PTV Highlights: 2010

We've never had a year like 2010. Normally, we have our successes and some losses. That's true of our day-to-day work, but this year all of that is overwhelmed by the loss of too many great and special friends and supporters.

All of us connected with the Preservation Trust have lost four extraordinary people who believed in our work and provided us with the tools and resources to do our jobs better and more effectively. More importantly, each one was a close personal friend with whom we shared special moments and experiences.

Henry Jordan

Henry and Barrie Jordan's commitment to the sustainability of PTV is immeasurable.

Henry Jordan was our Board Chair. He and his wife Barrie were committed to building a sustainable future for our work and our organization. Henry's love of life infused our work and often gave us the energy to move forward. It would be impossible to overstate the importance of his leadership to the Preservation Trust and their passion for Vermont.

St. Albans, VT

The support of Frank Hatch and his wife Serena helped us protect and strengthen our downtowns across the state like St. Albans.

Frank Hatch and his wife Serena provided much support including a major gift to establish an advocacy fund that helps us do our best to protect and strengthen the essential character of Vermont. Frank was a particularly wonderful person to share ideas and strategies with; he helped us explore the evolving role of the Preservation Trust.

Grand Isle Lake House, July 2010

Bob and Cindy Hoehl's gift of the Grand Isle Lake House has enabled PTV to expand our mission and services over the last decade to include preservation retreats and much more.

Bob Hoehl, with his wife Cindy, gave us the Grand Isle Lake House, which has become the public face of the Preservation Trust and the place where community leaders learn from each other and are inspired by what's possible. In addition, Bob served on our Board and brought common sense wisdom to our decision-making.

Greensboro Bend Childcare

The Greensboro Bend Childcare is one of many historic buildings that received grant funding through the Freeman Foundation and has played a key role in increasing the vitality of our communities.

After the death of his father, Houghton "Buck" Freeman assumed the position of Chairman of the Freeman Foundation and, with his wife Doreen and their son Graeme, provided a remarkable level of financial support over the past sixteen years that has touched virtually every community in Vermont. If you enjoy the beauty of a restored public or community building in your town, you should know that the Freemans very likely had a part in the effort.

The Preservation Trust and our many local partners were not, of course, the only passion of these men and their families. Their philanthropic interests supported and inspired dozens of organizations in Vermont and hundreds more in places throughout the nation, literally touching the world. Their collective legacy in Vermont can be found in our village centers and downtowns, our farm and forest lands, libraries, new agriculture and community supported enterprises, our university and colleges, our healthcare system, and the many services that are so crucial to children, women, and families.

I hope we all can be good stewards of what these special people have provided us.


Paul Bruhn, Executive Director


National Trust for Historic Preservation Trustees’ Award for Organizational Excellence

At this year’s annual conference in Austin, Texas, the Trustees of the National Trust for Historic Preservation presented the Preservation Trust of Vermont with their Award for Organizational Excellence. Here are excerpts from National Trust's announcement:

PTV Staff and Friends, Photo by Sanders H. Milens

PTV Staff & Friends, 2010
Photo by Sanders H. Milens

The Preservation Trust of Vermont was founded with the goal of helping Vermonters save their historic places and that is exactly what has happened. In just three decades, the group has helped communities across the state save more than 1,000 buildings—village stores, post offices, schools, barns—all returned to productive use. Just this year alone, the Preservation Trust’s staff of five worked on 352 preservation projects in 155 communities.

“It’s impossible to catalogue the impact the Preservation Trust of Vermont and its executive director, Paul Bruhn, have had on nearly every town in the Green Mountain State,” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “This group’s passion, innovation, commitment and creativity have helped Vermonters keep their state a special place."

It is a tremendous honor for us at the Preservation Trust to have received this award, but we consider it an award that celebrates the hundreds of community organizations and thousands of local leaders and volunteers all over Vermont who are committed to saving and using their special places. The work we do wouldn't be possible without them and our many other partners.

Summary of Our Work in 2010

Each of the 352 preservation projects has a story about benefits or challenges for its community. Here are a few examples:

  • In Putney, we are working with the Historical Society and community to rebuild their downtown village store that was tragically lost to fire. They lost more than a store; it was a community gathering place and an economic engine for downtown. The new store is under construction is an example of a community supported enterprises.
  • In Poultney, we are working with the community and the Episcopal Diocese to find new uses for two churches no longer used for parish services. One of the churches, pristine with no electricity or plumbing, has been adopted by a Shakespeare Theater group that is committed to saving and using the building.
  • In Randolph, we are working with Vermont Technical College on the rehabilitation of the Federal style Allen House, which will serve as a model for energy sustainability and historic preservation, while training new students in best practices.
  • St. Albans, VT.  Photo by Sanders H. Milens

    Downtown St. Albans, VT
    Photo by Sanders H. Milens

    In St. Albans, we and the VT Natural Resources Council supported the Northwest Citizens for Responsible Growth’s continued opposition of a 150,000 square foot Wal-Mart outside of town. At the same time, we advocated for an 80,000 square foot store downtown. Our downtowns and village centers are celebrated as part of the Vermont brand, yet they are fragile and endangered from sprawl commercial development. Downtowns and village canters are a focus of our work.
  • Among the projects we worked on were 52 churches, meetinghouses, and synagogues; 30 downtowns and village centers; 28 historical societies and museums; 26 town halls and community centers; 12 libraries; 10 community supported enterprises, 8 performing arts venues; and 4 historic bridges.


