The University of Vermont Historic Preservation Program and History Department are pleased to announce the appointments of Nora Mitchell and Rolf Diamant as Adjunct Associate Professors. Nora Mitchell is internationally known for her leadership in cultural landscape preservation efforts and scholarship. As the founding director of the Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation at the Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site in Brookline, Massachusetts, as well as through her leadership with the Stewardship Institute and the Conservation Study institute at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park and as a board member of US/ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites), Nora brings a wealth of experience in testing new methodologies for preserving cultural landscapes. Rolf Diamant has worked in historic preservation through his 37-year career with the National Park Service, serving as superintendent of several national historical parks and sites including Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site and Olmsted Archives, Lowell National Historical Park, Longfellow House Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site and Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park. The UVM Historic Preservation Program looks forward to the opportunity to engage with Nora Mitchell and Rolf Diamant through a broad range of potential collaborations, research and public service networking endeavors that could be of great value to our students, faculty and the University of Vermont, as well as to the field of cultural landscape studies, nationally and internationally.
Annually during the fall semester, the UVM Historic Preservation Program produces a 16-page newsletter that is distributed nationally to preservation organizations. For a printed copy of the current issue, please contact us at email@example.com.
The current issue and previous editions of the UVM Historic Preservation Program Newsletter are also available for downloading as pdfs:
Located at the head of the busy Church Street Marketplace in downtown Burlington, Vermont, the “Top Blocks” today attract residents and visitors to a wide range of shops and businesses, many of which are housed in historic buildings. But how has this important downtown space near the iconic 1816 Unitarian Church changed over the past two centuries? What stood here earlier?
Using historic photographs, maps, city directories, newspapers and archival records, students in the University of Vermont Historic Preservation Program's fall 2017 HP 206 Researching Historic Structures and Sites course traced evidence of these changes to the “Top Blocks.” Their research findings are now presented on-line at www.uvm.edu/~hp206/2017/ as a public service as part of the UVM Historic Preservation Program’s Historic Burlington Project.
Each student focused on the history of a section shown on this map:
A major fire at UVM’s Torrey Hall that started during renovations in August 2017 seriously burned its mansard roof. Although the Burlington Fire Department swiftly controlled the blaze, water damaged the interior. Fortunately, the Zadock Thompson Zoological Collection and the Pringle Herbarium specimens of the Plant Biology Departmnent were unharmed and their storage cabinets have been relocated.
In October, a team of historic preservation graduate students joined Professor Thomas Visser on a site visit after Torrey Hall had been cleared of water-damaged materials. Hosted by Scott O’Brien of UVM Physical Plant, the historic preservation team offered technical assistance to help the unversity with its planning for the preservation of the building and its surviving historic features.
At the 2017 historic preservation internship presentations, the following UVM HP graduate students spoke about their experiences working with leading preservation organizations and agencies:
For more about the accomplishments of these students, see the 2017 UVM Historic Preservation Program Newsletter.
1920s Burlington Landmarks, a research project produced by University of Vermont historic preservation graduate students in the fall 2016 HP 206 Researching Historic Structures and Sites course has been published at the UVM Historic Preservation Program’s Historic Burlington Project website. Historic sites included Burlington City Hall (1927) by Adrienne Dickerson; Central Fire Station (1926) by Gabrielle Fernandez; UVM’s Ira Allen Chapel (1927) by Austin White; Burlington Junior High School (1926) by Jake Collins; and Memorial Auditorium (1928) by Emma Haggerty, whose research piece has helped to support a growing interest in preserving Burlington’s Memorial Auditorium.
At a special city-wide event held to discuss the future of Burlington’s historic Memorial Auditorium, Professor Thomas D. Visser, director of the UVM Historic Preservation Program, was invited to speak on the significance of this civic treasure at Burlington City Hall. His presentation titled, “Memorial Auditorium’s Place in Burlington’s Civic Story” included his short video featuring historic photos of a broad range of community events held there since its grand opening in 1928.
