University of Vermont Historic Preservation Program students began this research project for Professor Thomas Visser’s HP 206 Researching Historic Structures and Sites course in the Fall 2019 semester. These students, authors on this website, were tasked with studying the history of UVM's Redstone campus buildings, structures and landscapes. Each student researched four properties with a focus on developing an understanding of how the history each property fits into the narrative of the UVM Redstone campus history. Their research made use of a number of historic resources such as the UVM Silver Special Collections Library, university archives and yearbooks, as well as such newspapers as the Burlington Free Press and the UVM Cynic.
The focus of this research on the history of the UVM Redstone campus ties together a number of important threads, both for UVM's history and women’s history, as 2020 brings the one-hundredth anniversary of both the University of Vermont’s acquisition of the Redstone campus and the passage of the nineteenth amendment to the U.S. Constitution that granted women’s suffrage. Yet the nationwide legalization of women’s suffrage contrasts with the initial development of the Redstone campus as a segregated community of female scholars. The research thus explores the history of Redstone as it moved from a wealthy estate to a segregated women’s campus, and finally to a fully integrated part of the University of Vermont’s system of housing, instructional and administrative spaces.
The Redstone campus originally belonged to Andrew Buell, a wealthy lumber merchant, who in 1889 decided to erect a summer residence on the land which he purchased from the estate of a local farmer. The land overlooked Lake Champlain to the west and had splendid views of the Green Mountains to the east. Buell erected a massive Romanesque mansion, a gatehouse for the estate staf, and a stable for the many horses that he bred and raced. A large front lawn, landscaped with curved drives and stone wall completed the arrangement, and for thirty-two years Redstone stood as the Buell family estate. Among the structures pre-dating the estate buildings at Redstone is a brick water tower erected in 1881 by the city of Burlington.
In 1921 the University of Vermont purchased the Buell Estate and redeveloped some of its buildings as women’s dormitories. New buildings were soon added to the estate such as Slade Hall and the Mabel Louise Southwick Memorial Building, turning the campus into a center of activity for women at the university. Both Slade and the Southwick were designed by the nationally known firm of McKim, Mead, & White, continuing that firm’s involvement with UVM.
World War II put a stop to development on the Redstone campus, and between 1943 and 1945 the U.S. military took over the campus, turning the buildings into barracks. As a result, the University of Vermont required female students to take accommodations elsewhere.
After the war, the influx of students necessitated the construction of a whole new system of dormitories starting with Coolidge Hall in 1947. The most significant development occurred between 1956 and 1967 when three large dormitory complexes, Mason-Simpson-Hamilton, Christie-Wright- Patterson and Wing-Davis-Wilks, were erected just south of the original estate buildings.
The 1960s also saw the construction of two religious buildings at Redstone, now known as the Newman Catholic Center and the Interfaith Center, both of which utilize Modernist designs and contribute to the campus’s fascinating architectural diversity.
Later mid-century additions to the Redstone campus include the Alice Blundell House, designed by Vermont’s first female architect, and the Music Hall, one of the best examples of the Brutalist style of architecture in Vermont. The most recent additions to the Redstone campus consist of the Redstone Apartments and Redstone Lofts, student housing built by a private developer that show the continued evolution of the Redstone campus over the last twenty years.
Jenny Fulton comes to the field of historic preservation with a theatrical design and tech background and experience in the heavy timber AEC industry. Jenny earned her BA in Anthropology from Brandeis, with a year of fieldwork and oral history at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Scottish Studies. Her MFA was from the Yale School of Drama. She also has worked as a set and costume designer, project manager, builder, scene painter and adjunct professor in New York City, Boston, and northern New England. Recently she has been employed in the design office of Bensonwood, doing space planning and interior specifications.
Grace Gartman lived her early life in Birmingham, Alabama, traveling across the historic South before spending several years in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. Grace graduated from Grove City College near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 2019 with a degree in History and Secondary Education. Grace interned with the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida, and attended the Archaeological Conservation Institute of Rome (CCA Roma) where she participated in excavation, conservation and heritage preservation projects.
Romano Ghirlanda is from Marlborough, Connecticut where he has published the book, Reflections Into Marlborough’s History that outlines the history of the town dating back to the 1650s. Romano also has led tours of Marlborough’s cemeteries and has taught a class on historical research at the local library. He also has served the Wethersfield Historical Society, giving tours of the historic Hurlbut-Dunham House.
Meaghan Papeika grew up in Hershey, Pennsylvania and moved to West Virginia, where she received a B.A. in History (Public History and Historic Preservation) and English Literature from Shepherd University in 2017. Meaghan Papeika has since served as an AmeriCorps member in West Virginia working with historic landmarks commissions, Main Street organizations and other community groups to help encourage community and economic development opportunities.
Matthew Shoen comes from Lisbon, New York. He double majored in history and English at St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York. Matt has experience working with a historic preservation consulting firm Buffalo, New York that specializes in assisting development firms that rehabilitate buildings using historic tax credits.