Exploring Abandoned Buildings in Vermont
October 29, 2014
Ever come across an abandoned building and find yourself mesmerized? I find it difficult to take my eyes off the ruins of old structures like the red school house in Dover or the dilapidated church in Bloomfield.
What is it about these buildings that we find so fascinating? Kaitlin O’Shea, a state historic preservation specialist who also publishes a wonderful, personal blog, Preservation in Pink, says there are many reasons we’re drawn to abandoned structures.
“Abandoned buildings are mysterious. These structures are filled with stories, history, and the unknown. Passersby can marvel at this structure stuck in limbo between past and present and let their imaginations fill in the blanks. Who lived there? Why did they move? Who else has stopped and gazed at this property?” says O’Shea. “Abandoned houses are relatively uncommon, which makes them all the more interesting. Abandoned houses are historic and filled with architectural detail, something that we do not see on many modern structures.”
Houses are often abandoned because people cannot afford to keep up with the maintenance. Perhaps they were in a family estate and no one wants to take care of the house, or it’s stuck in a family dispute, O’Shea says. Sometimes houses are damaged by fire or storms and there is no money to repair them, or no insurance money. She says it’s up to the landowner as to what is done to the property.
Notable Abandoned Buildings in Vermont
Abandoned buildings can stand for quite some time if they are constructed well. O’Shea offers the Elgin Springs house on Route 22A in Panton as an example. Built in 1845, the house been vacant since the 1970s and stuck in family affairs. The house is very strong structurally, but quite damaged on the inside.
O’Shea’s Preservation in Pink blog has an entire section titled “Abandoned Vermont” with photos and stories about old and abandoned inns, stores, schoolhouses, businesses and houses she has explored across the state. Her blog features everything from the Walloomsac Inn in Bennington to the Randolph Coal & Ice Shed to the Granville Inn.
It’s clear she loves to photograph and dig into the history of these mysterious, neglected buildings.
“When was the last time you wanted to spend time investigating a modern abandoned structure?” she says. “It’s just not as exciting.”
**To learn more, visit Preservation in Pink.