Preservation Trust of Vermont:
30 Years of Support for Vermont Communities

1980 The Vermont Council of the Society of New England Antiquities, under the leadership of Ed Kellogg, a Vermont Law School professor, puts in motion the steps needed to establish an independent statewide historic preservation organization.

Round Church, Richmond, VT

Round Church, Richmond, VT
Photo by Sanders H. Milens

1980 Paul Bruhn hired as Executive Director of the Preservation Trust.

1981 Small grant program in partnership with Housing and Community Affairs was established. Recipients included Bethel, Windsor, White River Junction, Middlebury, W. Rutland, and Bellows Falls.

1982 Preservation Trust publishes Historic Preservation in Vermont, a basic book on historic preservation and its role in Vermont.

1982 First historic preservation easement is accepted on Williams Hill in Richmond. PTV now holds easements on 88 historic sites and structures around Vermont including Officers Row at Fort Ethan Allen, the Marble House in Fair Haven, and the Farm Barn at Shelburne Farms.

1983 Preservation Trust publishes 300 Things to See and Do: A Guide to Historic Sites and Districts, Museums, Covered Bridges, and Scenic Wonders.

1983 PTV forms partnership with the Vermont Arts Council to provide Architectural Historians in Residence in Vermont schools.

1983 The Eva Gebhard-Gourgaud Foundation provides funding that allows the Preservation Trust to award grants to rehabilitate Greensboro's Town Hall and Cornwall's Library and town offices.

1983 PTV is awarded Challenge Grant by the National Trust to help build the Preservation Trust's fundraising capacity.

1983 Again with support from Bob Sincerbeaux and the Eva Gebhard-Gourgaud Foundation, PTV is able to provide the first grant to Shelburne Farms to help plan the conversion of Shelburne House to an Inn.

1983 PTV publishes A Celebration of Vermont's Historic Architecture, a photography book by Sanders Milens.

1984 National Trust recognizes Robert Sincerbeaux with an Honor Award. Bob was a founding director of the Preservation Trust and our first major benefactor.

1984 Ellis L. Phillips Foundation makes first major grant to help PTV establish a Small Grants program. The Foundation provides the funds to establish PTV's Small Grants Fund, and continues to give for the next eight years before moving to Boston and changing funding priorities. In honor of PTV Board Member and foundation employee Pat Cate, the Foundation awards PTV a $10,000 grant in 1992.

Williams Hill, Richmond, VT

Williams Hill, Richmond, VT
Photo by Meg Campbell

1984 PTV accepts first gift of property, Williams Hill in Richmond, from the Eva Gebhard-Gourgaud Foundation.

1985 PTV and the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center produce a traveling exhibit based upon A Celebration of Vermont's Historic Architecture. The exhibit, now on display at the Grand Isle Lake House, opens in the Governor's Corridor in Montpelier and then travels around the state for two years.

1985 Williams Hill in Richmond sold and proceeds used to establish the Capital Fund. The fund provides annual income to the Preservation Trust and serves as a Reserve Fund to help the organization weather lean years.

1985 Awards Program established by the Preservation Trust. Over 150 Vermonters and projects have been recognized by the program.

1985 PTV works with Senator Robert Gannett to put on hold a proposed new Windsor County Courthouse on land near the Interstate, and explore locating it in downtown White River Junction.

1985 PTV works with Kunin Administration to establish a matching grants program at the Division for Historic Preservation. Since then 472 grants totaling $3,552,500 have been awarded.

Matteson House, North Bennington, VT

Matteson House, North Bennington, VT
Photo by Meg Campbell

1985 Bill and Babs Scott donate the Henry House, Matteson House, and 200 acres of land in North Bennington to the Preservation Trust.

1985 PTV publishes Vermont's Historic Architecture: A Second Celebration, a second photography book by Sanders Milens.

1986 Legislature approves locating Windsor County Courthouse in downtown White River Junction.

1986 With PTV’s support, the Vermont Legislature approves legislation allowing for the designation of local historic districts.

1986 Land conservation organizations, affordable housing groups, and the Preservation Trust begin work developing the concept for a housing and conservation fund.

1987 The Legislature approves and Governor Madeline Kunin signs into law the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board. In the time since, over 9,000 units of affordable housing have been developed (many in historic buildings located in village centers and downtowns), over 360,000 acres of farmland and recreational lands have been conserved, and scores of historic buildings have been rehabilitated for public use.

