The General Stannard House Committee made further progress in its quest to save and restore the prominent Vermont Civil War general’s house last week by removing the adjoining garage on the back of the property.
The garage was added on in the 1950s and has no historic value, committee co-chairman Bill Kaigle said. The committee used some of its $30,000 grant from the Vt. Division of Historic Preservation it received last winter to do the work.
The house was donated to the town in 2015 by Robert Miller of REM Development who owns the property on which the neighboring Gardener’s Supply Company sits. However, work couldn’t start until the town officially owned the property, a lengthy process that included an Act 250 amendment, Kaigle explained.
The deed to the house was officially transferred at the beginning of September, and the committee had until October 15 to remove the garage and install a fence around the property, Kaigle said. Now, it is officially in the town’s hands, and the committee can start to look ahead to next steps for the house.
This winter, Building Heritage, a restoration company based in Huntington, will disassemble the house, document the pieces and store them in the Bombardier barn adjacent to the municipal building, Kaigle said. The committee has the town’s permission to store the pieces there, but has yet to finalize a permanent location for the house.
The committee is eyeing Bombardier Park for the new location, which Kaigle said would show off the house nicely, provide more accessible public viewing and complement the existing Bombardier barn on the property, which is reminiscent of the barn Stannard built next to his house on Route 7.
“It’s definitely more of a like setting to what he lived in, and we want to tell his story,” Kaigle said.
Kaigle added the site will be listed on the Vermont in the Civil War Heritage Trail that the committee helped create. The trail follows Route 7 from Bennington to Swanton and highlights notable Civil War sites in the state.
To memorialize the original location of the house, Kaigle said there are potential plans for filling in the foundation in its original spot and creating a “pocket park” with a historical marker from the VDHP.
Kaigle said the committee is excited for the work to continue on the house, and hopes members might have substantial physical progress completed in time for Gen. Stannard’s 200th birthday on Oct. 10, 2020. He said they’re still fundraising.
“It’s been a long road for this house,” Kaigle said. “We’re kind of crazy. It’s a very consuming project, but we are determined.”