Preservation and Community: 20th Annual Historic Preservation & Downtown Conference

Image by Charlie HunterFriday May 2, 8:30-4:30
Island Pond, VT

Please join us for the 2014 Historic Preservation and Downtown Conference that promises to be a lot different than previous conferences.

The May 2nd conference will be in the beautiful and remote Northeast Kingdom, in Island Pond, VT.  There are lots of overnight accommodations, so consider coming early and staying late!

We welcome as keynote speaker an old friend, Nancy Boone, formerly Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer and now the Federal Historic Preservation Officer for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Conference day will feature the 2014 Preservation Awards recognizing the best in historic preservation over the last two years, followed by duo-tracks of half-hour presentations: crisp, fast-moving TED-like talks built around Historic Places and Strengthening Communities.

For those who prefer the outdoors, there is a tour of the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge-Nulhegan Basin Division visitor center with an optional mile hike along the Nulhegan River where, besides wildlife, you can see a historic truss railroad bridge.  There is also a visit planned to Brighton State Park.

Or, you can spend the day ice fishing—just kidding! (I think.)

For those interested in coming early, on Thursday—the day before the conference—we are organizing a "Hands on Hammer" Service Day to help with exterior woodwork repairs at Christ Church. Click here for more information.


Click Here to Register for the Conference
Registration Deadline: April 23

8:30 Registration 

9:30 Welcome & Details


10:00   National Trends: Vermont Models

Nancy Boone, Federal Preservation Officer, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development 

Nancy BooneHistoric Preservation and Community—it’s hard to talk about them separately.  Preservation relies on, builds, and inspires community. What are the national trends in preservation and where does Vermont fit?   HUD's Federal Preservation Officer, Nancy Boone, presents some examples in areas like downtown revitalization, affordable housing, disaster resilience, and expedited infrastructure. 




11:00     Preservation Trust of Vermont 2014 Awards

Paul Bruhn, Executive Director, Preservation Trust of Vermont

Wilder CenterThe 2014 Preservation Awards celebrate outstanding contributions in the field of historic preservation. Join us in recognizing individuals and organizations that have been instrumental to the preservation of Vermont's historic places. 




12:00 Lunch at the American Legion and Explore Island Pond

Christ Church, Island Pond VT. Photo by Sanders H. MilensThings to see and do:

    • Book Sale and Signing:Glen Andres and Curtis Johnson Buildings of Vermont; Tom Visser Porches of North America
    • Grand Trunk Railroad Station.  The Island Pond Historical Society, located upstairs, will be open to visitors
  • Christ Church, an excellent example of carpenter Gothic style with exposed scissors trusses, explore on your own
  • Island Pond Welcome Center with local crafts
  • Brighton State Park (by car) focus of an afternoon session on mid-century modernism
  • Behind the Scenes of the Brighton Town Hall Rehabilitation Project
  • Shop Downtown Island Pond – the Merchants Thank You!

1:30 – 4:00 Concurrent Afternoon Tracks

There are four tracks.

Tracks A & B each have five half-hour sessions. All sessions for both tracks are located near each other and you may move between tracks and attend sessions in either track.

Track C and D are all afternoon adventures. 


TRACK A:  Vermont’s Historic Buildings and Places - Brighton Town Hall


Vt State Park ModernismBrighton and Vermont State Park’s Mid-Century Modern Architecture
Session A1,  1:30-2:00

Lyssa Papazian and Devin Colman, present new research on Vermont’s Park architecture within the context of NPS Mission 66 initiative.  Mission 66 – an NPS initiative from 1956-1966 brought modern design to national park facilities, deliberately moving away from the rustic timber frame CCC era construction. These design ideas and guidance were shared with state and local agencies through NPS publications and are reflected in mid-century building campaigns in Vermont's state parks. There were two main eras of construction for VT State Parks: (1) CCC and (2) post WWII, pre-interstate construction.    (For Background, see: Feel free to visit the Brighton State Park later in the day!


Photo by Sanders H. MilensVermont's Railroad Depots:
The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
Session A2, 2:00-2:30

The advent of the railroad in Vermont shaped the development of towns and transportation routes. Though the railroad’s heyday has passed, its impression on the landscape remains. Once ubiquitous community hubs, the appearance, vocation, and even location of many rail depots has changed over time.   Over the past two years, Scott Newman and Kaitlin O’Shea conducted surveys and research on Vermont’s state-owned and state-funded historic rail buildings. The final report includes historical background, conditions assessments, and photo documentation. Join Newman and O’Shea as they reveal the surprising results of this study and share historic and contemporary images of the State's rail heritage.


Bloomfield Town Hall, photo by Curtis B. JohnsonHighlights of Buildings of Vermont
Session A3, 2:30-3:00

Authors Glenn Andres and Curtis Johnson will present illustrated highlights from their research for the newly released Buildings of Vermont, part of the series Buildings of the United States, published by the Society of Architectural Historians and University of Virginia Press, 2013. They will discuss discoveries, patterns, connections, challenges, and open questions that came to light in their exploration of the state’s rich architectural heritage.   




Porches and North America by Thomas VisserVermont Porches: Realms of Character and Memory
Session A4, 3:00-3:30

Few spaces within the memory landscapes of Vermont’s historic communities convey such strong symbolic associations, as do porches. Whether as porticos, piazzas or verandas, these extended thresholds have long offered opportunities for social interactions and liminal experiences that may rarely occur elsewhere. Join Prof. Thomas Visser, author of Porches and North America, in this exploration into the special realms and character-defining features of Vermont’s historic porches.