1988 PTV establishes The Fund for Vermont's Third Century. The program was designed to encourage communities to celebrate Vermont's Bicentennial in ways that would last. The $400,000 fund was made possible by the Merchants Bank, Windham Foundation, Bay Foundation, Blue Ridge Foundation, Cecil Howard Charitable Trust, and the Preservation Trust.

1989 The Scott Properties are sold and the Preservation Trust grants $100,000 to the Park-McCullough House in North Bennington and $50,000 to help establish the Bennington Region Preservation Trust.

1989 In partnership with UVM's Graduate Program in Historic Preservation, PTV helps establish a course to help teachers learn how to use their community and the built environment as a teaching tool.

1990 Cecil Howard Charitable Trust and the Eva Gebhard-Gourgaud Foundation decide to cease operations, and distribute their assets. PTV receives a gift of $100,000. The two foundations were managed by Robert Sincerbeaux and were the first major supporters of what is now the Vermont Land Trust and the Preservation Trust.

1991 PTV convenes a meeting at Shelburne Farms on the threat to historic barns. The main recommendation that emerges is a proposal to ask the Legislature to establish a grant program to support efforts to save Vermont's historic barns.

Olreans County Fairgrounds, Orleans, VT

Orleans County Fairgrounds, Orleans, VT
Photo by Sanders H. Milens

1991 PTV helps Bill and Babs Scott establish the Fund for North Bennington.

1991 After much internal debate, the Preservation Trust Board agrees on a strategy to deal with Wal-Mart. We understand the need of many Vermonters to have the kind of shopping opportunity provided by Wal-Mart, and we will support smaller scale stores that are built in our downtowns. And, we will strongly oppose stores proposed for out-of-town locations.

1992 PTV successfully leads the lobbying effort asking the Legislature to fund a barn grant program to be managed by the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation. PTV continues to lobby for funding, and over the years the Division has awarded 280 grants totaling $1,835,000.

1993 Because of the threat posed by Big Box development, Vermont is listed on the National Trust's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. PTV works with local organizations in Williston and St. Albans to stop Wal-Marts proposed for sprawl locations.

1993 PTV establishes the Founders Circle Club for donors who give the Preservation Trust $1,000 to $10,000 per year for general support. The program now supports one-third of the general fund.

1993 PTV publishes Organizing Volunteers for Preservation Projects, a “how-to” book written by Judi Bell and Steve Harris who managed the Lincoln Historical Society's barn raising project.

1994 The Freeman Foundation begins grantmaking partnership with the Preservation Trust.

Montpelier City Hall

Montpelier City Hall, Montpelier, VT
Photo by Sanders H. Milens

1994 The Vermont Division for Historic Preservation establishes the Downtown Program in collaboration with the Preservation Trust.

1995 Shelburne Farms hosts the first annual statewide historic preservation conference. The conference was sponsored by the Preservation Trust, the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation and UVM’s Historic Preservation Program.

1995 PTV publishes A State Highway Project in Your Town by Jim Wick, a book to help community leaders advocate for community-friendly road and bridge projects.

1995 Shelburne Farms wins an Honor Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

1995 After a debate on Vermont Public Radio, Wal-Mart officials accept the Preservation Trust's invitation to visit Vermont to look at possible downtowns locations. Wal-Mart VP agrees to seriously explore a store in downtown Rutland.

1995 With author Marilyn Stout and artist Janet Fredericks, PTV develops a new book Vermont Village and Countryside Walks. The book is published by Vermont Life Magazine and the Preservation Trust.

1996 Vermont Country store and PTV establish The Local Storekeeper Awards Program. The program recognizes the value of village stores and highlights the best storekeepers. Over the four-year duration, the program honors over 40 village stores for their excellence.

1996 The Board establishes the Director's Fund with an initial gift from Christine Graham.

1996 Funding from the Freeman Foundation for preservation grants surpasses $1 million. Nearly 400 projects around the state have been supported by the partnership with the Preservation Trust. The partnership continues today.

1997 Marjorie Pierce donates her store and house to the Preservation Trust. Marjorie retains a life tenancy in the property. Her goal is to one re-open the store, with the help of PTV, so that it can again be a community gathering place.

