Shangri La

Shangri La

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Meetinghouse

I noted earlier that the painfully picturesque 'Old Meetinghouse' sealed the deal for the LSW. Situated across from our slice o' heaven and unchanged since it was erected in 1817, it provides the quintessential backdrop to our [anticipated] repose in the Green Mountain State.

What could a little town like Shangri-La (yes, I know I've been spelling it sometimes with an 'a' and sometimes with an 'i' - what of it?) have planned for an old building with no septic or electricity on a dirt road arguably in the middle of nowhere? Nothing, we figured, until we saw on the last visit that the second floor windows had been replaced by plywood.

I put the question to one of the excavators, who - as it happens - is also one of the town's 3 selectman and it's road commissioner. Turns out the selectmen hold a town meeting in it once per year, and the town is planning on investing in foundation work to ensure that the the building can stand for at least another 100 years. "It's on the historic register," he noted, "and we'd like to keep it just the way it is." The windows are missing because the woodworker at the top of my street is repairing the 192-year-old muntins and glazing.

In talking with him, I also found out that the town hall was a one-room schoolhouse until not that long ago, with the original chalk boards still hanging in the first floor. The town also has plans to restore it in a historically sympathetic fashion, carefully planning the handicap access to be invisible from the front. This from a town with ridiculously low taxes and nothing that could be described as gentrification. A town with only 2 paved roads, for that matter.

This warms my preservationist heart. Good for them! Or us, as it were. Our past anchors us as we look to the future, and it's hard to overestimate the value of being grounded.

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