Lecture on the History of Everett Mansion, One of Bennington's Architectural Gems, at Southern Vermont College

January 12, 2012

In April 1911, 32 Italian stoneworkers came to Bennington, Vt., to start construction for the summer home of wealthy industrialist, Edward Everett, on the east side of Mount Anthony. Working around the clock, hand-cutting and moving local granite into place, the workers completed the exterior of the 27-room, Norman castle-style mansion in just eight months--something that, even with the modern equipment of today, seems nearly impossible. The Everett Mansion, still a breathtaking architectural gem listed on the National Register of Historic Places, now houses the administrative offices and classrooms at Southern Vermont College.

In celebration of Everett Mansion’s 100th Anniversary, SVC hosted a lecture on the architecture and history of the Mansion on February 7 in the Everett Theatre on campus. The lecture featured three noted historians: Glenn M. Andres, Professor, History of Art and Architecture at Middlebury College; Tyler Resch, Historian at the Bennington Museum; and Susanne Warren, Architectural Historian and Library Director at John G. McCullough Free Library in North Bennington. The lecture was part of the College’s themed series, “Inspiring History: Shaping the Future.” This lecture is free and open to the public. A reception followed in the Burgdorff Gallery at which guests spoke directly with the speakers.
Professor Andres provided context of the early 1900s, the historical tastes fostered by the Ecole des Beaux Arts and the range of George Totten, one of Washington's most prolific and skilled architects in the Gilded Age. Since 1970, Professor Andres has taught at Middlebury College, primarily in the areas of architectural and urban history. His research spans from the Italian Renaissance through 19th century America to postmodernism. He has published on Renaissance villas, the architecture of Florence, New England meeting houses, Vermont regional architecture, American modernism, and the work of Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer.

Resch spoke about Edward Everett and his family, the businesses, and Everett's connection to the area. A former newspaper and magazine editor and columnist, Resch has written or edited 12 books of regional historical interest, including “The Shires of Bennington,” “Dorset,” and “Deed of Gift: The Putnam Hospital Story.” As Historian at the Bennington Museum, Resch communicates with a variety of people from many places, digging into historical and biographical issues including genealogy, particularly for descendants of early Vermont settlers.

Warren, who wrote the application for the Mansion to be on the National Register, talked about special features of the building. Prior to her position as Library Director at the McCullough Free Library (built in 1921), Warren was the Technical Services Coordinator at The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Mass. She has taught architectural history at the University of Vermont and Union College and has worked as an architectural historian. She was also a partner in Lanzi/Warren Associates in Bennington, a consulting firm specializing in information management for the cultural heritage community.