Preservation Trust of Vermont 


Our year has been busy!  So many community revitalization efforts, building assessments and technical assistance for local organizations, development of community supported enterprises, support for downtowns and village centers, and a new Historic Properties Revolving Fund... The usual business, you might say -- helping communities and organizations save and use historic buildings and helping to build stronger communities.

But it was far from business as usual!

Waterbury Flood Work, September 2011
Volunteer Ron Kilburn and PTV Field Service Rep Eric Gilbertson working in Waterbury, VT after Irene.
After Irene, volunteers and staff of the Preservation Trust fanned out across Vermont and visited over 30 towns and found that over 700 historic buildings in downtowns and village centers alone were damaged by the flood.  This is not news to you. Like us, you have probably suffered through the news of one loss after another following both the spring floods and Tropical Storm Irene.

At the Preservation Trust, we have made rescue, recovery, and assistance our top priority.  With individual contributions and support from Newman's Own Foundation, the Walter Cerf Fund, and the Donchian Foundation, we conducted emergency assessments on more than 40 historic structures.  In the coming weeks we will be using the remainder of these gifts to help rehabilitate and rebuild covered bridges, making small grants to municipalities, nonprofits, and community gathering places.  As is our normal practice, our Field Service staff worked hand-in-hand with community members to figure out next steps on the path to save their special places.

Meanwhile, all the work we normally do to help communities strengthen their village centers, historic downtowns, and cultural fabric, continues.  

It's the people who love Vermont who make this possible.  When you support the Preservation Trust, you become a partner in preserving, protecting and invigorating the best of Vermont.  We hope you will help. 

Thank you and Happy Holidays to All!


Paul Bruhn
Executive Director

Where We Worked


Map of Where We Worked 2011 Founded in 1980, the Preservation Trust of Vermont is a nonprofit organization that works with local groups to help save and use historic places. Through a variety of programs and services, Preservation Trust builds local capacity and stronger communities, bringing new life to old buildings.  


In 2011, the Preservation Trust assisted hundreds of local groups. The map of Where We Worked (at right) tallies over 425 community projects ranging from helping a farmer in Charleston with a barn condition assessment to helping Putney residents rebuild their downtown general store.  





Downtowns and Village Centers

Downtown St. Albans, VT
Downtown St. Albans, VT

A special emphasis of the Preservation Trust's work is on downtowns and village centers. Healthy downtowns are a critical part of the essential character of Vermont. In 2011, we worked with 21 organizations working to help keep their downtowns and village centers vibrant. Fifteen Designated Downtowns and Village Centers received tree-planting grants through the Community Forestry Project. Fifteen Designated Downtowns and Village Centers received tree-planting grants through the Community Forestry Project.


At the same time, we supported the work of 12 local organizations in their opposition to out-of-scale, commercial, sprawl development. Unfortunately, one of these initiatives, the 18-year battle to stop construction of a 147,000 square foot Wal-Mart in St. Albans, was defeated in an August 4th Vermont Supreme Court decision. What is particularly unfortunate is that there is a feasible alternative to locate an 80,000 square foot department store in downtown St. Albans. This solution would have supported local merchants and the local economy while providing access to affordable goods.

We believe that downtowns and village centers thrive when there is a lively mix of civic, commercial, cultural and community gathering places. One current threat is the proposed closure of some Vermont post offices. The Vermont congressional delegates have been working hard on this issue and thankfully there is now a moratorium on closures until May 15, 2012, giving Congress an opportunity to study cost-saving alternatives. The Preservation Trust will continue to work on this issue and share information about what communities can do to try to save their post offices.


Village Revitalization Initiative
North Hero Town Hall
The North Hero Town Hall, one of the Village Revitalization Inititiative Projects.

Since 2005, the Preservation Trust has partnered with Senator Patrick Leahy on an initiative to provide grant support to key village-scaled gathering places. On November 10th, the Village Revitalization Initiative drew national recognition as it was awarded the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation's top award: the Chairman's Award for Achievement in Historic Preservation. 

This tremendous honor recognizes the community and economic benefits of the program. During the first six years, the Village Revitalization Initiative, with funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, provided grants to 27 Vermont projects with a federal investment of $2,435,000 that helped to leverage more than $27 million in total project costs and create permanent jobs.

Historic Places Revolving Fund

Chittenden House, Jericho, VT
The Chittenden House in Jericho, VT is one of the first projects we've used our Revolving Fund to help protect. 
In June 2011, the Preservation Trust of Vermont established the
 Historic Places Revolving Fund with a grant from the 1772 Foundation.

The goal of the fund is to acquire options on properties that are threatened in one way or another and then to find new owners and new economic uses for them that will respect the historic nature of the properties.

Whether it is a very early Vermont building that has survived for generations or a more recent, yet historically significant structure, these buildings tell Vermont's story through their architecture and what we know of the lives of people who inhabited them.  The Revolving Fund is an exciting tool that will help save endangered historic buildings!


Field Service Program
Barber Barn, Peacham
The Barber Barn in Peacham received a Conditions Assessment Grant in 2011.

Established in 1997, The Preservation Trust's Field Service Program remains an important part of our day-to-day work. In 2011, our staff provided on-site assistance to 236 different community projects across the state.

The Field Service staff sometimes recommends a
Robert Sincerbeaux Fund Grant when more detailed or specialized technical assistance is needed. Sixty grants were awarded last year for condition and engineering assessments, fundraising consultation, organizational development, and energy assessments-anything that helps to move a project along its timeline.
Supporting the Local Economy   
Guilford Country Store, Guilford, VT 
The Preservation Trust has been working with a community group to reopen the Guilford Country Store in Guilford, VT. 

The Trust's passion for Vermont has forged new responses to challenges including the concept of local investing to support critical community enterprises. In 2011, we worked with five Community Supported Enterprises.

Executive Director Paul Bruhn also spent time working on public policy related to historic preservation, downtowns, and the local economy.  At the Statehouse this year, he lobbied for an increase in Designated Downtown and Village Center tax credits and the continued support for historic preservation, housing, conservation and community development programs and grants.
Easement Program

Bullock Building, Readsboro
The Historic Preservation Easement on the Bullock Building in Readsboro was acquired late in 2010. 
The Preservation Trust of Vermont holds historic preservation easements on over 90 properties around the state of Vermont.  In 2011, we provided stewardship services to the 87 buildings, 2 archaeological sites, and 2 structures.

The Preservation Trust solely holds a number of the easements, but the majority of them are co-held with the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board.
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