Vermont: Other Historic Sites Summary

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

A list of important historic sites in Vermont.

Coolidge Homestead District

Location: Plymouth Notch, Windsor County

Relevant issues: Political history

Web site: www.cit.state.vt.us/dca/hp_sites.htm

Statement of significance: Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933) was born in Plymouth Notch in the house attached to his father’s general store. In 1876, the family moved across the street and it was there in 1923 that Coolidge was sworn in as president by his father, a justice of the peace, after word of President Warren G. Harding’s death had been received. The president and six generations of the Coolidge family are buried here. The district consists of twelve buildings and is a state-owned historic site.

Frost Farm

Location: Ripton, Addison County

Relevant issues: Literary history

Statement of significance: A distinguished twentieth century poet and winner of four Pulitzer Prizes, Robert Frost (1874-1963) lived and wrote at this farm in the summer and fall months from 1940 until his death.

Morrill Homestead

Location: Strafford, Orange County

Relevant issues: Political history

Web site: www.cit.state.vt.us/dca/historic/hp_sites .htm

Statement of significance: Justin S. Morrill (1810- 1898) was responsible for the Morrill Acts (1862, 1890), which provided for land grant colleges. He designed and constructed this Gothic Revival house from 1848 to 1851, and he retained ownership while in the Congress as a representative (1855-1867) and senator (1867- 1898), until his death in 1898.

Mount Independence

Location: Orwell, Addison County

Relevant issues: Military history, Revolutionary War

Web site: www.middlebury.edu/~mtindep

Statement of significance: This site, on Lake Champlain opposite Fort Ticonderoga, was fortified by colonial troops in 1776 to prevent the British from penetrating to the Hudson River through the Champlain Valley.

Naulakha

Location: Dummerston, Windham County

Relevant issues: Literary history

Statement of significance: Rudyard Kipling (1865- 1936), the first English-language author to win the Nobel Prize in Literature (1907), had this house and outbuildings built for his American bride. Despite their brief residence in the house (1893-1896), Kipling wrote several of his best- known books here, including The Jungle Book (1894) and Captains Courageous (1897).

Robbins and Lawrence Armory and Machine Shop

Location: Windsor, Windsor County

Relevant issues: Business and industry

Statement of significance: Shop employees here made significant improvements in the design and production of machine tools in the 1840’s. Their efforts helped to accelerate the Industrial Revolution in America. (This building now houses the American Precision Museum.)

Rokeby

Location: US Route 7, Ferrisburgh, Addison County

Relevant issues: African American history, social reform

Web site: www.cr.nps.gov/nr/underground/vt1 .htm

Statement of significance: Rokeby, a Robinson family farmstead for four generations, is significant for its role in the Underground Railroad. Rare surviving documentation that the Robinson family kept attests to its use as a stop and provides accurate insights into an understandably shadowy segment of American history. In 1851, one former slave who escaped to Canada wrote that he was “at work at my trade getting a living looking through the glasses you gave me for which I never shall forget to be thankful. I think that I shall soon be able to send for my family if I conclude to stay here.” Of all the known Underground Railroad sites, Rokeby is unrivaled in its historical integrity and in the poignancy of the stories its documents tell. It is open to the public as a museum.

St. Johnsbury Athenaeum

Location: St. Johnsbury, Caledonia County

Relevant issues: Art and architecture

Statement of significance: The Athenaeum’s construction (1868-1873), its collection of American landscape paintings and books, its original role as a public library and free art gallery, and the industrial origins of the fortune that provided it all contribute to the national significance of the building. The art collection contains a number of Hudson River School paintings. This unaltered building retains a strong, elegant Victorian flavor of the nineteenth century.

Stellafane Observatory

Location: North Springfield, Windsor County

Relevant issues: Science and technology

Statement of significance: Stellafane Observatory played a pioneering role in the development of amateur telescope-making and popular astronomy in the United States. The site contains the original clubhouse of the Springfield Telescope Makers (1924) and the first large optical telescope (1930) built and owned by that kind of amateur society; since their construction, both clubhouse and telescope have remained in continuous use and have been preserved essentially in original condition. Annual conventions held on the site attract thousands of amateur telescope makers and astronomers from many countries.

Willard House

Location: Middlebury, Addison County

Relevant issues: Education, women’s history

Statement of significance: This two-story brick structure was, from 1809 until 1819, the home of Emma Willard (1787-1870), an influential pioneer in the development of women’s education in the United States. It is now used as the admissions office for Middlebury College, which was known as the Middlebury Female Seminary when it was founded in 1814 by Willard.

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