At the corner of Main Street and Commonwealth Avenue in Ludlow, VT, sits an 1849 stone house. It’s an impressive building, one that I haven’t noticed in my travels, probably because I’m normally staring at the Fletcher Library across the street from this house. Finally, I noticed it.
This building is an 1849 stone building constructed in the unique “snecked ashlar” style (Scottish tradition), by William Spaulding. Originally there was a store on the first floor. Snecked ashlar is found only in southeast/central Vermont. (Chester village has an entire historic district of snecked ashlar, but otherwise it’s rare.) (State Survey # 1410-12.)
However, get up and close and you’ll be frightened by what you see. Structurally speaking, it’s not good. As in, I wouldn’t stand too close to that building. I think the walls are going to collapse.
I checked out Google Street View, and from the side street (Commonwealth Ave) you can see a Best Western sign on the front lawn (from Main Street it does not show). To confirm, I searched the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation online resource center. And yes, that was the answer! In the 1990s, the Best Western purchased the stone house at 83 Main Street to convert it to a 5 unit inn (click to read the Environmental Review file). However, the Division for Historic Preservation denied the initial request as it would have adversely affected this historic building. The Division provided suggestions as to how to work with the building, rather than against it, and what features to retain and preserve. At first, Best Western even wanted to put vinyl siding on the building! As you’ll read in the file, the Hotel and the Division came to an agreement on how to move the project forward.
See, preservation is not about stopping progress! Just moving it forward with respect to the past.
But, what about it now? My first guess was that the Best Western couldn’t (or wouldn’t) keep up with the maintenance. However, a bit more digging revealed in January 2015 there was an explosion in the building causing $500,000 worth of damage. Fortunately, no one was injured, but there was substantial structural damage.
Do you live in Ludlow? What’s the latest update?
2 thoughts on “Abandoned Vermont: Ludlow House”
If you look at the photographs taken at the time the building was first purchased with intent to convert (in the link to the environmental review), you see he did obtain permission to remove the enclosed entry and replace with the small porch, and permission to revise the rear addition. He also won the argument to replace the windows (he had already purchased the “new” windows with snap in muntins), and several interior changes.
I wonder what will become of the building now?
In Kingston NY there is a house made of small pieces of shale. The shale had been falling onto the street. The owners wanted the City of Kingston to tear it down. Instead it was sold to a historic group for one dollar. They had contractors do something to secure the building and keep the stone from falling off. It is secure now. I wish I had more info for you but Kingston City Hall could provide it.