Preservation Photos #223

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The Cavendish Universalist Church constructed in 1844 is a beautiful structure, impressively intact. It’s worth a look through the windows. Now if only we could move those utility wires. 

Adaptive Reuse: Queen Anne to Fire House?

Driving down Route 131 in Cavendish, the streetscape through the historic district looks intact, interesting, cohesive — like many other historic Vermont villages. Take note of the gray building in the photograph below.

Route 131 in Cavendish, VT. Click to zoom.

If you’re not paying attention to the buildings, you might miss this. But if you are looking out the window, you will see that this house has a unique current use.

The Cavendish Volunteer Fire Department.

Yes, the sign on the building reads “Cavendish Vol. Fire Department.” Yes, behind those overhang garage doors on the front facade are truck bays. And yes, there were fire trucks in those bays.

Another view.

The bays fit right into the front facade and these porch posts remain. The concrete pylons beneath show the height of the former porch.

Curved sash windows remain, as well as clapboard and shingle siding and many architectural features.

Looking through the “porch.”

I’ll admit, I was a bit stunned looking at this building. What do you think about it? Unique, yes? I’ve never seen anything like it. One on hand, it’s great that the fire department fits into the district and the building remains part of the historic streetscape. On the other hand, I cringe to think of what was removed inside (the floor and architectural details).

Overall, it seems like a great compromise and solution for the “lack of space” problem that our small towns often face. Whatever it’s story, I think this building wins in a category for “most resourceful.” My suggestion would be improved bay doors. What do you think? Would you approve such a project?