Castleton University: Wooldridge Art Studio

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A young spirit enjoys events, projects and opines on art.

 

DESCRIPTION

The Wooldridge House is a two and a half story clapboard home painted a wonderful shade of yellow with some beautiful Victorian physical features that are sure to please visitors. These include lovely roof dentils and a prominent triangular piece facing the street, as well as triangle shape at the front top. Large, Victorian windows are in the front, where a front porch may have existed at some point in its early history.

Wooldridge House was is listed on the National Register of Historic Places,(NRHP), which means it has most of its Victorian design still intact, though it has been changed inside to meet the needs of all types of 21st century art students throughout this Victorian house; including sculptors, digital photographers, Graphic Design, Art by Technology and wood carvers.

I bet that there is no wasted space. with all areas being used. First floor was where the common rooms like the living room, parlor and dining rooms historically were located. The largest first floor common space is now home to a communal painting studio.

The house is larger than it looks. There is a space for everyone. There is a state-of-the-art Computer Lab and two darkrooms offered on the premises. There is a Student Gallery that showcases the Castleton art students’ successes. There is a wood shop, welding area, carving benches and outdoor space for sculptural installations.

There is probably a ceramic studio made complete with potter’s wheels as well.

 

HISTORY

Not much is available about the early history of this structure. I couldn’t find first names but I have tried to put two and two together to come up with a possible history. Wooldridge House was built in the 1850s, by a private owner within a short walking distance of the Castleton Seminary and the Castleton Medical College. It may have been part of a development of several houses in this area, and may have been owned by another family, perhaps even a family’s forever home for several generations. Perhaps a professor or someone connected to the colleges lived there.

By the early twentieth century, Mrs. Wooldridge’s family definitely owned this property, and raised their family here. One of their daughters was born in 1880. This daughter grew up and married a Mr. Wooldridge and lived probably in Rutland, a town not far from Castleton.

When her parents died, Mrs. Wooldridge was a widow at the age of eighty, and she inherited her parent’s home. She decided to stay there during her remaining years in her family home. She rented the rooms upstairs to students attending Castleton and lived on the first floor.

Mrs. Wooldridge is described by my source at Castleton University. “She was a tiny, tough Vermonter who loved to watch the Red Sox on her black and white TV.”

When Mrs. Wooldridge passed away, this property was inherited by her relatives who decided to lease this house out to people who set up a day care center; perfect for students with young children or folks who worked at Castleton State College. The day care center operated until about 2008, when Mrs. Wooldridge’s family decided to donate it to Castleton State College. By this time, the Wooldridge House structure was a fixer-upper opportunity in need of renovation for its new owners needs in the new century.

While different departments at the college bid on the building, the Art Department wound up receiving the space as they would take it “as is” without remodeling which would have cost Castleton College a pretty penny. All the Art Department needed was funds for needed repairs and maintenance on the structure to keep it in good shape.

 

HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS

Children who die from accidents, illnesses or from other causes; like a fire, sometimes like to stay in structures where they felt at home and /or felt love and security.

Bee Bennett Mansion CA (A three year old boy fell down the stairs, and another two year old died of the croup).

The Kewaunee Inn, WI (A five year old boy died of Haemophilus influenzae Meningitis).

Waverley Plantation House, MS (A child fell down the stairs, and another one died of Diphtheria).

Robert E Lee Mansion, VA (A small boy fell down the stairs).

Shanley Hotel, NY (A child fell down a well).

The Logan Mansion, LA (A child died of a heart attack).

Wooldridge Art Studio, VT (The spirit of a small child suggests that it may have died in this house, or perhaps died elsewhere but who felt loved here and had good memories in this house. Could’ve been a child who belonged to a family who lived here, or from the day care center).

 

Sometimes spirits like to appear as children, at an age filled with happy memories, even though they lived into the teen years or adulthood.

Bethlehem Hotel, PA (A professional performer who had grown up in her parent’s hotel, got her career started early here, singing for hotel guests.)

Hartford Twain House Museum, CT (Mark Twain’s three daughters appear as children and play with each other).

Cedar Crest College, PA (A former college student who suicided appears as a young girl).

Wooldridge Art Studio, VT (There is a chance that the spirit child could be Mrs. Wooldridge choosing to return to the house where she grew up as a child. If it is her, she may have opinions, and/or she may have been a teacher while she was alive. If she was, she would enjoy watching students create and judge the results).

 

MANIFESTATIONS

The spirit of a small girl, or the late Mrs. Wooldridge, has decided to stay here, and enjoy the activities; interacting indirectly and directly with the living.

She apparently likes Halloween!

Every year the Fine Arts Center has a Haunted House event, as a fundraiser. The Wooldridge House Art Studios would be included.

About five years ago, this event got a scary bonus. Someone wanted to join in on the fun!

In that particular year, the chairperson in charge of this event said; “People would always comment on how scary it was, but how the scariest part that year was the little girl at the top of the stairs. There wasn’t a little girl stationed at the top of the stairs that night.”

A Big Temptation

The Art Department decided to paint the wooden floor boards on the first floor.

The next day, they found a child’s hand prints and foot prints. This happened twice. No living child could’ve done this as it happened when the building was locked up tight.

An Art Critic?

It happened at night, when the Wooldridge House Art Studio was again locked up tight with the security system on guard.

Works of art in the Artist and Communal Art Studio located here sometimes have been taken off the wall and tossed around the room. Whoever is doing this is not destroying them, but just making a statement.

STILL HAUNTED?

Probably so!

This young spirit girl, or the spirit of Mrs. Wooldridge enjoys watching the activities of the Art Department’s students, both inside the house and outside on the property.

While no hard evidence has been caught, boatloads of art students and ticket holders who participate in The Fine Arts Center’s Halloween House give testimony of the spirit’s existence. Plus, the hand and foot prints of the young spirit child are impressive, seeing as no living child had access to the locked up structure when this act was done, twice! The moving of the finished paintings also makes a statement: Go back to the drawing board. This is awful!

 

LOCATION

Castleton University Fine Arts Center, Art Department,
45 Alumni Drive, Castleton, VT 05735

It is located a few hundred yards from the Fine Arts Center, on the campus of Castleton University.

SOURCES INCLUDE

  • castletonspartan.com – “Annual Ghost Stories Haunt the FAC.”
    November 5, 2014 7:38 am by Callie Ginter
  • Castleton Art Department, Art Facilites, Wooldridge Art Studios PDF
  • Information sent to me by: Marketing/Communications Office
    Woodruff Hall, Suite 137, Castleton University 2020
  • castleton.edu/academics

 

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