on Feb 21st 2009
The historical society’s report is posted below.
Putney Historical Society
On May 3, 2008, a fire severely blackened the heart of Putney, leaving a blight where an important gathering place had been.
Since late August, the Putney Historical Society has striven to reestablish the Putney General Store at the heart of our village.
With the help of charitable guarantors, we acquired the property in early November; we selected Ingram Construction to begin work on stabilizing the historic building, which has been a general store since the 1790s—probably the oldest continuously running general store in Vermont. By securing loans of $130, 000 to complete this phase of construction, we will save the building. In December, we received a state grant of $67,000 which paid off much of the acquisition loan.
We have been ably assisted in our negotiations by Bob Stevens, the Windham Regional Commission, and the Preservation Trust of Vermont, as well as town and state officials. We have strong committees for planning, publicity, fundraising, and the building. We had very strong public support at our annual meeting in September, and a local appeal pulled in over $12,000 by November. We applied for, and (at the time of this writing) await notification regarding a Community Development Block Grant, which may cover this stage of construction. We all owe a debt to Lyssa Papazian for initiating the project, and for the tireless work she has done for all of us these past months. (Though she’s had a lot of help! Thank you to all our supporters, volunteers, board members, charitable guarantors, lenders, donors—and to the former owners, who, out of love for our small community and its historic character, made it possible for us to own this building.)
But no question, we have a lot of fundraising to do. We would like very much to continue to own the building, and make a permanent home for ourselves upstairs. By the time this goes to print, PHS will have determined our space needs, taken proposals for building use plans, and will be ready to launch our fundraising campaign in earnest. We hope Putney residents will support our vision, and enjoy non-profit ownership of our corner store for years to come.
-Stuart Strothman, PHS president
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