Preservation Awards 2009
At the 2009 annual Preservation Conference in Isle La Motte, 250 people were on hand to recognize eight organizations and individuals receiving Honor Awards from the Preservation Trust of Vermont. The awards recognize individuals, organizations and communities that have played a key role in rehabilitating and preserving historic places that hold special importance to their communities.
Vermont is fortunate to have many dedicated individuals and organizations that are passionate about saving and reusing their historic places and contributing to their communities. These historic sites have much to do with defining the character of communities and Vermont as a whole,and we’re especially lucky to have such a wonderful collection of award winners this year.
The Colchester Historical Society for the rescue and restoration of the Log Schoolhouse
In August of 2000 the MacDonald family was dismantling their camp when they uncovered what turned out to be a long-forgotten 1815 Schoolhouse. The Colchester Historical Society worked with the MacDonald’s to temporarily move the log house to Town property until a permanent location could be found and funds raised. By 2004, they hired a project manager and identified a home for the schoolhouse at Airport Park. Over the next four years, with local fundraising and help from a VT Agency of Transportation Enhancement Grant, State grants, and funding from the Preservation Trust of Vermont in partnership with the Freeman Foundation—and with guidance from Arnold and Scangas Architects—the schoolhouse was restored based on historic photographs and physical evidence. Today the Colchester Log Schoolhouse serves as a visitor center and a museum. The Colchester Historical Society has not only saved the oldest known structure in Malletts Bay but has provided the community with a place for showcasing their history and heritage.
I’d like to present this Honor Award to Carol Reichard and Tom Mulcahy representing the Colchester Historical Society, in recognition of their tireless efforts to save the Log Schoolhouse.
Mad River Glen for the restoration of the Single Chair Lift
Mad River Glen’s Single Chair is more than a chair lift; it is an engineering marvel reflective of the imaginative innovators that changed the face of the American ski industry when the lift first opened in 1948. In December 2007, the lift reopened following a total rehabilitation made possible by a successful capital campaign that raised over $1.7 million in donations from more than 1,500 individuals. The dedication ceremony recreated Mad River Glen’s opening day in 1948, complete with Miss Vermont 1948 Jean Peatman on hand to help Miss Vermont 2007 Rachel Ann Cole ceremonially “unlock” the restored Single Chair.
Receiving this Award are Bill Reynolds, Chair of the Board of Trustees of Mad River Cooperative; and Geordie Hall who served as Chair of the Capital Campaign. General Manager, Jamey Wimble, was not able to be here today, but should also be recognized.
Silas Towler and the Ferrisburgh Grange Community Center
In 2003 when Ferrisburgh began searching for a larger town office complex, Silas Towler with several other residents banded together to promote the slowly deteriorating and underutilized Grange Building. In 2004 when citizens voted to renovate the newly acquired Hall, Silas stepped forward to assist and again banded together with community members to form a “Friends of the Ferrisburgh Grange” organization. However days before construction was scheduled to begin, on the night of February 15, 2005; an arsonist set fire to the historic Grange building. The following morning, only a shell remained. Silas assumed chairmanship of the building committee and urged the Selectboard to stay the course. Noting his talents, Silas was designated to head a salvage effort to measure, salvage, and store architectural features for restoration and replication. For the next 2 years, in his unpaid capacity with the Town, Silas reviewed all insurance documents and created counter offers. Once settled, Silas became the town’s primary liaison, meeting with contractor representatives on a weekly basis and conducting bi-weekly meetings of the citizen building and fundraising committees. Finally on June 21, 2008, the building was completed and dedicated. Without Silas Towler and his perseverance to see the Grange Hall re-built to exact specifications, the town of Ferrisburgh would not have this landmark.
You probably won’t be surprised to learn that there was a second nomination from Ferrisburgh. This one was from Silas Towler crediting countless groups that participated in the Grange Community Center’s re-construction…from the UVM volunteers who helped with the salvage to each State Department that provided a permit. Silas credits all of them.
We have two honor awards: one honoring the Grange Community Hall project…and the other honoring Silas Towler.
