Preservation Trust of Vermont 
In This Issue
News from the Preservation Trust
Vermont News
Wal-Mart Update
National News
Upcoming Grants
PTV Resources
Support PTV
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Long before our current economic challenges, people knew Vermonters were tough... hard working, frugal, absolutely determined.  That's a description of Vermonters and also of the Preservation Trust of Vermont.
It wasn't easy before... revitalizing downtowns, restoring buildings, reusing spaces indoors and out, developing creative ways to strengthen our villages and communities...but now we're really going to have to work hard!  With challenging times ahead, we expect threats to Vermont's vitality will increase.  The Preservation Trust of Vermont is going to redouble its efforts to move forward while protecting the best of our past.  
PTV Map of Where We WorkedEach year the Preservation Trust works with hundreds of different communities where neighbors envision projects that could truly improve their lives in tangible and spirited ways. As people work together on these projects, there's a ripple effect and they begin to help each other in other ways too. Together we learn, again and again, the impact of local effort coupled with modest resources, encouragement, and a helping hand.  
The Preservation Trust has never been about 'living beyond our means.'  We run a lean operation and maximize human effort at every turn.  We focus on your goals and envision a better place for us all.  We recognize that each of us makes a choice to live in Vermont, and we accept the challenges that come with that choice.
So we ask you to stick with us now and be part of the determined crowd of Vermonters who will make sure our state is as special in the future as it is today.  We will work to protect and preserve Vermont for the future, and we are asking you to do the same for the Preservation Trust.  Please contribute today!  Thank you!

Paul Bruhn
Executive Director

News from the Preservation Trust 

St. Anne's Shrine, Isle LaMotteSave the Date!
Historic Preservation Conference, Isle La Motte, VT, Friday, June 12, 2009
The annual Historic Preservation Conference will be in Isle La Motte on Friday, June 12, at St. Anne's Shrine.  The Preservation Trust of Vermont and Vermont Division for Historic Preservation selected this site to participate in the 2009 Lake Champlain Quadricentennial. Isle La Motte is not only the site of Samuel de Champlain's landing in 1609 on what is now Vermont soil, but also the site of the earliest French fortification on U.S. soil. The area is rich in Native American, geological and architectural history, all of which will be explored at the June 12 conference. More information coming soon.
Call for Nominations for Preservation Trust Awards
Since 1982, The Preservation Trust of Vermont has recognized outstanding contributions in the field of historic preservation. Awards are presented to the individuals and organizations who have made special contributions in preserving Vermont's historic architecture.

Volunteers, professionals, municipalities, non-profit organizations, businesses and corporations, state agencies, building contractors, labor unions, media, schools and colleges, and governmental officials are examples of those who are eligible for the awards.

Eligible activities include: preservation or adaptive use of an historic property, educational and public information materials and programs, building trades and professional training, programming at historic properties, financial support, and special encouragement and leadership in the preservation field. Other exemplary activities are also eligible.
Please visit PTV's website for a full awards application or call (802) 658-6647 to be mailed a hard copy.
Silent Auction Wrap-Up
A hearty thanks to all of you who participated in our annual Silent Auction by mail.  It was a great event and appreciate your continued support and enthusiasm for the Preservation Trust.
There are still a few items if you wish you had participated but couldn't, here's your chance! 
Beach in Vieques1.  One week in Vieques, Puerto Rico.  This two-bedroom furnished home on two acres sits atop a hill on the beautiful island of Vieques. Transportation on your own from the main island of Puerto Rico is either by small plane or ferry.  Rental car is a necessity.  Includes cleaning fee and escort from the airport.  Some date restrictions.  Arrangements to be made with the donor by the end of January 2009.  Must be used by December 2009.  Donated by Martin & Linda Tierney.
Vieques HouseValue = $2,000  Minimum bid = $1,000 
To place a bid on this item, please email by February 28th.
Archer Mayor2.  Be a character in an Archer Mayor mystery novel, but be warned!
  The author gets to do whatever he wants with your name.  Bad guy, good guy, dead guy, whatever -- it's up to Archer who believes that PTV deserves at least $500 for this!
Archer Mayor is the 2004 winner of the New England Booksellers Association award for best fiction-the first time a writer of crime literature has been so honored. He is the author of the highly acclaimed, Vermont-based series featuring detective Joe Gunther, which the Chicago Tribune describes as "the best police procedurals being written in America."  Donated by Archer Mayor        
Value:  $1,000.00    Minimum Bid:$500.00

To place a bid on this item, please email by February 28th.

