VERNON — According to documents shared during the Dec. 16, ceremony from the Friends of Vernon Center, the town, and Entergy, the Governor Hunt House has witnessed many changes.
Jonathan Hunt built the house in 1789 for his wife, the former Lavinia Swan. Born in Northfield, Mass., Hunt inherited many acres of land in town and served as the state's first lieutenant governor under Gov. Thomas Chittenden.
Hunt himself, however, never became governor. He did serve as sheriff of Windham County and as a member of the Vermont Convention of 1791 that ratified the U.S. Constitution.
At the 1802 Annual Town Meeting, Lavinia Swan Hunt suggested to change the town's name - then Hinsdale - to Vernon after British Admiral Edward Vernon, a friend of George Washington.
One of the couple's children, Anna Hunt Marsh, designated a bequest of $10,000 that established in 1834 the institution that became the Brattleboro Retreat.
According to the Vermont Historical Gazetter, an 1891 history, “This place, situated a short distance north of Vernon depot, was long famed for its good cheer and the antique domicile was always welcome to the way farer and its many visitors.”
The Governor Hunt House remained in the family until 1871.
The Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Corporation acquired the building in 1968, amid the construction of the power station that operated from 1971 until 2014.
The company used the building as its administrative offices during the plant's construction, reportedly using the old fireplaces to keep warm because the building lacked any other heating system.
Between 1987 and 1989, the company restored the historic areas of the structure and added a conference wing in the back of the building.
The building served as a visitors center and public event space until the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, when new security protocols were put into place and access was restricted to plant employees.
Entergy acquired the building in 2002 when it bought the 125-acre Vermont Yankee site. The company also used the building as office and meeting space.