Windham Housing Trust and Friends of Algiers for the Tontine Building Rehabilitation project
The Tontine Building in Algiers Village is a 19th century Federal-style building with a “hardworking past and a fresh new beginning”. The first significant addition to affordable housing in the town of Guilford, the historic building now offers seven fully renovated apartments in the village center for area residents. Located on the corner of Route 5 and the Guilford Center Road, the 1819 Tontine Building is an important historic anchor in Guilford’s Algiers Village. The building is one of several surviving structures built by an early group of entrepreneurs who utilized available water power from the nearby Broad Brook. The building, with 25 owners in 150 years, has been through many transformations and housed a mix of commercial and single and multi-family uses. Completed last fall, the extensive rehabilitation of this historic landmark is a symbol of a highly successful partnership between a regional non-profit affordable housing organization, the Windham Housing Trust and a local community group, the Friends of Algiers Village, and a renewed sense of identity in the community and vision for the future.
Accepting this award on behalf of Friends of Algiers and the Windham Housing Trust are Fred Humphrey and Eric Morse.
Richard Middleton for rehabilitation of the Hill House stone barn
Richard Middleton is the owner of one of the historically most significant properties in Grand Isle County, the Ira Hill stone house at the central crossroads on Isle La Motte. In 2007, with the advice of preservation architect, Glenn Bydwell, and with a barn grant from the Division for Historic Preservation he began a multi year process to rehabilitate the attached stone stable and cider house. Richard's willingness to preserve this structure, largely at his own expense, displays a sincere generosity he has demonstrated over the past fifteen years in earlier projects that restored the Hill House's two-story Victorian verandah, replaced its roof, and installed a geothermal heating system.
We are pleased to present Richard with this Honor Award and to thank him and his architect, Glenn Bydwell, for graciously opening up the barn for a tour this afternoon.
Union Bank in Morrisville
Union Bank opened on July 27, 1891 on Portland Street in Morrisville and a year relocated to a newly constructed building on Main Street. In 2007, the Bank reacquired its 1892 Bank building from the Town of Morristown and renovated the adjoining Centennial Block for its new offices, highlighting the bank’s commitment to Morrisville’s downtown revitalization efforts. This statement over-simplifies the story however. The Bank, in purchasing the building back from the Town, initiated a string of events with numerous benefits. This renovation enabled the Town offices to remain downtown by providing funds that allowed the Town to renovate another downtown space. The Bank also made a large donation to help move forward the rehabilitation of the Town library and undertook a their own multi-million dollar rehabilitation of the old bank building and the entire block next door. Downtown Morrisville received a tremendous facelift at its major intersection and has inspired other to invest in downtown. The Union Bank has shown leadership and through sound fundamental values of historic preservation and commitment to its community.
Receiving this award on behalf of Union Bank is Heather Sargeant.
Orleans County Historical Society and the Old Stone House Museum for rehabilitation of the Samuel Read Hall House
The Old Stone House Museum purchased the Samuel Read Hall House in 2005 to preserve and protect the Brownington Historic District. Built in 1831, it is one of the finest examples of Federal style architecture in the county. Starting in May 2008, the Historical Society and Museum began an extensive rehabilitation project including code compliance improvements so that the building can now be used for public events. The newly-rehabilitated and weatherized Hall House will allow the Old Stone House Museum to use the facility for year round classes, and it will be used as an income generating property for private events such as weddings and retreats, dinners and picnics. The Old Stone House Museum is growing to serve the rural communities of Orleans County, the State of Vermont, and tourists.
Receiving the award is Director Peggy Day Gibson
Vermont Museum and Gallery Alliance
The Vermont Museum and Gallery Alliance (VMGA) was founded in 1984 as a consortium of museums, art galleries and historical societies. Many of these organizations are housed in historic structures that are the centers of cultural activities within their communities.
On this, the 25th anniversary of the organization, we are pleased to honor VMGA with this award that will be received by past-director, Chris Hadsel and Board Chair, Elsa Gilbertson.