A HERITAGE SUSTAINED • A na;onal park in central Vermont
con;nues a legacy of conserva;on and land stewardship
LONG BEFORE GREEN BECAME A synonym for environmental awareness, generations of three different families were quietly preserving for the ages the 555 acres that are now the Marsh- Billings-Rockefeller National Historical
Park and its partner, the Billings Farm & Museum, in
Woodstock, Vermont. Together, they represent a working
dairy farm, museum, one of the oldest managed forests in
the country, 20 miles of scenic carriage roads and trails —
and one of New England’s best-kept secrets.
“The park is unique in that three equally ardent con-
servation-minded families occupied and improved the
land and its dwelling over a 200-year period,” says Tim
McGuire, the facility’s chief of interpretation/visitor ser-
vices. “Each generation inspired its successor, and the
result is not only Vermont’s first national park, but also
the only one in the nation that focuses on the history of
conservation and land stewardship.”
Most of us take Vermont’s forested hills and verdant
villages for granted, but leaf-peepers should know it wasn’t
always thus. After the American Revolution, settlers poured
into the state, and by the mid-1800s, much of its forests
had been cut down, causing severe erosion and flooding.
the focal point of the
terrace garden, the fountain
was designed by landscape
architect Charles A. Platt, a
member of the renowned
Cornish art colony, in 1899.
Gently curving driveways
that lead from garden to
house as well as the trees
purposely set out singly or
in small groups were
by Frederick Billings.