Old White Meeting House, aka “Granny’s Attic”

“Memories of the South Hero Meeting House

By Teresa Robinson (President South Hero Bicentennial Museum)

In 2013 when Paige Brownell was in fourth grade at Folsom School, her social studies class took a field trip down to the Old White Meeting House. Paige felt inspired to research more about the old church when she and her classmates noticed some historical details there. This is what Paige wrote:

“The Old White Meeting House was one of the first public buildings in town and was used as the first church, and as a place for people in town to meet for different reasons.

For many years it housed grades 5-8 until Folsom was built in 1949. We walked there and saw where people had written their names under the staircase. We think kids who went to school there in the past wrote them. It might have been that the kids got sent to the corner for being bad. We also saw a container of dried up glue in the closet. Maybe it was left over school supplies. We also saw evidence upstairs in Granny’s Attic that there used to be desks nailed to the floor and we saw a hole in the wall where the flag used to hang.

Bret Corbin met us when we got there. He told us a story about years ago when it was a church and a man used to sing beautifully. The man’s heart was broken when he was told they were going to have new services in the new church on South Street. He loved this church so much that he did not want it to be changed. I learned that this church has a lot of memories that people still cherish today.”

Today our town is embarking on restoring the existing foundation of the Meeting House and stabilizing the east wall by taking out the garage bays and putting back three windows like it used to look. Although it was built by skilled volunteer barn builders in 1816, the years have taken their toll and the building needs our renewed support. The town of South Hero applied for and was awarded a $100,000 grant from the Paul Bruhn Grant for buildings on the historic register. Matching funds are needed so anyone interested in supporting the South Hero Meeting House Foundation & Stabilization Project can donate by sending a check to the South Hero Foundation, Inc., PO Box 441, South Hero, VT 05486. The South Hero Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization.

Thank you for voting “YES” on Article 7 at the 2022 Town Meeting…”-https://southheromeetinghouse.org/memories-of-the-south-hero-meeting-house/

“Meeting House Deed Highlights Town History

The Meeting House, originally built in 1816 by volunteers, started its life as a church and Town Hall. When a new church was built on South Street in the 1850s, the elders donated the Meeting House to the Town of South Hero. We located the original deed, which features signatures of ancestors of many of today’s Town residents! If you read the list of names, you’ll recognize Robinson, Landon and others!”-https://southheromeetinghouse.org/meeting-house-deed-highlights-town-history/

From Preservation Trust of Vermont:

“South Hero Meeting House, South Hero

January 13, 2022 – The Preservation Trust of Vermont announced today a Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization grant of $100,000 to the Town of South Hero for foundation and wall repairs of the South Hero Meeting House.

Built by community members in 1816, the historic South Hero Meeting House on US Route 2 has served as a church, town hall, school, and more recently as home to the Granny’s Attic Benefit Store and the Town Fire Department. The $100,000 Bruhn Grant will support replacement of the foundation and stabilization of the east wall of the Meeting House.

Long-term goals for the Meeting House include weatherization, adding basic infrastructure (water and septic) and an elevator on the rear to make it fully accessible year-round. Revitalizing this building will preserve a part of South Hero’s rural history for future generations and provide a vibrant, flexible space for a wide range of community and tourist activities, including retaining the 70-year-old Granny’s Attic Benefit Shop, which raises as much as $34,000 each year to support local non-profit causes that range from library books for kids, to meals for children and older Vermonters.”-https://ptvermont.org/southheromeetinghouse/

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