Grey Gables3. Ski & Stay Package at Grey Gables Mansion and Jay Peak.  Two nights accommodations at Grey Gables Mansion, an 1888 Queen Ann Victorian mansion with gleaming wood floors, stained glass, ornate woodwork and an old world feel. Includes dinner at a local restaurant and two full day adult lift tickets to Jay Peak.  Donated by Grey Gables Mansion
Value:  $525.00    Minimum Bid: $263.00
To place a bid on this item, please email by February 28th.
Vermont News  
Pawlet Town Hall ExteriorDiscovery at the Pawlet Town Hall
The Pawlet Town Hall, located in the center of the village, was built in 1881 as a store with an upstairs auditorium. Over time housed a tin shop, school, apartment, library, and offices.  It's use as a tin shop is relevant for today's story.
Over the past ten years, the Town has invested heavily in a multi-phased rehabilitation of the building.  They are currently working on the long-abandoned upstairs hall and addition of an elevator so that it can become a community hall.
Pawlet Town Hall InteriorIn the process of rehabilitation, they made a wonderful discovery!  Underneath tin walls and ceiling, the contractors discovered stenciling and, on the ceiling, a free hand cloud medallion surrounded by stenciling.
Work on the ceiling stopped; the Preservation Trust brought in a plaster restorer to analyze the condition and create a feasibility plan for saving the ceiling.  Currently the project team is working with the Department of Fire Safety and the Town to explore options for saving this uncovered treasure.  Stay tuned!

Putney Store FireVermont's Oldest General Store on the Mend
By Margaret Foster, Preservation Magazine, Dec. 29, 2008 
Fire damaged the 200-year-old Putney General Store in May 2008, but the local historical society is restoring the beloved store. 
For more than 200 years, people in the tiny village of Putney, Vermont (pop. 2,600), flocked to its general store for coffee, ice cream, and conversation. But residents had to shop elsewhere after a fire gutted the 1769 building last May. Now, with repairs under way, it's shaping up to be a happier new year for the Putney General Store. Read on...
River Arts MorrisvilleRiver Arts is nearing their February 5th challenge grant goal!
Last February, River Arts received a challenge grant from an anonymous donor. That donor gave the organization one year to raise $75,000 towards their capital campaign - and promised a match of $75,000 if River Arts was successful. Response has been wonderful, and with three weeks to go, River Arts has raised $62,157 and needs just $12,843 more to meet that challenge. 

Since River Arts moved into the building last March, they have seen over 10,000 visits to the building. "The Capital Campaign helps to pay for the renovation of the building, as well as the beginning of an endowment to help sustain the building for the next one hundred years." said Lauren Philie, River Arts' development director.

New donations and pledges will count toward the match. To be part of the project and have your donation doubled, contact River Arts at 888-1261 or send a donation to POB 829, Morrisville, VT, 05661 or visit

History Lesson
Jon Margolis, Vermont News Guy, "Real News for Real Vermonters", January 23, 2009
The federal agency that subsidizes Vermont's historic preservation programs has threatened to hold back its $550,000 annual contribution out of concern that the state's Division of Historic Preservation-which has lost one third of its central staff in recent months-is no longer capable of meeting federal requirements.

In a letter sent to Gov. Jim Douglas last month, Jon C. Smith, the Assistant Associate Director of the National Park Service's Heritage Preservation Assistance Program, said recent changes in the Division "would not meet the requirements of the National Historic Preservation Act and would jeopardize the status of Vermont's historic preservation program."

In an interview yesterday, Smith said he was confident "everything is going to be fine," and predicted that the state would get its funding.

But his December 22 letter calling recent changes in the Division "problematic and of great concern" to the National Park Service echoes concerns being voiced by historic preservation advocates in the state, who fear that the Division (the DHP) has been enfeebled by the Douglas Administration,  out of either indifference or outright hostility.

Brookfield Ice Harvest
The 30th Annual Brookfield Ice Harvest will be held on Saturday January 31, 2009, at the Floating Bridge in Brookfield, Vermont, starting at 10:30 AM sharp.
The history of ice harvesting in Brookfield and a ice cutting demonstration will be followed by the usual spirited competition for young and old, to see who can harvest a block of ice the fastest. Prizes will be awarded.
The Brookfield Ice Harvest is one of the top 10 Winter Events as selected by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce. This is a fun event for the whole family and is FREE.... So come and try your skills using the tools of years gone by, cutting a block of ice. As a special treat this year we will have a demonstration by the Icelandic horsed from Tunbridge, VT. 
For more information, contact Al Wilder, 802-276-3959 or

Oral History Workshop at Vermont Folklife Center
Do you have a really interesting interview project in mind but don't quite know where to begin or how to proceed? The Vermont Folklife Center is hosting a daylong Oral History for Community Historians workshop on Monday, February 9, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm at the VFC's headquarters in Middlebury. Led by Director of Education Gregory Sharrow and the Folklife Center's Archivist Andy Kolovos, this workshop will help you to plan a field research project, learn to record oral interviews, and create innovative programming from the findings.

