Over a 30-year career, Connie Snow has led the Windham & Windsor Housing Trust, investing in and rehabilitating contributing and National register-eligible properties that would otherwise have been demolished; creating 900 affordable homes; supporting community development, reinvigorating downtowns and village centers. Connie developed a highly professional rural community development entity, serving and meeting a variety of needs. W-WHT is the second largest community land trust in the country.
Kelton Hall, also known as the Community Baptist Church, stands proud at the top of Main Street in the small mountain town of Montgomery Center, Vermont. Built in 1866, the building retains its historic architectural integrity of the Greek Revival style and serves as a reminder of the cultural landscape of small town life in rural Vermont. Kelton Hall played a major role in the social and religious history of the town of Montgomery until the demise in religious attendance during the latter half of the 20th century. In an effort to ensure its legacy, members of the Montgomery community nominated the building to the National Register of Historic Places.
The Community Baptist Church and its associated parsonage were placed on the National Register of Historic Places in October of 2015. The structure meets the criteria for both architectural and social/religious historic importance. While the building stood vacant for many years, in 2016 the newly formed Montgomery Center for the Arts took over ownership and stewardship of Kelton Hall and the parsonage, eager to breathe new life into a building that once played an integral role in the community.
The Montgomery Center for the Arts (MCA) is an all-volunteer non-profit organization founded in 2016. The mission of the MCA is to enhance the vitality of life in the surrounding local and regional communities by providing a venue for a diversity of educational, cultural, artistic and social experiences. Since its inception the MCA has worked quickly to fill a cultural and social void in the local area by orchestrating events that both enrich and enliven the community.
In 2017 alone, the MCA has hosted three art shows, an ice cream social, a pumpkin carving party, live musical and poetry performances, a winter farmer and craft market, and week-long art camps during school breaks and in the summer. All of these MCA events are free and open to the public. The MCA also offers the building as a community resource, waiving any usage fees for town agencies and boards. Additionally, many locally talented teachers rent the space for weekly or monthly ballet, yoga, meditation, tai-chi, art expression, belly dancing, figure drawing and painting classes. Prior to the MCA making Kelton Hall available for these types of activities, Montgomery residents had to travel at least thirty minutes to partake in life enriching programs such as these.
The efforts of the Montgomery Center for the Arts in its first year alone have demonstrated a passionate commitment to the people of the surrounding communities by coordinating continual programming that enriches the lives children and adults alike. They have revived Kelton Hall as a community center, taking on the task of maintaining this historical landmark and ensuring its continued prominence in Montgomery’s cultural landscape and social fabric of life.