Bennington Battle Monument to undergo preservation assessment

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Bennington Battle Monument to undergo preservation assessment

Sun, 05/08/2022 - 12:37pm -- tim

The Division for Historic Preservation has begun a year-long assessment of the Bennington Battle Monument for repairs and preservation.

The public is welcome to view the engineers repel down the Monument on May 11.

Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Division for Historic Preservation (VDHP) is undertaking a year-long comprehensive assessment of the Bennington Battle Monument in Bennington, Vermont, to better understand its condition and needs for repair and preservation. The assessment will include an analysis of the stone, steel staircase, electrical systems, and elevator.

On May 11, 2022, engineers and materials conservators will repel from the top of the Monument to examine the stone and mortar, providing a live feed of information that will result in advanced imaging of any structural issues directly onto preservation plans.

“The Monument is not an easy building to measure or examine. We can see that some stones are cracked on the outside but do not yet understand how they relate or tie into stones on the inside of the walls structurally because a study like this has never been done,” said the State of Vermont’s Director of Preservation Jamie Duggan.

The investigation team brings together structural experts with national expertise and is focused on identifying root causes of distress in the Monument. The data collected will provide detailed plans of the areas in need of repair and an accurate project budget.  These repairs will ensure the long-term stability of the Monument as a destination for visitors both in-state and out. Working in collaboration with the VDHP and the Vermont Department of Buildings and General Services (BGS) will be renovation specialists from Stevens & Associates, Silman Structural Engineers, Vertical Access, Atkinson-Noland & Associates, Dubois & King, Allegrone Construction, and Lerch Bates.

“We are proud to bring together a team with such a high level of expertise in historic masonry of monuments. The team is focused on identifying and providing a path to long-term performance and to properly plan for the future,” said Peter Hack of BGS. 

The assessment will not affect visitation to the Monument for the 2022 season, which begins on Saturday, May 28th. The public and media are welcome to come and watch the engineers repel down the 306-foot Monument on Wednesday, May 11th.

The Bennington Battle Monument was constructed to commemorate the 1777 Battle of Bennington, a pivotal victory for the colonial forces on the New England front during the American Revolution. Completed in 1889 to a height of 306 feet, the Monument is the highest manmade structure in Vermont.  The exterior of the stone Monument is Sandy Hill dolomite, a blue-gray magnesian limestone quarried in New York.

The Monument is operated by the Division for Historic Preservation, which is part of the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development.

Bennington Battle Monument

Please note: The observation level of the monument is currently closed. 

The tallest man-made structure in the State of Vermont commemorates the Battle of Bennington, a pivotal victory for American forces on the New England front of the American Revolution. On August 16, 1777, Vermont’s Green Mountain Boys, the New Hampshire Militia, and volunteers from Massachusetts, defeated British troops charged with capturing provisions stored at the Bennington military supply depot—the site where the monument stands today.

Designing of a monument to mark the site of a critical supply depot began in earnest in 1876 with the incorporation of the Bennington Battle Monument Association. Former Governor Hiland Hall spearheaded the commemoration efforts, fearing that “a smaller monument would remain unknown to the world and would dwindle into an obscure art gallery.” The third design of J. Phillip Rinn, a well-known Boston architect, developed into the 306-foot monument that we see today. Ground was broken on June 4, 1887 with a ceremony marking the laying of the cornerstone on the 110th anniversary of the battle. The two-ton capstone was set on November 25, 1889. Bennington Battle Monument was dedicated on August 19, 1891 with a grand ceremony lead by President Benjamin Harrison and a gathering of tens of thousand onlookers.

The exterior of the stone monument is constructed of Sandy Hill dolomite, a blue-gray magnesian limestone quarried from the Town of Kingsbury, New York. J. Phillip Rinn also designed the 417-step interior stair. With its wide sloping treads and low risers, the Rinn stair made for a gradual climb to the monument’s observation level that provides spectacular open views of Vermont, New York, and Massachusetts. The State of Vermont was deeded ownership of the Battle Monument, 1930 gift shop, and monument property in 1953 from the Bennington Battle Monument and Historical Association.

Montpelier, Vt. –  The Vermont Division for Historic Preservation 5.6.2022