UVM Historic Preservation Program Newsletter newsletter

The current UVM Historic Preservation Newsletter produced by UVM HPP graduate students is now available online as a pdf.

Previous UVM Historic Preservation Program newsletters are also available as pdfs by clicking on the following links:


Recognition Ceremony Honors Graduating Class

Gathering in the apse of UVM's historic Billings Library (1885), designed by the famed American architect, Henry Hobson Richardson, the University of Vermont Historic Preservation Program recently celebrated the achievements of the students in the graduating class with a special award ceremony and reception.

In the News: “The Modern Mission of Historic Preservation”

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, Thomas Visser. The recently published 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.

UVM Students, Alumni and Faculty at Statewide Preservation Conference

UVM HPP at Island Pond

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.”

Preservation Planning and Policy Field Research Projects Conducted by University of Vermont Historic Preservation Students

HP 304 class 2014

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.

Hovanes in barn 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.

Jacob Davis Farm 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.

Mills & Factories Web Site

A new web site that explores the manufacturing heritage of Burlington and Winooski, Vermont has recently been 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.

Shelburne Museum Site Visit


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, the class also received instruction from Richard Kerschner, the museum's Director of Preservation and Conservation, about advanced systems of environmental monitoring and controls that protect the museum's buildings and collections.

Welcome Reception

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.

Adirondack Heritage Field Trip


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.

Special Guests

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.

Accessibility Improvements

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.

Burlington, Vermont: Early 20th-century Postcard Views

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.      

Masonry Conservation Guest Lecture

HarmonArchitectural 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.

University Green Area Heritage Study

Old Mill postcardUVM 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.

Vermont State House Preservation Field Trip

UVM Historic Preservation Program graduate students enrolled in the HP 307, Architectural Conservation II course taught by Prof. Thomas Visser toured an architectural conservation project on the Vermont State House in Montpelier, Vermont in September 2011.

The plaster conservation and repainting work on the ceiling of the front portico was being done under the direction of preservation contractor, James Duggan (UVM HPP '08) through his firm, Preservation Unlimited.

The Vermont State House, which was designed in the Greek Revival style by architect Ammi B. Young between 1833 and 1838, burned in 1857, but was rebuilt retaining the original granite front portico. The coffered plaster ceiling of the portico and its spatter-painted decorative faux finishes being conserved had been installed in the 1850s.

Curator of State Buildings, David Schutz, and Assistant Curator of State Buildings, Tracy Martin (UVM HPP '09) also discussed plans for future conservation work on the State House dome with the students.

UVM and National Park Service to Research New Approaches for Energy Improvements for Historic Buildings

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 Students Assist Preservation Trust of Vermont With Historic Site Clean-up

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.

UVM Historic Preservation Graduate Students conduct Barn Census of Chittenden County

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.

UVM hosts Modernist Architecture Comes of Age symposium

Modernist Symposium logoA 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.