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Firing Up Barre's Bakery Revival Project

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Carolyn Shapiro
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The Barre Historical Society has put together a community-wide effort to restore this 1913 wood fired bakery.

In 1913, Italian granite workers in Barre built a wood fired bakery where they could bake crusty Italian bread, like back in the old country. The shell of that building still stands, in downtown Barre, next to the Socialist Labor Party Hall. Both buildings are owned by the Barre Historical Society, which is organizing a community-wide effort to restore the old bakery and operate it as a living museum.

"By reviving the wood fired bakery Italian granite workers cooperatively built in 1913, we will have an educational center to learn how to bake bread and learn about Barre’s rich labor history," commented project organizer Carolyn Shapiro.

High school students who are working to receive their diplomas through ReSource YouthBuild will work with area professionals on the restoration. The bakery is on the National Register of Historic Places, and this project will teach the students the nuances of historic preservation.

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Credit Carolyn Shapiro
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The name Rise Up Bakery was chosen to honor the Italian granite workers who volunteered to build the bakery in 1913.

The Union Cooperative Store Bakery, as it was called during its years of operation from 1913 until 1929, will be renamed Rise Up Bakery. Once restored to working order, the wood-fired bakery will become a culinary and historical educational center for such organizations as Capstone Community Action’s Community Kitchen Academy and Barre Technical Center's Baking Arts program. The building will also be available for local bakers and other community members, according to the Barre Historical Society.

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Credit Carolyn Shapiro
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Angelo Ambrosini and Winston Presett, both 90 years old, have been schooling the historical society with stories of the old bakery.

The renovation project has been split into three phases and the Barre Historical Society has launched a kickstarter campaign to raise $25,000 for the first phase. That phase will involve restoring the roof, windows and porch of the bakery. Meanwhile, the society has been interviewing community members to learn as much as they can about the historic structure.

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