Matthew GoguenUniversity of Vermont Historic Preservation Research Presentations
Session A5, 3:30-4:00

University of Vermont Historic Preservation MS students and recent graduates present current research:

  • Matthew Goguen will present an overview of wool manufacturing along the Winooski River and its eventual collapse.
  • Courtney Doyle and Kate Lepore will present their process to build Burlington's Young Preservationists (BYP), a student-run preservation advocacy group.
  • Kyle Obenauer will share his research on the industrial heritage of Burlington’s Lakeside Avenue, including portraits of some of the companies which operated in the area and produced cotton textiles, airplane turrets, coin machines, small gasoline engines, and fully integrated land, sea, and air systems for the U.S. military. 



TRACK B: Strengthening Communities - Sunrise Manor


Fiber Networks: New Opportunities for Downtowns and Village Centers
Session B1, 1:30-2:00

Three panelists will give a very short overview of their organizations, and the bulk of this session will be to open the floor to quick town-specific brainstorming about how broadband can benefit downtowns, village centers, and historic districts represented by attendees.  Please come with questions/ideas!

The Vermont Digital Economy (VDE) Project seeks to speed flood recovery, spur economic development and job growth, and improve community resilience to disasters. VDE Project Director Sharon Combes-Farr will share ways VDEP works directly with more than 40 towns to help businesses, nonprofits, and municipalities expand their innovative use of online tools.
More info at:

Expanded fiber optic networks can bring new economic opportunities for rural communities and downtowns. Christa Shute, from Vermont Telecommunications Authority, will share ways high-speed Internet technology and abundant bandwidth add to a town’s historic, cultural and business story.
More info at:

The creative economy offers a fresh lens through which to view economic development opportunities. Director of Vermont’s Office of the Creative Economy, Lars Torres will share insights into emerging opportunities to support Vermont’s growing independent workforce that leverage the assets of Vermont’s historic downtowns and dispersed population.
More info at:


Don StevensLooking Through Our Grandmothers’ Eyes. Stories About Our People and Our Land
Session B2, 2:00-2:30

Nulhegan Chief Don Stevens and elders Lucy Cannon Neel and Billie Largy share stories of their lives, their people, and their land as members of the Northeast Kingdom’s Nulhegan tribe. The Nulhegan is one of Vermont’s four State-recognized Abenaki tribes. This session provides a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the lives, traditions, experiences, and perspectives of the Northeast Kingdom’s original Vermonters. State Archaeologist Giovanna Peebles moderates the session.  



Vermont Historical SocietyWho’s Taking Care of Your Local History?
Session B3, 2:30-3:00

Maggie Stier, New Hampshire Preservation Alliance, and Laura Brill, VHS Community Outreach Coordinator, will present a workshop on strategies and opportunities for preserving local history and community heritage.  This program is designed to stimulate new ways of thinking about how we, as individuals, organizations, and municipalities, work together to preserve the things that tell the story of a community.  Come with questions, as this will be an interactive presentation.


Funders’ Panel: Help for Preservation and Community Projects
Session B4, 3:00-3:30
This Funders’ Panel, facilitated by Irene Nagle of Northeastern Vermont Development Authority is an introduction to various state, federal, and foundation funding and technical assistance resources.  Following the panel, staff will be on hand to chat one-on-one and answer questions. Panel participants are Ted Brady, State Director, US Department of Agriculture-Rural Development; Josh Hanford, Director, VT Community Development Program; Karen Freeman, Conservation Director, VT Housing and Conservation Board; Paul Bruhn, Executive Director, Preservation Trust of VT; Alex Aldrich, Executive Director, VT Arts Council; Christopher Kaufman Ilstrup, Philanthropic Advisor for Programs and Grants, VT Community Foundation.

Got Funding?
Session B5, 3:30-4:00

This session will explore how to take advantage of the Certified Local Government (CLG) and Designated Downtown/Designated Village Center Programs, bringing dollars to your community for historic preservation, code compliance, and accessibility projects.  Geared towards Certified Local Government Commissioners and Coordinators and Designated Downtown/Village Center Managers, this session explains how federal and state programs can work together to stimulate and fund preservation-based economic development projects.  Devin Colman, State Architectural Historian; and Caitlin Corkins, Tax Credits and Grants Coordinator, cover all the essentials and provide case studies of successful projects you can implement in your community.


Track C:  Tour: Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center

Meet at 1:30 to car pool or caravan 10 miles to the Preserve. Session will finish with plenty of time to return to the closing reception.

Photo by US Fish and WildlifeMark Maghini, Wildlife Refuge Manager, will introduce visitors to the refuge that was established to conserve the abundance and diversity of native plants and animals and their habitats in the 7.2 million acre Connecticut River watershed in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont.  Island Pond Historical Society representative, Cliff Biron will be on hand to share historic photos and stories of timber harvesting and log runs. Explore the Preserve with an optional 1 mile hike along the Nulhegan River.


Track D: Self-Guided Tour of Brighton State Park

This self-guided tour is a follow-up to the 1:00 session Brighton and Vermont State Park’s Mid-Century Modern Architecture (Session A1,  1:30-2:00).

Maps will be available for a self-guided visit to the park.


4:00 Closing Plenary Reception  -  Location to be Announced!

Chief Don Stevens and Billie Largy

  • Nulhegan Abenaki drumming closing
  • Preservation Trust of Vermont Raffle Drawing


Click Here to Register for the Conference
Registration Deadline: April 23


We are very grateful to this year's
Conference Sponsors

Arnold & Scangas Architects

Community National Bank

Passumpsic Savings Bank

Vermont Community Foundation – Northeast Kingdom Fund

Vermont Agency of Transportation

Lakefront Inn & Motel, Island Pond

University of Vermont Historic - Preservation Program

Vermont Housing and Conservation Board

Downs Rachlin Martin PLLC


Need Overnight Accomodations? Click Here