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Socialist Labor Party Hall

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1900. 46 Granite St., City of Barre

Between 1883 and 1900, some 1,500 Italian immigrants found their way to Barre to work in the booming granite sheds, bringing with them many Italian ideas about social welfare and labor relations. Many of these workers immediately joined unions and in 1893 successfully weathered an owner lockout to reduce wages. By 1900, 90 percent of the granite workforce in Barre was organized. This brick meeting hall for the national Socialist Labor Party was built mostly by Italian volunteers in 1900. It consists of a two-story-plus-basement front section and a one-story, gambrel-roofed assembly hall at the rear. The flat-roofed front section has a raised central entrance with a fanlit double door reached by eight granite steps. A granite medallion with an arm and hammer in relief and the party letters, “SLP,” carved by Egigio Dunghi, is inset above the entrance.

Located in the heart of the north end Italian neighborhood of the growing city, the hall provided offices and a meeting place for the SLP, the only national political party advocating a socialist agenda. It also housed the Granite Cutters International Association, at the time the largest granite workers' union local in the country, as well as a cooperative food store located in the basement, which sold food, coal, and other staples at reduced prices for members. During the turbulent labor relations of the first third of the twentieth century, the hall hosted speeches by many leading labor activists. In 1936 the structure was sold and converted into a produce warehouse until purchased in 1995 by the Barre Historical Society and Barre City for restoration as a meeting place and community center. Now a National Historic Landmark, the hall remains an important reminder of Vermont's significant urban history, usually left out of tourist brochures, which tend to promote the image of a rural paradise.

Writing Credits

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

Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson, "Socialist Labor Party Hall", [Barre, Vermont], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/VT-01-WA40.

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Vermont

Buildings of Vermont, Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2013, 315-315.

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