In recognition of the completion of their Master of Science degrees in Historic Preservation, six University of Vermont historic preservation graduate students were honored at the December 2016 Graduate Hooding Ceremony held in UVM’s historic Ira Allen Chapel.
Shown here after the event are Daniel Rhode, William Grenier, Liz King, Professor Thomas Visser, Benjamin Haley, Julia Grey, Jessie McNabb, Professor Robert McCullough and Barbara Bosworth, who is continuing her historic preservation studies part-time. Photograph by Kathy Truax.
UVM Historic Preservation students, alumni and faculty joined local and state preservationists at a Special Recognition Event held at Rokeby Museum in Ferrisburgh, Vermont on April 27, 2016.
Rokeby Museum’s director, Jane Williamson, a 1993 graduate of the University of Vermont Historic Preservation Program, spoke to the UVM students about her work in obtaining National Historic Landmark designation status for Rokeby as one of the America’s best-documented historic sites associated with the Underground Railroad and the pre-Civil War Abolitionist movement. Jane then led a special tour of the historic site and Rokeby Museum’s new Education Center with its award-winning exhibit, “Free & Safe: The Underground Railroad in Vermont.”
The main public event held at the Rokeby Museum Education Center recognized the outstanding preservation accomplishments of Rokeby’s board of directors, past and present employees, supporters and volunteers. Professor Thomas Visser provided a presentation with images and recollections of many preservation research and technical assistance projects conducted by UVM Historic Preservation Program faculty and students at Rokeby over the past thirty years. Rokeby board member Dean Leary, former director Karen Peterson, former Vermont Historic Preservation Officer Eric Gilbertson and others shared their memories of many preservation challenges and accomplishments at Rokeby. Special thanks were given to Harriet Patrick for her dedication, encouragement and longstanding support of historic preservation at both Rokeby and at the University of Vermont. A lively discussion with students, alumni and Rokeby Museum supporters and friends followed.
The afternoon event closed with a commemorative group photograph taken on the 1814 front porch of Rokeby with a display of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s iconic “This Place Matters” orange banner in celebration of the upcoming national Preservation Month.
The 2015-16 academic year provided the University of Vermont Historic Preservation Program with the opportunity to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of its founding, brought about through the remarkable foresight of Professor Emeritus Chester Liebs and the faculty of the UVM History Department. As one of the nation’s oldest academic historic preservation programs, the UVM Historic Preservation Program continues to prepare graduate students for a broad range of professional careers with historic preservation agencies, organizations and businesses. Historic preservation course offerings are also available to undergraduate students at the University of Vermont, as well as through Continuing Education.
In celebration of this milestone we acknowledged our gratitude for the ongoing support by the History Department, the College of Arts and Sciences and the University of Vermont. We extended our sincere appreciation to the many UVM alumni and other practicing preservation professionals who have shared their insights with our students by guest speaking in our seminar classes, by hosting site visits, by serving as adjunct instructors, and by supervising summer internships.
Furthermore we would like to thank the many donors to the Historic Preservation Program, and especially to acknowledge the major gifts to our historic preservation program endowment from the Patrick Foundation, the Sincerbeaux Foundation and the Eva Gebhard-Gourgaud Foundation. Revenues from this endowment primarily support student research travel scholarships and instructional equipment, computers and software for our labs and classrooms.
Our thanks are also extended to all those who have made recent generous contributions of books and periodicals to our Historic Preservation Resource Library. This on-reserve collection in Wheeler House has become a wonderfully convenient source of information and inspiration for our historic preservation students.
Very special thanks are also due to all the contributors to the UVM Historic Preservation Fund, whose gifts have helped to make possible the printing and distribution of our annual newsletter, as well as providing other instructional support for our historic preservation students. For those who would like to join with other alumni and friends in offering tax-deductible gift support, contributions designated to the UVM Historic Preservation Program Fund may be made online at http://alumni.uvm.edu/foundation/giving/online/
Jointly sponsored by the University of Vermont Historic Preservation Program and the UVM Historic Preservation Program Alumni Association, students, alumni, family, friends and faculty all welcomed the incoming class of HP graduate students at the 2015 UVM Historic Preservation Program Annual Student & Alumni Gathering, held on the west veranda of Wheeler House.
