Work to save a piece of Vermont history in Milton

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Efforts are underway to restore the home of George Stannard, a prominent general in the Civil War.

For nearly 200 years, the house has been the first thing you see on Route 7 as you enter Milton.

“He was here, he farmed these acres,” said Howard Coffin, author and historian. “Stannard is Vermont’s great Civil War hero.”

The structure is now being dismantled piece by piece.

“I’m seeing original boards and for us historians that gets us all fired up,” said Coffin.

For nearly five years, the General Stannard House Committee has been working towards relocating the structure and making it a Civil War historic site.

“We want to put it back into use with a sustainable purpose, in a way to capture the meaning that it has, which is Stannard’s home,” said Bill Kaigle, General Stannard House Committee co-chair.

Stannard was born in Georgia, Vermont in 1820.

More than 40 years later, Stannard commanded the 2nd Vermont Brigade at Gettysburg and launched the attack on Pickett’s Charge.

Stannard’s brigade would go onto defeat General George Pickett and his army of about 15,000 men, stalling Picket’s assault on the North.

“Stretch it a little bit maybe not too much at all, General Stannard’s Vermonters at Gettysburg probably won the Civil War,” said Coffin.

Salvageable pieces of the house are being stored at Milton’s Bombardier Barn, with the hopes of rebuilding it nearby.

Having been renovated several times over the years, contractors have had difficulty identifying pieces that were from the Stannard-era.

“We can tell what is original of the structure, what is from the 1830s when the house was originally built,” said Eliot Lothrop, owns Building Heritage. “But did General Stannard commission those alterations or did those happen before or after he was here?”

Lothrop and his team are documenting each piece of the house, identifying what needs to be repaired or rebuilt. He calls the process and rewarding experience.

“A lot of the pleasure comes in working with that same wood and putting in that same effort that hopefully in 150 years someone will look at our work and have that same appreciation for it,” he said.

A historic marker will be installed on Route 7.

“It’ll be a nice little pocket park welcoming people to Milton but not losing the heritage and that is important to us,” said Don Turner, Milton Town Manager.

Fundraising efforts continue as the project is expected to cost $250-280,000.

The committee hopes to have the project complete by October 2020, in time for Stannard’s 200th birthday.

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