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Shelburne Farms

Shelburne, Vermont
County of Chittenden.
National Register Number: 80000330
Resource type: District.
Property type: Historic District: Historical. The threat level was Satisfactory in
Congressional District: VT-at-Large Certified Local Government: YES

Statement of Significance (as of designation - January 3, 2001):
One of the many estate properties built for wealthy American industrialists during the Gilded Age period, Shelburne Farms was considered an "ideal country place" for its exemplary model stock farm and horse breeding service, architectural and technological achievements, and scenic landscape. The estate is a nationally-significant representative of turn-of-the-century American country estates and model farms that retains its core property and its historic character. Its buildings and structures are outstanding examples of the Shingle and Queen Anne architectural styles. Shelburne Farms is the most significant and intact property developed by its founders, Dr. William Seward Webb and Lila Osgood Vanderbilt Webb. In addition, its architecture and landscape architecture represent significant achievements by both architect Robert Henderson Robertson, and landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr.

Since 2002, Shelburne Farms has completed major rehabilitation projects on two contributing buildings within the Shelburne Farms Historic District that have considerably increased protection at the buildings and significantly decreased the threat of loss of integrity. As noted in the 2002 assessment, the antiquated and inadequate electrical system of Shelburne House was replaced in part with a $215,000 Save America’s Treasures grant. Additional work associated with that project included the installation of supplementary life safety equipment in the building , and the cleaning, repair and rewiring of over 200 historic light fixtures original to the house. A second project that greatly diminished threat was the installation of a fire suppression system in the monumental Breeding Barn, one of the most unique and outstanding agricultural building examples from the time period. The work, completed in 2003, consisted of the installation of an effective fire suppression sprinkler system throughout the barn. The installation was essential to the building’s continued preservation and will enable it in the future to be used more extensively as a great hall for agricultural, educational, cultural and community events. In addition, Shelburne Farms is currently completing comprehensive structural and conditions surveys of each of the seven contributing resources located within the Southern Acres portion of the property. Funded by a $75,000 Architectural Conservation Grant from the Getty Foundation, this assessment will be completed in 2004 and will support preparation of a thorough conservation plan for the buildings located there. Prior to the survey, emergency stabilization work consisting of roof repairs was completed at the Old Dairy Barn on Southern Acres, stabilizing the barn until plans for its reuse are complete. The condition of the Shelburne Farms Historic District remains satisfactory. Shelburne Farms continues to plan for the conservation of its historic resources to make possible the long term preservation of the buildings and structures, landscape, and associated collections that make up the landmark property.

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