Error: 3002 Source: GeoIP.asp line 56: File could not be opened. Vermont tries to save historic buildings after Irene
The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 Thursday, July 31, 2014


Vermont tries to save historic buildings after Irene
In a Thursday, Sept. 15, 2011 photo, Amy Worden, left, and Eric Gilbertson of the Preservation Trust of Vermont survey a damaged house in Bethel, Vt. The floodwaters of Tropical Storm Irene that ripped up roads and washed into living rooms across Vermont also took a dramatic toll on the state's quaint old villages. That's a big problem for a small state that cherishes its history. AP Photo/Toby Talbot.

By: Michael Hill, Associated Press

WATERBURY, VT. (AP).- The floodwaters of Tropical Storm Irene that ripped up roads and washed into living rooms across Vermont took a dramatic toll on quaint old villages — filling white, steepled churches with muck and knocking 19th-century clapboard houses off their foundations.

That's a big problem for a small state that cherishes its history.

The classic villages of clapboard and stone buildings hugging the state's rivers and streams are the essence of Vermont and a big tourist draw. While Irene damaged many "individual gems" with historical and architectural value, preservationists also fear the broader toll the storm levied on entire neighborhoods deemed historically important by the state and federal governments.

A preliminary survey of downtowns and village centers around the state found more than 700 buildings with at least some flood damage, though the ultimate number statewide is believed to be far higher.

"One of the things that's wonderful about Vermont and Vermont's historic resources is each of them is important individually — but it's really the collection that really makes a place special," said Paul Bruhn, executive director of The Preservation Trust of Vermont, pointing out villages like hard-hit Waterbury.

"If you wiped it out, it would be like losing your front teeth."

The vicious rush of floodwaters from Irene that ripped through the region on Aug. 28 spared National Historic Landmarks like the statehouse in Montpelier and President Calvin Coolidge's homestead in Plymouth Notch. One landmark, the American Precision Museum of early machine tools in Windsor, had a flooded basement and damaged grounds.

Still, there were many other historically significant buildings damaged by the flood. In Brattleboro, the 73-year-old Art-Deco Latchis Hotel & Theatre is temporarily shut down while crews repair infrastructure damage from a flooded basement. In Wilmington, an inundated Baptist church built in 1839 is closed for repairs and the beloved Dot's diner, a wood-frame building in the center of town that dates to 1832, is going to be torn down.

"That hits people's hearts more than anything else because it was such a landmark," said Wilmington zoning administrator Alice Herrick.

Wendy Nicholas, director of the National Trust for Historic Preservation Northeast Office, said while some past mega-storms like Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Ike hit historic districts harder, Irene still "clobbered" many significant Vermont settlements.

Crews counted 183 damaged buildings in Waterbury's historical district alone, including homes where water from the Winooski River crept up first-floor walls.

"This whole street, Elm Street and Randall Street, everybody had anywhere from six inches to four feet of water on their first floor, it filled their basements and everything has to be replaced, all the appliances, furnaces. There isn't anything the floodwaters, with the mud, doesn't damage," said resident Skip Flanders.

Flanders spoke outside his vacated home, where the inside walls were stripped to skeletal studs as he plugged away at saving the decades-old building with tin ceilings. Like many flood victims, Flanders got a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. His grant was the maximum of $30,200 but he expects repairs to cost more than twice that.

In Brattleboro, basement work on the Latchis Hotel and Theater building is expected to cost more than $500,000, said Gail Nunziata, managing director the Brattleboro Arts Initiative, which owns it. They expect to lose another $200,000 in business while they remain closed through mid-October.

"Don't forget, it's foliage season," she said.

Nunziata said the maximum they could get from flood insurance, "which is not a magic bullet," is $279,000. They secured a $100,000 economic development loan from Vermont and are looking at a Small Business Administration loan.

The financial crunch can be especially hard for people without flood insurance. Pastor Doug LaPlante of the Wilmington Baptist Church said the congregation is seeking donations to pay for repairs that will cost more than $100,000.

The Preservation Trust found about a fifth of the buildings they surveyed had actual structural damage to the foundation or elsewhere. Eric Gilbertson, who assessed damaged properties for the survey, thinks most of the buildings he saw can be saved. But he is worried that homeowners with limited resources might not be able to get enough in grants and low-interest loans to do the job.

"I think it may be driven by finances in the sense we have these nice little villages with rows of houses ... And how many of those are people going to walk away from?" Gilbertson asked.

