Public Notice Regarding the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Section 106 Review of Castleton University’s Granger House Project
Regarding the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Section 106 Review of Castleton University’s Granger House Project
The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has offered the Castleton University, an American Rescue Plan-Organizations grant (ZED-283830-22) for archaeological investigations of the Granger House. NEH is an independent grant-making agency of the United States government dedicated to supporting research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities. This public notice is issued as part of NEH’s responsibilities under 36 C.F.R. Part 800, the regulations which implement Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) of 1966, as amended, 16 U.S.C. § 470.
NEH, a funding agency, is required by regulation to identify and assess the effects of any proposed actions on historic properties. If any proposed action will have an adverse effect on historic resources, NEH works with the appropriate parties to seek ways to avoid, minimize, or mitigate any adverse effects. Additionally, the Section 106 regulations require NEH to consider the views of the public on preservation issues when making final decisions that affect historic properties.
The Granger House is an early 19th-century home located on the corner of South Street and Seminary Lane on the Castleton University campus in Castleton, Vermont. First built ca. 1800, Granger House is a two-and-a-half story, five-bay folk house in the Greek Revival style featuring a spiral staircase with hand-carved railings by Thomas R. Dake. The Granger House is a contributing building to the of the Castleton Village Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NHRP # 79000225). The proposed undertaking is described in Attachment 1.
On April 5, 2022, Laura V. Trieschmann, the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) at Vermont Division for Historic Preservation concurred with the finding that the undertaking would have No Adverse Effect. The Stockbridge-Munsee Community Tribal Historic Preservation Office (THPO) also concurred with the No Adverse Effect finding for this undertaking. If any inadvertent discoveries be found, the Vermont SHPO and Stockbridge-Munsee THPO will be immediately notified.
As required by Section 106, NEH is providing the public with information about this project, as well as an opportunity to comment on any knowledge of, or concerns with, historic properties in the proposed project area, and issues relating to the project’s potential effects on historic properties. Comments may be submitted to the NEH by e-mail to FPO@neh.gov. The deadline for submitting comments is Tuesday, May 10.
Attachment 1 – Description of the Undertaking
The Granger House Project, which is the undertaking for purposes of Section 106, involves archaeological investigations in the lot surrounding Granger House. These investigations are designed to assess areas that may be impacted by future development of the Granger House property and to collect new information about the home’s residents as part of an interdisciplinary study of the home. Areas to be investigated archaeologically are described below (by archaeological “operation”), with a plan of operations and supplemental photos included in Attachment 1.
Operation 1 – Archaeological testing along the exterior south face of the Granger House ell
The Granger House ell is in a deteriorated state and the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation has already approved its careful documentation and eventual demolition. The area along the southern face of the ell was previously identified as an area of interest because of its proximity to the rear (kitchen) door of the house. 2019 excavations along the southern edge of the main house (Operation 1A) identified substantial, though heavily mixed, 18th and 19th-century Euro-American cultural materials to the west of this area. 2020–2021 investigations beneath the ell (Operation 2) identified significant 18th and 19th-century Euro-American cultural deposits and several heavily disturbed features. 2022 investigations (Operation 1B) will include a line of 8–12 1-x-1-m units running east-west directly along the southern façade of the ell. These units are designed to collect household midden and identify any features adjacent to the ell.
Operation 3 – Archaeological testing of Granger House north yard
The yard directly north of the Granger House ell is also likely to be impacted by any modification to the ell. Testing in this area will include full ground-penetrating radar [GPR] survey (on a 25-cm grid) and at least four 1-x-1-m units. Initial units will be positioned adjacent to the possible doorway on the north side of the ell and adjacent to the junction of the ell and main house. As with Operation 1B, these units are designed to collect household midden and identify any features likely to be impacted by future modifications to the ell.
Operation 4 – Archaeological testing of side lot east of Granger House
Directly east of the Granger House driveway is a small (20-x-20-m), tree-lined lot. The relationship of this lot to Granger House is poorly understood. It constitutes a possible location for the home’s original barn or a formal garden. Investigations in this area will include full GPR survey (on a 25-cm grid) and at least four 1-x-1-m units. These investigations are designed to help interpret this lot by identifying cultural features.
Operation 5 – Archaeological testing of original Granger House driveway
The Granger House driveway currently enters the lot from Seminary lane to the north and then terminates near the east end of the ell. Surface examination of the backyard, however, determined that the driveway originally continued around the house and exited the lot to the west on South Street. 2022 investigations will include a line of 3–4 contiguous 1-x-1-m units running north-south across the western extension of the driveway. These investigations are designed to document the driveway prior to any modifications of the Granger House lot and to describe the driveway’s original appearance and date.
Operation 6 – Archaeological testing of potential Granger House barn location
The 1889 Perspective Map of Castleton, VT includes a barn located to the southeast of the Granger House ell. A portion of this area is beneath the current (modern) garage scheduled to be removed in the coming year. Investigations in this area will include GPR survey (on a 25–cm grid) and 2–3 1-x-1-m units situated along the east side of the modern garage. These investigations are designed to identify the barn’s original position.
Operation 7 – GPR-guided archaeological investigations
In addition to the investigations described above, planned work includes a ground-penetrating radar (GPR) survey covering the entirety of the home’s backyard. As noted elsewhere, the survey will be conducted on a 25-cm grid for maximum resolution. A sampling of possible features identified by GPR will be tested with 1-x-1-m excavation units. The goal of these investigations is to identify additional features in the backyard, including middens, privies, or architectural features, likely to be impacted by future modifications of the Granger House property.
Excavation methods, recording, and curation
All of the proposed archaeological investigations will follow Guidelines for Conducting Archaeology in Vermont, including hand excavation of 1-x-1-m units, and the screening, recording, analysis, and curation of all recovered materials. This project will also include the creation of 3D models of all excavation units using handheld lidar available through iPad Pro tablets.
In addition to the investigations described above, 2022 work will include documentation of the well located directly south of the ell and dendrochronological investigation of exposed framing in the home’s interior. Well investigations will include photographic documentation and 3D mapping. Dendrochronological investigations will include coring of exposed framing within both the main house and ell. Dendrochronological work will be conducted by William Flynt utilizing dendrochronological sequences available through the laboratories of Historic Deerfield.