MIDDLEBURY, Vt. - Middlebury College administrators announced today the college’s finalized purchase of the town’s historic Old Stone Mill, located at 3 Mill Street adjacent to the Frog Hollow Vermont State Craft Center. The cost was $2.1 million, and the property will remain on the town’s tax rolls. The purchase was made possible by a gift from an anonymous donor, and plans for the building include studios and a public gallery.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for the college and town to integrate our strong support of the arts,” said Middlebury College President Ronald D. Liebowitz. “The town enjoys an existing and vibrant arts community in the Frog Hollow area and, with this purchase and subsequent renovations, the college can continue to contribute to that.”
Located nearby the Otter Creek Falls, the Old Stone Mill is a significant part of downtown Middlebury’s history. It originally served as a powerhouse to the mills on that property in the early 1800s, and several fires over the years resulted in a complete reconstruction of the stone structure in 1840. In 1890, the Middlebury Electric Company moved into the building, using the falls to generate power for electric street lamps.
“The Old Stone Mill is an important landmark in Middlebury,” said Middlebury College Professor of Art and Architecture Glenn Andres. “It has remained remarkably intact over the years and, in 1976, was restored for commercial use. The college’s renovation of the building will create much-needed studio space for non-art majors, as well as a potential gallery space for the public to enjoy.”
The four-story building currently houses the Storm Café on its ground floor. The café will remain a tenant and the ground floor will remain unchanged. The top three floors, which have been occupied in the past by retail businesses, offices and a penthouse apartment, will be renovated to include studios for student use as well as a possible art gallery that would be open to the public.
The college purchased the building from James Berrien, who had originally intended to renovate the space for condominiums. “When President Liebowitz and I discussed the possibility of the college purchasing the property,” said Berrien, “we both agreed that the building had the potential to combine both town and college resources to further strengthen the arts community in the historic Frog Hollow area.”