Patience, Progress, and Dinner

Restoration and renovation of the Chittenden Grange Hall has taken a long time. Several phases of the project can be found on this site under the Projects heading.  Included in this article are some recent photos.

A short history:  In 2000, members of the Chittenden Historical Society approached the Chittenden Select Board about restoration of town buildings that had fallen into disrepair. A joint venture followed, with the Historical Society managing renovation under the approval of the Select Board. Many plans and meetings later, work began in 2006 with installation of the septic and well.

Finally, in 2020, the project is nearly finished, lacking only some trim paint around the windows, a proper front entrance porch, and parking lot lighting.

Pictured below are some of the finishing details for the main hall. Enough of the original wainscoting could be saved to place against the walls of the upper level in the Vestibule and on two sides of the main hall.  Newer boards complete the room. Corner posts were wrapped in original fashion. Floors are refinished. Lighting — none was in the original — has been added.

Original wainscoting in original site showing original hand-fitted placement of boards.
Some boards still retain the images left after removal of the pews and boxes that were original to the hall when it was the c1834 Congregational Meeting House.

For the debut of the recent renovation, members of the Chittenden Historical Society and the Chittenden Public Library coordinated for a community dinner to raise funds for the annual Chittenden Day (in August). The delicious turkey and ham dinner with all the trimmings served at the Grange Hall on Saturday, March 7, gave the community an opportunity to see all the recent renovations there.

The lower level, completed in 2009, set for dinner.
The upper level set for dinner.
The main hall as seen from the balcony.

Besides the town appropriation and donations of time, money, and land from town residents, restoration has been helped by grants from the State of Vermont and Cultural Facilities Coalition, The Windham Foundation and its sister organization the Bunbury Company, and a Vermont Community Foundation Sustainable Communities Grant through the Marjorie A. Pierce Fund, the Walter Cerf Fund, an Energy Efficient Conservation Block Grant, and the VT Agency of Transportation Park and Ride.