Scott Skinner, former board member and long time Barre Historical Society volunteer died on December 18, 2018. Scott first got involved with the Barre Historical Society when his family reserved the Old Labor Hall for the wedding of one of his sons. Scott felt the building needed a little TLC and since he never did anything by halves, he threw himself into improving the Hall for the wedding and continued for his quest for the rest of his life.
For many years, he served on the Board as the Secretary, and after the death of another BHS stalwart, Chet Briggs, stepped up as Chair of the Bricks and Mortar Committee, essentially the building manager, general contractor, and minder.
With unfailing charm, patience, and good humor, he dealt with state and local granting and licensing authorities and contractors and trades people, bringing several major projects to a successful conclusion. He picked up the reins of the major fire code compliance project and you can see him pictured on the reconstructed front steps holding onto the newly installed railings required by the Fire Marshall.
He supervised the physical work on the FEMA-funded flood mitigation project and continued to navigate the multiple levels of bureaucratic sign-offs needed for every step. He entered with gusto into the work. He worked to get the repair of the Hall’s fragile brickwork approved as part of the project and learned more than he ever wanted to know about historic bricks. In fact, one of the pleasures of working with Scott was his enthusiasm for all the new things he had to learn in his new capacity as historic building restorer.
He was never daunted by any new roadblock. He simply cajoled the funding authorities for more funds and extensions of time. He never regarded these problems as insurmountable, but regrouped and wrote new plans and applications, even for those aspects of the project that he did not believe in. In his final days, he was emailing from the ICU about the one remaining phase of the project, the installation of the generator, and was relieved to know that all the permits had been granted and that the final installation was in good hands.
One of Scott’s periodic contributions was to write the BHS semi-annual appeal letter seeking financial support from the friends of the Old Labor Hall. One of the projects he was looking forward to was the restoration of the Green Room, one of the front rooms of the Hall, for use as a small meeting and conference breakout room, which was the subject of his last letter. That project is now moving forward and we are sad that Scott won’t have the pleasure of seeing the fruits of his labors as he did with the FEMA project.
As his obituary makes clear, Scott Skinner lived a full, active, and productive life to the very last. The Barre Historical Society is far from the only group enriched by his participation, but we are truly grateful that he took the Old Labor Hall into his generous heart.
Scott and his family have kindly designated the Barre Historical Society as one of the organizations to benefit from contributions in his memory. Contributions may be sent to the Barre Historical Society, PO Box 496, Barre, VT 05641 or made on line by credit card through PayPal.