Abandoned Vermont: Hyde Manor

Happy Halloween preservationists and all. Here’s a special Abandoned Vermont: one of the largest, most notable (and probably haunted, if you’re into that sort of thing) – the Hyde Manor. Historical information is from the book, The Historic Architecture of Rutland County. Find more links at the end of this post.

Historic Hyde Manor. Click for source and more information.

Historic Hyde Manor. Click for source and more information.

“Resort development began in Sudbury at mid (19th) century. The Hyde family had long run a tavern and inn on the turnpike south of the village, but a fire destroyed the old inn in 1862, and in 1865 the 4 story Italianate style Hyde Manor was constructed. A mineral spring on the property was a prime attraction, and after 1871 guests arrived by rail via the Addison Branch railroad in neighboring Whiting and traveled south through Sudbury village to the manor. A hotel in the village and a nearby dance hall appear to have benefited from this traffic.

As Hyde Manor prospered and the tastes of the resort going public changed in the last years of the 19th century, numerous outbuildings with special recreational functions were added to the resort, including a casino (c. 1885) and an octagonal structure (c. 1900) used for gentlemen’s card games and smoking. Visitors could also elect a mile and a half carriage ride to the Manor boathouse (c. 1870) to enjoy an excursion on Lake Hortonia. Nearby, the Hortonia offered hotel lodging for those vacationers who preferred to stay directly on the lakeshore. At the turn of the century, as vacationers sought more informal ways to enjoy their leisure, summer residences began to appear in Sudbury.”

Recreation, leisure, and travel continued to change in American society; resort hotels such as Hyde Manor fell out of favor. The automobile era and the chain hotel emergence wiped out older establishments. The opening of the interstate further changed travel patterns. As customers dwindle, income shrinks and maintenance is postponed or neglected. Hyde Manor could no longer afford operations or maintenance, and it closed in the 1970s. Today the building has deteriorated to point of collapsed wings and floors, complete structural failure, and more.

Sadly, this is not a building that could be rehabilitated. Instead Hyde Manor sits quietly in ruins, more so with every passing season. Owners live on the property and must watch it give way to gravity, the earth, and time. And even in its current condition, you can stand on the side of the road and imagine what a beautiful, luxurious place this must have been for visitors.

Hyde Manor, 2011.

Hyde Manor, 2011.

Structural failure.

Structural failure.

More structural failure.

More structural failure.

Spooky curtains blowing in the wind!

Spooky curtains blowing in the wind!

Broken windows, curtains, shutters.

Broken windows, curtains, shutters.

Through a window. Unsafe floor conditions!

Through a window. Unsafe floor conditions!

The property is big, and creepy.

The property is big, and creepy.

The front of the manor.

The front of the manor.

So many architectural details remain on this failing building.

So many architectural details remain on this failing building.

For more information read here: The Fall of Hyde Manor, Haunted Hotel, Hyde Manor (historic photos, too), and more Hyde Manor. Note to the curious: respect the owners’ property and privacy.

Lakeview Cemetery

Preservation Burlington hosted a walking tour through Lakeview Cemetery last weekend, just in time for late fall weather and Halloween. After three years of wanting to explore Lakeview Cemetery, this event was just the reminder I needed. On the tour we learned about famous Burlington residents who are buried in the cemetery and how they connect to Burlington history. Built in 1871, the cemetery was designed like a park, with fountains and winding roads and views looking to Lake Champlain. The headstones and monuments do not match throughout the grounds; instead, there are many different styles, plot boundaries and layouts. Read this article from the local paper for more history.

The Louisa Howard Chapel, built in 1882 and listed in the National Register of Historic Places. 

Many varying arrangements of burials.


Graves amongst plantings. 

The kind of cemetery that you’d stroll through in all types of weather.

Trees frame this headstone.




And the cemetery vault, with the chapel in the background. 

I didn’t see any ghosts, but then again it was a sunny morning. Happy Halloween!

Midnight Pumpkins

It might as well be midnight, as we are the people who carve pumpkins on Halloween night rather than for Halloween night. Still festive, though.


Haunted house pumpkin!

My artistic skills are nonexistent, so this is my best attempt at carving a house without a pumpkin carving knife. The style of this house? Vernacular, of course! I don’t think the house is any better than my flamingo jack-o-lantern from 2008.


Miss Bizzy Bee in pumpkin form!

Vinny, however, has skills that make mine look pathetic. He carved Izzy, whom you’ve met many times here on PiP. While Vinny was carving, Izzy sat on the chair to watch and pose. No joke!


Izzy is bigger than the house!

Now, I realized after the fact that my pumpkin looks like the house is on fire. That is not what I was going for; I intended a spooky, crooked house. Better luck next year?

