Joseph Battell purchased the circa 1861 farm house and adjacent lands in 1866 marking the beginnings of his extensive land holdings in the area. In 1875 Battell opens the Bread Loaf Inn and places a distinctive sign, a gilded wooden eagle over a load of bread, at the home’s front entrance. In circa 1885, Battell employs architect Clinton Smith, the designer for all of the later additions, to make major changes to the Inn. The main section was modernized and given a French Mansard and the Box Addition atop the lobby is added. In circa 1900, the Bloomfield wing is added to provide more guest rooms. In total, the Inn becomes a mix of additions and styles with a main building in the French Second Empire style behind a Gothic Revival style porch. Upon his death in 1915, Battell leaves the Inn and the surrounding lands to Middlebury College.
In 1919 the Middlebury College Board of Trustees votes to sell the Bread Loaf property. After remaining unsold for 6 months, the Trustees voted to keep the property and recommended it be used as a School of English during the summer months. The first summer session ran in 1920 and has continued until this day. In addition to the School of English, the Inn and surrounding Bread Loaf campus buildings also host the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Orion Environmental Writers’ Conference, the Bread Loaf Translators’ Conference, the New England Young Writers’ conference, and a host of events, lectures and workshops related to the college’s undergraduate programs. In 2014, Middlebury College and the Moore Charitable Foundation, established the Bread Loaf Preservation Fund, which will preserve and maintain in perpetuity the Bread Loaf Campus lands and buildings as well as the surrounding lands while supporting educational and recreational opportunities. Much of the 2,100 acres will be protected through a conservation easement held by the Vermont Land Trust working in partnership with the Nature Conservancy.
The combination of historic building preservation with the Bread Loaf Inn and the preservation and conservation of the surrounding lands is deserving of recognition. Please accept this nomination on behalf of Middlebury College