Preservation Trust Establishes Revolving Fund
In June 2011, the Preservation Trust of Vermont established a Historic Places Revolving Fund with a $65,000 grant from the 1772 Foundation — a Connecticut-based foundation that helps preservation projects and organizations around the nation. The goal of the fund is to acquire options on properties that are threatened in one way or another and then to find new owners and new economic uses for them.
Whether it is a very early Vermont building that has survived for generations or a more recent, yet still historically significant structure, these buildings all tell Vermont’s story through their architecture and what we know of the lives of people that inhabited them. And there’s something about the Yankee ethic — you don’t throw something away that has value and use.
Historic buildings define the character of a community and add to a definite sense of place in a community. Furthermore, the quality of these buildings tends to be substantially higher than new construction today. Attention to downtowns, which are the heart of communities, is important; at the center of these gathering places are historic buildings.
Vermont Marble Museum, Proctor, VT
Located in Proctor, Vermont, The Vermont Marble Museum tells the story of what was once the largest marble company in the world and one of Vermont's most important industries.
In the spring of 2012, after many years of operations, the current owners decided to close the Museum and sell the collection. The Preservation Trust stepped in, hoping to raise enough money to purchase the entire operation with the ultimate goal of keeping the collection intact and finding a new non-profit owner to run the museum in its current location in Proctor.
Barnard General Store, Barnard, VT
When the current owners closed the store in the summer of 2012, a group of local citizens took action to attempt to keep it as a local store and meeting place. The Preservation Trust acquired an option while they worked to raise money to purchase the building.
This is a wonderful success story. A local community group, the Barnard Community Trust, purchased the store for $500,000 in late January. They kept the space open during this transition period to serve as a community gathering place by offering coffee and baked goods every weekday morning and are now hoping to have the store reopen in April 2013.
Click here to visit the Friends of the Barnard General Store website.
Watershed Tavern, Brandon, VT
When Tropical Storm Irene inundated downtown Brandon in August, 2011 the c. 1885 Watershed Tavern, located on the falls of the Neshobe River, was flooded but survived, even though the building next door was washed into the middle of Route 7. The property is in need of rehabilitation and major structural repairs but, with the help of a new owner, can continue to be an asset to downtown Brandon for at least another 100 years.
The Governor Martin Chittenden House in Jericho, Vermont is an impressive house with an equally impressive history. The Historic Places Revolving Fund is working with the current owners to find an appropriate buyer and to protect the property for future generations. Located along the Winooski River, the house was constructed in 1797 by Vermont’s first governor, Thomas Chittenden for his son Martin, as a wedding gift. Martin served in the US Congress from 1802-1813 when he then became Vermont’s 8th governor and served for two terms.
This house features prominently in Herbert Wheaton Congdon’s important early survey of Vermont Houses which was published in 1940. Congdon notes that the simple, two-story structure is embellished with a Flemish Bond brick pattern, which is relatively rare in Vermont buildings. Of equal significance is the interior feature over the fireplace, a wall painting on wood that depicts what is considered to be an early representation of the Vermont state seal.