Historic train stations are among some of my favorite types of buildings as they transport you to a different time (no pun intended). The Waterbury Railroad Depot was built in 1875 by the Central Vermont Railroad, connecting Montreal, Quebec with New London, CT and to other lines to Boston and Albany on the way. Waterbury service began in 1849, but this updated station was built later as the railway prospered and expanded. The station suffered from some deferred maintenance for decades in the mid-20th century and its fate (like many such stations) was unknown. Beginning in the late 1990s into the 2000s, Revitalizing Waterbury worked with the Great American Station Foundation, the Vermont Agency of Transportation, and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Foundation, establishing a capital fundraising campaign meeting the goal of $1,200,000 through donations from the private sector and community members. These funds helped restore the building in phases, beginning when Keurig Green Mountain, Inc. agreed to lease the station from Revitalizing Waterbury, and created a visitor center and cafe (now Black Cap Coffee and Bakery) that has become a first-class attraction and provided an economic boost to the downtown.
Historic Preservation Vermont
United Church of Christ, Waterbury // 1824
As soon as settlers arrived in Waterbury, they began worshipping their respective religions, largely out of private homes. The town’s meeting house was occupied by some congregations, but there was no real union church for the many growing congregations. This edifice was originally erected in 1824 as a united Congregational church by local builders, the Carpenter Brothers (how perfect is that?) The church was modernized in about 1860 with Gothic Revival detailing, which included the raising of its foundation, bargeboard, spires, and a new steeple. It was updated later in 1880 with a new chapel and ten years later, with stained glass windows. It remains today as an active church and is in a great state of preservation.
“The Old Corner Store” // 1833
White settlement in Waterbury Vermont began in about 1770, with the establishment of a small cluster of houses along the Winooski River near what is now Winooski Street. When Main Street, a stagecoach route paralleling the river opened in the 1790s, development moved to that area, including the construction of churches, residences, and businesses. Industry followed, and a town was formed. Many settlers arrived here from Waterbury, Connecticut, and named their new village Waterbury as a result. Many early commercial buildings were constructed with wood frames, but as the town prospered, businessmen developed more substantial brick blocks. This charming Federal/Greek Revival commercial building was erected in 1833 at the most prominent corner on Main Street in Waterbury, by Leander Hutchins (1798-1879). It is apparently the oldest extant commercial structure in the downtown section of Waterbury! The building has been restored in the late 20th century, down to the multi-pane windows and granite lintels. This building is just so perfect.
Congregational Church of Peru // 1845
The centerpiece of the Village of Peru, Vermont is the Congregational Church, a stunning edifice and example of Greek Revival architecture in the small town. Construction on the church began on the Fourth of July in 1845, with contractor and resident J.J. Hapgood utilizing much of the timbers of the former church building in the new church. Since the interior of the old church had been left natural, they decided that wood in the new building should be left unpainted as well. The bell was financed by contributions, most particularly by J.J. Hapgood. In 1853, a tornado swept through Peru, damaging the west end of the church and moving it from the foundation, it survived. The church remains a center of Village life in Peru and is well-maintained by the congregation.
Peru Creamery House // 1895
The Creamery House in Peru, Vermont is perhaps the most “Vermont” building I have ever heard of. The building was constructed in 1895 George Richardson (1852-1920), a local farmer who operated the use as a place where cheese was made from the excess (unsold) milk of the area farmers. Eventually, the building was acquired by the Town of Peru and converted to a town hall, used for meetings, dances, dinners and parties, serving as the true town gathering place. The town relocated its offices to the former Peru Schoolhouse (featured previously) and this building went back to its roots and is presently home to the Peru Historical Society and the Main Street Makery, a community craft workshop and new town gathering place!