A Historic Bakery in Barre

Cold temperatures. Snowy weather. Ice. What complements these weather ailments better than a cup of coffee and warm fresh pastry from a locally owned bakery in a historic building? How about this one in Barre, VT near the Socialist Labor Party Hall?

A snow covered historic bakery in Barre, VT.

A snow covered historic bakery in Barre, VT. Photo courtesy of Fran Gubler.

Okay, so this bakery is not in operation, but it has an interesting history and much potential. It’s the subject of a UVM HP graduate student project this semester. Current student Fran Gubler shared the photos and historical information. Consider it another heart-bomb-worthy building.

Built in 1912-13, the bakery acted as an extension of the Union Co-Operative Store that was contained within the basement of the Socialist Labor Party Hall. Italian immigrants in the Granite Street neighborhood who worked in the granite quarries used the Labor Hall (and the bakery) as a meeting place where they had a lot of important discussions concerning the labor movement in the US in the early 20th century.

The bakery represented a structure that was created to meet the increasing demand for Italian breads and other baked goods in the neighborhood but also served as an indicator of the Italian community’s resiliency during that time in Barre. The bakery is a symbol of how the immigrant population supported themselves economically during a very difficult time. They actually produced their own currency with the arm and hammer label on it that was used to brand the baked goods!

The historic bakery in Barre, VT.

The historic bakery in Barre, VT.

If you haven’t come across Fran’s blog, Fran Over Medium Heat, you should read it. Fran’s writing combines personal essays with her love of baking in beautiful style, and she includes recipes at the end of every post. Whether about life, school, relationships or little things, I’m always able to relate. The way Fran explains it, life and cooking/baking are symbiotic. (It’s one of my favorite reads.)

Any takers on the historic bakery?

Five B Tour: Bikes, Bridges, Barns, Bakeries and Beer

Today’s post is written by Caitlin Corkins, a fellow UVM Historic Preservation alum, and a Stewardship Manager for Historic New England. Follow along for a fun bike tour. Thanks, Caitlin! 

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By Caitlin Corkins

On Saturday, June 23 a group of ten intrepid bicyclists took to the road. Led by Bob McCullough, Associate Professor in the Historic Preservation program at the University of Vermont, this event was a fundraiser for the University’s Historic Preservation Alumni Association. More important, it was a chance to explore Vermont’s built environment on the roads between Montpelier and Moretown from a new perspective.

3. Bridge No. 304 of the Washington County Railroad, Montpelier – 1909 Pratt pin-connected through truss across the north branch of the Winooski River. Trains still cross this bridge today. Photo courtesy of Caitlin Corkins.

Vermont may be known for picturesque covered bridges, but the State has a wealth of historic metal truss bridges as well. Beginning in Montpelier, we learned about the history of these bridges, including developments in truss design from early pony trusses to later Warren and Pratt trusses, and developments in metallurgy from cast iron and wrought iron to rolled steel beams. The roads around the Winooski River, it turns out, are a perfect classroom.

The group admires the recently rehabilitated (2011) Taylor Street Bridge, Montpelier – 1929 Parker through truss across the Winooski River. Photo courtesy of Caitlin Corkins.

Three Mile Bridge, Berlin and Middlesex, 1928 Parker through truss across the Winooski River. Courtesy of Caitlin Corkins.

We also learned about the State of Vermont’s Historic Bridge Program. Established in 1998, this program was formed to identify historic bridges around the state and come up with strategies for rehabilitating those that can continue to serve their intended use as well as adapting others for alternative transportation uses, or recreation or historic sites. The result is that these local landmarks dotting the Vermont landscape will continue to serve as physical reminders of the evolution of bridge design and use.

Crossing Bridge 303 of the Washington County Railroad, Montpelier – 1903 Two-span Pratt through truss across the Winooski River on foot. Courtesy of Caitlin Corkins.

