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Efforts to restore Jericho’s iconic Old Red Mill

Published: Aug. 5, 2020 at 4:19 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 5, 2020 at 4:26 PM EDT
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JERICHO, Vt. (WCAX) - The town of Jericho purchased the Old Red Mill in the early 1970s. It then voted to transfer ownership to the Jericho Historical Society in 1976, with the mission to preserve it so that future generations can learn from its history. But as our Scott Fleishman shows you, recent history hasn't been kind to this iconic structure.

Sue Richardson is the great-great-niece of Wilson Bentley, the first known photographer of snowflakes dating back to the 1880s. Part of his collection is on sale at the Old Red Mill in Jericho.

"This is a major portion of how we fund the Jericho Historical Society and its mission to preserve the mill here in Jericho," Richardson explained.

The mill is one of the most known landmarks in the state and one of the most photographed sites in New England. It’s seen on everything from popular publications to WCAX programming, but these days, it needs repairs.

"There's a lot of work that needs to be done," Richardson said.

Last year's Halloween storm washed away part of the rock wall in front of the building. The original part of the ground floor is stone and over time it's deteriorated. As more work is done to fix those issues, more problems are uncovered, like leaks in the roof.

“With a building this age, there’s always projects,” Richardson said.

One of the other expensive renovations needed at the Old Red Mill is a replacement of the septic system. That could cost upward of $75,000.

"There's no way to predict with a lot of these things," Richardson said.

Kind of like the ongoing pandemic. The Mill’s gift shop, the primary source of revenue, had to close for months because of it. So now, the historical society is looking at other means to make money for repairs, like a GoFundMe page.

"A lot of our identity focuses on this mill," Richardson said.

Richardson's connections to the Old Red Mill run deeper than most. Like her great-great-uncle's snowflakes that take up the wall there, the Mill is one of a kind.

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