Hope you had a happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

How about a pumpkin, a historic building and a historic barber shop in Brandon, VT?

Brandon, VT. The barber shop is on the right and has been in operation for 50+ years. It looks it, too, with original awnings, chairs, mirrors, sinks and other fixtures.

Have a great day, candy corn, pumpkin carving and all.

For years I’ve had people telling me to dress up as a flamingo. I have yet to do so. Maybe another year.  If any of you readers are dressed as a flamingo, please please send me a picture. Happy Halloween!

Halloween Links

Happy (almost) Halloween PiP readers! Here are some fun links for your enjoyment:

Route 66 News has some great ghost stories to share: top ghost sites on Route 66 & The Ghost of the Painted Desert Inn. (Awesome posts, Ron!)

Old House Web‘s ghost stories from readers: The  Haunted Old Schoolhouse, The Haunted House in Dubuque, Iowa, The Mysterious Rocking Cradle, The House on Haunted North Hill, & A Fright at Winchester.

This sounds terrifying: Vinyl Preservation Society of Idaho. Aaaahhh!! (But it’s actually records, not vinyl siding. Phew. Got me there.)

Check out these British asylums.

In Burlington this weekend? Take a walking tour of Elmwood Cemetery with Preservation Burlington. Find them on Facebook, too.

In Southern Vermont? Check out the VINS Hoots & Howls event on Saturday October 30. Sure to be a good time for the whole family. Preservation – conservation – wildlife – all connected.

Or you could take a Ghost Walk of the Queen City (Burlington). Here are more Vermont Halloween events.

Or head to Mary Washington’s Ghost Walk in downtown Fredericksburg, VA.

Have fun!

Autumn on the UVM campus.

Happy Halloween


A beautiful historic house in the Four Corners Historic District of Charlotte, VT, all ready for Halloween.

Fall in Vermont is breathtaking. This evening is a perfect Halloween evening, too, with the wind blowing the leaves in whirls across the lawn, streets covered in orange and yellow leaves, a surprisingly warm temperature (66 degress F), and just enough clouds to add mystery to the air.  Darkness is approaching and in my neighborhood the houses are awaiting trick-or-treaters.  Doesn’t it seem that all peak seasonal moments and holidays make our houses and neighborhoods all the more important and picturesque?

Ghost Walk

If you’re in the Fredericksburg, VA area and in the mood for some Halloween fun, head to Market Square in downtown Fredericksburg for the 25th annual Ghost Walk, run and hosted by the University of Mary Washington’s Historic Preservation Club.

Check out the UMW Press Release:

The University of Mary Washington Historic Preservation Club will host the 25th annual Ghost Walk on Friday, October 23 and Saturday, October 24.

The haunted tours of downtown Fredericksburg will leave every 10 minutes from Market Square on the corner of Princess Anne and William streets. The first hour of each night will consist of children’s tours where the ghosts are friendlier, and children are encouraged to wear Halloween costumes and trick-or-treat at each site. Throughout the evening, children’s games and refreshments will be available in Market Square.

The tours run from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday and from 5 to 10 p.m. on Saturday. The hour-and-a-half long tours stop at about a dozen sites throughout historic Fredericksburg, including the Masonic Cemetery, Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop and Kenmore Plantation. Members of the Historic Preservation Club and other UMW students act out stories based on the book “The Ghosts of Fredericksburg and Other Environs” by L.B. Taylor Jr.

Reservations are highly recommended and can be made in advance by email at umwghostwalk@gmail.com, or tickets can be purchased the night of the tour at Market Square. The cost is $6 for adults and $4 for children age 13 and under. Children age 5 and under are free. A group rate of $5 per person is available for 10 or more people. For more information or to register, call the Historic Preservation Club at (540) 654-1315.

News release prepared by Megan Eichenberg

Ghost Walk is always fun, for the actors, the tour guides, and the guests. Tour guides, actors, and organizers are all UMW students. It’s a huge event in the community. In 2004 and 2005, I was a co-chair for Ghost Walk and the event remains one of my favorite Preservation Club memories. Ghost Walk is definitely worth your time and it’s a fun way to learn some area history. Wear good walking shoes!

Flamingo Jack-o-Lantern

Seen below is last year’s attempt at drawing a flamingo and then carving it on a pumpkin.  It’s not a typical jack-o-lantern, granted, but I think the spirit is conveyed effectively. This year I think I’ll try a house – that might be easier than a skinny bird. 

Happy Halloween from Preservation in Pink!

Happy Halloween from Preservation in Pink!

