Last week I posted a photograph of an abandoned less building that’s missing all of its windows in Sutton, VT, asking if anyone had an idea of what it could be. While I love offering up a pop-quiz, I had only an inkling and no answer to this building. Your answers were creative: chicken house (perhaps a reference to the last quiz?), jail, sewing shop, school?
The Sutton Mystery.
Thankfully, I can always count on the State Architectural Historian to lend a hand to my building quandaries. That is to say, while my guess was accurate, I owe the complete answer to the State Architectural Historian (thank you!). So what is it? Your hint: the neighboring property is the Portland Pipe Line Corporation.
This brick building is the former pump house for the Portland Pipe Line Corp., built in 1941. Originally 21.5 acres, the complex included the pump house, a brick boiler house, a Quonset hut, and a nearby eight single family dwellings for workers and their families. And here’s the most interesting part: at the time of construction, Sutton did not have electricity. Meaning, the pumping station was self sufficient and siphoned crude oil from the pipeline to power the generator in the boiler house. The pump house and all of the homes had their own electric plant.