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2018: The Year in Review

Somewhere in your town there is probably a building that has been rehabilitated, repurposed, or made a community center. It might be an historic house, a school that was replaced, or even an abandoned barn. Now it is full of life, a community gathering place, and a point of pride for you and your neighbors.

Chances are, a group of community volunteers made this happen. Chances are, they raised the money, learned the ins and outs of planning, fundraising and rehabilitation, and helped in ways that surprised you.

How did they learn to do that?

Very likely, your neighbors – and maybe you too! – learned all those foreign but necessary skills at a Preservation Trust retreat, at the Grand Isle Lake House. In excess 600 organizations and projects around Vermont have gotten an educated start at the Lake House, in a training session or two, while enjoying its sublime lakefront setting.

This year we are celebrating twenty amazing years of owning the Lake House and using it to help Vermonters bring their community dreams to reality.

We’re proud to be a demonstration project of sorts. Beginning in 1998, we received the Lake House as a very generous gift, raised funds to restore it, and designed an operational model that produces some business revenue. We use those funds to maintain it admirably despite historic frailties, and train hundreds of volunteers there year after year.

One of the most important things about all this has been your support…..for our programs, our Lake House rehabilitation, and for strong, proud communities throughout Vermont. We hope you’ll stick with us for the next twenty years, come visit at the Lake House ……and make a donation now so this is all possible!

With thanks,

Paul Bruhn

2018 In Review

  • Supported local preservation efforts through our Field Service Program (218 projects in 2018)
  • Provided project development and technical assistance grants through our Robert Sincerbeaux Fund (54 in 2018)
  • Provided technical assistance to owners of historic barns and condition assessments through our Barn Assessment Grant Program (technical assistance to 18 barn owners in 2018)
  • Provided support for at-risk properties through our Historic Places Revolving Fund.  This year the revolving fund focused on the French Block in Montpelier, Vermont Marble Museum in Proctor, and Fox Hill in Poultney (3 in 2018)
  • Provided $250,000 in major grants for preservation-related projects as funds are available (6 new Preservation Grants in partnership with the Freeman Foundation in 2018)
  • Worked with communities to oppose Sprawl and encourage the proper scale and location of Big Box development in our downtowns (4 in 2018)
  • Encouraged and helped develop Community Supported Enterprises such as village stores, cooperatives, restaurants, and community-centered businesses (14 in 2018)
  • Stewarded historically significant properties through our Historic Preservation Easement Program (73 easements that cover 112 buildings, 2 structures and 3 archeological sites)
  • Hosted two-day Preservation Retreats from May through October at the Grand Isle Lake House (149 individuals from 54 community groups)
  • Own and stewarded three historic properties in VT: the Grand Isle Lake House in Grand Isle, Pierce’s Store in Shrewsbury, and the Vermont Marble Museum in Proctor.


With support from the Alliance for Vermont Communities, the Vermont Natural Resources Council and Preservation Trust of Vermont, the National Trust for Historic Preservation listed the proposed New Vistas project on their 11 most endangered places watch list. The designation led the developer to withdraw the project.

In 2018, with funding from the Vermont Community Foundation, the Preservation Trust was able to commission Whale Dance by Jim Sardonis, a new iconic sculpture that will be installed at Exit 4 on I-89, replacing the original sculpture that was sold 20 years ago.

Partnered with the Vermont Downtown Program to support revitalization efforts in designated downtowns and village centers.  Co-host annual retreat for downtown managers. (for 28 Designated Downtowns).

Co-hosted an annual historic preservation conference in partnership with the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation and the Vermont Downtown Program.

Click above to view the Map of Where We Worked 2018

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