UVM Launches Fifth Season of Popular Historic Tours
- By Jeffrey R. Wakefield
The fifth season of the University of Vermont's popular historic tour program is now under way. Led by UVM emeritus professor William Averyt, the weekly tours will take place Saturdays from 10 to noon through Oct. 13.
UVM was founded in 1791, the fifth oldest university in New England, and it boasts a bevy of both historic buildings, including more than a dozen on the National Register of Historic Places, and fascinating personalities.
Highlighted on the tour are such structures as the Old Mill, completed in 1829, whose cornerstone was laid by the Marquis de Lafayette; the Billings Library, completed in 1885, which leading 19th century architect H.H. Richardson considered his finest building; and Grasse Mount, a brick Federal style mansion built in 1804 by a local merchant, which later served as the residence of Vermont governor Cornelius P. Van Ness.
Tour guide Averyt also brings vividly to life the fascinating and complicated personalities who animate UVM’s history. Founder Ira Allen, for instance, was both a revolutionary war hero and sometimes slippery real estate speculator. UVM's third president, James Marsh, inspired Emerson and Thoreau, invented the modern university curriculum, and made Burlington the intellectual capital of America during the 1820s and 1830s. Professor Royall Tyler, a member of Vermont's Supreme Court in the 18th century, is said to be the model for the villain of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s House of Seven Gables, Judge Jaffrey Pyncheon. And 1879 alumnus John Dewey, whose grave is on campus, is considered one of American's greatest philosophers.
“UVM’s history goes deep,” said tour guide Averyt. “The story of UVM is a great yarn to be sure, but it also resonates with significance; through figures like Marsh and Dewey, the university played a role in shaping modern American thought.”
For more information on the tour and to register, visit www.uvm.edu/historictour.