On Saturday September 10, a group of about 20 people gathered for a work (half) day with the Preservation Trust of Vermont in Essex, VT. The purpose was to give the Molloy-Delano house a spruce – some cosmetic improvements, you could say. This house is an important landmark for the area, and sadly located where much of the historic landscape and environment has been erased by development. From the Preservation Trust of Vermont:
The Molloy – Delano House was built ca. 1820 at Butler’s Corners, the site of an early settlement in the Town of Essex, Vermont. The house and the adjacent brick house were built by brothers Roswell and William A Butler who, with their sons, were engaged in several enterprises in the area, primarily lumber and mercantile operations. They also built a store, which no longer stands, located between the two buildings. At the intersection of Route 15 and Old Stage Road, Butler’s Corners was an important crossroads community with roads connecting Burlington and Winooski north to St. Albans, and east towards Cambridge and Johnson. The settlement consisted of several houses, the store, a blacksmith shop, a school and a handful of farms.
The Molloy-Delano House is distinctive architecturally. It is a 1 1/2 story post and beam, wood frame building with wood plank wall construction, clapboards, and a low-pitched gable roof. An early and rare example of an arcaded, recessed front porch with five arched openings extends across the full width of the front facade.
The house, after surviving for almost 200 years, could, after rehabilitation, continue to serve the community for generations to come.
We split into groups for cleanup and painting. My friend Brennan and I started with sweeping the upstairs, bagging garbage, and removing plaster or sheetrock from the floor. We then primed over the graffiti. Others took on yard work and others painted the front porch. For the age of the house, it was surprisingly intact with original woodwork, horse-hair plaster walls, floors, door hardware; it is lovely. One of the most interesting aspects was the wall construction. Studs and sheetrock were attached to the plaster walls (likely for insulation and wiring purposes), effectively concealing three layers of wallpaper. So in areas where the gypsum walls were wallpapered, too, there were at least four layers of wallpaper to investigate. Fun!
Volunteers included current UVM HP students, alumni, community members and board members of the PTV. Our reasons were fueled by curiosity and the opportunity to have access to a neat historic, abandoned building more so than the coffee, bagels, lunch and refreshments provided. Those, of course, were appreciated. It was a beautiful morning and a fun task. Here are a few pictures from the morning:
Interested in buying the house?
Purchase Price: The house and garage are for sale for $29,500. The property is located within the larger Essex Town Center development. The buyer will lease the land under the building from the developer and in addition to the ground lease payment, the buyer will also pay monthly common area maintenance fees.
Conditions of Sale: A façade easement on the exterior of the house will be attached to the deed. The new owner will be required to rehabilitate the house within a specified time frame.
For more information, contact the Preservation Trust of Vermont.