Thirty-eight original stereoview images from the University of Vermont Library Special Collections were scanned and researched by UVM Historic Preservation Program students, Paul Willard Gates, Tim Hulett, Michelle H. Johnstone, and Jacquelyn Lehmann in the fall of 2014 as a team project for their HP 206: Researching Historic Structures and Sites course taught by Prof. Thomas Visser. To share their research findings with the public, each student in the class developed a web page which has been incorporated into this site. The stereoviews of Burlington, Vermont scenes that were taken between the 1870s and the early 1900s include many views of local landmarks and scenic vistas. Of particular value to the study of the Burlington's historic environment are the many images of the then thriving industrial and maritime trade facilities along the city's Lake Champlain waterfront, as well as those showing the downtown commercial streets, the campus of the University of Vermont, and the adjoining Hill Section residential neighborhood. When such pictorial evidence as is shown in these stereoview images is coupled with historical information that may be obtained from historic maps, city directories, and other archival sources, researchers may be able to discover facts about the local historic environment that may be of great value to those responsible for guiding decisions to plan for the protection and conservation of significant surviving cultural resources and other historic preservation efforts.
Gathering in the apse of the University of Vermont's historic Billings Library (1885), designed by the famed American architect, Henry Hobson Richardson, the University of Vermont Historic Preservation Program celebrated the achievements of the students in the 2014 graduating class with a special award ceremony and reception.
How the field of historic preservation is changing is the topic of a news story featuring interviews with students, Frances Gubler and Egbert Stolk, as well as with the University of Vermont Historic Preservation Program’s director, Professor Thomas Visser. The nationally distributed article by Lee Ann Cox of UVM’s University Communications, explores how through its graduate curriculum and undergraduate course offerings, the UVM Historic Preservation Program is preparing students for a broad range of contemporary challenges and future career opportunities by addressing such issues as whole place conservation, community and economic development, diversity and social responsibility, environmental change, and sustainability. Click here to read the full news story.
The 20th annual historic preservation conference and downtown conference was held on May 2, 2014, in Island Pond, Vermont. Among the many alumni, students, and faculty of the University of Vermont Historic Preservation Program who assisted the Preservation Trust Vermont with organizing the conference, presenters included students Matt Goguen, who spoke about his research on the history of textile manufacturing at Winooski, Vermont, and Kyle Obenauer, who discussed his research into Burlington’s historic factories near the Lakeside neighborhood. Recent UVM graduates Kate Lepore and Courtney Doyle described how they founded Burlington’s Young Preservationists, Vermont’s newest preservation organization. And Thomas Visser, director of the UVM Historic Preservation Program, provided an illustrated presentation titled, “Vermont Porches: Realms of Character, Memory and Hope.”
Students in the HP 304 Contemporary Preservation Planning and Policy Seminar (above with professors Visser and McCullough) conducted a broad array of field research projects during the spring 2014 semester. In addition to conducting site visits and interviews with practicing professional preservationists, the students presented their findings in term paper reports and in class presentations.
Kyle Obenauer conducted field research with the Slave Dwelling Project, a nation-wide non-profit preservation planning organization based in the Charleston, South Carolina area whose mission is to help identify, educate, interpret, and develop resources to assist property owners, government agencies, and others in the preservation of extant slave dwellings. His fieldwork included archival research, accompanying the organization to an archaeological dig at Hampton Plantation, interviews with area preservationists and the public, and participation in the organization's most successful preservation initiative, an overnight stay in an extant slave dwelling at Georgetown, South Carolina's Hopsewee Plantation. Kyle is shown here with Joseph McGill (left), the founder of the Slave Dwelling Project.
