GRAFTON -- Summer may be upon us, but the Grafton Inn and the Grafton Historical Society have decided to do some spring cleaning.
But there's no reason they can't make a little money out of it.
The two groups have joined forces to sell some of their old furniture and other items to raise funds for the renovation of the Grafton Brick Meeting House. They have scheduled a sale of old collectibles to be held outdoors at 72 Main St. from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on July 5, with half the proceeds benefiting the historical society and the other 50 percent going to the Windham Foundation, which owns the Grafton Inn.
Innkeeper Don Bruce said the event will be a two-fold sale of sorts, as the inn will sell several things stored in a barn owned by the Windham Foundation and the historical society will put up for sale some items of its own.
"We are selling some things ... that we have had stored away for a few years," he said. "Things go in and out of there all the time, but there are some antiques that people have no use for, old pieces that just don't fit our need anymore.
"We really would like to clean that barn up," he added.
Based in Grafton, the Windham Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and promoting the vitality of Vermont's rural communities through educational and philanthropic programs.
The inn plans to offer items from its recent renovations, including some four-poster single beds, dressers, side tables, and chairs. Some unique piece also included are a cobbler's bench, a 34x126-inch American style harvest table, a 59-inch hall settee, a giant clam shell, and the favorite chair of actor Paul Newman, who used to stay at the Grafton Inn.
Bruce said he cannot produce the provenance, or documented history, of any of the items but believes anyone who know antiques will be able to authenticate them. He also said the historical society is selling many of the duplicates it has in its collection.
The Grafton Brick Meeting House, which will benefit from the July 5 sale, was built in the 1830s by the Congregationalists who settled in the area. It is considered to be one of the last examples of New England meeting houses in the federal Greek revival styles in Vermont. According to an e-mail to the Reformer, it also is believed to have been an active church in the Abolitionist movement in the 1850 and '60s. The Grafton Historical Society now owns the building and has started a major campaign to repair and restore it. This year's project is the repair and painting of the steeple, which still contains its original working bell.
Domenic Poli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.