December 1, 1997

Middlebury College's Old Stone Row Listed on National Registry

The National Park Service has named Middlebury College's Old Stone Row to the National Register of Historic Places. Old Stone Row is composed of three buildings that formed the original Middlebury campus, an historic complex still used today. The buildings date from 1815 to 1861 and were built with Vermont limestone by the local community.

The National Register is the official federal government listing of historic, architectural and archeological resources worthy of preservation, and operates its program in Vermont through the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation. The state office reviews proposals before submitting them for nomination to the National Park Service for consideration for the National Registry.

The first building of the Old Stone Row is Painter Hall, the oldest extant college building in Vermont. It was built in 1815 to house students, and is still used for that purpose. Old Chapel, the centerpiece of the grouping, initially provided for all the academic needs of the College, housing the library, mineralogy museum, lecture rooms, faculty offices, the chapel, and an observatory. Today, the President's office and other administrative offices occupy the building. Completing the row is Starr Hall, a second dormitory built in 1861 out of donated and "borrowed" materials from the surrounding local community.

The Old Stone Row was built over the early decades of the College's history based on Yale's Old Brick Row prototype. The Yale grouping also served as inspiration for similar building complexes on many other liberal arts college campuses. It is believed that these three buildings on the Middlebury campus offer the purest form of expression of the Yale prototype that exists today.

The College prepared the proposal nominating Old Stone Row in honor of the school's 200-year anniversary coming up in the year 2000. As part of its bicentennial celebration, the College will place commemorative plaques on 18 architecturally significant buildings on campus, including the Old Stone Row buildings.