Historical Society returns to KillingtonBy Josh O’Gorman
STAFF WRITER | March 28,2013KILLINGTON — The Sherburne Historical Society is getting back together, with plans to restore the former home of the library and the Teen Center.
Historical Society member E.J. Willis is looking to reconvene the currently dormant group, with the first meeting scheduled for 1:30 p.m. April 9 at the Sherburne Memorial Library.
“The group is inactive right now, because most of the past members have passed away,” Willis said.
The first task for the Historical Society is to explore the viability of restoring the one-room schoolhouse, located across River Road from the library.
The building was built sometime in the 19th century- records are unclear regarding the exact year- in West Bridgewater. At some point during the latter-half of the 20th century, the town bought the building for $10 and paid another $40 to move it to its current location.
The building was home to the town library, and later the Killington Teen Center, which has been inactive for at least the last three years. In 2011, flooding from Tropical Storm Irene damaged the building. During past meetings of the Select Board, Town Manager
Seth Webb said the town has received estimates to both restore and demolish the structure, with the former costing anywhere from $100,000 to $250,000, depending on its use, and the latter costing around $10,000.
The town has $10,000 left in flood insurance money.
“When I saw the Select Board was thinking about demolishing it, I thought this might be a great opportunity for the Historical Society to have a place to store and display our historical items,” Willis said.
While the Historical Society has no official home, the library has become a sort of de facto dumping ground for items of historical interest. However, a broken water pipe damaged some old photographs and highlighted the need for a new location, said Gail Weymouth, director of the Sherburne Memorial Library.
“When the pipe burst, it really raised the issue that they (historical items) need some kind of preservation,” Weymouth said.
Recently, Ann Cousins, a field service representative for the Preservation Trust of Vermont, came to Killington to assess the state of the schoolhouse.
“Structurally, the building looks really good,” Cousins said. “When they moved the building, they reinforced the floor joists to accommodate the weight of the book stacks, and they’re still in great shape. And, the roof looks good.”
Cousins said the major repairs would be to the foundation, while restoration work would include removing the vinyl siding — which covers some windows — and replace it with wooden shingles.
Cousins said there are many grants available, depending upon the building’s proposed future use. The Preservation Trust gave the Historical Society a $250 matching grant to hire a contractor, who will provide estimates for repair and restoration.
Tuesday night, the Select Board approved a request from Willis for a $250 loan from the town, which will allow the Historical Society to accept the matching grant. Per the terms of the request, the Historical Society will repay the money by July 1.
“We want to preserve the history of Sherburne because the history of Killington has been well documented,” Willis said.
“We had 225 years of being Sherburne and 25 years of being Killington, and people will ask, ‘Where is Sherburne?” Weymouth said.
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