Buckley Bridge, Moretown – 1928 reinforced concrete T-beam bridge carrying Vermont Route 100B across Downsville Brook. Reinforced concrete bridges supplanted metal truss bridges and will be the next type of bridges we’ll need to survey, evaluate, and advocate for. Courtesy of Caitlin Corkins.

While riding along the scenic Town Highway 2 and Route 100B we also paused at several interesting barns, learning about developments in the dairy industry in Vermont through the physical evidence left behind, from Yankee Barns to Bank Barns, to Ground-Level Stable Barns and Free-stall Barns.

Three story gravity barn c. 1885 – Town Ayer Farm on Town Highway 2, Berlin. Courtesy of Caitlin Corkins.

Horse and Carriage barn, c. 1885 – Murray-Shepard Farm, Route 100B, Moretown. Courtesy of Caitlin Corkins.

Synonymous with Vermont’s image, farms and their built structures are unquestionably worth preserving. Thus, much like the State’s Historic Bridge Program aims to identify and advocate for historic bridges, a more recent effort by the State Historic Preservation Office, in partnership with the University of Vermont’s Historic Preservation Programs and preservation non-profits around the state, The Vermont Barn Census, aims to complete a comprehensive survey of barns around the state, laying the foundation for their preservation.

Panoramic view of the picturesque Ayer Farm, Berlin. Courtesy of Caitlin Corkins.

Not to leave out the other important B’s of the day, lunch was at the Red Hen Bakery in Middlesex, well worth a stop, and we finished our twenty-five mile trek with well-deserved micro-brews at the Three Penny Taproom in Montpelier. Biking, it turns out is a great way to explore the built environment around you. Not to mention good exercise.

Caitlin Corkins and Sarah Graulty (UVM HP class of 2008) on the open road in Moretown, Vermont.

Friday Vermont Links

Today is the annual downtown & historic preservation conference (combined this year!) in Poultney, VT. The entire conference sounds like fun, but I’m most looking forward to the Streets as Places theme.

Some news from Vermont:

The Vermont Division for Historic Preservation has awarded $186,000 in grant money for preservation and restoration projects throughout the state.

Lake Champlain has reached its record high water level and it seems as though the entire state is flooding. The Charlotte-Essex (NY) ferry is shut down due to high water levels. Rivers and lakes throughout the state are flooding towns across the state. This will create damage for all buildings and displace people and businesses for a time.  If you are aware of a historic building in danger, be alert, now and when the water recedes.

On the night of Sunday April 17, a fire broke out in the historic Brooks House on Main Street in Brattleboro. The five-story French Second Empire building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The building was home to many businesses and apartments; their fate is unknown at this time.

On a lighter note, the site of the University of Vermont’s first baseball diamond will be recognized on April 30 in the Old North End of Burlington.

Have you heard of the Checkered House Bridge project in Richmond, VT? The metal truss bridge is going to be widened. You can learn more about this unique project on its website.

In connection to Vermont and its tourism, what are your thoughts on covered bridge preservation? A Richmond (Virginia) Times Dispatch article seems to debate the fate and purpose of such a thing. A necessity? An obligation? Too much money? Would a state like Vermont, known for its covered bridges, think it’s a frivolous expense?

A Very Fine Appearance: The Vermont Civil War Photographs of George Houghton was released earlier this month. The book includes over 100 photographs from the Vermont infantry experience during the Civil War. Photographs were all taken by Brattleboro resident George Houghton. You can buy the book in hardcover or paperback through the Vermont Historical Society.

Happy Spring! Happy weekend!

Graduate School Semester Three

Wow, semester three has come and gone for me. It happened so fast, yet the process felt so long, like usual.  My classes in review:

HP204: Historic Preservation: Development Economics

St. Albans House, 60 Lake Street, St. Albans VT

Development Economics was a class about preservation rehab project planning and implementation with funding, tax credits, design ideas — touching on all aspects. The semester long group project allowed us to create a reuse plan for the building and conduct a feasibility study (including marketing analysis, code review, conditions assessment), draw floor plans, develop construction estimates and figures, find funding sources, and put everything together in a professional project proposal and presentation. My group chose the St. Albans House, a former railroad hotel and an important, but neglected landmark in the City of St. Albans. It has most recently been used as a bar and apartments. This is also a “real” project for the Preservation Trust of Vermont, who has purchased a year option on the property. It was a hard project (particularly those estimates), but since we liked the St. Albans House so much, it was doable.

