Tourist Cabins: Injunjoe Court, West Danville, VT

After eight years of driving by these tourist cabins on Joe’s Pond in West Danville, VT, I finally stopped to snap a few photographs. I figured if I waited any longer, I’d be tempting fate. This collection of tourist cabins is known as “Injunjoe Court”. No, it’s certainly not a name that would be given today. However, it is reportedly named after a St. Francis Indian of the Canadian Coosuck tribe. This site was used for summer hunting grounds, and Old Joe was a scout and guide on the side of the Americans in the Revolutionary War. He protected the builders of the nearby Bailey-Hazen Road. (Source: Vermont Hsitoric Sites and Structures Survey, page 70 of this PDF.)

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You will see this sign on your right as you travel eastbound on US Route 2 through West Danville, VT.

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View from the Joe’s Pond side of the road.

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There are 15 cabins on the property, all slightly different and of varying sizes. Most have novelty siding and a small porch.

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Exposed rafter tails, old screen doors, lots of charm.

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The office sits up on the hill.

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View from the office and upper cabins.

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This one has an original window (2nd from left) and fieldstone chimney. Note the window flowerbox, too.

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A row of cabins.

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Spectacular views from all of the cabins.

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Even the cabins closest to the road offer privacy.

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An undated postcard. Note the signage. It appears that today’s sign is the same, except for the color and the headdress removed on the left side.

Scroll to Book III, page 70 of this PDF of the Danville Vermont Historic Sites & Structures Survey for a detailed history and architectural description.

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From the VHSSS, an undated postcard. The cabin at the road and the entrance gate are no longer extant.

Likely constructed in the earlier decades of the 20th century, the cabins and cottages appear to have changed very little since them. An old brochure (no date, but it is from a 2013 environmental review file) indicates that Injunjoe Court had cabins, cottages, and RV spaces. Guests could borrow canoes, rowboats, and paddleboats for free. Rates included housekeeping, cable tv, heating, refrigerator, microwave, and bathrooms. Some cottages had fully furnished kitchens. Click on the brochure link above to see an interior photo. The distinction between the cabins and cottages was that cabins were smaller (think tourist cabins, no kitchens) and cottages were larger with kitchens and could accommodate four people. At one point the owner was Beth Perreault.

Based on the lack of No/Vacancy signage and the website that is no longer up (injunjoecourt.net), I’d say that Injunjoe Court is not open in 2018. If you know anything about it, please share in the comments.

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Abandoned New York: Granville House

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Granville, NY

Sometimes a house catches your eye and you have to make a U-turn to take a better look. Been there, done that, right? Well, this house in Granville, NY on Route 22 caught my eye. It’s so neat and well-kept, that I couldn’t quite decide what was going on. But it appears that a restoration project has stalled. Have you seen this house? Do you know anything about it?

 

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Slate embedded in the sidewalk matches the house.

 

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Zooming in, it’s not in the best of shape. Missing windows, missing soffits, porch roof in need of help. Yet, look at the details in the porch.

 

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I couldn’t quite call this abandoned as it’s so neat and tidy, perhaps just the restoration is neglected?

 

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The detail remains intact.

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I’d love to know the history and current status of this house.

Tourist Cabins at Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site

Tourist cabins are few and far between in Vermont these days, but readers know I have a soft spot for them. Imagine my delight when I saw three tourist cabins at the Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site. These cabins were named Top of Notch Cabins and opened in 1927 by Ruth Aldridge who operated a tea room called “Top of the Notch.” These cabins were built in Boston, shipped flat, and constructed on site. Currently the middle cabin is an exhibit. I was there for a workday with the UVM HP Alumni Association, but I plan to check out the site when it’s open in the warmer months. For now, here are some tourist cabin images.

Find any tourist cabins lately? I’d love to see them!

Cheap Old Houses

It’s impossible to resist oogling houses on the instagram accounts @cheapoldhouses @circahouses and others, and following #renovationdiaries or some similar hashtag. Or, maybe you’re more the type to dream while watching “Fixer Upper” or a similar HGTV show. (My mixed feelings remain on HGTV, as do my viewing habits.)

