Skip to content

Woolson Block, Springfield, VT: 2024 Preservation Award

Overlooking the Black River in the heart of Springfield Vermont, the 1868 Woolson Block stands as a testament to Springfield’s mid-19th century fabric finishing industry. Since its construction, the street level has been dedicated to commercial use. The upper floors have housed a public library, offices, apartments, a meeting hall for the Grand Army of the Republic, and a Masonic Temple. 

Over more than a century, the facade was reshaped: portions of the glazing were removed, steel fluted columns flanking the entrances were hidden, and the original wood trim covered up. The building eventually fell into disrepair and became unoccupied shortly after the start of the 21st century.

Addressing the need for both improved commercial space and affordable housing, Evernorth and Springfield Housing Authority teamed up with Black River Design, Architects and H.P. Cummings to bring life back to this once vibrant building. 

On the exterior, a large portion of the brick façade was repointed, including the detailed corbeling around windows and replacement of broken granite keystones. The dilapidated commercial storefront was removed, and the original fluted columns uncovered. Full height glazing was brought back, showcasing the beautiful interior commercial spaces with restored hardwood flooring and painted tin ceilings. The original wood single hung arched top windows were restored, and wood trim repainted. The original stairwells connecting the street with the upper two stories were restored. The wood framed addition on the river side of the building was removed, and the original brick façade brought into full view.

On the inside, the tall arched top windows and surrounds were restored, bringing unique character to each apartment.

The restored Woolson Block now contributes to the vitality of downtown Springfield. Four fully accessible storefronts provide space for local businesses. Fifteen low-income residential units are available on the upper two floors of the building. The lower level, which looks west towards the river, is used for transitional housing operated by Springfield Housing Authority. 

Thanks to Evernorth and the Springfield Housing Authority, the Woolson Block has returned to a place of prominence in downtown Springfield, providing both architectural beauty and a vital space for commerce and housing.

Preservation Award to:


Springfield Housing Authority 

Black River Design, Architects 

Engineering Ventures, P.C.

H.P. Cummings Construction Company 

Sue Jamele, Historic Preservation Consultant 

Pearson & Associates, Division of DuBois & King 

Back To Top