HP302: Community Preservation Project

The Base Box at Mad River Glen Ski Area. The single chair lift is on the right.

The community preservation class continues History on the Land in the sense of the landscape history. We discussed the process of steel making, industrial landscapes, trails, historic bridges, and other topics. The project purpose was to give us the opportunity to work with a community organization and to become advocates for historic preservation while completing our project. My group worked on a National Register nomination for Mad River Glen Ski Area. Ski areas have not been nominated in the past, so we were working with a large “new” for the NR and figuring out how to adapt it to the NPS forms. Trails, buildings, ski machinery, landscape features, maps, boundaries, photographs … it was a giant project, but a great learning experience.

HP307: Architectural Conservation II

Addison Town Hall on VT Route 22A, Addison, VT

I’ve talked about my architectural conservation class more than once on here, so you know that the semester long project was a series of conservation assessments: windows & doors, exterior, and interior. I loved this building, so it made the long reports (and the formatting) enjoyable. I was really glad to have the opportunity to study one building and spend time in it and to love it.

HP303: Internship

 

A bridge construction scene from Chimney Point, July 2010.

My internship was really over the summer, but the credit counts during fall semester because it requires a professional report and presentation. I spent my summer with the Vermont Agency of Transportation as the Historic Preservation Monitor for the Lake Champlain Bridge Replacement Project, as stipulated by the Programmatic Agreement. In addition I conducted regulatory review for VTrans (think Section 106 and Section 4f). I loved it and have continued the job since.

UVM HP Class of 2011 internship presentations.

 

And of course, we had our comprehensive exam, a 4 hour, 4 essay question test that you need to pass to graduate. It included topics from all three semesters. It was a bit intimidating, but we all survived.

So that’s a wrap. For me, this semester was the most hectic as I balanced work and a full course load. I’m relieved to have survived successfully. And now it’s back to the working world!

UVM Historic Preservation Internship Presentations

You are cordially invited to the 2010 University of Vermont Historic Preservation Internship Presentations that will be held on Wednesday, October 20, from noon to 4PM in the Chittenden Room (room 413) on the top floor of the Dudley Davis Center on Main Street on the University of Vermont campus in Burlington, VT.

Presentations are scheduled as follows:

  • 12:00-12:15 Meghan O. BezioPhiladelphia Historical Commission, Philadelphia, PA
  • 12:15-12:30 Kate A. DellasRice Design Alliance, Houston, TX and Nantucket Preservation Trust, Nantucket, MA
  • 12:30-12:45 Emily A. Morgan, Planning and Zoning Department, City of South Burlington, VT
  • 12:45-1:00 Brennan C. Gauthier, New Hampshire Department of Transportation, Concord, NH
  • 1:15-1:30 Kristen M. GillottQueen City Soil & Stone, Burlington, VT
  • 1:30-1:45 Lucas F. HarmonCentral Park Conservancy, New York, NY
  • 1:45-2:00 Adam D. KrakowskiPreservation Unlimited, Montpelier, VT and Meeting House Furniture Restoration, Quechee, VT
  • 2:00-2:15 REFRESHMENT BREAK
  • 2:15-2:30 Kathleen M. MillerCultural Landscape Inventory Program, Intermountain Regional Office, National Park Service, Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • 2:30-2:45 Scott C. DerkaczCitywide Monuments Conservation Program, Parks and Recreation Department, New York City, NY
  • 2:45-3:00 Kaitlin J. O’SheaVermont Agency of Transportation Environmental Division, Montpelier, VT
  • 3:00-3:15 Jennifer H. Parsons, Woodstock Trails Partnership, Woodstock, VT and photovoltaic installation reviews under supervision of Liz Pritchett Associates, Montpelier, VT
  • 3:15-3:30 Sebastian Renfield, Pecos National Historical Park, Pecos, New Mexico
  • 3:30-3:45 Mary Layne Tharp, Historic Windsor, Windsor, VT
  • 3:45-4:00 Paul J. WackrowHistory Program, National Park Service, Boston, MA
The public is welcome to attend some or all of these graduate student presentations.