The Oral History for Community Historians workshop will include a comprehensive introduction to folklife/oral history research and will cover such topics as defining a project, finding people to interview, doing background research, developing topics to guide an interview, getting a handle on recording technique, conducting an interview, writing field notes, transcribing a recording, and translating research into public programming. Our aim is to help participants get the information and support they need to research and develop their own projects.

The VFC staff will describe the challenges that take place during field research and share vignettes from their current fieldwork as well as memorable experiences from past projects. The day will include a tour of the Folklife Center building and its archive.
This workshop is limited to 14 participants and the registration deadline is January 30.  Registration forms and tuition information are available on line at or by calling (802) 388-4964. All classes are held in the Vision & Voice Workspace in the Vermont Folklife Center building at 88 Main Street in downtown Middlebury.

Sherry BelknapIn memory of our friend, Sherry Walter Belknap.
We got to know Sherry when he took on the task of trying to rescue the Bloomfield Town Hall which had been abandoned by the town several years before.  He applied the same passion for rehabilitating the Town Hall that he had for open space and traditional uses of the land in the Northeast Kingdom.  He was a great advocate for his community's village center, and he worked tirelessly toward completing the effort.  
Sherry left an amazing legacy that includes the conserved and open Champion Lands; public access to the Nulhegan and Connecticut Rivers; a rescued Bloomfield Town Hall; and, with Darlene's tireless support, the new Debanville's Store.  Our condolences to Darlene and Sherry's family.  Read more...
Margo GeorgeMargot George of Montpelier passed away at the end of December.  A passionate advocate for the city of Montpelier, its buildings and history, Margot will be remembered and missed by many.  Read more...

Wal-Mart in Vermont Update  
St. Albans Wal-Mart
In the mid 90's, VNRC fought a 100,000 square foot Wal-Mart development proposed for a cornfield two miles outside of St. Albans and won. Unfortunately in 2004, Wal-Mart decided to try again with an even larger, 160,000 square foot store in the same cornfield.  In April 2004 the Vermont Natural Resource Council contacted members and activists in the St. Albans area who had helped fight Wal-Mart a decade earlier, and together formed the Northwest Citizens for Responsible Growth (NWCRG). This group of local citizens, which has now grown to include over 350 people, is receiving national attention for its fight against the world's largest corporation. VNRC is providing NWCRG with legal, technical, strategic and organizing help.  The groups are also working closely with project partner Preservation Trust of Vermont (PTV) to advance a downtown St. Albans discount store option.
After almost five years of preliminary local and Act 250 hearings and motions, the St. Albans Wal-Mart case is ready for prime time.  The Environmental Court has consolidated five (5) appeals by VNRC and the citizen group into one proceeding: two local permit appeals; state Act 250 appeal; and two state stormwater appeals. This represents the largest consolidated appeal in Vermont history.
The Environmental Court proceedings will begin in April 2009. VNRC has retained outside legal counsel to help the lead VNRC attorney Jon Groveman with some aspects of the appeal, and have engaged experts in traffic and fiscal and economic impact. Brian Shupe and Kim Greenwood of the VNRC staff will also be experts. Over the last several months of 2008 and early January 2009, VNRC staff and experts have been very busy filing motions and supporting technical studies and testimony on the relevant Act 250 criteria with the Court.  In April 2009, VNRC's team of attorneys and technical experts will be presenting testimony to the Environmental Court.  Regardless of the outcome, the Environmental Court's decision is almost certainly headed for the Vermont Supreme Court.
Bennington Wal-Mart
On behalf of the Citizens for a Greater Bennington (CFGB), the Vermont Natural Resources Council (VNRC) appealed the Town of Bennington Development Review Board's decision approving a proposed Wal-Mart expansion to more than double the size of the existing store to 112,000 square feet. In that appeal the Environmental Court judge issued an order for the parties to enter into mediation. VNRC participated with the developer of the proposed Wal-Mart in an independent fiscal and economic impact analysis as part of the mediation. The developer paid for the analysis, but the consultant was recommended by VNRC. The parties met with a mediator in June 2008, however the mediation between VNRC/CFGB and Wal-Mart ended when it became evident that Wal-Mart was not willing to discuss a smaller store, in a different location, and alternative site plans.
In the spring of 2008, the Wal-Mart developer filed an Act 250 application.  The District #1 Environmental Coordinator has ruled that the application is incomplete. The developer decided to let the mediation run its course before resubmitting the Act 250 application. Principal issues of concern to VNRC/CFGB are the size and location of the store, traffic, water quality, site design, and fiscal and economic impact. As noted above, VNRC/CFGB and Wal-Mart were not able to reach agreement on many of these key issues.  On January 12, 2009 VNRC and CFGB received the revised Act 250 application. The Act 250 process will likely start in late winter 2009. It will focus on virtually the same issues identified in the mediation process.
Wal-Mart Graphic
If you'd like to see a powerful visual of the rapid development of Wal-Marts around the country, check this out:
World's Largest Retailer Gives us a Small-Mart
Forest Park Walmart like no other in the world
By John Eckberg,
Less has become more at the Walmart store here.
Out of the titan discounter's more than 3,300 stores worldwide, it has chosen this location to test a new retail strategy of shrinking inventory and the size of its supercenters to generate more sales per square foot - a key retail measure - while maintaining its appeal as a one-stop shopping destination.
Once a massive, 220,000-square-foot store on Smiley Road near Interstate 275 and Winton Road, the Walmart was remodeled and shrunk by 93,000 square feet late last year, reopening in November.... read on.
National News 
NTHP LogoNational Trust for Historic Preservation Honor Awards
Each year the National Trust for Historic Preservation celebrates the best of preservation by presenting National Preservation Awards to individuals and organizations whose contributions demonstrate excellence in historic preservation.