Pierce's Store, North Shrewsbury, VT

Pierce Store, Shrewsbury, VT
Photo by Sanders H. Milens

1997 The Preservation Trust is awarded one of two national grants from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and The Mellon Foundation to establish a field service program to support local preservation efforts. Ann Cousins and Steve Libby are hired as the first Field Representatives.

1997 PTV reaches $1 million in total revenues for the first time. More than $650,000 is granted to various projects around the state.

1997 Bob and Cindy Hoehl donate the Former Camp Marycrest to the Preservation Trust. The Trust begins rehabilitation work on what will become the Grand Isle Lake House. A major grant from the Bay Foundation saved the distinctive wrap-around porch.

1997 Local citizens, the Vermont Land Trust, and PTV raise more then $400,000 to purchase the Clark Farm in Shelburne and save the land on Route 7 south of Shelburne from sprawl development.

1998 Wal-Mart opens in Williston and in downtown Rutland. The downtown Rutland store happened as a result of a two-day tour of Vermont downtowns for two of Wal-Mart's Vice Presidents who made a special trip to Vermont at the invitation of the Preservation Trust.

1998 The Vermont Housing and Conservation Board receives an Honor Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

1998 The Preservation Trust hires Meg Campbell to manage the historic preservation easement program. Over the next twelve years, PTV will hold in total 61 easements on historic properties throughout the state, the majority of which are co-held with the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board.

1998 Camp Marycrest is re-named the Grand Isle Lake House and reopens as a special event facility. PTV leases the property to Bev Watson and partners who operate the facility. The Lake House is used for weddings, and for retreats and training with special emphasis on nonprofit users during the week.

1998 In just two weeks, the Isle LaMotte Reef Association and the Preservation Trust raise over $200,000 and acquire the Fisk Quarry. It is a geologic landmark, and part of the earliest reef formed on earth.

1999 Allen and Ed Gartner donate a farm in Brandon to PTV. After conserving the wetlands with the Nature Conservancy, the adjacent house lots were sold.

Norman Library, Woodstock, VT

Norman Library, Woodstock, VT
Photo by Sanders H. Milens

1999 Donations from the Freeman Foundation reach $3 million since the partnership started in 1994. The grants have played a critical role in over $36 million of preservation work.

1999 PTV begins holding retreats at the Grand Isle Lake House. Since its inception, over 250 organizations and communities have participated, shared experiences, and left inspired to continue work in their communities.

1999 The Preservation Trust and partners acquire a key parcel of land at the intersection of Routes 7 and 22A in Ferrisburgh to protect the site from sprawl development. The 25 acre-site was largely conserved with some land set aside for a park and ride, visitor’s center, and a non-retail commercial site.

1999/2000 As part of the Preservation Trust's 20th anniversary year, the Burlington Free Press and PTV sponsor a special grants program called Better Communities for Vermont's Future. The program provides $157,000 in grants to help communities strengthen their downtowns and village centers.

2000 PTV celebrates its 20th Anniversary at Shelburne Farms Breeding Barn. Over 1,000 people attend and see more than 100 displays by local organizations who have successfully saved and reused historic buildings.

2000 PTV receives a Millennium grant from the Bay Foundation. The grant is used to build the endowment for the Director's Fund.

2000 PTV negotiates an option on the former Sweat-Comings Plant in Richford. One of the manufacturing buildings is saved, and is now used for a grocery store, health clinic, and affordable housing.

2000 In partnership with the Vermont Land Trust, PTV negotiates with the Brattleboro Retreat Farm to create a plan to keep the farm in agriculture. Ultimately the Windham Foundation, with support from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, purchases and conserves the property. VLT and VHCB co-hold an easement on the bulk of the land; PTV and VHCB co-hold an easement on the historic farm complex.

Latchis Theater, Brattleboro, VT

Latchis Theater, Brattleboro, VT
Photo by Sanders H. Milens

2000 PTV learns that the Latchis Hotel and Theater complex is for sale, and begins the process of finding a way to acquire the property, keep it in local ownership, and develop a first-class performing arts center. In June, the National Trust for Historic Preservation provides an intervention grant to fund feasibility work.

2001 PTV Board renames its Community Development Grants in honor of Robert Sincerbeaux. The fund provides small grants to local organizations that are working on saving historic buildings. Over the next decade, the fund will provide over 600 seed grants.

