Island Pond Hands on Hammers

Hammers, nails, hauling old carpet, cleaning trash, moving building materials, painting, installing board and batten siding, good food, rural Vermont…and that’s just the basic outline of a very productive day in Island Pond – “Hands on Hammers.” Surprisingly the weather behaved, and by the afternoon we had warm and sunshine. The work day is a new addition to the conference, and an excellent opportunity for us preservationists to walk the walk, as opposed to only talking. The Preservation Trust of Vermont will share the work day video and summary soon, but here are a few photos of the day. Does your state conference have a work day? What else do you do in addition to sessions and receptions? We in Vermont would love to know!

Starting early in the day. Note the windows missing and siding missing.

The carpenters get to work, starting early in the day. Note the windows missing and siding missing.

Scaffolding for all of the carpentry work.

Scaffolding for all of the carpentry work.

Paint and more paint!

Paint and more paint, and sawing.

This is after cleaning. We removed junk along with heavy carpet & pad, moldy beadboard, building materials, and a piano. This looks much better!

This is after cleaning. We removed junk along with heavy carpet & pad, moldy beadboard, building materials, and a piano. This looks much better!

Back outside, many volunteers at work.

Back outside, many volunteers at work.

Fellow UVM alums and colleagues: the two (C)(K)aitlins!

Fellow UVM alums and colleagues: the two (C)(K)aitlins!

At the end of the work day. Work remains for the trained carpenters, but much has been accomplished.

At the end of the work day. Work remains for the trained carpenters, but much has been accomplished.

At the end of the conference: beautiful sunshine! Church looking great.

At the end of the conference: beautiful sunshine! Church looking great.

Christ Church overlooking Island Pond.

Christ Church overlooking Island Pond.

What have you been up to your in state?

Abandoned Vermont: Hubbardton Church

The shore of Lake Bomoseen is a popular summer camp area in Vermont. Up here, “summer camp” is like “summer cottage” or “beach house” as opposed to kids’ “summer camp”. The terminology threw me at first, since I grew up on the ocean, not a lake. Historic districts and houses line Vermont Route 30 (sitting practically on the road in some places!) and winding roads around the lake. This 1925 church appears on the map as the Hubbardton Congregational Church, but a lack of signage and unsuccessful searching gives me few answers to its fate. The church appears to be used as only storage.

View from the across the street.

View from the across the street. You can see how close it sits on the highway.

Beautiful Queen Anne windows.

Beautiful Queen Anne windows that remain in good condition.

Belfry.

Belfry.

Boarded up and not in use.

Boarded up and not in use, this is the front entrance.

Absestos siding covers shingles underneath, which would be more fitting for its Queen Anne details.

Asbestos siding covers shingles underneath, which would be more fitting for its Queen Anne details.

South elevation. View from the grass parking area.

South elevation. View from the grass parking area.

This side of the roof is in need of repair.

This side of the roof is in need of repair.

North elevation.

North elevation.

I could only see in the window by holding the camera above my head.

I could only see in the window by holding the camera above my head.

Rural Vermont is filled with small, wood-frame white churches. While some remain in service and others have been converted to alternative uses, there are many with the same fate as this Hubbardton Church. How can we help these buildings? Those of you in rural areas, what solutions have you seen?

Click images for larger files and to zoom in. 

Abandoned Vermont: Highgate Falls Church

It’s a good time to address underused churches in Vermont. The Vermont Historic Preservation & Downtown Conference features a work day at Christ Church on Thursday May 1, 2014. Too many of our churches sit empty with small, shrinking congregations, extremely limited (or no) funding, and an uncertain fate. The case of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Highgate, VT is one of the many that is not abandoned, but is underused. It is used seasonally for weddings. Members of the church currently attend services in nearby Swanton, VT. Currently this church appears to be in good condition.

The Preservation Trust of Vermont works with Partners for Sacred Spaces and the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation to host retreats that will aid organizations in developing uses for their churches. (This year’s is May 15-16 at the Grand Isle Lake House in Grand Isle, VT.)

Constructed in 1834.

Constructed in 1834.

Located in Highgate Falls, VT.

Located in Highgate Falls, VT.

The rear of the church.

The rear of the church.

You can see clear through the window across the church. Is anything more lovely than a historic window?

You can see clear through the window across the church. Is anything more lovely than a historic window?

Beautiful windows.

Beautiful windows.

The sign on the front of the church.

The sign on the front of the church.

This odd photo - pardon the blurry foreground, blame the iphone - shows the interior of the church. That is as much as I could see inside.

This odd photo – pardon the blurry foreground, blame the iphone – shows the interior of the church. That’s as much as I could see inside.

What a beauty. This church is located down the road from Highgate Manor and the Highgate Falls Lenticular truss. Read more about Highgate, a small town in Franklin County, northwestern Vermont.

 

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. 

Preservation Photos #212

Ludlow, VT with Okemo Mountain in the background.

Ludlow, VT with Okemo Mountain in the background.

Ludlow, VT is a popular ski town in southern Vermont.

Abandoned Vermont: Bloomfield Church

Bloomfield, VT is a small crossroads on the Connecticut River. Across the bridge is Stratford, NH. The general store is closed and not many houses populate this town. This church sits next to the town offices, the former school. Based on the piles of boxes in the windows, the church is abandoned or sorely neglected and used for storage. This poor thing has seen better days (note the missing steeple). The neighbors’ stuff is piled in the rear and on one side of the building, so I didn’t snap photos of all elevations.

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Churches seem to be common abandoned or neglected buildings. What can we do about these? Another topic for another time, perhaps.