As preservationists, we see potential in most every building. And when there’s an affordable (sometimes incredibly cheap) house just waiting for a new owner to uncover its story and restore its beauty, it’s hard not to be tempted to scoop up the house. A few that caught my eye lately:

Would you ever pick up and move to a new place just for a house? While I fantasize about such things, because I daydream about old buildings, I don’t think I could actually do so. Once upon a time, younger me wanted to live in the middle of nowhere as long as I had land and beautiful old house. Actual grown-up me cannot fathom living in the middle of nowhere. I choose to live in the city, within walking distance to most everything, and not even in an old house. That last part is another story for another day.

What about you? Do you choose location? Do you choose your dwelling? Have your thoughts changed over time? What is more important to you and for what reasons? I choose location for economic, recreation, quality of life, and carbon footprint reasons. Maybe someday the perfect house in the ideal location will find its way to me. For now, I’m happy to gaze and daydream about cheap old houses, just my own preservation fantasies. What’s caught your eye lately?

(If you’re wondering, I love this instagram account, which is why I’m posting about it. Posts on Preservation in Pink are never sponsored. I simply share what I like.)

It’s impossible to resist oogling houses on the instagram accounts @cheapoldhouses @circahouses and others, and following #renovationdiaries or some similar hashtag. Or, maybe you’re more the type to dream while watching “Fixer Upper” or a similar HGTV show. (My mixed feelings remain on HGTV, as do my viewing habits.)

As preservationists, we see potential in most every building. And when there’s an affordable (sometimes incredibly cheap) house just waiting for a new owner to uncover its story and restore its beauty, it’s hard not to be tempted to scoop up the house. A few that caught my eye lately:

Would you ever pick up and move to a new place just for a house? While I fantasize about such things, because I daydream about old buildings, I don’t think I could actually do so. Once upon a time, younger me wanted to live in the middle of nowhere as long as I had land and beautiful old house. Actual grown-up me cannot fathom living in the middle of nowhere. I choose to live in the city, within walking distance to most everything, and not even in an old house.

What about you? Do you choose location? Do you choose your dwelling? Have your thoughts changed over time? What is more important to you and for what reasons? I choose location for economic, recreation, quality of life, and carbon footprint reasons. Maybe someday the perfect house in the ideal location will find its way to me. For now, I’m happy to gaze and daydream about cheap old houses. What’s caught your eye lately?

 

New Baby, New Perspectives: Accessibility in My City

If you are able-bodied and independent, you walk easily on most sidewalks and enter/exit stores without problems, other than the occasional surprise of a very heavy door or pushing/pulling when you should be doing the opposite. Cobblestones, bricks, steps, small doors – none of these bother you. Some stores might have small aisles, but other than it being cumbersome at times, it doesn’t slow you down too much. At least that is how I moved about my city – with ease.

Yet, over the past 4+ months, I have navigated the sidewalks and stores of Burlington, VT with a stroller. Suddenly, I gave thought to the condition of the sidewalks, the types of entrances, and the width of aisles. Frankly, the sidewalks of Burlington are horrendous if you are on wheels. Stores are a mixed bag of accessibility. I have plenty of appreciation for stores that are stroller friendly and plenty of empathy for anyone attempting to get around with a stroller or in a wheelchair.

Generally when you pushing a stroller, people are very kind and will hold open the doors for you. And you learn the turning radius and proper spatial distance needed for your stroller. You get better at avoiding sidewalk bumps because you don’t want to wake the sleeping baby, nor jostle her fragile head. You know which streets are best to take. And the list goes on.

Battery & Maple, Burlington, VT. #presinpink

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(The building block above would be easy to make accessible.)

However, there are some limitations with a stroller, and I would imagine with a wheelchair. I spend a fair amount of time stroller walking. Depending on weather, I might pop in and out of stores to browse or run errands. While Christmas shopping, I realized that I could not take my baby into a few of my favorite shops because there were not accessible entrances (read: only steps, no ramps). Sometimes entrances are elsewhere in buildings, but if there is no sign, that does not help, as I cannot leave the stroller on the sidewalk to go in and inquire. Additionally, some stores have accessible entrances yet the aisles or displays are so close together that even my narrow stroller has a tough time navigating between everything.

A favorite Burlington block from another angle. #presinpink

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(It’s hard to see in this photo, but my favorite building block has a few stores without accessible (or at least obviously found) entrances.)

