The southeastern town of Vernon lost its economic engine with the closing of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in 2014. Ninety people lost jobs and the farming-turned-industrial-community needed to reinvent itself.
When the Vermont Council on Rural Development did a community visit in 2016, the Friends of Vernon Center formed to help the town figure out where to go. The idea of developing a town center that included the 1764 Governor Hunt House was born, and in 2020 Entergy (the last operator of Vermont Yankee) gifted the building to the Friends group for use as a community center.
Once a political gathering place led by one of Vermont’s earliest lieutenant governors, the house was also used as a “salon” for intellectuals in the mid-20th century hosted by the worldly Florence Louchheim Stol. Later it served as a construction office and visitor center for Vermont Yankee.
“This building is an asset to Vernon for all kinds of functions,” says board president Martin Langeveld, “The Governor Hunt House and Community Center will be available for large and small groups, indoors and out; for group meetings, workshops, seminars, lectures, and retreats; for family gatherings and celebrations; for performances of all kinds; for exhibits, art and craft shows, farmers’ markets, and much more.” A $50,000 Bruhn Revitalization Grant is supporting exterior renovations.