Playground Find: Hancock, VT

Hancock, VT is a small town (population 323) located on Vermont Route 100 in Addison County, on the eastern edge of the Green Mountain National Forest. The two-room Hancock Village School was constructed in 1855 and operated as a school until 2009, when school consolidation measures caused the school to close. Since then the building has served as the town library and the town clerk’s office. The school is a contributing resource to the Hancock Village Historic District, which is listed in the Vermont State Register of Historic Places (VHSSS #0108-1-20). A playground remains on the former school grounds.

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Hancock Village School, December 1976 – Vermont State Register of Historic Places.

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Former Hancock Village School (now library and town offices), June 2019. The windows have been replaced.

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Swings with mountains and blue sky in the background.

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View of the jungle gym and the swings.

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The school in the background.

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A newer, plastic side is in on the left. 

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The apparatus is reminiscent of the “Muscle Man” equipment from the 1970s. 

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From the jungle gym: “Quality Industries, Hillsdale, Mich. 200028”

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No markings visible on the swings, but likely they date to the same time or earlier as the jungle gym.

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Swings.

The jungle gym bears the stamp, “Quality Industries, Hillsdale, Mich., 200028.” Quality Industries began in 1974, and the named changed to Recreation Creations, Inc. (RCI) in 1996. The name changed to Recreation Creations, Inc. in 1996. Without more available information, it is difficult to date this date playground equipment. However, it is reminiscent of similar 1970s playground apparatus, such as the Game Time Muscle Man. The edges appear more rounded than the example linked, possibly indicating the Hancock playground is a later design. If you have a better idea of the manufacture date, let me know. The swings did not have any markings on them.

It’s a shame that the building and the grounds no longer serve as a school, but at least the playground remains; what a picturesque spot for a playground.

Abandoned Vermont: Hancock House

Hancock, Vermont is known for its association with the lumber industry, the Green Mountains and its location along the Scenic Route 100 Byway. In the early nineteenth century, Centre Turnpike (today VT Route 125) connected Middlebury to the Connecticut River Valley. Agriculture, lumber, mills, modest homes and the turnpike tell the story of Hancock.

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This former residence sits across the street from the Old Hancock Hotel in the Hancock Village Historic District. It is Federal style architecture, constructed in 1825. Pictures can tell such interesting stories. The above image shows ghost lines for shutters on at least the second story. Perhaps the house had a wrap-around one story porch.

View of the ell. Note the interesting ghost line of another roofline, and the alterations to the window openings.

Northeast corner view. The first floor windows are mostly boarded from the inside. Note the pilaster on the corner of the building - another hint of a porch? You can see the shutter ghost lines clearly on the second story. Yet, look at the bottom of the first story. It almost looks like someone started work on the house.

The sun and the blue sky help the details pop. Note the house appears to have been painted red, but weather and time have worn it away. The attic story window has been altered.

Note the beautiful white porcelain doorknob. Did this house have a more elaborate door frame at one point?

Altered windows, clapboard in a variety of condition. Note the nice cornice return on the gable.

Did you notice anything odd about this 1825 house? There is not a chimney. The foundation looks as though work was started and never completed. I’d love to spend more time staring at this abandoned house. While historic, these 6/6 windows likely replaced the original 12/12 windows. (Glass panes grew in size as glass technology improved; therefore, older windows have smaller panes.)

As I mentioned, I do not know anything about it. Maybe it’s another sad story of the owner running out of money  or perhaps it’s one caught up in family estates. Regardless, it would be a crying shame for Hancock to lose this building, especially because it sits at such a prominent intersection. What potential it has.

(Historical information from The Historic Architecture of Addison County: Vermont State Register of Historic Places.)