KILLINGTON-A group of local historians cleared the first
hurdle last week in reigniting their purpose and saving a
historic schoolhouse in Killington.
The Sherburne Historians, Inc. got permission from the
Killington Select Board to borrow $250 of town funds, to be paid
back by July 1, to match a $250 grant they recently received
from the Burlington-based Preservation Trust of Vermont to study
needed renovations for the former South Sherburne - West
Bridgewater School Building that has most recently been used
as the Killington Teen Center.
The old schoolhouse was moved from the intersection of
Route 100 south and Route 4 in the neighborhood known as South
Sherburne in the early 1960s to 2929 River Road before the main
east to west highway was reconfigured and
constructed, according to historian Ellen J. Willis.
In an effort to save the structure from demolition back then,
resident Grover Wright bought it for $400 and, with the help of
others, moved it to a safer home on River Road.
After the move, the vacant school was renamed the Sherburne-West
Bridgewater Memorial Library and the shelves were stocked with
residents' personal collections of books and history.
It was used as the town's main library until 1999 when the town
built another one across the street.
Willis' own father-in-law went to school there and the
historian club has targeted the structure for preservation a
second time in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene.
Irene ravaged the newly-renamed "Teen Center," but Willis
and others believe it is not beyond repair.
The $500 will be used to hire a consultant to recommend repairs
and provide cost estimates for repairs, in the hopes the building
can be salvaged and used as a summer museum.
The town of Killington, under the direction of Town Manager Seth
Webb, has estimated repairs could cost $100,000 or
more to bring it back to its original state, based on
conversations with area contractors.
According to Webb, the town only has about $10,000 in flood
insurance money to put toward the structure.
That's where the historians step in.
Willis said the club is planning to work with local business
owners Joy and Phil Black and the library to gather enough of a
collection to stock the old school/library again, with documents
that chronicle the ski resort town's history that are currently
stored haphazardly in homes, in the basement of the new library and
collected out of the first floor of the renovated town
And the structure's architecture is unique - as one of the last
one-room schoolhouses built around 1924, the windows let in more
sunlight than seen in other schoolhouses around Vermont
because it was the product of health
regulations intended to better the health of students,
according to Willis.
Willis also said the project is meant to increase interest in
the town's history and hopefully, boost membership in the history
The consultant will also consider what the club can do to start a
fundraising campaign for this project and others in the future -
including how to preserve the old firehouse on River Road and the
Grange Hall across the street, now called the Killington Events
Hall, Willis said.
A meeting on the structure and the history club's progress
with it will be held at the Sherburne Memorial
Library April 9 at 1:30 p.m.
Cristina Kumka is a correspondent for The
Mountain Times, Cristina can be reached at
Photo submitted by E.J. Willis