Coming Full Circle: The Governor Hunt House is Returned to the Community
In 1968 the Governor Hunt House was acquired by the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Corporation as part of the land acquisition for the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant. The house itself was used by Vermont Yankee as administrative office space. A conference wing was added in 1970 to accommodate larger gatherings such as training sessions.
During the two-year period from 1987-1989 Vermont Yankee (then owned by electric utility companies) undertook a much-needed, extensive, and historically sensitive restoration of the house. Until this time the only heating available for the administrative offices was through the home’s fireplaces. In fact, some office assistants had to come in early, not only to make the coffee, but to light the fireplaces. It is ironic that heating was done with wood fires in fireplaces for workers who were constructing a nuclear power plant.
After the restoration, Vermont Yankee maintained a visitor's center at the house for the public, hosting a variety of events and tours and allowing uses by community groups. However, in the fall of 2001, following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, new security protocols restricted access of the property to VY personnel and authorized guests.
In 2002 the power plant was sold to the Entergy Corporation. Operations ceased in 2014, and in 2019 Entergy sold most of the property to NorthStar Holdings for the purpose of decommissioning the plant. However, Entergy retained ownership of the Governor Hunt House and offered it as a donation to the Town of Vernon. The Town, through its Selectboard, designated the Friends of Vernon Center, Inc. as a Vermont non-profit corporation, to receive the donation.
Today the Friends of Vernon Center is working to develop the Governor Hunt House as a community center and an anchor to a planned village area. A succession of owners, from Jonathan and Lavinia to Florence Stol, frequently entertained friends and community members when they lived in the house. They would probably be pleased that their home will once more be a vital part of the Vernon community.