(Host) For decades, the Grange Hall was the visual center of Ferrisburgh.
But in 2005, just when it was to become the center for town government, it burned to the ground.
This Saturday, residents will get together to celebrate the opening of a replica.
VPR’s Melody Bodette has more.
(Sounds of lift)
(Bodette) Construction workers are putting the final touches on the outside of the new Ferrisburgh Grange Hall.
Town Clerk Chet Hawkins is proud to show the building off.
(Hawkins) "All the wood just looks so nice and the paint fits so good…"(Hawkins) This was always one of the more impressive buildings in town. It’s right on Route 7, if you drive through Ferrisburgh you see it.
(Bodette) It’s been a long time coming.
In 2004, the Grange offered the building to Ferrisburgh for use as the town hall.
Silas Towler was on the committee that raised money to restore the 1868 structure the first time.
(Towler) The night the selectboard signed a letter of intent with a contractor, that was the low bidder, the building burned down."
(Bodette) It was a heartbreaking moment. But the town decided to rebuild.
There were complications… An insurance settlement dragged on for several years. And then some people thought it would be better to build somewhere else.
In the end the town received $2 million for the fire, and construction began last October.
Now the large white building is again a landmark on Route 7. Silas Towler says it’s easy to see the resemblance to the old Grange Hall.
(Towler) This was built, the original, in 1868 as the Congregational church, these two rooms without the partial dividing wall was the vestry. The walls of the original building had pressed tin paneling on all four walls and we did salvage and put back on one all of the original tin.
(Bodette) Doors salvaged after the fire open into the meeting space. Local contractors created replicas of the original trim. By chance, the pews were removed from the building before the fire, and they’re stacked in the basement.
Many in town will see the inside of the new building for the first time at a dedication this Saturday. Towler says he hopes the space becomes the center of the community.
(Towler) It’s just wonderful, It worked, here it is. And it’s the community’s to use, and I hope everybody uses it … for Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, yoga classes, of course the Grangers….
(Bodette) For VPR News, I’m Melody Bodette.
(Host) Saturday’s dedication at the Ferrisburgh town hall begins at 10.