If you’re in the Burlington, VT area and would like to learn more about the program and the students, please come join us! If you have any questions, please contact:

Prof. Thomas Visser, director
Historic Preservation Program
207 Wheeler House
University of Vermont
133 South Prospect Street
Burlington, VT 05405
thomas.visser@uvm.edu

Grad School Semester Two

Well, semester two ended about three-and-one-half months ago, and I’ve yet to write about it. Was I that tired from the semester? Perhaps. Indulging in summer vacation and the freedom from homework and paper writing? Probably. Anyway, seeing as semester three begins in one week, I thought it would be a good time to reflect on the previous one.

My classes included Preservation Law, Architectural Conservation I, History on the Land, and Historic Preservation Practice Methods. The semester proved to be challenging and extremely worthwhile. Whereas semester one was more of a review in terms of material and theory, semester two built on that work and delved into new lessons.

While I was familiar with preservation law, I had never studied Section 106 and Section 4(f) in-depth. The verdict? Thank goodness for preservation laws. We don’t necessarily think about these laws everyday, but these laws, however flawed, are the reason that we are able to do much of what we do in preservation. Preservation law was hard, but in an exhilarating manner.

Weekly lab studies and reports in Architectural Conservation addressed the problems of building materials and finishes (wood, concrete, paint, brick, plaster).  The biggest lesson: moisture is the cause of all problems in buildings. I’m kidding; sort of. (It’s actually moisture in the wrong places.)

A case study for architectural conservation.

History on the Land was my favorite class of all time, and one that I would recommend to anyone. Through readings and interesting class lectures, we discussed the built environment by way of parks, trails, town planning, buildings, streetcars, railroad corridors, canals, roads, neighborhoods, factories, bicycles, automobiles, and the development of roadside America. It was simply amazing and challenging in the way we took tests, wrote papers, and used information and resources. I enjoyed spending hours in the periodicals section of the library and analyzing patents for playground equipment.

The Narragansett Machine Company

Lastly, Preservation Practice Methods taught us how to write a National Register Nomination and a Rehabilitation Investment Tax Credit application, both of which have their own hurdles, but are essential skills for professional preservationists. Photography, building descriptions, creative solutions, and teamwork were important aspects of these projects.

The front entrance of the house from my NR nomination.

All in all, the semester couldn’t have been more exhausting, but it was fulfilling and made me a stronger preservationist. And of course, it was fun to end with a field trip and a paint party!

Paint party in Wheeler House!

Preservation in Pink colors. Decorative painting is not my skill, huh?

Grad School, Round Two

Here we go again. Grad school semester two began last Tuesday and my classes are pulling full steam ahead — forgot that easing into the semester week. Readings, homework, projects, field work, field trips, everything is marked in my planner. And just one glance through the next few months says that it going to be one challenging semester. Of course, a challenge is always bitter-sweet; something that is often difficult while it’s occurring, but highly appreciated and worthwhile when finished. Luckily, historic preservation tends to be enjoyable even when it’s difficult.

Last semester was often a complementary review to my undergraduate studies; by this I mean that material was familiar, but presented in a new way, one that allowed for a different approach to the subject and one that allowed me to apply my skills to new projects. This semester seems to be new material, that of which I am less familiar with and have not had an opportunity to study or practice in-depth. My courses include Historic Preservation Law, Historic Preservation Practice Methods (think Rehabilitation Investment Tax Credits and National Register Nominations), Architectural Conservation I, and History on the Land (think reading the cultural landscape past to present). I am excited by the projects and research and by the vast amount of information that I will learn this semester. We first year students are also figuring out summer internships and some of us, thesis ideas.  This semester will certainly call for a lot of coffee. However, it seems that my classmates and I are up for the challenge.

