Just five years after the Congregational Church of Peru was built, the congregation acquired land and built this home as a parsonage for their pastor. The parsonage was designed in the Greek Revival style similar to the church. The home sits amongst beautiful, mature trees and exhibits the best in Classical design with bold corner and entry pilasters and a five bay symmetrical facade. They sure don’t make them like they used to!
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.
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!
In 1816, the turnpike to Manchester, Vermont was completed and ran through the small town of Peru. As a result, inns and taverns were built, and the young village of Peru began to grow, with farming and lumber businesses being the most common employment in town. A village school was built here and in the town’s other school districts. By the end of the 19th century, the lure of moving to the Western U.S. and cities for industrial work caused some population decline in Peru, and a larger, consolidated school was built in the town village. This schoolhouse on the hill was constructed in 1864, replacing the former one-room schoolhouse on the lot. The school consolidated again in the mid-20th century when further population decline necessitated a school district encompassing Peru and nearby towns. This building was later converted to town offices, a use that remains to this day.
The good news is that the town’s population is seeing a resurgence, led by both tourism and the Bromley Mountain Ski Resort as an anchor.