One of the main challenges of this organization has been that of finding a home for all of the historical artifacts that tell St. Johnsbury’s history. Plan A was the Armory located on Main Street; it was centrally located, an historic building, plenty of space for the diversity of the collection and not on the tax rolls. As the weeks and months rolled on, it became obvious that we were not going to overcome the environmental issues that plagued the building and the time line was indefinite. Aware that we needed a Plan B, we talked of and looked at many places that might serve our purposes. At long last we have come up with a workable and suitable Plan B. It is 421 Summer Street, the law offices of Primmer & Piper.
The difference is in the price. With the Armory we could have obtained the building for a dollar and then raised the money to retrofit it for our needs. With this property, we need to purchase it in order to close the deal. The firm has been most generous with us in a contract that gives us five months to raise the money. As some of you may recall we started the 250 Club about six weeks ago hoping to find 250 donors at $1000.00 apiece. We have approximately thirty thousand in the bank from that initial campaign. We are hopeful that with a definite property named, there will be more support forth coming. We will be holding an open house in the near future.
Plan B is a mix of emotions as we are all committed to the place and location; we see it as a destination for school students as well as adults and tourists. We envision exhibits set up on the ground floor with the storage of other collections and archives on other floors. But it can only be achieved if we all buy into preserving our history and that is a challenge with all of the pockets that abound in St. Johnsbury that are dependent on donations. We welcome pennies for preservation, dollars for startups and we will work hard to find outside sources as well.
The Board and volunteers of the St. Johnsbury History & Heritage Center have worked long and hard to come to this conclusion and we are hopeful for your support. We have an upcoming Musical Salute to Honor Veterans Day on November 11th at the North Congregational Church at 7:00 p.m. The St. Johnsbury Town Band, the Pumpkin Hill Singers and WindRose will all come together for this benefit concert. The concert will be by donation to help secure Plan B.
With concerts, ghost walks, programs, memberships and monetary support, we can make a dream become a reality. We hope that each one of you will want to support the roots that made St. Johnsbury’s past, present and future.