Lakeview Cemetery

Preservation Burlington hosted a walking tour through Lakeview Cemetery last weekend, just in time for late fall weather and Halloween. After three years of wanting to explore Lakeview Cemetery, this event was just the reminder I needed. On the tour we learned about famous Burlington residents who are buried in the cemetery and how they connect to Burlington history. Built in 1871, the cemetery was designed like a park, with fountains and winding roads and views looking to Lake Champlain. The headstones and monuments do not match throughout the grounds; instead, there are many different styles, plot boundaries and layouts. Read this article from the local paper for more history.

The Louisa Howard Chapel, built in 1882 and listed in the National Register of Historic Places. 

Many varying arrangements of burials.

 

Graves amongst plantings. 

The kind of cemetery that you’d stroll through in all types of weather.

Trees frame this headstone.

 

Foliage.

 

And the cemetery vault, with the chapel in the background. 

I didn’t see any ghosts, but then again it was a sunny morning. Happy Halloween!

On the Move: Vergennes Railroad Depot

Exciting news in the world of historic preservation, transportation, enhancements and community: the Vergennes Railroad Station will be relocated and rehabilitated. This past weekend the community came out with great anticipation to watch the building move up and over the tracks and around some tight curves.

There she goes over the railroad tracks. Prior to Saturday the building was braced, stabilized and set on the custom hydraulic jacks. The haul road was constructed, too.

Once over the tracks, the depot had to turn between the building and silos.

And she turns.

A closer view of the hydraulic jacks.

 

Still on the move, about to head down a hill.

Making another tight turn; the building remains secure and stable.

 

Parked for the night, awaiting the next move across Route 22A.

Talk about an impressive day and what a great project this will be. Stay tuned for news throughout the project.

Street Light Maintenance

Underground utilities and decorative street light posts and fixtures are good additions to historic districts or any area that strives to clean up its appearance. Wires and cobra lights attached to tall telephone poles aren’t exactly human scale or friendly. Hence, towns often seek grants for decorative light fixtures. Developments, strip malls, parking lots, etc. that seek to be more than just a row of stores adjacent to striped asphalt include landscaping and light fixtures in their designs. It makes sense, right?

However, as we all know, maintenance is an important element of the built environment. By casual observation, I’ve noticed that many decorative street lights soon become filthy, filled with dirt or bugs. And without regular cleaning, these otherwise attractive light posts are no longer attractive. See these examples below:

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A quick cleaning would do wonders for these lights, don’t you think? And a better seal between the fixture and the light cover. Take a look at your town’s light fixtures the next time you’re out and about. What do you see? Perhaps it is time to make a recommendation to town officials that cleaning the lights should be added to the town’s work plan. Minor tasks like this easily fall off the radar, so a reminder might be all that is needed. What do you think?

Abandoned Vermont: Roxbury House

A beautiful house in Roxbury, Vermont that seems to be sound, strong and well-worth someone’s investment, albeit in need of some repairs. And it is in desperate need of an new color scheme, but that’s my entirely subjective opinion.

Roxbury house.

Side of the house and matching garage.

Front porch – someone fix that post!

Front entrance porch of the house.

One of the few original windows remaining on this house. The white vinyl replacements aren’t do the house any favors.

Stained glass window on the rear of the house.

Side porch.

Details everywhere.

Looking through a window.

Painted clapboards and weathered paint.

A large house this is, but a beauty. Anyone interested?

Parking Here, Parking There

In many towns and cities a constant issue is parking: where are the parking spaces or lots? Are there enough spaces for all of the customers? When are there too many parking spaces? What is the balance? Where should parking spaces and lots be located? There is a fine line of how much space is necessary in order to accommodate shoppers, residents, visitors v. having too much space that empty parking lots make the town look desolate.

Who would have thought that parking issues connect so frequently to historic preservation? But, bring in our historic downtowns and city centers, and parking issues are everywhere. After all, think of Joni Mitchell who sang, “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” Much of our built environment has been paved for roads and parking lots. Businesses and institutions often want additional or closer parking.

What is a preservationist to do about parking lots? Obviously, in our auto-centric society, we cannot ignore the needs of vehicles, nor can we can convince everyone (maybe not even ourselves) that carpooling and public transit is always the right answer. Not everyone can live within walking distance of all services and goods. People will still need to drive and park close to businesses. And people like convenience. So what can we do? Read on. (Disclaimer: I am not a planner, so these thoughts on parking are purely my own preservation educated musings.)

Step One: Assess the amount of parking and the needs of parking, not only the impressions of needs. Identify the locations of parking spaces. Perhaps parking spaces are simply hard to find because the municipality lacks proper signage. When are businesses open? When is the town at its busiest? How do parking needs shift throughout the day? How often is parking a problem? Talk to your community.

Step Two: If parking is needed, identify where it would be most beneficial. Obviously demolishing a building block is not going to help downtown. A parking lot too far away will remain empty. A parking lot too large will look desolate. Perhaps a parking garage is a better solution. Or timed/metered spaces. Maybe parking spaces need to be formalized (properly striped and identified) so people know where they can park. Design is an important element.

Step Three: Keep in mind that although important, parking lots/spaces/garages should not be the deciding factor for preservation decisions. Parking is an important piece for a comprehensive plan, but is never an issue that should overpower all others. Consider whether parking in one location or parking spread throughout town is better for your community. And consider how it fits into the built environment.

Think parking garages are always a bad idea? Think again: check out these worth looking at.

What issues do you see about parking? What do you prefer – lots, garages, on street parking? Other?

Preservation Pop Quiz

Pop Quiz: brick bonds. Found in Middlebury, VT.

Consider this pop quiz week, kids. If you have recently had midterms, I hope they went well. Try this one without worry of affecting your GPA. PiP is a learning environment.

On that note, describe this brick wall: bond, design, and anything else about bricks. Have fun.