Widow struggles to keep Vt. artist's legacy alive - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Widow struggles to keep Vt. artist's legacy alive

St. Johnsbury, Vermont - July 26, 2011

Tucked In the rolling hills of St. Johnsbury, artists Gwendolyn Huneck and her late husband, Stephen, crafted their dream 10 years ago.

"It's pretty cool," said Bethany Holmes, a visitor from England. "I have not seen anything like that either, it's really beautiful here."

It's a 150-acre retreat for people and their pets called Dog Mountain.

"His legacy should carry on even though he's passed away and I think it is sort of my duty to do that," Gwendolyn Huneck said.

Stephen Huneck was one of the state's most commercially successful artists, which led to this landmark. He took his own life a year and a half ago. Now that legacy is in jeopardy. Dog Mountain has been hit hard by a tough economy. For Gwendolyn Huneck it's meant a $50,000 bill for back taxes. She's worked out a payment plan with the town but worries the park, art gallery and dog chapel could still be lost.

"I really like the chapel," Holmes said. "They've got stained glass windows all the way around with pictures of dogs in them instead of people and words like love and hope and trust on them."

"The remembrance wall which started out as one wall in the foyer is now, the whole chapel is covered three or four layers deep with messages of love from people who have lost animals," Gwendolyn Huneck said.

People like 11-year old Anya Sonwaldt who came to visit on a camp field trip and shared a note about her old dog.

"I wrote down her name and I wrote I love you next to it," she said.

A simple gesture with lasting impact.

"I have a lot of fun memories and I don't want to forget them," Sonwaldt said.

Huneck is selling her late husband's prints to help pay the back taxes; so far she has raised about half of what she needs.

"Just being surrounded by his artwork makes you feel good, because he consciously tried to put love and healing into his artwork to help raise people's spirits," she said.

But now it may be Huneck's spirits that need to be raised the most. Surrounded by the art of the man she loved, the vision they shared, and the generosity of others, she's hopeful she can save this special place.

"All the outpouring of love from people for me, for Stephen, for Dog Mountain, it keeps my spirits up," she said.

Huneck wonders if it will be enough to keep her doors open.

Huneck has agreed to pay her back taxes to St. Johnsbury by November. If that does not happen her property could be put up as a tax sale.

Click here for more on Dog Mountain.

Keith McGilvery - WCAX News

Related Stories:

Keeping Stephen Huneck's dream alive

St. Johnsbury nixes tax relief for artist's widow

Kingdom, artists remember Stephen Huneck

Vermont folk artist Stephen Huneck dies at 60

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Police investigate Hinesburg woman shot by male relative

    Police investigate Hinesburg woman shot by male relative

    Thursday, April 24 2014 10:08 PM EDT2014-04-25 02:08:02 GMT
    Vermont State Police and Hinesburg police were on the scene at a shooting in Hinesburg at 8:45 p.m. Thursday night.Officials say a 71-year-old man shot a female relative. She was shot in the hand and chest and taken to Fletcher Allen Health Care where she is currently in stable condition.The man is in custody and police say there is currently no motive for the shooting and that there were no prior issues with the relatives.Police are currently still investigating the shooting.More >>
    Vermont State Police and Hinesburg police were on the scene at a shooting in Hinesburg at 8:45 p.m. Thursday night.Officials say a 71-year-old man shot a female relative. She was shot in the hand and chest and taken to Fletcher Allen Health Care where she is currently in stable condition.The man is in custody and police say there is currently no motive for the shooting and that there were no prior issues with the relatives.Police are currently still investigating the shooting.More >>
  • Robber hits the same bank twice?

    Robber hits the same bank twice?

    Thursday, April 24 2014 7:01 PM EDT2014-04-24 23:01:18 GMT
    A security guard and bank manager at the People's United in St. Albans held a would-be robber until police arrived. And investigators think he is the same man who robbed the bank Monday.More >>
    A security guard and bank manager at the People's United in St. Albans held a would-be robber until police arrived. And investigators think he is the same man who robbed the bank Monday.More >>
  • Man shot by Vt. cop faces charges

    Man shot by Vt. cop faces charges

    Thursday, April 24 2014 7:31 PM EDT2014-04-24 23:31:24 GMT
    A man shot by an officer inside the Bennington police station faces charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.More >>
    A man shot by an officer inside the Bennington police station faces charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.More >>
  • Man charged in Vt. teacher killing wants confession tossed

    Man charged in Vt. teacher killing wants confession tossed

    Thursday, April 24 2014 2:29 PM EDT2014-04-24 18:29:39 GMT
    A Vermont man charged with killing a popular St. Johnsbury teacher is asking a judge to exclude from his upcoming trial a detailed confession he gave to police investigators.More >>
    A Vermont man charged with killing a popular St. Johnsbury teacher is asking a judge to exclude from his upcoming trial a detailed confession he gave to police investigators.More >>
  • 2 Vermont men charged in guns and drug case

    2 Vermont men charged in guns and drug case

    Thursday, April 24 2014 2:13 PM EDT2014-04-24 18:13:57 GMT
    Two Vermont men are facing federal charges stemming from the left of firearms from a Hardwick gun store and the trading of some of those guns for drugs.More >>
    Two Vermont men are facing federal charges stemming from the left of firearms from a Hardwick gun store and the trading of some of those guns for drugs.More >>
  • Drug bust in Burlington's Old North End

    Drug bust in Burlington's Old North End

    Thursday, April 24 2014 6:18 PM EDT2014-04-24 22:18:27 GMT
    Police made a drug bust Wednesday night in Burlington's Old North End.More >>
    Police made a drug bust Wednesday night in Burlington's Old North End.More >>
  • Maine wire fraud trial of Vt. man set to conclude Friday

    Maine wire fraud trial of Vt. man set to conclude Friday

    Thursday, April 24 2014 5:49 PM EDT2014-04-24 21:49:11 GMT
    The wire fraud trial of a Vermont man convicted for the 2010 explosion that killed two workers at a New Hampshire gunpowder plant is nearing conclusion.More >>
    The wire fraud trial of a Vermont man convicted for the 2010 explosion that killed two workers at a New Hampshire gunpowder plant is nearing conclusion.More >>
  • 150 doctors targeted by tax fraud in NH, Vt.

    150 doctors targeted by tax fraud in NH, Vt.

    Thursday, April 24 2014 4:45 PM EDT2014-04-24 20:45:08 GMT
    New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen has asked the Secret Service and Internal Revenue Service to investigate reports of tax fraud affecting more than 150 doctors and health care providers in the state and in Vermont.More >>
    New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen has asked the Secret Service and Internal Revenue Service to investigate reports of tax fraud affecting more than 150 doctors and health care providers in the state and in Vermont.More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WCAX. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.