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Abandoned Vermont: Manchester Inn is one of the more popular posts in the series. The inn was the subject of debate when it closed and then again when it was scheduled for demolition to make way for a new hotel. While there was much concern about the new hotel, the architecture fits in with the historic district setting. Have you seen it? What do you think? If you haven’t, take a look at website: Taconic.
The inn has had a few names. Here’s a quick list:
- 1907: opens as the Orchard Park Hotel
- 1919: bought by Julia and James Brown, renamed The Worthy Inn
- 1945-1986: various owners, name remains The Worthy Inn
- 1986: bought by Ann & Jay Degen, name changed the Village Country Inn
- 2009: Inn goes into foreclosure
A reader, Gregory, kindly sent some postcard images that he thought fans of The Worthy Inn / The Village Country Inn would enjoy. Take a look!
Thank you, Gregory!
It’s been a rough week of news. It breaks my heart to see our country so divided. I’m not going to provide a political commentary right here. I am tired of reading news and hearing politics non-stop, so much so that I deleted Twitter from my phone to give myself some breathing room.
If you’re in the Cultural Resources world, there are two big events you should mark on your calendar:
- The National Trust for Historic Preservation Conference is this week in Houston, TX. I’m not attending this year, but I plan to attend virtually when I can (or catch the replays). Find the info here. And if you are in Houston, have a great time. I look forward to hearing your recap!
- The CRM Industry In the Age of Trump – this is a free webinar on 11/28/16 (2:00-3:00pm EST) hosted by the American Cultural Resources Association “ACRA”, and all of us should attend. We don’t know exactly what the next four years will bring, but we may need to up our advocacy and outreach efforts to Congress to preserve our laws and regulations, which govern much of our professional work.
And with that, please suggest something non-political for us to read or hear. It would be much appreciated. Thank you.
Welcome daylight savings time. It’s going to be dark about 4:30 p.m. in Vermont, so it’s time to be extra cozy in the evenings and find a new round of documentaries, or at least turn on the Netflix fireplace, for those of you who are fellow small space dwellers. And hope that this election season isn’t the end of us all. Fingers crossed.
A few links from around the web for your enjoyment.
- The winter in Vermont (the snowy ones that is) usually causes a handful of deteriorating barns to collapse under the snow load. It’s an ongoing dilemma as people generally do not have the money to maintain these large structures. And it’s one we’re not sure how to fix. But, start with these barn-saving tips from the National Trust.
- Let’s be honest. Tomorrow, YOU can vote for a narcissistic racist misogynist and live in that type of world, or you can vote for someone who has fought for people and policies her entire life, and is truly tough. It’s about common decency, people. And that’s it. This is beyond politics. Listen to Michelle Obama. Make the right choice, America.
Social media. Let’s talk about it. Are you into it for personal reasons? Professional reasons? Documentation reasons or disappearing conversations?
My, how different it is today than the days of AOL Instant Messenger (“AIM”) and Myspace. Who in the 20s-30s age range does not have fond memories of IM’ing your friends and your crush to all hours of the night and creating the perfect away message?
I love social media, to a certain extent. Sometimes it feels frivolous and ridiculous, but so be it. There are benefits, too. I love blogs and Instagram and Twitter, but gave up Facebook years ago and don’t care to learn Snapchat. To each her own, right? Social media has helped to grow my professional career within preservation as well as my preservation friendships and passion.
Because preservation is a lifestyle, so to speak, our personal lives and our “personal brands” often include our professional life. How do you handle that on social media? I’m interested to know as to what you decide to share on your public social media accounts?
Preservation in Pink, the blog, has always been visible to the public, sometimes with more personal details than other times, but nothing that I would feel weird about if my employer read, for example. (Actually, my firm is very supportive of my outside-of-work preservation endeavors, for which I’m grateful.) Twitter @presinpink often gets my personal opinions (re: politics and policies) and the other sides of me (USA Skeleton, running, gymnastics fan, #btv topics), and Instagram for @presinpink is pure preservation (okay, sometimes the cats pop in to say hello).