I wondered about how many people face this challenge. Is the percentage of lost customers so small that it doesn’t affect the businesses? What if you’re in a wheelchair, what do you do?

Most businesses have modified their entrances to accommodate all customers. Unfortunately, this often replaces character defining features of historic entrances, or obscures them. The National Park Service Brief 11: Rehabilitating Historic Storefronts discusses the importance of entrances and their rehabilitation, but its only suggestions for access issues are as follows:

Alterations to a storefront called for by public safety, handicapped access, and fire codes can be difficult design problems in historic buildings. Negotiations can be undertaken with appropriate officials to ensure that all applicable codes are being met while maintaining the historic character of the original construction materials and features. If, for instance, doors opening inward must be changed, rather than replace them with new doors, it may be possible to reverse the hinges and stops so that they will swing outward.

(How would you make the above entrance accessible?)

It makes sense that this would be a case-by-case basis discussion; however, I think we need a collection of good examples. And a discussion. What are the challenges to improve entrance accessibility? Are small businesses at risk of losing business if they cannot improve accessibility? Does this affect you? As historic preservationists, how can we find the balance between character defining entrances and not limiting accessibility? What haven’t you considered in your environment until you had to consider it?

South of the Border and a Playground

Traveling down (or up) I-95, you cannot miss the South of the Border billboards. At one point there were 250 billboards from New Jersey to Florida! These signs tell you that you’ll find souvenir shops, food, lodging, amusements, and fireworks at this roadside rest stop. Kitschy Americana or useful rest area? You be the judge. Before you decide – do you know the history of South of the Border?

In 1949, Alan Schafer, who owned a distributing company, opened the South of the Border Beer Depot in Hamer, South Carolina. This small cinder block building sat just over the Robeson County, North Carolina border, which was then a dry county. Within a few years, Schafer added a motel and dropped “Beer Depot” from the name. Schafer decided to outfit South of the Border with a Mexican theme and over the next decade it grew to 300 acres and included a motel, gas station, campground, restaurant, post office, drugstore, and other shops. (Read more about the South of the Border in this article.)

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What about those billboards? While a number of billboards have faded, some have been updated in the past few years (to include South of the Border’s Instagram account, for example, @sobpedro). It seemed to me that a lot of the obviously questionable (some racist) billboards had been removed. Had they? According to this 1997 article, the Mexican Embassy complained, in 1993, about the “Mexican speak” billboards and other advertising materials. Eventually Alan Schafer agreed to take down the billboards, though it took a few years. For that reason, you will no longer see them on I-95. Some people have documented them. See D.W. Morrison’s website for the billboards. Good news, the billboards that remain are still quite entertaining! I laughed at quite a few.

If you’re a regular Preservation in Pink reader, you know that I cannot resist a corny joke or roadside America (and thus, I cannot resist South of the Border). And I love to share roadside America with the ones I love. On our family’s recent trek from Florida to Vermont, we stopped at South of the Border. After all, we had to introduce the baby flamingo to some crazy flamingo ways. We posed with a flamingo statue and a large concrete Pedro statue. She was unimpressed. Since she’s an infant, I assume she’ll grow to love it like her mama. (Fingers crossed.)

As we drove around, we found South of the Border surprisingly busy, yet still maintaining its eerily-sort-of-rundown vibe. The amusement park is shuttered. We couldn’t decide if one of the motels was open. The restrooms were clean. The worst part is that South of the Border sits on either side of US Highway 301, and lacks adequate pedestrian crossings or sidewalks, so it’s a nightmare attempting to cross. Hold your children and look both ways!

And now my favorite part. On our drive-about, much to my surprise, we found an old playground behind one of the motels. I’ve been to South of the Border a few times, and have never spotted this before. I had to get out and snap a photographs, of course.

Most, if not all, of the playground equipment is Game Time, Inc. equipment and remains in good condition. This equipment dates from the 1970s. Here is a tour of the playground.

These are called Saddle Mates.

 

More saddle mates on a merry-go-round

“Game Time / Litchfield Mich / Saddle Mate / Pat Pend” – Always check for the manufacturer’s stamp!

Saddle Mates on the “Buck-a-bout” from Game Time, Inc., ca. 1971

Single Saddle Mate, Donkey edition

The Stagecoach, a popular playground apparatus.