Egbert Stolk’s research project examined gentrification and historic preservation in New York City. Much of his field work was conducted in Harlem, but he also studied the impacts of gentrification in other boroughs of New York, including Brooklyn. Through his interviews with various preservation leaders and local residents, Egbert uncovered evidence of the challenges and difficulties that may result when economic redevelopment policies negatively conflict with the desires of local residents to maintain existing neighborhood businesses, affordable housing, and community character.
Christopher Witman’s research topic was "How to Manage Redevelopment and a Town’s Sense of Place." For this study about the effectiveness of the National Main Street Program and how it may influence a community’s sense of place, Chris visited several communities near Chicago, Illinois. There, he conducted a survey by interviewing local individuals in Lombard and Libertyville to learn how the Main Street Program has affected their interpretations of their urban environment. The findings demonstrated the successes that can be achieved with downtown revitalizations, as well as showing the important roles that preservationists may provide when dealing with the complexities of maintaining the sense of place in communities.
Kate Hovanes examined state barn preservation initiatives through a comparative study of programs in Washington State, Vermont, and New Hampshire. Through her interviews with practicing professional preservationists in all three states, Kate documented such programs as state barn registries, rehabilitation grants, condition assessment grants, tax incentives, preservation easements, and public events. She also attended New Hampshire’s annual Old House and Barn Expo. Kate's report, "State Barn Preservation Initiatives: A Comparative Analysis" is a study of barn preservation initiatives conducted in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Washington State. It offers an objective assessment of the strengths and weaknesses in various approaches to barn grant and tax incentive programs, as well as state barn survey work. This comparison will hopefully prove useful for other states considering establishing similar initiatives.
Ashley Phillips traveled to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to research various innovative preservation planning approaches that are underway in many of the city’s neighborhoods. In addition to interviewing preservation leaders associated with Preservation Pittsburgh, she learned how conservation districts are helping to preserve important historic neighborhood resources while providing more flexibility and local support than might be achieved with more traditional preservation planning tools.
Greg Jacobs researched the innovative Lake Champlain Underwater Historic Preserves program that has been established by the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum in conjunction with State of Vermont Division for Historic Preservation. This system provides the public with access to historic shipwrecks through a system of sites that are marked with buoys and mooring systems. The removal or artifacts from the shipwrecks is prohibited. Access is free, but all divers must be certified and must register online.
Matthew Goguen visited Arthurdale, West Virginia, where he researched this 1930s planned community. Conceived as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project to provide housing for poor coal miners and their families, Arthurdale provided its new residents with simple suburban houses set on two-acre lots in rural West Virginia. In his study, Matt compared this worker resettlement project’s idealistic goals with the many challenging planning issues that this community now faces.
Frances Gubler studied land conservation initiatives in Vermont that intersect with the preservation of built structures and produced a report entitled "Quantifying 'Integrity' to Save Whole Places: A Study of Managing Change on the Vermont Cultural Landscape." Her goal was to assess how "cultural landscapes" or "whole places" (particularly rural agricultural sites) in Vermont are protected from new development or subdivision. She ultimately found that the components marking a historic property's "integrity" serve as an important basis for regulatory action and interpretation. She also examined how adaptive reuse and legal easements function to "manage change" and bridge the gap between Historic Preservation and Natural Land Conservation. To supplement her study, Fran visited historically important sites in Chittenden and Washington counties to document the successes, failures and challenges of this policy.
Karyn Norwood examined issues related to the preservation of historic religious buildings in rural Vermont. She conducted site visits and interviews in several Vermont communities to learn about a range of efforts that have been taken to help preserve churches for religious functions, as well as for other uses. Her examples included the preservation of the Old Round Church in Richmond, Vermont, which is listed as a National Historic Landmark. She also visited church preservation projects in Montgomery and Westford, Vermont.
