11 Most Endangered Historic Places

State of Vermont

Year Listed: 2004
Location: Vermont
Threat: Development

Significance

With historic villages and downtowns, working farms, winding back roads, forest-wrapped lakes, spectacular mountain vistas and a strong sense of community, Vermont has a special magic that led National Geographic Traveler magazine to name the state one of "the World's Greatest Destinations." Yet in recent years, this small slice of America has come under tremendous pressure from the onslaught of big-box retail development. The seriousness of this threat led the National Trust to name the state to its list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in 1993. Back then, Vermont was the only state without a Wal-Mart. Today it has four - and it now faces an invasion of behemoth stores that could destroy much of what makes Vermont Vermont. To highlight the threat to this vital piece of America's heritage, the National Trust for Historic Preservation today named the state of Vermont to its 2004 list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. During the 1990s Wal-Mart located three of its four Vermont stores in existing buildings and kept them relatively modest in size. Now, however, the world's largest company is planning to saturate the state - which has only 600,000 residents - with seven new mammoth mega-stores, each with a minimum of 150,000 square feet. Theses potential new stores may be located in St. Albans, Morrisville, Newport/Derby, St. Johnsbury, Bennington, Rutland, and Middlebury. Wal-Mart's plans are sure to attract an influx of other big-box retailers. The likely result: degradation of the Green Mountain State's unique sense of place, economic disinvestment in historic downtowns, loss of locally-owned businesses, and an erosion of the sense of community that seems an inevitable by-product of big-box sprawl. With deep regret, the National Trust takes the rare step of re-listing Vermont as one of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.