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Greensboro Bend Railroad Depot

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1872. Main St. at the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail, Greensboro Bend

One of the finest examples of Stick Style in Vermont, the little Greensboro Bend railroad depot was built to serve the Vermont division of the Portland and Ogdensburg Railroad, which was reorganized in 1880 as the St. Johnsbury and Lake Champlain Railroad (SJ&LC), a locally financed east–west connector route promoted by the Fairbanks family of St. Johnsbury. Greensboro's interests intent on developing a sawmill raised eighteen thousand dollars to insure that the roadbed would take a three on its way from Walden to Hardwick, making a tight loop to the undeveloped southernmost corner of Greensboro, then returning to follow the Lamoille River Valley. The depot/ telegraph office built in this bend to serve the surrounding towns spawned a one-street village with refueling facilities, steam-driven box and shingle mill, maple sugar company, stores, dance hall, and hotel—all housed in narrow gable-front commercial buildings with two-story porches. The village's architecture is vernacular, but the station, tied by a covered areaway to its freight shed, had more pretensions.

The simple rectangular frame building with a polygonal trackside station agent's bay under a spreading gabled roof is animated by a full catalog of polychrome Stick Style ornamentation. Its flush-board facades are organized by pseudo-framing into a dado below windowsill level, vertical bays that frame doors and windows, and a diagonal stickwork frieze at the top of the walls. Bold profiled brackets carry the deep eaves and smaller counterparts support the gable overhangs. The interior had a waiting room with bead-board wainscot and ceiling and paired track-side and streetside doors surrounding a centered agent's office.

Lower Orleans County's gateway to the world served not only as an outlet for local products but also as access point for seasonal residents of Greensboro and Craftsbury. In the early twentieth century, four passenger and two freight trains passed through daily. Identical stations on the SJ&LC line, such as in Morrisville, were replaced or torn down, and passenger service ended in 1956. The Greensboro station was acquired, along with the failing rail line, by the State of Vermont in 1973 and restored in 1976. Conversion of the line into a rail trail has begun and may offer a new use for this landmark.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson
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Citation

Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson, "Greensboro Bend Railroad Depot", [Greensboro, Vermont], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/VT-01-OL30.

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Vermont

Buildings of Vermont, Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2013, 250-250.

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