Sheldon Museum presents walking tours of Middlebury

MIDDLEBURY — The Sheldon Museum presents Middlebury’s Historic Core, a walking tour of Middlebury led by Glenn Andres Sunday, July 14 and 21, at 2 p.m. The core of Middlebury Village preserves landmarks of state and national stature. It also speaks of much of the town’s colorful history from the 18th into the 20th centuries — booms and busts, strong personalities and rivalries, ambitious patrons and master builders, educators, lawyers, politicians and industrialists.
Concentrated on the banks of Otter Creek around the focal falls and bridge, Middlebury has remained to a remarkable degree the village that the 18th and 19th centuries built. Homes of town fathers, churches, mills, inn, public buildings, stores — the buildings of the compact village core document its progression from frontier community to manufacturing center, to agricultural center, to local service center. Not merely of local historic interest, however, these structures from Middlebury’s past are of such range and quality that they can be taken as representative as well of almost every major style of American building from the colonial period onward. They present a precious glimpse of days now gone, slower days when there were both the impulse and the call for craftsmanship, individuality and ingenuity in plan, structure and detail. These buildings merit examination at a pace similar to that for which they were intended — horseback, wagon, sleigh or foot.
This walk around its compact downtown landscape will explore buildings and styles, but also the stories and people behind them. The tour will begin at the bandstand on the Middlebury green and finish at the Sheldon Museum via the Marble Works footbridge for a good view of the falls and mill ruins. Glenn Andres is professor of the history of art and architecture at Middlebury College, author of “A Walking History of Middlebury” and “The Buildings of Vermont.”
Tickets may be purchased at the Sheldon Museum in advance and on the day of the tour. The fee is $10, $5 for Sheldon Museum members. The Sheldon Museum is open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday, 1-5 p.m., and is located at 1 Park St. in Middlebury across from the Ilsley Public Library. For information call 388-2117.

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