Flamingo Travels

This weekend the flock, or at least half of us, are exploring New York City. Follow along on instagram and twitter for a flamingo overdose!

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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.

Moments of Silence

Today is September 11, 2013. Twelve years and one day ago, the world was a very different place. We’ll never forget, and moments of silence will always show respect and thoughtfulness on this day. Please, take a moment of silence today to remember those who died and those who suffered and for everyone who helped because of September 11, 2001. Today, proudly display your American flag, and remember that we’re all in this together.

The American flying in Port Jefferson, NY.

The American flying in Port Jefferson, NY.

By now, we’ve all spoken to each other many times about where we were on September 11, 2001. If you haven’t yet, write down your story to share with your children and grandchildren. Because they’ll want to know the same way you want to know significant days in the lives of your parents and grandparents.  Or write it for your own memory when you’re old and gray. Everyone’s story is important.

Preservation Photos #198

The Haskell Library in Derby Line, VT and Stanstead, Quebec. It was deliberately built half in each town.

The Haskell Free Library and Opera House in Derby Line, VT and Stanstead, Quebec. It was deliberately built (1904) half in each town. See the concrete marker near the flower pot? That’s the USA/Canada border. Residents from both towns are allowed in the library without going through customs, but if they go anywhere else in town, they must go through customs. 

The Haskell Free Library and Opera House is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Read its history! And yes, you can stand in two countries at once in this library. (Of course I did.)

Coffee in Enosburg Falls, VT

It’s Monday. Who needs a cup of coffee? That’s rhetorical. Aside from needing coffee, I love a good strong cup of coffee in the morning, or most anytime of day. And I love local businesses that serve good, local coffee brewed just right. Those are the businesses who care about their customers. One of my favorite places to get a cup of coffee in my northern Vermont travels is The Flying Disc in Enosburg Falls, VT.

The Flying Disc on Main Street in Enosburg Falls, VT.

The Flying Disc (left) on Main Street in Enosburg Falls, VT.

The Flying Disc is located in a beautiful historic building in Enosburg Falls, complete with its original storefront and full of historic integrity. It’s a unique coffee shop, complete with records, dvds, video games and other items for sale. Walk right in and you’ll be greeted by one of the owners, Kelee Maddox, who has a lovely soft, southern accent; she’s incredibly friendly and happy to talk with you for a while. Take a seat at the window, the coffee bar, a table or on the couch while you drink your coffee and read or use wifi for a bit.

Good stuff at The Flying Disc.

Good stuff at The Flying Disc.

The Flying Disc brews Vermont Coffee Company coffee (my absolute favorite) Want something more than regular coffee? No problem, there are plenty of options. And while you’re there, try a “super healthy cookie” (with or without chocolate chips). And no, that’s not in quotes to be sarcastic. Kelee made these cookies to get her kids to eat tons of vegetables, but you’d never know it. Seriously delicious and filling, you’ll be glad you tried one.

A beautiful location.

A beautiful location.

What I admire most about the Flying Disc is how reasonable the prices remain. A large cup of coffee is $1.25. And this is excellent coffee, not your standard gas station blend (if you know Vermont Coffee Company, you know what I mean!). It’s refreshing to find a low key coffee shop with affordable prices that really plays a role in the community. It keeps people coming back. (If my route calls for it, I’ll stop in twice in one day, happy to support this local business.)  Enosburg Falls has had better days and years, but it’s making a comeback in northern Vermont. And people like the Maddoxes believe in the town and see the progress.

A historic photo. The building looks much the same, except the staircase is enclosed and now has awnings.

A historic photo. The building looks much the same, except the staircase is enclosed and now has awnings. This photo hangs inside the coffee shop.

So stop in, grab some coffee, browse the music and videos and chat for a while. You can learn about the building’s history or hear about what’s going on in town.

A two story outhouse was removed in the 1940s. Thanks to The Flying Disc for allowing me to snap a photo of this photograph to share. Yikes, what a task it must have been to remove that!

A two story outhouse was removed in the 1940s. Thanks to The Flying Disc for allowing me to snap a photo of this photograph to share. Yikes, what a task it must have been to remove that!

What’s your favorite local business that you admire, and why?

Restored advertisements remain on the building.

Restored advertisements remain on the building.

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For the record, I’m writing about The Flying Disc simply to share a great business in Vermont, and to help travelers find a good cup of coffee. Opinions are my own and I’m not compensated in any way for this post.  And if you have a place you’d like to share, send it my way. Thanks! 

Preservation ABCs: V is for Viewshed

Preservation ABCs is a series that will work its way from A to Z, bringing words into conversation that are relevant to historic preservation, whether it’s an idea, feature or vocabulary term. The idea is to help you see preservation everywhere you look and wherever you go. Enjoy! See previous letters.

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V is for Viewshed

The viewshed of historic downtown Montpelier, VT.

The viewshed of historic downtown Montpelier, VT. {click for sharper image}

Viewshed can be applied broadly, depending on the resource, but an easy way to understand it is like this: (1) Consider the historic property. (2) What would its surroundings have looked like during its period of significance? (3) Evaluate what changes would adversely affect that view from the historic property? (4) What is the view to the historic property from other locations?

For example, a neighborhood of small bungalows overlooking the lake would have an altered viewshed if high condominiums were constructed between the houses the lake. Think of the monstrous beach houses that block the views of the older, smaller homes. Or a historic farmstead – house, barns, outbuildings, fields – would lose its viewshed if all of the neighboring properties were developed.

This isn’t to say that all development can destroy the integrity of a viewshed; rather, new development must be done in a considerate manner with designs compatible to the historic character of its neighbors. How do you protect a viewshed? Identify what is in view from/to the property. An easement might fit the purpose of protection, or design ordinances on a municipal/town level.

