Yosemite Firehouse, S. Londonderry Library among recipients of historic preservation grants

The Yosemite Fire House, with the sliding door. Chester Telegraph photo

By Cynthia Prairie
©2023 Telegraph Publishing LLC

The Yosemite Firehouse in Chester and the South Londonderry Free Library are among 20 historic buildings in six counties to receive restoration and rehabilitation grants from the state of Vermont.

Gov. Phil Scott, the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation and the Vermont Advisory Council on Historic Preservation announced grants totaling $321,363 to facilitate work on  state landmarks and important historic buildings and structures, according to a press release.

The Historic Preservation Grants are a state-funded program that awards one-to-one matching grants of up to $20,000 for the work. To qualify, a building must be at least 50  years old and listed in, or eligible for, the National Register of Historic Places. Since their creation in 1986, these grants have funded more than 600 projects in Vermont.

Two other local projects, which are working in partnership, also received grants: the brick Meetinghouse in Athens and the Brookline Meetinghouse.

South Londonderry Free Library. Photo by the library.

The Yosemite Firehouse, built in 1879 on North Street, just around the corner from Town Hall, will receive $20,000 to “restore the building’s windows and distinctive sliding vehicle door.” The announcement also said that the building, which was in use until 1974, is being rehabilitated by the town to ” reopen it as a fire museum, displaying a wealth of equipment already in the building. A non-profit friends group was formed to oversee conversion of the building and focus on economic sustainability.”

The South Londonderry Free Library, founded in 1902 and moved into a home at 10 Old School St. in 1964, will receive $7,500 to deal with drainage problems on the southwest corner. The library serves residents of Londonderry, Jamaica, Peru, Stratton, South Londonderry and Windham.

Athens Meeting House. Photo from Agency of Commerce.

The Athens Meetinghouse, which dates to at least 1859 and was used for Town Meetings until the late 1970s, ill receive $20,000 “to expand its use, establishing a series of events and a partnership with the nearby Brookline Meetinghouse to cross promote preservation efforts.” A matching state grant will allow a citizens’ organization to “install custom storm windows, replace sinking piers under the main floor, and put down a moisture barrier.”

The Brookline Meetinghouse, which served as a Baptist Church until 1945 and was transferred to the town in 2014, will receive $15,000. According to the press release, the “town is working to expand use of the building and has partnered with the neighboring town of Athens.” The grant will help with installation of a new foundation under the vestry addition.

“Investing in the preservation of Vermont’s history strengthens our communities and the character of our state,” said Scott said. “Just as importantly, we are putting people to work restoring our past and creating new opportunities for the next generation of Vermonters.” To see the full list of awardees, click here.

Brookline Meetinghouse Photo from Agency of Commerce.

“The 2023 projects involve some of Vermont’s most beloved buildings and structures,” said State Historic Preservation Officer Laura V. Trieschmann. “These places matter because they reflect our history and serve as the centerpieces of our communities. Stewardship of any visual or historical landmark is not easy, and we applaud and support those municipalities and non-profits that have taken on this commendable effort.”

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Filed Under: ChesterLatest NewsLondonderry

About the Author: Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor more than 40 years. Cynthia has worked at such publications as the Raleigh Times, the Baltimore News American, the Buffalo Courier Express, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Patuxent Publishing chain of community newspapers in Maryland, and has won numerous state awards for her reporting. As an editor, she has overseen her staffs to win many awards for indepth coverage. She and her family moved to Chester, Vermont in 2004.

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