According to committee chair Sue Bailey, items up for bid include an assortment of donated furniture such as desks, sewing machines, and dressers. There is an inventory of unique antiques up for bid as well, like wooden sleds, and a pair of box cameras from the early 20th century. Smaller donated items range from household tools to assorted glassware.
There will be a review period before the auction begins, from 9 am until the bidding begins at noon. Past auctions at the Bullock building have seen anywhere between 30-50 attendees and Bailey said that the group has the potential to raise around $2,000 with this year’s auction. There will also be a smaller Chinese auction held at the event, as well as refreshments and food.
Bailey said that this year’s auction’s profits will contribute to multiple projects associated with the ongoing effort to re-establish the Bullock building as an all-purpose facility for the town and its residents.
The committee is focusing on installing a kitchen in the Bullock building in order to help achieve this goal. “We’ve already done a lot of the major work in the kitchen,” explains Bailey. “We’ve refurbished the windows in there and (installed) lovely oak cabinets, so what we need to do is complete the kitchen and purchase the appliances, and make it so that it fills its intended purpose.”
The Bullock building was built in 1890, and has served a variety of purposes in its lifetime. A three-story building built in a Second French Empire style of architecture, it began as a grocery and dry goods store, complete with a back door for unloading goods off the trains that ran on the tracks behind it. After that it housed a light manufacturing company, a movie theater, a salvage emporium, and a Masonic temple. The upstairs has also been used as apartments, but in recent years, the building’s entirety has displayed the ravages of time.
Five years ago, Readsboro Hometown Redevelopment Inc., which is a recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization was able to purchase the building in partnership with Vermont Preservation Trust. In its first years of ownership the group focused on stabilizing the building, fixing the roof, and painting its façade. New paint was recently put on the right side of the building, as well as new siding where it was needed the most. The hometown redevelopment committee has also been active in applying for grants to help with the financial burdens involved with restoration of such a large structure.
Bailey says the goal of the organization is to transform the building into a community space, focusing first on the large first floor. “It’s such a large building and it’s right on our main street, to bring this back as much as we can to its original beauty would be really remarkable. The goal with the first floor is to keep that as a community space so that different organizations can use it, or it can be used for weddings.”
Bailey also mentioned that the building does not currently have heat, and proceeds from the auction will pay for year-round utility bills. Another secondary goal of the group is to repaint the east side of the building, a task that will take time and money as scraping and sanding will need to be completed first.
The E.J. Bullock Building is located at 7029 Main Street in Readsboro.