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Grant number like: FT-58166-10

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Diane Shaw
Penn State (Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2010 – 9/30/2010

The Rural Awakening: The Village Improvement Movement in 20th-Century Vermont

This architectural and landscape history of the village improvement movement in rural Vermont investigates the ways in which residents reconceptualized and reconfigured the nature of their villages during an era of declining vitality during the early 20th century. In response to severe population loss and jeremiads decrying New England's degeneration, village improvement societies looked to their built and natural landscapes as tools of architectural, environmental, social, and economic regeneration. Combining architectural and landscape analysis with archival research, this project examines the ways that building new community halls, upgrading schools, consolidating Protestant churches, launching history pageants, cleaning riverbanks, planting parks, grooming forest overlooks, beautifying roadsides, and electrifying street lamps, and more, all became part of the arsenal in distinguishing a modern rural village from a backward one.