Chester Townscape (formerly known as Chester Beautification Committee) is an all-volunteer organization that works to enhance Chester’s appearance and cultural vitality for its residents, businesses, and visitors. Chester Townscape is a committee of Chester Community Alliance, Inc. [CCA], a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Donations to Chester Townscape and Chester Community Alliance, Inc., are tax deductible to the full extent permitted by law. Contributions may be mailed to CCA at PO Box 561, Chester, VT 05143, with Chester Townscape in the memo line.
Chester Townscape’s major past projects – often in partnership with the Town of Chester – include restoration of the Hearse House and Public Tomb at the entrance to Brookside Cemetery in the heart of the town; landscaping in front of the nearby Information Booth, at the Pocket Park at the end of School Street by the swinging bridge, and at the Chester-Andover Family Center; tree care on the Village Green; and CT's two different walking tour maps that feature the central village Main Street area and the Stone Village/Depot area. These brochures present historic and architectural features for the enjoyment and education of area residents, businesses, and visitors. A recent project was the installation of a wrought-iron handrail at the gazebo on the Village Green to complement Townscape’s improved landscaping in that central location.
Annually Chester Townscape provides seasonal displays at the Chester-Andover Family Center and at prominent public locations around town: a golden burst of daffodils each spring at the Brookside Cemetery wall, followed by other bulbs and annuals all summer long; pots and barrels filled with flowers in the summer months; pumpkins and other autumnal plantings in fall; and wreaths and other greenery with red berries during the winter. These decorations welcome all to Chester and symbolize the positive community energy and spirit that abounds in this charming town. Volunteer and professional help for these projects is always encouraged and appreciated. Please let us know how you’d like to get involved. There are many opportunities that can fit your interests and schedule. For information, please contact Lynn Russell at 802-875-2707.
Please push play or click through the pictures above to view some of the projects initiated by Chester Townscape to make Chester a more beautiful and appealing place to live, shop, and visit.
Spring Bulb Sale at Chester’s Fall Festival
Forget this strange gardening summer and think about something you can count on: Spring bulbs. On September 16 and 17 Chester Townscape volunteers will again be selling spring-flowering bulbs at Chester’s Fall Festival at a location near the Hearse House and the Information Booth. All bulbs are top quality, hardy, easy care, shunned by deer and voles, and expected to return year after year when grown in full or part sun and in well-drained locations. Shipped straight from Holland, the four varieties of narcissus offered this year include early and mid bloomers with a variety of colors and heights. Those labeled Landscape Size (LS) are a bit smaller and more economical, but will increase in size in a year or two. The larger bulbs are distinctly two-toned. Download the 2023 Bulb Order Form HERE.
Carlton LS. This early daffodil creates a burst of dappled sunshine with paler yellow petals and a slightly darker yellow center. Grows 14-16” high. 10 bulbs cost $10.
Dutch Master LS. This early daffodil grows 16-18” tall and provides pure bright yellow sunshine. 10 bulbs cost $10.
Barrett Browning. An early bloomer with white petals and a contrasting orange center that grows 14-18” tall and is great for naturalizing. 5 bulbs cost $10.
Cornish King. This early bloomer has white petals with a bright yellow trumpet, grows 16-18” tall, and is wonderful for naturalizing. 5 bulbs cost $10.
Bulbs will be sold Cash and Carry from 9 AM–5 PM on Saturday September 16 and from 9 AM-4 PM on Sunday September 17. Bulbs may also be ordered in advance before September 12 for pick-up at the Fall Festival by making a check out to CCA with CT Bulbs in the memo line and sending the completed order form found HERE and check to Chester Townscape, PO Box 561, Chester, VT 05143. For additional information or for those who must make alternative pick-up arrangements, contact Polly Montgomery at 802-875-5446 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
At its table, Townscape will also offer maps of Chester created by well-known artist Lew Watters. The maps are ready for framing and would make excellent gifts at $20 each. Also available will be CT’s free brochures for the Main Street and the Stone Village/Depot walking tours.
All sales help support Chester Townscape's seasonal floral displays, which will be changed later this fall to display pumpkins, flowering kale, and corn stalks at public locations around town. These decorations beautify Chester and make it a handsome place in which to live and visit. Chester Townscape is a committee of Chester Community Alliance, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.
Memorial Bench This granite bench – generously designed, fashioned, and installed by landscape architect and mason Scott Wunderle, with help from his son Tuck and Town workers on June 2, 2020 – was a gift to the town by Chester Townscape, the Town, and individual donors in memory of Suzy Henry Forlie – a lifelong Chester resident, businesswoman, and Townscape Co-Chair of the Hearse House Committee. It is located beside the Public Tomb, directly opposite the door to the Hearse House Museum and adjacent to the entrance to the Brookside Cemetery, to offer a quiet place for rest and contemplation.
Hearse House Renovation and Museum The complete renovation of the Hearse House, and nearby cast-iron green fence, took place in summer 2016 and was funded by Chester Townscape, grants, and private contributions. The structure of the historic building was repaired, righted, and renovated; the exterior painted; and a reinforced concrete floor laid. In September 2016 the Town’s horse-drawn hearse was moved into its reincarnated home. An educational foyer featuring facts about the building, hearse, and funeral customs was constructed, and the unique, seasonal museum was opened to the public on October 28, 2017. The museum is open in good weather for self-guided tours Memorial Day through Columbus Day. For additional information, contact Lillian Willis at 802-875-1340 or email@example.com.
Public Plantings Four times a year – spring, summer, fall, and winter – Chester Townscape enhances Chester’s landscape in prominent public locations with flowers and other natural decorations. Townscape members weed, fertilize, and care for various Town areas and water – with help from other town residents – plants all summer long to keep Chester beautiful and welcoming to residents and visitors. Besides providing planters at public locations, Townscape has a program that provides planted pots to individuals and businesses that purchase them. This program gives Chester an attractive, coordinated appearance that symbolizes the community’s care for the town.
Two Walking Tours of Chester Historic Villages
To introduce people to Chester’s three original village areas – Central or South Village, the Depot, and the Stone Village – Chester Townscape created two different self-guided walking tours that encourage residents and visitors to travel the town learning about the town’s historic, sometimes unique, architecture and enjoying tidbits of local history and the people who created it through their historic buildings. The brochures are available, free of charge, at many locations around town – including shops, restaurants, and inns, as well as at Town Hall and the Information Center on Main Street. For additional copies, please contact Judy Yogman at 802-324-0989 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Take A Walk Along Main Street in Historic Chester Village” This tour, published in 2015, describes 16 historic buildings in the central village that were typical of life in Chester during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The walk begins opposite the Green at the entrance to the Brookside Cemetery to view the Hearse House – a seasonal museum displaying the Town’s handsome horse-drawn hearse and information about death and funeral customs, and the nearby granite Public Tomb. Both were restoration projects of Chester Townscape, with support from the Town. The tour continues west to Lovers Lane and returns to finish at The Common, Chester's business area across from the Village Green.
“Take A Walk Through Chester Depot to Historic Stone Village” This tour, published in spring 2022, describes 13 buildings and connects two of the three original villages in Chester. Starting in the Depot at the railroad station, which features distinctive Italianate details, the tour proceeds toward the brick Town Hall at the edge of the Depot Green and then north along Route 103 to view the dual towers of the iconic 1879 Yosemite Firehouse, a future fire museum. The tour continues along the road to the Stone Village’s cluster of nine houses and a church that were built in the 1830s and 1840s by local masons from stone quarried on nearby Mount Flamstead. The distinctive “snecked-ashlar” style of the buildings has long captured the public’s imagination and enticed many a visitor to Chester.