Preservationists were confident there will be enough contractors with the proper skills in areas like masonry and roofing to do the work. Nicholas noted there are no special restrictions guiding work on buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, although local historic districts might set standards.

Still, worries are compounded for historic structures because a common flood-proofing solution is to jack a building's frame above high-water levels. History lovers might blanch at the thought of putting a 19th-century Vermont meeting house on stilts, but officials with the state and FEMA stress that doesn't have to happen.

"A lot of times when the folks were out they were saying, 'You need to raise your structure. When you rebuild, you need to raise your structure six feet above the flood plain,' And that's not necessarily true of historic buildings," said Noelle MacKay, state Commissioner of the Department of Economic, Housing and Community Development.

Officials with FEMA and the SBA said they both work with owners of historic buildings. When it comes to flood insurance, FEMA says buildings that are on the National Register of Historic Placed or designated historic through other approved channels get special treatment.

Buildings in flood zones are often raised or relocated, but there are other choices, too. One option is to simply brace the building for the next flood.

In Lincoln, Burnham Hall, a 1920s building by the New Haven River, was "wet flood proofed" after the New Haven River jumped its banks and inundated the building's lower floor during a terrible flood in 1998. The lower level was fitted with mold-resistant walls and a concrete floor.

Building committee member Mark Benz said that when Irene came, volunteers put up temporary flood walls around the windows and doors.

As water flowed outside during Irene, there was a half-inch of water on the floor, but it was a controlled release of "crystal-clear" water from valves designed to relieve pressure. The water was pumped out and the hall was back in business two days

"We're learning to live with the river," Benz said.


Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

Tropical Storm Irene | Vermont | American Precision Museum |


Today's News

October 7, 2011

iPad Launch in Beijing Quiet, Orderly

Most extensive exhibition of Frank Stella's work in the UK to date at Haunch of Venison

Getty Museum and Getty Research Institute acquire Ed Ruscha photographs and archive

Comprehensive retrospective of the leading figure of Soviet Socialist Realism at Fundacion Juan March

Prince William V of Orange Glass Goblet expected to sell for 150,000 at Bonhams     

Architect Frank Gehry reveals new details for Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial

Park Avenue Armory unveils design for multi-year project by Herzog and De Meuron

From Renaissance to Rodin: Celebrating the Tanenbaum Gift at the Art Gallery of Ontario

Midwest collectors drive sales of important Tiffany glass at Christie's New York in December

Sotheby's New York announces annual autumn sale of important Russian art in November

Shaped by War: Photographs by Don McCullin at the Imperial War Museum in London

More than a game of marbles as Greek and Roman sculpture makes top prices at Bonhams

"Surreal versus Surrealism" exhibition on view at the Valencian Institute of Modern Art

Sotheby's Contemporary Art/Arab & Iranian and Arts of the Islamic World sales total $16,843,460

Booming Asian art market shows signs of stalling

Vermont tries to save historic buildings after Irene

Spokesman says Putin's dive treasure find was staged

"Hitler Killed the Duck" solo exhibition by British artist David Bailey at Scream Gallery

Strong attendance and solid results at Auctions America by RM's debut fall Carlisle sale

Dive team retrieves old cannon from Detroit River

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Archaeologists discover Roman 'free choice' cemetery in the 2,700-year-old ancient port of Rome

2.- Romanians must pay 18 million euros over Kunsthal Museum Rotterdam art heist

3.- Hello Kitty designer Yuko Yamaguchi defends cute character as cat turns 40 years old

4.- eBay and Sotheby's partner to bring world class art and collectibles to a global community

5.- Exhibition on Screen returns with new series of films bringing great art to big screens across the globe

6.- Marina Abramović reaches half way point of her '512 Hours' performance at the Serpentine Gallery

7.- The Phillips Collection in Washington introduces a uCurate app for curating on-the-go

8.- United States comic icon Archie Andrews dies saving openly gay character

9.- New feathered predatory fossil, unearthed in China, sheds light on dinosaur flight

10.- Exhibition at Thyssen Bornemisza Museum presents an analysis of the concept of the 'unfinished'



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Rmz. - Marketing: Carla Gutiérrez
Special Contributor: Liz Gangemi - Special Advisor: Carlos Amador
Contributing Editor: Carolina Farias

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org theavemaria.org juncodelavega.org facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site