The Clown Swing, Game Time, Inc., ca. 1971. The Clown Swing would have had two swings. Other versions included the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, and the Lion.

View of the Rocket ship slides and the Clown Swing. These rocket ship slides were often made by Game Time, Inc., though other companies manufactured them as well. If you’re wondering, I did slide down the slide.

View of the playground, as seen from the parking lot behind the motel. The road behind is I-95.

Looking to the motel

Good stuff, right? Hopefully some kids still play on the playground. A bit of Google searching led me to find images of an abandoned hotel & playground near South of the Border. Comments lead me to believe it no longer exists, but it used to be a part of the Family Inn. It looks straight of a 1970s Miracle Recreation Equipment Company catalog to me. Check it out. And remember, if you come across an old (historic?) playground, snap a few photos and send them my way. I love old playgrounds!

#ihavethisthingwithfloors, Lightner Museum Edition

The mosaic tile floor in the lobby of the Lightner Museum in St. Augustine, FL, is one of the prettiest floors I’ve ever seen. In fact, it’s one of the prettiest rooms. It would be a perfect place for a preservation party! Take a look. 


Coming up: more on the Lightner Museum & Alcazar Hotel. 

Action Needed: Save the Historic Tax Credit

Do you know how your state is affected by the Historic Tax Credit (HTC)? Do you know that a lot of downtown and village revitalization would not happen without the aid of the HTC? The HTC makes up the difference in project cost, which allows for the buildings to be rehabilitated.

Need an example? A current project in Enosburg Falls, Vermont is rehabilitating the historic Quincy Hotel. This building, constructed in 1874, began as a railroad hotel and served travelers well into the 21st century, becoming one of the longest continually operating hotels in Vermont. 

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Quincy House, ca. 1910, prior to the fire on the 3rd floor, which resulted in the altered windows and roof (see next photo). Image source: Enosburg Historical Society. 


Enosburg Falls is a typical example of a northern Vermont village; it was a bustling village and regional hub for industry, but with the demise of the railroad, it entered a protracted period of economic decline. This was manifested in a village center with many underutilized buildings and consequently fewer options for local employment, which have adversely affected the cohesiveness and vibrancy of the community. People left, businesses left, and buildings fell into disrepair. On top of that, the village suffered fires in some of its main building blocks.

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One of the rooms inside the Quincy Hotel prior to rehabilitation. 

The rehabilitation of Quincy Hotel will provide the community with public spaces to host events ranging from business meetings to workshops and retreats, all with in -house accommodations and meals, complementing what is already in the Village. The hotel is located downtown and adjacent to the Enosburg Opera House. The railroad has been converted to the Missisquoi Valley Rail Trail; cyclists and tourists will find comfortable lodging at the Quincy Hotel. The rehabilitation of the Quincy Hotel would not be economically feasible without the state and federal Historic Tax Credits. There is a need for this project; Enosburg Falls is undergoing revitalization by dedicated residents and business people with investment in restaurants, retail, housing, parks, and now lodging.  Long-time readers will recall the Flying Disc coffee shop, a locally owned and successful coffee shop, which is just a short walk from the Quincy Hotel. 

This project, like all tax credit projects, will act as an economic multiplier; a catalyst for continued economic development. The local tax base will expand and jobs will be created as a direct result of this project. Even one small project can serve as a catalyst, leading to larger projects. Bringing housing downtown encourages commercial development (restaurants, retail, office spaces) and investment in a town or city block. This makes our existing communities more livable for all, and prevents poor development (i.e. sprawl) elsewhere. People want to live and work in vibrant communities.

So far tax credit projects seem like win-win situations, right? Yes. However, over the years our preservation efforts – from ordinances to regulations to tax credits – have been threatened at the local, state, and national levels. The only way to prevent their loss is to speak up! Right now is one of those times. Read on for an overview of the issues and how to help save the Historic Tax Credit (HTC), formerly called the Rehabilitation Investment Tax Credit (RITC).

The issue: The current tax reform bill introduced in the House of Representatives would eliminate the HTC. The HTC is a proven economic driver, as well the federal government’s most significant investment in historic preservation. If we take away the HTC, businesses and development projects are far less likely to pursue preservation projects because there will be no financial incentive. Why invest additional money if there will not be a guaranteed return-on-investment for developers?