This seminar course, which was taught by Thomas Visser, also featured guest lectures by practicing professional preservationists, many of whom are alumni of the University of Vermont Historic Preservation Program. Funding support for HP 304 Contemporary Preservation Planning and Policy research travel was provided to students by scholarship grants from the UVM Historic Preservation Program Endowment Fund.
A web site that explores the manufacturing heritage of Burlington and Winooski, Vermont was published by the UVM Historic Preservation Program. As part of an ongoing project that documents the historic environment of the Burlington, Vermont area, this public service research was conducted during the fall 2013 semester by students in the HP 206, Researching Historic Structures and Sites course taught by Thomas Visser, director of the Historic Preservation Program at the University of Vermont.
Two classes of the UVM Historic Preservation Program's fall Architectural Conservation II course were held at the Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, Vermont.
In addition to learning about restoration work done on the historic steamboat Ticonderoga, a National Historic Landmark, the HP 307 class also received instruction about advanced systems of environmental monitoring and controls that protect the museum's buildings and collections.
The incoming class of graduate students in the Historic Preservation Program were welcomed to the University of Vermont with a reception held on the restored west veranda of Wheeler House at the start of the fall 2013 semester. In addition to students and faculty, UVM Historic Preservation Program alumni attended the annual event.
Built in 1842, the historic Wheeler House has been conserved under the direction of the UVM Physical Plant Department and SAS Architects of Burlington. In addition to restoring the west veranda, new subsurface perimeter drains have been installed, the exterior was repainted, and the balustrades on the top of the building were restored to match their original designs.
For the final class of the 2013 spring semester, graduate students in the UVM Historic Preservation Program traveled by ferry across Lake Champlain for a day-long field trip hosted by Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH). Steven Engelhart, executive director of AARCH (and a UVM Historic Preservation Program alumnus) guided the tour with visits to the former AuSable Horse Nail Factory Company that now serves as the headquarters for AARCH in Keeseville, New York, as well as to several historic hydro-generating sites along the Ausable River. The highlight of the field trip was a visit to the Ausable Chasm heritage site. Accompanying the students were professors Robert McCullough and Thomas Visser of the University of Vermont Historic Preservation Program.
Students from Willowbank, an independent heritage education institution in Queenston, Ontario were special guests of the University of Vermont Historic Preservation Program in April 2013. After a brief campus tour, the group joined UVM students in the HP 304 Preservation Planning and Policy class taught by Prof. Thomas Visser. The topic of the afternoon seminar was History, Theory, and Practice of Historic Preservation - Future Trends and Career Opportunities. Willowbank's executive director, Julian Smith, offered his perspectives, sharing innovative theories of heritage conservation and the holistic education approaches being developed at this Canadian program. Prof. Visser then presented recent findings of his ongoing study into career opportunity trends in the historic preservation field. After a group discussion, Meg Campbell, a 1997 graduate of the UVM Historic Preservation Program who is now in charge of communications and the easement program of the Preservation Trust of Vermont, spoke about preservation easements and presented two short films that she has produced that highlight successful recent preservation projects in North Bennington, Vermont and at the Mad River Glen Ski Area Cooperative in Fayston, Vermont.
A new at-grade access to Wheeler House, designed to meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act while also complying with state and federal historic preservation standards, is now in service. The new entrance features push-button activated doors and an interior lift that provides wheelchair access to both the ground-level instructional facilities and up to the first story main offices. As part of this building rehabilitation project, the original 1842 rear lattice piazza was conserved and new energy efficient lighting was installed.
During the fall 2012 semester, students enrolled in HP 206 - Researching Historic Structures and Sites at the University of Vermont Historic Preservation Program produced a web site that summarizes the findings of their team research project which used a collection of early 20-th century postcards as a primary reference source.
Click here to visit the Burlington, Vermont: Early 20th-century Postcard Views web site.
Architectural conservator, Lucas Harmon, presented a guest lecture on methods and materials used for repointing historic masonry in a spring 2012 Architectural Conservation I class at UVM. The lecture included a hands-on demonstration of specialized procedures for slacking traditional quicklime and for using it to make custom-mixed lime-and-sand mortars. After graduating from the University of Vermont Historic Preservation Program in 2011, Luke Harmon has been working with the National Park Service and with firms that specialize in the conservation of historic buildings.
