HISTORY: 1823 – 2008
This historic structure was first built in 1823 as a general store on the waterfront and known as the “Wadsworth Store” or in some deeds the “Keeler Store” (Keeler was father-in-law to Wadsworth). It was located in the center of the village facing the current Methodist Church. The foundation became the “South Annex” of the North Hero House.
In 1888 Bishop DeGoesbriand bought and converted the building into a Catholic church. Then in 1949 the church was moved to its present location along Route 2 when land was bought from Charles and Dorothy Tudhope. The Catholic Church consolidated its parish to Grand Isle and closed the doors in 2008. Between 2008 and 2016 the building was used seasonally by both Island Arts and Island Craft Shop.
RENOVATIONS: 2016 – 2017
Bought in October of 2016, the renovations immediately followed. Turning the historic building into GreenTARA Space was done over 6-months by Rob Rose Construction and the building owner, Diane Gayer. The design focus was to add insulation and heating to the building for year-round use and to create a community arts and the environment gallery with rental studio spaces for local artists and other crafts (such as food and music).
The renovations have earned energy credits from Efficiency Vermont for both the high-efficiency boiler and the lighting. The use of natural products such as Valchromat from www.planethardwood.com and Polywhey by Vermont Natural Coatings to give the place a natural feel while minimizing the environmental impact. Of note is the reincorporation of much of the existing building materials throughout the project and the sourcing of bought materials from the ReSOURCE Building Materials Store in Burlington.
Overall the cleaning up of the building, reclaiming of the mold-laden basement, and shoring of the cupola together with a new entry deck and back stairs, plus other safety features allow this building to breathe again. The volume of sanctuary with the original 1889 stained-glass windows and open dais flow with light, air, and great acoustics. Additionally, the landscaping includes a flower-planted berm to the road (US Rt 2), south-facing herb garden, and rooftop “living” roof over the basement entry.
Last but not least, the building is named GreenTARA after the Tibetan goddess of Enlightened Activity. GreenTARA is a community place for the arts, nature, and spirit — offering exhibits, workshops, studio space, nature walks and talks, studio space, locally-made eats & treats along with coffee/tea and views of Lake Champlain. GreenTARA Space was created to follow in its historic footsteps as provisioner of food and drink while also be a place to congregate; it acts as a community threshold to enlightened activity and is located in the center of the village of North Hero, Vermont.