Does this matter? Yes, it matters. If you take away the HTC, you take away valuable preservation dollars and in turn, irreplaceable historic fabric of your communities. How much of an impact will it have in your city or state? Find your state here and download an easy to use fact sheet. You can see which projects are housing, commercial, etc. For example, in Vermont (whose population is only approx. 600,000), from 2002-2016, there have been 234 HTC projects that resulted in over $200 million in total development.

Overall, the HTC generates more dollars than it costs to implement. It gives money back to the government while benefitting local and state communities. Most everyone is catching on; in 2016, the HTC was used more than ever, according to the National Park Service and Rutgers UniversityFrom the National Trust for Historic Preservation: over the life of the program, the historic rehabilitation tax credit (HTC) has:

  • created more than 2.4 million good-paying local jobs
  • leveraged $131.8 billion in private investment in our communities;
  • used $25.2 billion in tax credits to generate more than $29.8 billion in federal tax revenue;
  • and preserved more than 42,293 buildings that form the historic fabric of our nation.

This video from the National Trust shares highlights of the HTC.

Think this just a concern for Democrats? Not true. President Ronald Reagan put the HTC into place and fully believed in it. Watch and listen here.

What can you do to help? Contact your representatives! Here is an easy way to send an email. And, even more effective, call them!

Abandoned Vermont: Highgate Springs Church

Highgate Springs, a small town just south of the USA/Canada border, sits on US Route 7, directly adjacent to Interstate 89. Home to lakeside homes, a family resort, and working farms, you wouldn’t know much is there, except for the church steeple that you can see from I-89, if you’re paying attention. Finally, I had the opportunity to drive by and snap a few photographs.

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You can immediately see the variety of architectural styles: the stick style gable screen, the Gothic entrance hood and pointed window arches, and the classical modillions on the tower.

 

The Highgate Springs Union Church, this Victorian Gothic building was constructed in 1877, with a mixture of Stick, Classical, and Gothic details. Originally built as a single-denomination church, it was soon used by a  “union” of Highgate denominations. It is listed in the Vermont State Register of Historic Places (#0609-58).

“The Little White Church,” as it’s locally called, is not technically abandoned, based on what I can find. However, it no longer offers regular services. Instead, it’s used for special events such as weddings from May- October.

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The church sits on at a small Y intersection.

 

 

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The benefit of late spring in Vermont: you can see the buildings through the trees even in mid May.

 

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The entrance.

 

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Looking up to the steeple. The siding is flushboard on the tower, a more expensive look that the typical clapboard (on the right).

 

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Flushboard siding.

 

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Classical, Gothic, and Stick details.

 

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A trick to tell if a building is being used? Is the electrical meter hooked up? If so, it’s not abandoned. Perhaps more neglected. This siding show paint peeling and repairs needed.

 

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Peeking in through the windows.

 

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The altar, as seen through the windows.

 

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The exterior.

Beautiful, yes? And not abandoned, but it could use some maintenance and more funding and greater usage.

Every community seems to have similar issues with churches. What about those near you?

Preservation Jobs + Internships

We’d all like to stroll around historic districts everyday!


How do you find a preservation job? It depends on where you live, of course. And like everything else in life, it helps to have good connections, whether to put in a good word for you or to alert you about employment opportunities. However, you should still seek out and apply for any job that suits you.

As President of the University of Vermont Historic Preservation Alumni Association, I feel a certain level of responsibility to connect the current students, recent grads, and alums looking to change HP directions with good links for job searching. Here’s my updated list:

HistPres, although no longer a website, has an excellent Twitter account, with jobs and opportunities you might not see elsewhere. https://twitter.com/histpres. Also, take note of where the jobs are posted and continue to search those sites, especially if you are looking for a similar style job. Note: you do not need a Twitter account to view this page.

PreserveNet remains the stalwart of preservation job listings.

Preservation Directory is another good option, sometimes with different listings than the above.

Saving Places: The National Trust lists jobs within the organization.

The University of Mary Washington keeps its historic preservation job board current.

LinkedIn: Search for “Historic Preservation” and see what’s been posted recently.

You’re school preservation department likely has listings, and be sure to connect with your alumni group. You never know what could come your way. And if you’re looking to work in the private sector, reach out to that firm and ask if anything is available.

Good luck! If you have other favorite sites, please share in the comments.