Spooky Neighborhood Folklore

Children tend to create stories in their social circles, often stories intended to scare their friends before daring them to touch the haunted house or look in  that window. Every group (whether societal or cultural) shares familiar stories, experiences, riddles, etc. – what we might call folklore. According to The American Folklore Society, folklore is defined as: the traditional art, literature, knowledge, and practice that is disseminated largely through oral communication and behavioral example. Many more definitions can be found on the website, with varying definitions that all add further depth the study of folklore.

Halloween seems like an appropriate holiday on which to discuss folklore, even though folklore goes far and beyond shared spooky tales of children.  Yet, the antics of children are included, so I’m going to share some of the tales from my neighborhood when I was in elementary and middle school.

The Witch’s House

A brown, dreary looking ranch house, just two houses past mine, had been unoccupied for a few months and it was starting to look rather creepy.  My good friend Sara and I would routinely sit on the edge of my neighbor’s property and peer through the hedges just to get a glimpse at the house. We wanted to get as close as possible without actually crossing the property line.

One gloomy, cloudy day, Sara and I decided to walk past the house.  She stopped me in the middle of the street and swore that she saw someone’s hand on the window sill. And then she saw something move!  Always easily scared, I believed her and we ran back to my house.  We were convinced that a witch lived in the house.

Sara had likely imagined her vision and exaggerated it because she knew that I would believe her, but I avoided that house thereafter.  This is the same friend who later told me she saw a ghost in my other neighbor’s window.

The Woods behind Norwood Avenue

Now the property is a gated community of town houses and swimming pools, but 15 years ago, the woods behind my elementary school yard were filled with garbage and the creepiest thing imaginable to my nine-year-old self.  These woods scared me so much that if I was at the school yard on a weekend with my sisters and we were swinging on the swings, I wouldn’t face my back to the woods.

Two of my friends, Elisabet and Amy, and I always played together at recess and we would often talk about how scary the woods were.  One day the girls told me that one of their brothers had actually gone into the woods.  And he saw all sorts of garbage.  But then, he saw a gun leaning against a tree and he was chased out of the woods!

The story has since faded from my memory (i.e. I’m finally over it), so the details are fuzzy, but the images of a gun and a psycho killer living in the woods hung in my imagination for a long time and I wished that I had never heard the story. I would never walk near the fence separating the school yard and the woods.

Elisabet and Amy either also found me very gullible or their brothers passed along an exaggerated, scary story to a couple of fourth graders.

Gun Shots

One winter afternoon, Sara and I were playing outside in the big maple tree in front of my house, which was a common activity for us. We heard noises that sounded like gun shots from far away.  (Of course, I didn’t really know what gun shots sounded like since I was growing up in a house full of girls who didn’t watch such things on television.  Regardless, we assumed the sounds were gun shots.)

We froze. Sara and I looked around, wondering what was happening.  Suddenly, Sara told me that she saw someone in a car parked on the side of the street.  And she said that she saw a gun.  (Sara had a wild imagination.)  So we didn’t move.  It felt like forever. We thought that if we just pretended to be part of the tree, then no one would see us. However, there were not any leaves on the trees and we probably had on brilliantly colored early 1990s jackets.

I think we spent most of our afternoon frozen in the tree.  I don’t remember how we finally convinced ourselves to go inside.

Sara was not an evil friend, just to clarify this. I think she just liked to pretend.  It’s probably caused some damage and can attributing to my distaste for scary movies, but it was always an adventure with Sara.

The Old Man’s House

Around the bend in my street, there is a house that has always been a mystery to my sisters and me.  It’s a large lot, mostly hidden by tall maple trees and large shrubbery, and barricaded from the public by a four foot chain link fence and a really tall mailbox. For the longest time, there was a hole in the roof and cats would come and go as they pleased, through the hole.  It often smelled like cat urine around that bend.  Occasionally I’d see a light through the window or the front door would be open just a crack.

Needless to say, it was spooky. Probably after years of gazing at the house as I passed on my bike or in the car, I finally saw a tall, skinny old man who lived there.  I asked my mom many questions. But what did he do? Where did he go?  Did he ever leave the house? Why did he have so many cats?

This man and this house is still a mystery to us, but the roof has since been replaced, following the tarp that protected it for a while.  However, it’s still a dark and hidden house with cats all around.

These stories are vaguely tied to folklore, but I do think it’s interesting to hear the stories that children tell each other and how these stories affect what they do.  I think it can be categorized as folklore because it can help to define a certain group (in this case children of one neighborhood) by how they play and what they believe.  I wonder if children younger than my friends and I believed the same stories, years later.

What do you think about the folklore of children? Should it be studied? Can it be studied? (Or has it been?)  Or am I off the mark? Please feel free to share your thoughts.

I’m still easily scared.

Happy Halloween!