2002 Vermont Country Store provides PTV with a $25,000 grant to support the Village Store Initiative.

2002 Under the leadership of Board Member Bob Allen, CEO of the Vermont Country Store, PTV's Board approves a succession and sustainability plan for the organization.

2002 Barre Labor Hall and the Barre Historical Society are awarded an Honor Award from the National Trust.

2003 The Preservation Trust publishes 10 Reasons Why Vermont's Homegrown Economy Matters by Stacy Mitchell of the Institute of Local Self-Reliance.

2003 Local citizens and the Preservation Trust loses effort to stop Shaw's from building a mega-grocery store on Route 100, a location that will threaten the viability of a small grocery in downtown Waterbury.

2003 Brattleboro Arts Initiative, with considerable support from the Preservation Trust, acquires the Latchis Hotel and Theater complex. PTV provides over $400,000 in loans and grants for the effort.

2004 The Preservation Trust and the Vermont Land Trust publish Changed Lives, Strengthened Communities: Ten Years of Partnership with the Freeman Foundation
to honor the ten year anniversary of our partnerships with the Freeman Foundation. Preservation grants of $6,777,505 over the last decade support 237 preservation projects and play a significant role in $83,323,000 of Preservation Projects.

Green River Crib Dam, Guilford, VT

Green River Crib Dam, Guildford, VT
Photo by Sanders H. Milens

2004 PTV Board Member Emily Wadhams joins the National Trust's management team as Vice President for Public Policy.

2004 William Pinney, Vermont's first State Historic Preservation Officer, passes away. Bill was a passionate fighter for Vermont's historic resources, and was a strong advocate for starting the Preservation Trust. He hoped we would be a good advocate for historic preservation in Vermont, a task we've always tried to fulfill.

2004 Governor Douglas names PTV to the Growth Center Committee, a group tasked with sorting out the possibility of designating growth centers in the state. The idea came out of a retreat at the Grand Isle Lake convened by the Governor's staff and the Preservation Trust.

2005 Jane's Trust awards a $200,000 grant to the Preservation Trust to support the broad mission of historic preservation. Village stores, community revitalization, anti-sprawl activity, and creative economy initiatives are all examples of the kinds of efforts the grant supports.

2005 The Bay & Paul Foundations commit a $100,000 challenge grant to build the Director's Fund Endowment.

2005 After much soul searching, the PTV Board unanimously declines to participate in a new National Trust grant program that is to be funded by big box retailer Lowe's.

2005 The Preservation Trust celebrates its 25th anniversary with the publication of Vermont Gathering Places by Peter Miller.

Hardwick Town House, Hardwick, VT

Hardwick Town House, Hardwick, VT
Photo by Sanders H. Milens

2005 Senator Patrick Leahy and the Preservation Trust establish The Village Revitalization Initiative. The initiative supports small communities' efforts to strengthen their village centers. First grants are awarded to Bellows Falls Town Hall Theater, Bloomfield Town Hall, Brandon Town Hall, Brookfield Old Town hall, Hardwick Jeudevine Memorial Library, Hardwick Memorial Hall, Hardwick Town House, Salisbury Shard Villa, and Strafford Town Hall.

2006 Mad River Glen ski area and the Preservation Trust embark on a unique effort to rehabilitate the single chair ski lift, the last remaining single chair in its original location and an icon of the history of downhill skiing. The goal for the capital campaign is $1.5 million.

2006 Donors Frank and Bambi Hatch make a major contribution to establish an Advocacy Revolving Fund. The fund support efforts to maintain the essential character of Vermont.

2006 Preservation Trust and National Trust leadership travel to Bentonville, Arkansas to meet with Wal-Mart's CEO and Senior Leadership. Discussion focuses on the possibility of an 80,000 square foot prototype that would fit in downtowns.

2007 President of Wal-Mart USA Eduardo Castro-Wright and his real estate staff visit Vermont to look at and discuss possible downtown locations with the Preservation Trust and the National Trust. Castro-Wright expresses interest in developing a small-scale supercenter in downtown Burlington.

2007 Home Depot proposes a store on the strip in Berlin. Citizens group forms to oppose the project with support from the Preservation Trust. Less than six months later they pulled their Act 250 application.

