West Monitor Barn // 1903

There is something about red barns that just scream Vermont! Located in Richmond, the West Monitor Barn is one of the best-preserved large barns in the region. The West Monitor Barn was constructed in 1903 by Uziel Whitcomb. At the turn of the century when agriculture represented 70% of the American economy, the Whitcomb’s operation was one of the most successful; at a time when the average farm had eight cows, the Whitcomb’s had hundreds. Hay and grain were planted and harvested by hand and horse. More than 175 cows were milked three times a day by hand inside of this barn. Milk went from cow to pail, to can, and then was driven to market by horse and wagon. It was an operation that represented the epitome of hand-powered farming, and was an operation admired nationwide. The farm was so large and eventually shut down decades later, leaving the iconic barn to decay. A new owner purchased the structure and began a massive restoration project which took years. About 40% of the timbers in the reconstructed barn are original and the rest have been carefully and accurately re-fabricated. In addition, the stone foundation and walls are all original stone – quarried by hand from the back fields. The East Monitor Barn also on the property is in fair condition and could use the same updates. The barn is now commonly used as a venue for weddings and other special events!

Richmond Universalist Church-Library // 1897

Have you ever heard of a church becoming a library? Well you have now! Built in 1897 for the Univeralist Unitarian Congregation in Richmond, Vermont, this imposing building stands as a rare high-style Gothic church design for such a small town. The congregation occupied the building until the dwindling population in town made it no longer feasible to keep the doors open, closing in 1956. When the congregation disbanded, the building was sold to a Richmond resident who then offered the property to the Richmond School District, which had its large school next door. Voters accepted the gift at Town Meeting and passed a bond to convert the building into a cafeteria and gymnasium for the school next door. In the mid-1980s, with a new school in town, the school building was abandoned and converted to the Town Hall. The gymnasium and cafeteria in the former church was no longer needed, and some in town proposed to demolish it to build a new, modern library. Preservationists petitioned to save the building, acquiring funds to restore the exterior and convert it to a library. They won. The library operates here to this day as a unique place for residents young and old to read and learn in an architectural treasure.