Laura V. Trieschmann, State Historic Preservation Officer
Vermont Division for Historic Preservation
NEW ROADSIDE HISTORIC SITE MARKERS COMMEMORATE MONTGOMERY, VERMONT
Montpelier, Vt. - The Vermont Division for Historic Preservation is pleased to announce the installation of four new Roadside Historic Sites Markers in Montgomery. The new markers document the history of Montgomery as the “covered bridge capital of Vermont” and the 1970s community-sponsored preservation of Pratt Hall. Markers such as these allow places to come alive, sharing the history of our Brave Little State to Vermonters and her many visitors.
Vermont’s distinctive green and gold markers have just been placed at the Longley Covered Bridge (1863/2017), Comstock Covered Bridge (1883), and Fuller Covered Bridge (1890/2000). Each bridge is an illustration of the Town lattice truss, one of the most significant American timber truss types of the 19th century. Patented in 1820 by architect Ithiel Town, the truss system consists of a rectangular timber frame connected by sawn planks arranged in the form of a lattice and fastened together with trunnels (or wooden pegs). Savanard and Sheldon Jewett, local lumbermen and farmers, constructed the nine covered bridges that historically connected Montgomery. The Hemlock timbers used to build these bridges were milled at the family lumber mill in West Hill. Restoration efforts, largely needed because of flooding, follow the principle of design preservation using stronger Town lattice trusses and salvageable materials.
A fourth marker was placed to commemorate Pratt Hall, constructed in 1835 as the Episcopal Union Church. It was the first religious edifice built in Montgomery and consecrated by John Henry Hopkins, the first Episcopal Bishop of Vermont. Originally designed as a traditional meeting house, extensive renovations in the 1870s added Gothic Revival features including stained-glass windows and bell tower. Deconsecrated in 1974, the building was sold by the Diocese to the Montgomery Historical Society, formed intentionally to save the building from demolition. It was renamed Pratt Hall in 1977 and has since served as a centerpiece for community events and gatherings.
The Vermont Roadside Historic Site Marker program was established in 1947 by the Vermont Legislature. The first markers were installed in 1949, the initial being for Joseph Smith, Mount Independence, and Hubbardton Battlefield. These 3-foot signs of cast aluminum are crammed with 765 characters that outline the stories of Vermont’s heritage, commemorating her people and important events. This is one of the state’s smallest programs and has one of the farthest reaches with 295 markers in production or placed throughout Vermont. A Roadside Historic Site Marker is located outside Vermont, gracing a roadside in Middletown, Virginia, to honor Vermonter’s efforts at the battle of Cedar Creek during the Civil War. The Roadside Marker Program is administered by the Division for Historic Preservation. https://accd.vermont.gov/historic-preservation/roadside-markers
About the Division for Historic Preservation
The Vermont Roadside Historic Site Marker Program is operated by the Division for Historic Preservation, which is part of the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). DHCD, a part of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, works to support vibrant and resilient communities, promote safe and affordable housing for all, protect the state’s historic resources, and improve the quality of life for Vermonters.