The Hardwick Historical Society will unveil a rescued building with a chicken barbecue lunch and a ribbon cutting on Saturday, October 6, in Hardwick, at the Depot. The Depot museum will open at 10:00. The chicken will be available between 11:30 and 1:00. The Ribbon Cutting ceremony will start about 1:15.

Meals cost $10.00 pre-ordered or $12.00 on site. Contact Elizabeth Dow , Mary Jane Fradette or Lorraine Hussey to pre-order.

Here's the full story:
Beginning in the 1840s, railroad lines appeared in Vermont, and the first line went through Hardwick in 1872. For purposes of maintaining a railroad line, the owners divided it into sections ranging from 3 to 10 miles in length and hired a Section Crew to maintain the bed and tracks. The railroad that ran through Hardwick, most commonly called the St.J&L.C., had 8 mile long sections. The men lived in Hardwick village, while the hand-cars and other tools lived in a two-room (unusually large) 27' x 14'6" Section Tool House along the tracks behind West Church Street. Approximately 10 such houses sat along the 80+ miles of the St.J.&L.C. Every other rail line in the state had about the same ratio, meaning that in the late 19th century there were well over a hundred such buildings in Vermont. Now there are 4.

Abandoned since the 1980s, the Hardwick Section Tool House was rotting into the ground. The Hardwick Historical Society (HHS) wanted to save it but realistically understood that it has neither the money nor expertise to do so. VTrans was in the process of completing the paperwork to have it demolished when contractor Mario Fradette volunteered to save it by dismantling it and moving it to a small piece of Town property beside the old (1882) Hardwick Depot which the HHS uses as a home.

This summer Mario is finishing the renovation to convert the old Section Tool House to two new functions. The east side will become an information center for the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail trail head there. The west side will hold the railroad related objects in the possession of the HHS.

All are invited to celebrate the saving of a dying, rare, historic structure.


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