We invite you to nominate a deserving individual, organization, agency, or project for a National Preservation Award. The postmark deadline for all award nominations, including the Louise du Pont Crowninshield Award, Trustees' Award, Advisory Council on Historic Preservation Award, National Trust/HUD Secretary's Award, and National Preservation Honor Awards, is March 2, 2009.
Those nominations not selected to receive a Trustees', ACHP, or HUD Award will automatically be considered for an Honor Award.
Go to to download the 2009 Nomination brochure and view video highlights of last years award winners.  The nomination form can be completed electronicallybut must be submitted by mail.
If you have questions or need additional information about the awards or the nomination process, please call Heather Johnson at 202.588.6315 or e-mail    

Independent Retailers Outperform Chains Over Holidays, National Survey Finds
In an extremely challenging economic climate, independent retailers are outperforming many chains, a national survey has found.
The survey of 1,142 independent retailers in a wide range of categories (books, toys, clothing, etc.) and across all 50 states found that holiday sales at independent stores declined an average of 5.0% from the same time period in 2007. That compares favorably to most competing chains, including Barnes & Noble (- 7.7%), Best Buy (-6.5%), Borders (-14.0%), JC Penney (-8.1%), Macy's (-7.5%), The Gap (-14.0%), and Williams-Sonoma (-24.2%).
This week, the Commerce Department reported that December retail sales overall were down a record 9.8% over December 2007.
The survey also found that independent retailers in cities with active "Buy Local" campaigns reported much stronger holiday sales than those in cities without such campaigns. "Buy Local" or "Local First" campaigns have been launched in dozens of cities and towns over the last few years. Independent retailers in these cities reported an average drop in sales of 3.2%, compared to a steeper decline of 5.6% for those in cities without an active Buy Local initiative.  Read more... 

Champlain BridgeSave our Bridges
Remember back in 2007 when the bridge collapsed in Minnesota? It turned out that thousands of bridges across the country were deemed "structurally deficient," and in almost two years, little has changed.
With billions about to be committed for a new economic recovery package, you'd think Congress would prioritize fixing what's broken. But the powerful highway lobby is pressing hard for nearly all the money to be spent on building new roads and bridges.
I just signed a petition to the new Congress asking them to make sure that our tax dollars are going to repair and maintain our bridges. Will you sign on, too?  Why should we spend billions to build new roads to crumbling bridges?
Please, sign the petition today. All you have to do is click here:

Upcoming Grants
1772 Foundation
The 1772 Foundation is accepting letters of application starting January 1. They fund historic preservation projects with a particular interest in farming, industrial development, transportation and unusual historical buildings.  
National Trust for Historic Preservation Grants

The next NTHP grant round is February 1, 2009.  During this round, the Trust offers a regionally competitive grant known as the Preservation Fund, and the nationally competitive grants including the Hart Family Fund for Small Towns, the Cynthia Woods Mitchell for Historic Interiors, the Johanna Favrot, and the Preservation Battlefield.  All grants are for planning and educational preservation activity only.  Bricks and mortar is excluded. 
These grants provide nonprofit organizations and municipalities the opportunity to gain technical expertise needed for particular projects, and act as a catalyst to encourage financial support by the private and nonprofit sectors.  If you are considering submitting this February, please contact Brent Leggs ( or at 617-523-0885 x44234), to discuss your proposal.  Use this link to learn more about these grant programs and other financial opportunities:

In the Media  

Historic sites: Benefit or burden?
Barre Montpelier Times Argus - Barre,VT,USA
"I know the state has to look in every corner," said Paul Bruhn, Executive Director of The Preservation Trust of Vermont. "But my guess is, in the end, ...
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