Abandoned Vermont: Windsor House

This is a different vein of Abandoned Vermont; this house in Windsor is not found down a dirt road or in a small, sleepy town. Instead, it is easily spotted from US Route 5, located within the Windsor Historic District.

Abandoned house in Windsor, VT.

While it is not exactly abandoned (it is bank owned, I believe), this poor house is boarded up, vacant, a victim of fire, and left for further demolition by neglect – it seems. It has seen better days, obviously – days filled with historic integrity. Now it would probably be determined to be a non-contributing structure in the historic district.

Asphalt brick siding, asphalt shingle roof, replacement windows all contribute to a loss of integrity.

While loss of integrity to one building is a worthwhile discussion, there is a more important issue relating  to this house. What greater effect will the loss of integrity have on the character of the historic district?

What is the best option? Complete restoration of a historic structure? This isn’t a house (in my opinion) that someone will look at, love immediately and dream of restoring. Of course, that is not to say that a determined visionary could not take on the project. And who knows, removing that fake brick siding could help give the building a new face. Some buildings have the luxury of being loved, even in their most deteriorated states, but often such simple vernacular structures are not as fortunate. If it is determined to be a non-contributing structure, would demolition and sympathetic infill be the best option?

This house probably had a slate roof in its prime.

What was anyone ever thinking? Asphalt shingles made to look like brick? I have never seen this look good on a building.

Does this house stand a better chance of a second life because it is in a historic district of a larger town? Or is it more at risk for demolition? What do you think?

I can see it going either way. Rescuing and restoring a house in a historic district seems to have a better potential for property values. However, the property may be worth more than the structure as-is. Not knowing the state of the house interior, it is could be too far gone for someone to want to tackle.

Due to the loss of integrity, this could be a situation in which loss of a now non-contributing structure will not affect the historic district, but what goes in its place can have a positive or negative effect.

How often do you come across similar abandoned structures? What do you think about the fate of this building and the impacts to the historic district?