According to Wikipedia, a National Historic Landmark is “a building, site, structure, or object that is officially recognized by the United States government for its outstanding historical significance.” While Vermont has its fair share of listings on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, there are only 18 places that are official National Historic Landmarks. Let’s take a closer look at all 18 of these fascinating places, shall we?
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Brown Bridge, Clarendon
A bridgewright is a master craftsman who specializes in bridges, and the Brown Bridge was built in 1880 by the famous bridgewright Nichols M. Powers. Added to the National Historic Landmark register in 2014, it is one of the best and finest examples of a town lattice truss covered bridge in the United States.
2. Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site, Plymouth
The childhood home of the thirtieth President of the United States is a well preserved site both inside and out at the Coolidge Homestead. Coolidge was sworn into office at this home and is buried nearby. A fascinating and educational trip back in time!
3. Robert Frost Farm, Ripton
This 150-acre farm is where Robert Frost wrote some of his most magical works. Now owned by Middlebury college, the ground are open to the public during daylight hours.
4. Socialist Labor Party Hall, Barre
This building hosted many debates among anarchists, socialists and union leaders over the future direction of the labor movement in United States in the early 20th century. Located in the former Italian section of Barre, it is the only building known to have been built by volunteer members of the Socialist Labor Party.
5. George Perkins Marsh Boyhood Home, Woodstock.
This Queen Anne-style mansion is the former home of George Perkins Mars, an early conservationist, and later home to Frederick H. Billings, a businessman and philanthropist who was a cofounder of the Northern Pacific Railroad. It is
located within the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, located in Woodstock.
6. Shelburne Farms, Shelburne
Shelburne Farms is a well-preserved example of a Gilded Age "ornamental farm," developed in the late 19th century. This 1,400-acre farm is a nonprofit education center for sustainability, and one of the most stunning properties in the state of Vermont.
7. Stellafane Observatory, Springfield
The Stellafane Clubhouse was built on a 30-acre property in 1924 by built by the Springfield Telescope Makers club of Springfield. The club was founded in 1920 by Russell Porter, and the Stellafane Convention, a gathering of amateur telescope makers and amateur astronomers, is still held there every year.
8. Ticonderoga, Shelburne
The Ticonderoga was built in 1906 at the Shelburne Shipyard and is now one of the showpieces at the Shelburne Museum. The steamship is 220 feet long with a 59-foot beam and weighs 892 tons.
9. Justin Smith Morrill Homestead, Strafford.
The Justin Smith Morrill Homestead is the historic Gothic home of United States Senator Justin Smith Morrill. The property includes the main house, several barns and sheds as outbuildings, and is set off from the road by a granite post fence all painted a reddish color. They are open for tours from May through October.
10. St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, Saint Johnsbury
This National Landmark is known for its construction, the American landscape paintings, books and its original role as a public library and free art gallery. From the natural lighting to the dark walnut used, this is a spectacular and wonderful place to visit.
11. Mount Independence, Orwell
Built opposite of Fort Ticonderoga, this landmark was the site of Fort Independence, an American Revolutionary War fortification.
12. Emma Willard House, Middlebury
Built in 1809, this was the home of Emma Willard, a pioneer in the development of women's education in the United States. Willard established a school for girls at her home in 1814 known as the Middlebury Female Seminary.
13. Naulakha (Rudyard Kipling House), Dummerston
Built in 1893, author Rudyard Kipling lived and worked in this home which he christened Naulaka, meaning “jewel beyond price." Among the many works he penned here is the Jungle Book, currently a box office hit in the theaters. The most amazing part about Naulakha? It's available for rent on a nightly basis!
14. Vermont State House, Montpelier
Known for its distinctive gold leaf dome, the Vermont State House is easily visible while approaching the city. Montpelier is the smallest city to serve as capital of a U.S. state.
15. American Precision Museum, Windsor
The American Precision Museum in Windsor shows some of the tools that allowed precision manufacturing in the early days of the Industrial Revolution in the United States. It is thought to be the first U.S. factory at which precision interchangeable parts were made, giving birth to the precision machine tool industry.
16. Rockingham Meeting House, Rockingham
The Rockingham Meeting House, also known as the Old North Meeting House, was built between 1787 and 1801 and was originally used for both church meetings as well as civic and governmental meetings. This beautifully preserved "second period" colonial-style meeting house is available to rent for weddings and other events.
17. Rokeby Museum, Ferrisburgh
This historic farm property and museum includes a 1780s farmstead, and eight agricultural outbuildings with permanent exhibits on the 90-acre property. It was the home of Rowland T. Robinson, a Quaker and ardent abolitionist who openly sheltered escaped slaves here as part of the Underground Railroad. Robinson's correspondence gives us a great historical insight into the practices of abolitionists and the operations of the railroad.
18. Old Round Church, Richmond
This beautifully preserved 16 sided church was built in 1812 and served as the meeting place for the town as well as five Protestant congregations. It is available for weddings and other special occasions and is maintained by the Richmond Historical Society.
How many of these have you visited? Consider seeing them all this summer. It would be both educational as well as a fun road trip!