Stowe Land Trust’s Mill Trail property is a 31-acre parcel purchased by Stowe Land Trust (SLT) in 2003 and protected with a conservation easement co-held by SLT and Vermont Land Trust (VLT). The property was conserved with an anonymous donation for the purpose of protecting the forest’s natural communities and wildlife habitat as well as outdoor recreational and educational opportunities. The Moravian Cabin located on the property was built in the 1930’s as a commercial tourist accommodation. It played a central role in the rising popularity of downhill skiing in Ranch Valley and the creation of the Long Trail, which runs nearby along the spine of the Green Mountains. It is considered to be a pristine example of 1930’s camp architecture, which is unique in Stowe since most other surviving examples have been altered in recent years due to resort development and changed ownership patterns.
Between 2007 and 2010, SLT made several investments to maintain the Moravian Cabin, including replacement of the roof, minor drainage work and chimney re-pointing. In 2010, Cushman Design Group completed a Master Planning and Feasibility Study indicating that significant stabilization was needed to ensure the integrity of the Moravian Cabin. In addition, the study made recommendations to better accommodate public access, including minor upgrades to the kitchen, a new septic and bathroom upgrades, and weatherization of the structure. Following review of the Study, SLT’s Board concluded that its first priority was to stabilize the Moravian Cabin and open up access to the first floor for day use and the possibility of rustic three season overnight use.
In 2011, SLT succeeded in obtaining a $60,000 grant from the VT Housing Conservation Board (VHCB). The VHCB grant required SLT to grant a historic preservation easement on the significant interior and exterior features of the cabin, guarantee long term maintenance of the cabin and provide reasonable public access to the cabin and the surroundings.
Using funding from the VHCB grant and several private sources, stabilization work was completed in 2013, window and door replacement and restoration were completed in summer 2014, and the cabin was open to the public on a limited basis as part of the Summer Naturalist Program in 2014. It is now available for groups to rent on for day use during the non-winter months.
The Mill Trail property holds many layers of history including the Moravian Cabin, the former industrial mill and shops, and multiple stone walls and cellar holes. The Moravian Cabin is eligible for individual listing on the National Register of Historic Places.