Take a look at the photograph above. Both sides of the streets are lined with historic building blocks, and all are contributing properties in the Montpelier historic district. What if one of those building blocks were removed due to development pressures or fire, for example? The view of the district would be altered. Sympathetic and compatible infill would need to be constructed in order to save the integrity of the district.

Why does viewshed matter? It relates to the setting, association, and feeling of a historic property, which are three of the seven aspects of integrity, as per the National Register of Historic Places, the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior. Change the viewshed and you’ve altered the integrity, and quite possibly the significance of that historic property.

Fort Popham, Maine

Fort Popham in Phippsburg, Maine is a coastal defense battery on the Kennebuc River in Phippsburg, Maine. Construction on this semi-circular granite block fort began in 1861 (for the Civil War) and stopped in 1869, never to be completed. The fort was garrisoned again during the Spanish-American War and World War I, though eventually became obsolete with the construction of nearby Fort Baldwin. The fort included 35 cannons, all in two levels of casements.  Fort Popham is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

This summer I visited Fort Popham and was struck by the beauty of the granite structure, particularly the casements and staircases (see photos below). The interpretive signage was sufficient, though more information would have been helpful in understanding how the fort had been changed over the centuries. The conditions appear worrisome; conservation work is obviously needed. I was actually surprised that you could walk anywhere on the second level. And the roof had been long ago paved in asphalt. It was an interesting series of repairs and lack of repairs.

View from the top: see the two levels of casements.

View from the top: see the two levels of casements.

Looking to the other side.

Looking to the other side.

The casements where the cannons would have been. The vaulted brick ceilings are striking.

The casements where the cannons would have been. The vaulted brick ceilings are striking.

Texture, everywhere!

Texture, everywhere!

Casement construction.

Casement construction interpretive panel.

The row behind the casements - hide when the cannons are firing!

The row behind the casements – hide when the cannons are firing! And look at the size of those granite blocks.

The brick ceilings of the casements are in need of conservation work.

The brick ceilings of the casements are in need of conservation work.

Another example.

Another example. You can see more of the structure in this image, too.

The beautiful granite staircase. Fort Popham was considered a marvel of its time.

The beautiful granite staircase. Fort Popham was considered a marvel of its time.

Cannon markings, where the cannon would slide back and forth.

Cannon markings, where the cannon would slide back and forth.

View out one of the fort's windows.

View out one of the fort’s windows.

Here is an instance where I wanted to know what had changed, and what wasn't completed.

Here is an instance where I wanted to know what had changed, and what wasn’t completed.

And again, what has changed? What hadn't been finished?

And again, what has changed? What hadn’t been finished?

Fort Popham is intriguing, beautiful and definitely worth a visit if you are in the Freeport/Brunswick/Phippsburg area of Maine. And just down the road is the well known Fort Popham State Park, where the beach seems to go on forever at low tide. It’s spectacular. And being at a salt water beach with pine trees rather than just sky and dunes is quite a new experience for this Long Island girl.

Preservation Photos #197

A preservation win! Aluminum siding removed, clapboard exposed. Ah, that looks so much better. Check out that potential. Good job, Burlington.

A preservation win! Aluminum siding removed (almost all the way), clapboard exposed. Ah, that looks so much better. Check out that potential, original windows behind those storms, too. Good job, Burlington.

Prairie Home Companion: Shelburne Museum Concerts on the Green

{Side note: today is Labor Day (observed). Curious as to the history of Labor Day? Check out this blast-from-the-past post from PiP (2008!)}

As mentioned yesterday, summer is not over. It sticks around for a good three weeks in September. So let’s keep talking summer. What has been your favorite part of summer? The longer daylight hours, barbecues, farmers markets, outdoor concerts, swimming, sunshine, not wearing 10s of layers of clothing, cold drinks, better moods? As for me, I love it all. Summertime in Vermont is particularly beautiful, and on sunny, warm days, I want to be outside as much as possible. This summer I had the opportunity to attend a wonderful outdoor concert at Shelburne Museum: Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion Radio Romance Tour. (A huge thank you to my friend and fellow preservationist, Adam K, for bringing me along.) 

For starters, the Shelburne Museum has an absolutely beautiful setting looking to Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains.

The sun was setting as the show was beginning.

The sun was setting as the show was beginning. The picture doesn’t quite do the view justice…

I had never listened to Garrison Keillor, but knowing that he is a great American storyteller, I was intrigued (hello folklore and oral history!). And what could be an outdoor show on a beautiful Vermont summer evening with a friend? Precisely. What is Prairie Home Companion? It is a live variety radio show, written and hosted by Garrison Keillor, running (with some exception) since 1974. The show focuses on music, stories, and features such as Guy Noir, Private Eye and  News from Lake Wobegon.

A glorious sunset.

A glorious sunset.

Hundreds of people on the lawn.

Hundreds of people on the lawn.

The show was wonderful. Listening to these amazing stories, live entertainment, a radio show in person (as opposed to through the radio) was such a unique experience. Clearly, I’ve been missing Prairie Home Companion all these years. Garrison Keillor is brilliant, creating these ongoing stories for decades. There are many people who can tell a good story, but to hear someone who has what are essentially books in his head – that he’s written – and is sharing it live…wow. How many true storytellers have you heard in your life? I’m grateful to have seen this show live. And now I want to hear ALL of the Lake Wobegon stories. It reminds me of just how special folklore is in our cultures (and all cultures). Folklore represents traditions unique to certain set of people, idiosyncrasies, memories, beliefs, and treasures to that culture.

Close up on the stage.

Close up on the stage.

Have you heard or seen Prairie Home Companion? Who are your favorite storytellers?