Revisiting an Abandoned Vermont property: Fair Haven Depot

I’ve been photographing abandoned and neglected Vermont properties since 2011. This year I’ve been revisiting some of these properties to find out if anything has changed. A few have found better fates, but the majority remain vacant and neglected.

The Fair Haven Depot is located just outside the center of Fair Haven. The train depot is on the Clarendon & Pittsford Rail line, formerly owned by the Delaware & Hudson Railroad, and now owned by Vermont Rail System (VRS). Until 2010, Amtrak stopped at this depot, though the stop was not inside the building. Passengers waited in a small shelter across the street. The building was surveyed in the 1980s by the Vermont Historic Sites & Structures Survey, at which time it was vacant and not used as a passenger station. That’s 30+ years ago. From what I’ve learned, the railroad is not responsive to any town or historical society attempts inquiring about the building.

Additionally, the 1930s concrete bridge that leads to the depot has been closed for a few years. There is another way around and not much traffic, so they fate of this bridge does not look good.

Interested in a walk around the depot with me? Read on.

View from the bridge. The depot looks pleasant thanks to yellow & green plywood painted to look like doors and windows. 

Vegetation and evidence of backsplash.


The trackside of the building. If you look closely at the foundation you can see water damage. The water pours down the hill (to the left of this photo) and flows into the foundation. 

Foundation and damage to the bricks, from water and deferred maintenance. 


Closer view of the damage. 

Cracks in the bricks. Critters can easily fit under that door. 


More brick spalling and the stone holding the bracket, which holds the roof, is not long for this world. 

More of the same. 


Foundation damage. 

Vegetation next to a building foundation is not good for long-term building health. 


The precipitation splashes from the ground to the bricks. And, as evident by the moss, there is not much sunlight to dry the ground. 


The side of the building that you see from the bridge. 

Something about this building breaks my heart. It must be my fondness for railroad depots. Depots are such valuable buildings to communities: transportation hubs, meeting places, often architectural gems in the town. Railroad buildings were built to last. There are many success stories of railroad buildings throughout Vermont.

What a shame that the railroad neglects its history and its beautiful, historic buildings throughout Vermont and the rest of the United States? Restoring a railroad depot always benefits the community – socially and economically and in all realms.

Do you have a similar story from your community? What advice can you offer? I’d love to know. This depot deserves to be saved. Have some thoughts? #savethefairhavendepot


10 thoughts on “Revisiting an Abandoned Vermont property: Fair Haven Depot

  1. Daniel says:

    Ouch. Do you think the spalling and mortar failure is primarily due to rising damp from the splashback and groundwater that runs from the hill into the foundation, or is there a bad repointing job responsible as well. I was looking at the enlarged images but it’s hard to tell!

    • Kaitlin says:

      Good question, Daniel. I think it’s accumulated damage from the past few decades, mostly water that runs down the adjacent hill into the foundation. And splashback from that concrete “gutter” on the ground. Could be some sub-par repairs, too.

  2. Deb at The Front Door Project says:

    What a charming old building. Interesting that someone has made the effort to paint the doors and windows that are covered in plywood? I hope this beauty receives some attention soon, as you so clearly portray there is much damage already.

  3. frannyan says:

    I used to live just down the block from that building and waited for the Amtrak there quite a few times. A bit of a shock to see how badly it (and the bridge!) have fared in the past 10+ years….

    I do have some older photos from about ’03-’05 ish if you’d like to see the building in a bit better shape.

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