PTV Highlights: 2008

The Preservation Trust of Vermont was founded in 1980 to initiate and assist community and statewide efforts to preserve and use Vermont's rich collection of historic, architectural, and cultural resources. A primary focus is on downtown and village center vitality.

The Preservation Trust works primarily by building local capacity through technical assistance, encouragement, and grant support. On a statewide level, the Trust and partners lobby for legislation that protects and strengthens downtowns, village centers, and the Vermont character.

Community Supported Enterprises

This year we began a new initiative to support our downtown and village center work. In many small downtowns and village centers, residents have realized that there are a handful of essential businesses that are necessary for a vital community center. Though it may be different from community to community; village stores, restaurants and cafes, and bookstores are the kind of enterprises essential for successful places. There are a lot of antecedents to this effort: community supported agriculture is one general example, and so are other specific projects we've worked on in the past, including the Grand Isle Lake House and the Latchis Theater and Hotel in Brattleboro.

In Hardwick this year, we helped Claire's Restaurant get organized, and we are supporting their first year of operation. In Putney, local supporters and we helped a young entrepreneur start up a new bookstore to replace a store that closed earlier in the year. Elsewhere, we're helping others who are working on village stores, community cafes and bakeries, and an art movie house that is a key part of its community's vitality.

For more information, check out Community Supported Enterprises on our website.

Here is the rest of what we have done in the past year:

  • We provided field service support to 245 historic preservation projects in 139 different communities. Two examples are the Ferrisburgh Grange and the North Hero Community Hall which were "rescued" by their respective communities with technical assistance and financial help from the Preservation Trust. The Field Service Program is a partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
  • Our partnership with the Freeman Foundation enabled us to provide Preservation Grants totaling $590,000 to 19 projects around the state.
  • Our Robert Sincerbeaux Fund is named for our first benefactor who provided support to us through his two foundations. This year we awarded 56 seed grants to assist a wide variety of local initiatives.
  • Through a generous gift from the Adelard A. and Valeda Lea Roy Foundation, we provided grants to the Warren Town Hall and the Warren Village Dam Preservation Trust.
  • Two years ago we developed a partnership with Mad River Glen to rehabilitate their single chairlift. It is a tangible piece of the early ski industry in Vermont and the nation and is the last remaining single chair in its original location. The capital campaign was completed this year and raised over $1.6 million.
  • We spend a lot time in Montpelier supporting funding for the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation and the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board. In addition, we work in partnership with Smart Growth Vermont for the tax credits that support the rehabilitation of historic buildings in our downtowns and village centers. This year we were successful encouraging the Legislature to include increased Designated Downtown and Village Center tax credits in the economic stimulus package- a real validation of the importance of historic preservation in the economic development process.
  • The Grand Isle Lake House began operation in 1998, after it was donated to us by Bob and Cindy Hoehl. Now it is a special events facility with particular emphasis on using it during the week as a site for nonprofit retreats, training, and mentoring. This year the Preservation Trust retreats and mentoring programs served 75 local organizations that are involved in a variety of historic preservation and community revitalization efforts. All told, over 90 community groups and nonprofits held retreats and training sessions at the Lake House. In addition, with support from the 1772 Foundation, we began the next phase of rehabilitation work on the Lake House.

Our Current Challenges

  • Energy use in historic buildings is a big challenge for many, including Shard Villa in Salisbury. Reconciling annual costs with the inherent long-term sustainability of historic buildings is one of our tasks. In 2008 Eric Gilbertson and Ann Cousins joined staff members from the Division for Historic Preservation, Efficiency Vermont, and Jeremiah Parker Restoration to learn about weatherization options and adopt agreed-upon treatments for historic buildings.
  • If you travel in parts around the nation, you will see dead and dying downtowns in state after state. Vermont is lucky to have its downtowns still largely successful, but they all are very fragile and some have numerous vacancies.
  • Our work on sprawl and out of town big box development continues. This year Home Depot pulled their permit application in central Vermont in the face of a weakening economy and strong opposition from a very committed group of local citizens and the Preservation Trust. Wal-Mart continues to have pending applications in Bennington and St. Albans, and we continue to work with local citizens and the Vermont Natural Resources Council to encourage better in-town solutions. There are also threats of other big boxes in St. Albans and Derby. In Middlebury, we are supporting a citizens group that is opposing a proposed Staples south of town.

Grants Summary

19 Preservation Grants in Partnership with the Freeman Foundation
Adamant Community Club located in the former Schoolhouse
Adamant Cooperative
Barton, Orleans County Fairgrounds Grand Stand and Barn
Brooksville Church, Middlebury Area Land Trust
Brownington, Old Stone House Museum’s Samuel Read Hall House
East Barre Congregational Church
Guilford, Brattleboro Area Community Land Trust for the Tontine Building housing
Newark Union Church
Newport, St. Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church
North Danville, Old North Church
North Hero Community Hall
Pawlet Historical Society: for the North Pawlet and Braintree one-roomed schoolhouses
Pittsford Congregational Church
St. Johnsbury, Catamount Arts
St. Johnsbury, Town of St. Johnsbury: Railroad Station
Stannard Historical Society
Waits River, New Hope Church
Williamstown, United Federated Church
Windsor, Armory Square housing

57 Robert Sincerbeaux Fund Grants
Adamant Community Club
Adamant Co-op
Addison, Adirondack Architectural Heritage, Friends of the Lake Champlain Bridge
Arlington, St. James Church
Arlington, Canfield Fisher Barn
Bellows Falls, Immanuel Church
Bennington, Better Bennington:Digital Downtown Mapping
Bethel United Churches
Brandon Free Public Library
Castleton Federated Church
Danville, The Old North Church
Dorset Marble Sidewalk Project
East Hardwick, Caledonia Grange #9
Glover Community Church
Grafton Brick Church
Greensboro Bend United Methodist Church
Greensboro, Circus Smirkus
Greensboro Library
Guilford, Broad Brook Grange
Hardwick, G.R.A.C.E.
Hartford Church of Christ
Isle La Motte, Dyer Hill Stone House
Isle La Motte Town Hall
Jerusalem Schoolhouse
Lincoln, Burnham Hall
Middlebury Transitional Care Coalition
Middlebury, Vermont Folklife Center
Monkton Schoolhouse
Morristown Alliance for Culture and Commerce
Newport, St. Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church
New Haven Mills Union Church
Norwich Community Bandshell
Pownal Center Community Church
Putney General Store
Richmond, East Monitor and Carriage Barns
Rochester Public Library
Rockingham Area Museum Project
Royalton, First Congregational Church
Rutland, College of St. Joseph
Salisbury Historical Society and Town Library
Shaftsbury Historical Society
Shaftsbury Town Hall
Slate Valley Regional Ministry
Springfield, Spencer Hollow School
Springfield, Ellis Block and Theater
St. Albans, Franklin Co. Senior Center
St. George Schoolhouse
Starksboro Country Store
Thetford United Churches
Wallingford, First Congregation Church
Wells, St. Paul's Episcopal Church
West Dover Congregational Church
West Windsor, Brownsville Grange
Westford United Church
Westminster Aqueduct Gate House
Wolcott Schoolhouse

6 Barn Assessment Grants in Partnership with the Burlington Free Press
Brookfield, Mallenstein Barn
East Corinth, Apfel Barn
Fayston, Bragg Farm Barn
Putney, Praeger Barn
Thetford, Zack Barn
Woodstock, Delay Barn