As part of the Field Service Program, we awarded 50 Robert Sincerbeaux Fund grants for technical assistance. Architects, contractors, engineers, and consultants fulfilled these grants at a greatly reduced fee as a community service for nonprofit organization.

Barton Memorial Hall
Bennington, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church
Brattleboro Arts Initiative, Latchis
Brattleboro Museum and Art Center
Burlington College
Burlington, Robert Hull Fleming Museum
Castleton Masonic Lodge
East Burke, Mountain View Farm Animal Sanctuary Barn
East Concord Methodist Church
East Montpelier, Old Brick Church
East St. Johnsbury, Grove Cemetery Octagon Spring House
Fairfax Community Center, Baptist Church
Ferrisburgh Meeting House
Goshen, Ruth Stone Cottages
Granville Town Hall
Hardwick Center for Agricultural Economy, Atkins Field Granite Shed
Huntington Municipal Building
Huntington Town Hall
Island Pond, Christ the Episcopal Church
Jericho Center Community Center
Killington, Church of our Savior Mission Farm
Lincoln Burnham Hall
Lower Waterford Congregational Church
Ludlow, Tyson Church
Middlebury Community House
Montpelier, Christ Church
Morrisville, River Arts, Bornemann Building
New Haven Municipal Building
Newport, Memphremagog Rentals
Newport, St. Mark’s Church
North Hero, Island Arts
North Hero Community Center
Northfield United Church
Panton Town Hall
Poultney, Trinity Church
Poultney United Methodist Church
Randolph, VT Technical College, Allen House
Rockingham Arts and Museum Project
Sheffield Baptist Church
Shoreham, Platt Library
South Pomfret, Abbott Memorial Library
St. Johnsbury Historical Society, Machine Shop
Starksboro Town Hall
Tunbridge Church and Parish House
Vergennes, John Graham Emergency Shelter
Westminster Town Hall
Windsor, Historic Windsor, VT Housing and Conservation Board Workshop
Windsor, The Old South Church
Vermont Housing and Finance Agency
Vermont Humanities Council
Vermont Interfaith Power and Light
Vermont Statewide, Gozaik Heritage Tourism Sites Documentation


Statewide we visited with 35 barn owners to provide technical assistance for repairs; ten received barn grants for a condition assessment. Many barn owners subsequently applied for a grant from the Division for Historic Preservation.

Benson, Tyler Barn
Brookfield, Fink Carriage Barn
Brookfield, Forrer Barn
Isle La Motte, Goodsell Ridge Preserve
Isle La Motte, Strata Barn
Montpelier, Saudek Barn
North Hero, Island Arts Barn
Richmond, Bonneau Barn
Ryegate, Nelson Barn
Westford, Evelyn Manley Trust Barn

Galusha Homestead, Shaftebury, VT

Galusha Homestead, Shaftsbury, VT

The Preservation Trust holds historic preservation easements on over 90 properties around the state. Among these are 87 historic buildings, two archaeological sites, and two structures: the Mad River Glen Single Chair Lift and the Martin Covered Bridge in Marshfield. The Preservation Trust solely holds a number of the easements, but the majority are co-held with the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board. Each year we provide stewardship visits to the easement properties. A complete list of easement properties can be found on our web site.


Our partnership with the Freeman Foundation enabled us to award eight Preservation Grants totaling $180,000. It is impossible to overstate how important each project is to its community.

Mountain View Animal Sanctuary, East Burke, VT

Mountain View Farm Animal Sanctuary, East Burke, VT

  • East Burke, Mountain View Farm
  • Animal Sanctuary Barn
  • East Concord Methodist Church
  • East St. Johnsbury, Third
  • Congregational Church
  • Guilford, Friends of Algiers Village,
  • Guilford General Store
  • Island Pond Town Hall
  • Lunenburg Congregational Church
  • Lunenburg Methodist Church
  • Lunenburg Old Town Hall




Through a new Community Forestry Project, the Preservation Trust is offering grants for tree planting in Designated Downtowns and Village Centers. Funding for this effort is provided by Bruce Lisman. In 2010, nine communities received Tree Planting Grants:

  • Bristol
  • Middlebury
  • Montpelier
  • Morristown
  • Newport
  • Peacham
  • Poultney
  • Waterbury
  • Woodstock


Ellis Block, Springfield, VT

Ellis Block, Springfield, VT

In partnership with Senator Leahy, the Village Revitalization Initiative awarded $675,000 to six community development and historic preservation projects in 2009. Two projects were added in 2010: a grant to Housing Vermont for the rehabilitation of the Ellis Block in Springfield, and to Friends of Algiers Village for the rehabilitation of the Guilford General Store. An additional amount was secured for the Putney Historical Society, following a devastating fire, which destroyed the building. The total grant over the two years is $925,000.

  • Guilford, Friends of Algiers Village for the Guilford General Store
  • Poultney, Green Mountain College for Bentley Hall
  • Putney Historical Society for the Putney General Store
  • Randolph, Chandler Center for Arts and Music
  • Readsboro Hometown Development Corp. for the downtown Bullock Block
  • Richmond Historical Society for the
  • Richmond Round Church
  • Shoreham, Newton Academy
  • Springfield, Housing Vermont for the downtown Ellis Block

As we end the year, we our mindful of the efforts of thousands of volunteers across the State who care about their communities and are working to protect their special places. Together these efforts help to safeguard the character of Vermont.