Four landmarks to receive state funding for preservation

Four Windham County historic sites are among the 19 municipalities and nonprofit organizations in six counties which will collectively receive $319,090 to help with the restoration and rehabilitation of landmarks and important historic buildings and structures.

These grants will help to leverage more than $1.5 million in additional efforts, according to the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation (VDHP) and the Vermont Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

"The projects funded in 2024 involve some of Vermont's most iconic historic buildings and structures," State Historic Preservation Officer Laura V. Trieschmann said in a news release.

"These places matter because they reflect our history and serve as the centerpieces of our communities. Preserving historic sites starts at the local level and we applaud this year's grant recipients for their commitment," she added.

The Windham County projects, as listed on the VDHP website:

Halifax Historical Society, $7,500. Originally built as a chapel by local resident Sanford Plumb, this building has served as a church, Grange, schoolhouse, general municipal building, and fire station. Today, it is owned by the Halifax Historical Society and used to house and display local historical items, to host local programs, and to provide educational programming in partnership with the local school.

A matching grant will support the Historical Society's work to replace the building's 30-year-old asphalt shingle roof.

Rockingham Meeting House, $11,800. Owned by the town since its construction in 1787, the Rockingham Meeting House is a National Historic Landmark. The building is open daily between Memorial Day and Oct. 31. It hosts weddings, memorial services, concerts, and other public events. As part of an ambitious multi-year restoration project, state grant support will be used to complete roof repairs for this iconic building.

West Townshend Stone Arch Bridge, $20,000. The bridge was built in 1910 by self-taught dry stone mason James Otis Follett. After 113 years, it continues to carry traffic across Tannery Brook, but it needs major restoration.

State grant funding will match support from a National Park Service Save America's Treasures grant and town funding. The Historical Society plans to continue increasing the bridge's visibility.

Westminster Institute, $5,500. The Westminster East Parish was created by the General Assembly in 1787. This unusual quasi-municipal entity established the Westminster Institute and in 1923–24 constructed this Colonial Revival–style building with an auditorium, meeting spaces, and a public library (now the Butterfield Public Library).

Today, the building continues to be an important community asset, hosting public meetings and gatherings, classes, and theatrical events. A modest matching grant supports repair of the building's slate roof.

About the grants

The VDHP administers the Historic Preservation Grants, a state-funded program awarding one-to-one matching grants up to $20,000 for the rehabilitation of civic and community resources that are a vital part of Vermont's historic downtowns, villages, and rural communities.

To qualify, the resource must be at least 50 years old and listed in or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

Since the creation of the program in 1986, it has distributed $6.7 million to more than 650 projects.

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This News item was submitted to The Commons.

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