2008 The Field Service Program has another remarkable year marked by serving 135 communities and 230 projects. Using the Preservation Trust's Field Service Program as the model, the National Trust wins a $5 million grant to help other statewide preservation organizations establish similar programs.

Aldrich Public Library, Barre, VT

Aldrich Public Library, Barre, VT

2008 In May, the 200-year-old Putney General Store sustains heavy damage in a fire. Based on the encouraging results of a structural engineer report, PTV negotiates an option on the property. The Putney Historical Society purchases the building in November and begins plans for stabilization, working closely with the Preservation Trust.

2008 Brandon Selectboard member proposes to build a 53,000 square foot shopping center a mile south of downtown. This development comes after several years of hard work by community members to build a vibrant downtown which has a total of 55,000 square feet of retail space. Citizens group forms with support of the Preservation Trust.

2008 Claire's Restaurant in downtown Hardwick opens as a community supported enterprise. The Preservation Trust helped develop a business structure for the charitable investors who own the space, equipment, and furnishings and for the restaurant operators. The arrangement protects the community investment, and allows the operator to open the restaurant with minimal debt. The Preservation Trust also covered the first years' rent.

2009 Under pressure from a group of citizens, Staples decides not to build a proposed store south of Middlebury. PTV supported the citizens group.

2009 Pierce Store re-opens in North Shrewsbury. When she donated the house and store to the Preservation Trust, it was Marjorie Pierce's hope and dream that her family's village store would become, once again, an important gathering place for her community. The effort to re-open and operate the store was led by the newly formed Shrewsbury Cooperative at Pierce's Store.

2009 Developers propose a Lowe's Home Improvement Center for an out-of-town location in St. Albans Town. Three months later, the developers withdraw their proposal in the face of opposition by those interested in maintaining locally owned businesses, the St. Albans Messenger newspaper, and the Preservation Trust .

2009 Derby Village Trustees, citizens, and the Preservation Trust oppose WESCO Oil Company’s plan to demolish two downtown buildings to build a Champlain Farms gas station/convenience store. As of October 2010, the buildings are standing and the fight continues in Environmental Court.

2009 Friends of the Champlain Bridge, with support from the Preservation Trust, attempt to save the Lake Champlain Bridge. When structural flaws made it impossible, the group refocuses its efforts to recommend a design that honors its setting, minimizes impact on resources, adds bicycle and pedestrian amenities, and is easy to maintain.

2009 In November, fire again strikes the Putney General Store, this time by an arsonist. The building is completely destroyed. With $300,000 raised, The Putney Historical Society had fully stabilized the building and was poised to complete the final phase of work with plans to reopen as a general store early in 2010. Devastated once again, the community rallied and begin the process of rebuilding and planning for a store opening in 2011.

Christ's Church, Island Pond, VT

Christ's Church, Island Pond, VT
Photo by Sanders H. Milens

2010 The Freeman Foundation continues historic preservation work through its partnership with the Preservation Trust. Over the 20 year partnership, 414 grant awards have been made throughout the state. The $10,512,510 in total grant-making has played a key role in over $120,000,000 in rehabilitation work.

2010 Brandon Development Review announces a mixed decision on the proposed out-of-town shopping center. They approve a grocery store but deny 40% of the project. Both the developer and the citizens group appeal the decision to the Environmental Court.

2010 With support from individual donors and foundations, The Preservation Trust completes $270,000 worth of rehabilitation work at the Grand Isle Lake House. In addition to being a highly successful wedding venue, the Lake House is used by over 90 nonprofit organizations each year for retreats and training.

2010 Grant funding by Village Revitalization Initiative partnership of Senator Patrick Leahy and the PreservationTrust tops $2.3 million. Projects include the Chandler Music Hall in Randolph, the Bullock Building in Readsboro, the Putney General Store, the Strafford Town House, the North Hero Community Hall, the Ferrisburgh Grange Hall, and the Richford Health Center and grocery store.

2010 The Preservation Trust receives trustees award for organizational excellence from the National Trust for Historic Preservation at the annual conference in Austin, Texas.

Board Presidents

Georgianna Brush 1980-1983

Peg Garland 1983-1987

Steve Baker 1987-1989

Steve Kimbell 1989-1991

Judy Hayward 1991-1994

Gerrit Kouwenhoven 1994-2004

Henry Jordan 2004-2010

Emily Wadhams 2010