UVM graduate students in the fall 2011 HP 206: Researching Historic Structures and Sites course, have published a web site called the University Green Area Heritage Study that includes the findings of their research on the history of buildings and sites located in the University Green area of Burlington, Vermont. The historical research, photography, writing, and web page development for this class project was completed during the fall 2011 semester.
The University of Vermont and the National Park Service have entered into an innovative cooperative agreement to conduct research into the energy and environmental performance of interventions to historic building materials and systems.
Under this agreement, the UVM Historic Preservation Program and the UVM School of Engineering will work in collaboration with the NPS National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT) to explore new approaches for retrofitting existing buildings to improve their energy efficiency while respecting significant heritage features. Special emphasis is being placed on developing new approaches for improving energy performance and reducing operating costs of typical older dwellings.
Planning for this initiative has been assisted by the office of U. S. Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation, Housing Vermont, and the National Park Service.
UVM Historic Preservation Program students, faculty, and friends assisted the Preservation Trust of Vermont with cleaning up the circa 1820s Molloy-Delano House as a public service volunteer effort to help save this historic federal style house. Its recessed arcaded front piazza and vertical plank wall construction are distinctive architectural features.
Although the building located at Butler's Corner on Route 15 in Essex, Vermont had been neglected and was threatened with demolition, the Preservation Trust of Vermont secured an option in an attempt to save this local landmark and offered it for sale through its new Historic Places Revolving Fund. Unfortunately, demolition of this distinctive historic building later occurred with the approval of local and state authorities.
During the fall 2010 semester, graduate students enrolled in the Researching Historic Structures and Sites course at University of Vermont Historic Preservation Program documented over 900 barns Chittenden County, Vermont with the assistance of local volunteers as part of the Vermont Barn Census, a statewide project of the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation, the University of Vermont Historic Preservation Program, Historic Windsor's Preservation Education Institute, Save Vermont Barns, Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, and the Preservation Trust of Vermont.
Funding support for this project was provided in part by a Preserve America grant through the National Park Service to the State of Vermont Division for Historic Preservation. This project builds on research conducted by UVM graduate students in 2009 that included surveys of 13 Vermont towns, including three in Chittenden County. It is hoped that additional information on the history and features of these barns will be submitted by volunteers through the Vermont Barn Census project. To connect to the web site on the census of barns in the Chittenden County communities produced by the HP 206 class, click here.
The results of this research are being incorporated into the Vermont Barn Census by Joshua Phillips (UVM HPP '04), who was hired in the summer of 2011 by the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation to serve as the director of the Vermont Barn Census.
A day-long national symposium exploring the preservation of historic modernist buildings and how to rehabilitate them to be sustainable and functional in the 21st century was presented at the University of Vermont on June 25, 2010. Organized by the University of Vermont Campus Planning Services, the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation, and the University of Vermont Historic Preservation Program, the event featured keynote speaker: Christine Madrid French, Director, Modernism + Recent Past Program, National Trust for Historic Preservation. Other invited speakers include: Professor Glenn Andres, History of Art and Architecture Department, Middlebury College; Barbara A. Campagna, FAIA, LEED AP; Graham Gund Architect of the National Trust, Stewardship of Historic Sites, National Trust for Historic Preservation; Mike Jackson, FAIA, Chief Architect, Preservation Services, Illinois Historic Preservation Agency; James A. Jacobs, Ph.D., Historian, National Historic Landmarks Program, National Park Service; David N. Fixler, FAIA, LEED AP, Principal, Design and Preservation, Einhorn, Yaffee Prescott, Architecture & Engineering P.C.; Theodore H.M. Prudon, PhD, FAIA, Prudon & Partners LLP; Author of the book, Preservation of Modern Architecture.