details for privacy of the building; however, this one seems to warrant it because if any help is going to come to it, it needs to happen quickly. Imagine my surprise when I found this image on the Town of Weathersfield website:

Amsden Store. Historic photo by Charles A. Moore of Ludlow, VT. Click for source.

It looks like a completely different building until you look closely. Remove the porch, the wing on the left, and the staircase on the right and you the current building. The history provided by the Town of Weathersfield is as follows:

The so-called Amsden Store building was built by Charles Amsden around 1869 as his home, and that of some of his Amsden Lime Co. employees in today’s hamlet of Amsden. What was once a booming lime quarrying and manufacturing business, Amsden is situated at a bend in the road on Route 131, just a mile from the stoplight at the junction of Route 106 at Downers Corners.

What a difference, yes? Anyone have any information about its present state of ownership and its fate? Presumably it was most recently divided into apartments. A sign on the front says “For Sale by Owner.” Can you imagine tackling such a project?

24 thoughts on “Abandoned Vermont: Weathersfield Store

  1. Heidi says:

    Closeness to a road may not be the issue here. For example, West Townshend General is right on the road and it has been “saved” by a group of individuals who are in turn “renting” it to the West River Community Project. It will be used as a Farm Cooperative and also share the space with the post office among other things.

    However, closeness to the stream behind the Amsden Store may be a critical issue as far as getting grants and permission from the state/fed to rebuild.

  2. Stephy Sumner says:

    I drive by this house very often with my husband and every time we drive by it, It brings tears to my eyes!! Such a beautiful property and it saddens me so much to see what it USE to look like and what it looks like now!!! I live in Vermont as well, and would LOVE to talk to you about some places!!

  3. Sara Stowell says:

    The last I knew, this home was owned by John Maclean of Cavendish, VT. He tried to renovate it for apartments (the tyvec is only a few years old) but ran into some roadblocks with zoning that I do not know the details of.

  4. David says:

    I lived in amsden from 1968 til 1980. I can remember it was a store with gas pumps and apartment up above then. I can remember collecting 5 cent returnable cans and bottles and buying candy there.I lived on school house road which is accross the street. The last time I saw it was in the summer of 2011 ,unfortunately it didn’t look much better then.

    • Carol says:

      My parents owed the Amsden store from 1965 to 1969. There were 2 gas pumps and a great candy collection which I remember because I was only 6 years old. It was a great home and store with apartments upstairs. Very sad to see current condition.

  5. Mike (Mitchel) Smith says:

    When I lived there (from 1946 until 1958 I think) Joe and Josephine Guyette owned the store and lived in the back with their daughters, Janice and Shirley and their cousin, Jerry Russell. Roy built two bedrooms in the lower level (in the back, the building was four stories high) for the kids. At that time Roy worked the second shift in a machine shop in Springfield so he worked all the time on the building and keep it in good shape. In the apartment next to us (the part now removed) were Mr. and Mrs. Gibson with three kids Phyllis, Tommy and Sharon. Tommy and I had birthdays just 7 days apart. On the third level was Mr. and Mrs. Frank Tenney (my parents used to play cards with them), an elderly women (I do not remember her name) in a studio apartment and another apartment that had a number of persons move in and out in the years we were there. Needless to say with 9 kids, about the same age, living in the same building we never had to look far for kids to play with. The one room school house was just around the corner and when I attended school there I had the same teacher for six years until I went to 7th grade in Perkinsville.

    The front room over the main part of the store was my brothers and my bedroom, which must have been a ballroom when Charles Amsden owned the building as it was quite large. Even with three beds in it there was plenty of space for storage and a lot of place to play. It had a door that opened to the hallway so if we wanted to go out we could leave and our parents would not know we had left. There was no heat in this room and it was quite cold in the winter time. Hot water bottles and a lot of blankets was the only way to go to bed. I remember the bath tub was so long that my dad who was 5’8” tall could lay flat in the tub with plenty of room and the bathroom sink had a marble top. The river in the back was a great place to play and swim and looking back at it, if a kid had drowned in it when the water was high I would not have been surprised. Thank goodness the older kids must have looked out for the younger ones. It was a great place to grow up with ice cream and comic books readily available (as long as you collected enough bottles to return and get 2 cents each to pay for the goods. In 1968 we moved 2 miles north on route 106. I missed having all the kids to play with even though we were not far away.

    • Kaitlin says:

      Mike, It is so nice to read your memories; it is not often that I actually am able to learn about these abandoned buildings. Thank you for taking the time to share – lovely stories.

  6. Marti says:

    Hi Everyone,
    My name is Marti Lewis, and my husband and I purchased this property in Jan 2015. I worked hard to do renovations from the roof down but trajectly my husband passed away a month ago and the state will no longer let me live in the home due to the septic regulations. I need to sell it as a barn and I’m hoping someone would like to invest in the strong post and beam frame, the property as a lot next to the river or a storage unit. I have a for sale sign at the property now.
    Thanks
    Marti Lewis

    • Dawn Crary says:

      Ah, the Amsden Store.
      I have grown up in the Amsden Village and watched the Store go from a thriving business to a sad and aged building.

      Oral history tells of a beautiful building that was once powered by the brook that flows behind it. Mr. Amsden built the Amsden Village along with the lime quarry business. From school to church to store and the homes for himself and his son; which is the house I grew up in and currently own with my husband.

      In the 60’s I would take my allowance to the store to buy a popsicle. I would catch the bus to go to school. In the sumer I would explore the sluice way behind the store. Sometimes I’d have play dates with the Brewer girls and we would explore the empty apartments. In the 70’s it was owned by my parents (The Gramlings). I learned to stock the shelves and to count back change to customers. I listen to the stories of the old timers and the politics of the day. During the gas shortage we pumped for neighbors first.

      The 80’s -90’s saw the Store transferred two more times to different owners. The last could not sell so it went to bank. That is when the greater deterioration began. The bell in the tower disappeared. Apartments were rented by some who brought the seediest of character – drugs, etc. The bank finally sold it to someone who took down more of the structure. The final blow came when it spent time being vacant – razing, dismantalling, flooding …

      When Marti and her family bought it, I was amazed. I could not conceive how the building could be saved. They worked hard at a daunting task. I can not help but think that they were misled as to what the building could become. (Septic issues were not the only hurdle to face.) It saddens me that they lost not only their husband and father but also, their battle with the store. I wish Marti and her children well.

      Now it is a safety concern. The possibility of it being a building for business or domicile is pretty slim. It is not only dangerously close to one of the busiest roads in Vermont- Route 131- it has no place for parking, no septic alternatives, the wiring has to be ancient , the roof is deteriorated – it is just not safe. Though it has amazing ‘bones’, the recent conversation to take it down makes sense to me.

  7. Ken Norcross says:

    Aug 2018 The building has been purchased by a man from New Hampshire. He is in the renovation business and plans to restore the building.

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