However, I’m a documentation addict, so I use a private Instagram account to document my personal life (and then send it to Chatbooks for automatic photo albums. I love them.) Snapchat doesn’t seem to make sense to me, or Instagram stories. Why would want your pictures to disappear?! asks the preservationist. Someone explain this to me.
Preservationists and non-preservationists, do you use social media apps for professional or personal reasons? Do you use it for documentation? How do you decide what to put on which platform? Do you think preservation is one of those fields that warrants blurring the line between personal and professional?
And, a general social media warning, because it seems to me that combination professional and personal accounts are becoming more common: comparison is the thief of joy. Everyone has good and bad professional days: days stuck under paperwork and those in the field. We all have normal, rainy weekends and beautiful “instagrammable” vacations at some point. We all have successes, failures, struggles, and happiness. Just keep doing what you’re doing.
(Okay, off my soap box of social media. Please, chime in!)
White, gable-roofed churches with tall steeples are anchors in Vermont’s villages, historically and visually. Small towns often have more than one church, speaking to a time when people attended churches and community meetings in greater numbers. In modern day Vermont, these large buildings remain in the same small villages, whose populations and budgets are fading. As you can see in Abandoned Vermont posts, some are empty, and others are used only seasonally:
- Clarendon Church (vacant)
- South Ryegate Church (status unknown, but sold in 2016)
- Simonsville Meeting House (seasonal use)
- Bloomfield Church (recent comments indicate it’s now a music venue)
- Highgate Falls Church (seasonal use)
- Hubbardton Church (storage only)
Seasonal churches are used in the summer when the building does not need to be heated and lack of electricity, perhaps, is not a hindrance to use. Buildings closed up for the winters are not uncommon in the colder climates; many summer camps and cottages are winterized and sit alone for the winter months.
Union Church in New Haven Mills, VT is one of the seasonal churches. For decades it was used once per summer month for a church service, and the occasional special event.
Union Church was constructed in 1851 as a church and meeting house to accommodate the growing community of New Haven Mills. Local craftsman Eastman Case constructed the building; his study of Asher Benjamin is evident in his design. Union Church is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as a well-preserved example of a wood frame Greek Revival style church with features that including the temple-front gable entrance, corner pilaster, full entablature and pediments, oversized windows, and interior details. The Queen Anne style belfry was added ca. 1880.
The 20th century brought floods and fire to the community, which led to the demise of the town and its lumber industry. The church sat empty throughout the 1930s, until Burt Rolfe, a Middlebury College student, took on the role of caretaker and preacher. Mr. Rolfe died in World War II. Neighbors, Langdon and Colleen Smith began taking care of the building and holding one monthly summer service for the next 40 years. When the Smiths died, neighbors continued to maintain the building. The church survived because of the neighbors and the community’s efforts to host events, raise money, and preserve the building. (Read the project file here for additional info.)
The Preservation Society of the Union Church of New Haven has continued repairs as part of the long-term preservation project since the 1990s. In 1997, the Preservation Society applied for and received a grant from the Division for Historic Preservation to stabilize the foundation and paint the building. In 2011, the Preservation Society received another grant to repair the 20/20 double hung windows.
It’s a beautiful building in a striking setting, overlooking the small village of New Haven Mills and set adjacent to the Lampson School. However, buildings are meant to used and if they stand in year-round communities with only seasonal use, there is lost potential. Keeping a building seasonal allows the greatest amount of preservation. No wiring is needed; the building needs to be maintained, but not altered or disturbed. However, in our cold climate, that limits the months. And what a shame to not be able to use this building all year round. Perhaps minimal modernization and addition of systems would be worth it in order to use the building.
It’s a good preservation theory discussion. What do you think? If there is use, keep the buildings as-is for the warm seasons or disturb them for year-round use?