Just some of my books for the semester. I had to rearrange my bookshelves, particularly to make room for those binders, which are filled entirely with course packets and reference materials.

The benefit of graduate school, aside from the obvious, is the great improvement to my preservation related library. I love receiving a new syllabus and ordering new (well new to me, but always used) books and waiting for them to arrive in the mail. So often in college I could not wait to sell back my books after final exams, unless they were preservation books. I kept those. Now I don’t get any money after final exams, but I do have a nice collection of books that interest me in and out of classes.

Stacks of other books for my classes lie elsewhere around the apartment because they do not all fit on the (many) bookshelves.

(For anyone interested in the UVM Historic Preservation Program visit the website here or read the course syllabi here.)

School related posts will appear throughout the semester. Any other preservation students want to share their semester anecdotes and lessons?

Preservation Photos #10

Given the fate* of the Lake Champlain Bridge and the amount of my life that is has consumed lately, it seems fitting to share another photograph. My photographs cannot do it justice, however. Check the Center for Digital Initiatives at the University of Vermont for beautiful, historic photographs by Louis McAllister. The Special Collections Library at UVM has a wonderful postcard collection with many Lake Champlain Bridge views.

* from the NYSDOT website: NYSDOT is expecting Federal Highway Administration approval for the bridge demolition by Monday 12/7. NYSDOT’s prime contractor will be receiving bids from subcontractors for the controlled demolition of most bridge sections on Monday 12/7 and select subcontractors on Wednesday 12/9. Crews will start preparing the bridge for demolition as soon as next week.

Preservation Photos #1

The series begins with an architectural detail of my favorite building on the UVM campus: Billings Library designed by architect Henry Hobson Richardson.  (Click for a larger image.)

Billings Library, UVM, architect Henry Hobson Richardson.

Billings Library, UVM, architect Henry Hobson Richardson.

Vermont Barn Census

Here in Vermont we love barns. Barns are symbols of the Vermont lifestyle that people live or at least envision. As my professor pointed out, barns are on the official highway road map. People picture big red barns amongst the rolling green hills.  However, agriculture is changing fast everywhere and that does not exclude Vermont. Ways of life are never immune to jumps and slips in technology and economy. Long winters wreak havoc on the historic structures and every year more are lost to the climate, to development, to lack of necessity, etc. How does one state go about documenting all of these barns and farm structures?

Meet the Vermont Barn Census, established by Vermont Division for Historic Preservation, University of Vermont Historic Preservation Program, Historic Windsor’s Preservation Education Institute, Save Vermont Barns, Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, and Preservation Trust of Vermont with funding from Preserve America. The short version is this: volunteers across the state can visit the website, learn everything they need to start the survey, and then submit the information through the website. It’s an incredibly innovative way to involve the public’s help. Individuals, communities, historical societies, students, teachers, anyone is invited to assist on the census in hopes of, in the end, gathering a complete survey of Vermont barns in order to establish how many are standing, how many have fallen, and how the landscape has changed.

Insert the UVM’s Historic Preservation 206 class of Researching Historic Sites and Structures. As part of our class project, we are working on the census (and adding our own in class twist to research for other purposes). We’ll be out there photographing, recording, and later researching the barns and communities. Who doesn’t love a good barn? I’m psyched.

Across the country, my cousin Evan Robb, Project Manager of the Washington Rural Heritage project, informed me that Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation also has a Heritage Barns Project. I imagine many states have the same. Perhaps some could take a lesson from Vermont and enlist volunteers, if they do not already.

Do you live in Vermont? You can help! Join in the fun. The Vermont Barn Census “week” will be October 2 – October 12, which is supposed to be the peak of leaf season. (A good atmosphere always makes for good, fun work, but you can work on this project all year round.)