National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior

National Register of Historic Places Program

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.


Property Name Marsh-Billings -Rockefeller National Historical Park
Reference Number 16000526
State Vermont
County Windsor
Town Woodstock
Street Address 54 Elm Street
Multiple Property Submission Name Agricultural Resources of Vermont MPS
Status Listed 8/15/2016
Link to full file
The Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park (NHP) Historic District possesses national significance under National Register Criteria A, B, and C. It derives significance in the area of Conservation under Criterion A as a model example of progressive private conservation practices during the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries and under Criterion B for its associations with the contributions of George Perkins Marsh (180 1- I 882), Frederick Billings (1823-1890), and Laurance Spelman Rockefeller (1910-2004) to the history of conservation. Marsh was born on the property and lived there through circa (c.) 1824; it remained his family home through 1869. His ground-breaking 1864 book, Man and Nature, laid the foundations for the conservation movement in America by elucidating a pragmatic approach to the stewardship of natural resources that suited the Industrial Age. It inspired Billings, who was born in nearby Royalton, Vermont, made his fortune as a real estate lawyer during the California Gold Rush, and later led the Northern-Pacific Railroad, to create a model country estate on the Marsh family property. Billings' integration of forestry and landscape gardening there from 1869 through his death in 1890 was one ofthe earliest known conservation efforts to follow the concepts articulated by Marsh and illustrated the close relationship between aesthetics and environmental sustainability that became a defining characteristic of American conservation. His application of progressive scientific agriculture practices, in particular woodlot management and reforestation, define the property's significance under Criterion A in the area of Agriculture. Billings' heirs continued to apply his conservation philosophy in their improvements to and maintenance of the estate through the early twentieth century. His granddaughter Mary French Rockefeller, who inherited the property in 1954, and her husband Laurance, an active conservationist who advocated the use of public-private partnerships as preservation tools, extended the concept of responsible stewardship to the natural and historic resources of the surrounding village of Woodstock. The couple used the estate as a summer home from 1961 to 1997 and carefully preserved the Mansion, Forest, and adjacent farm as a model of sustainable development. The creation of a National Historical Park on the property in 1992 exemplified Laurance and Mary Rockefeller's broad vision of conservation as a public responsibility. The fallout shelters under the Mansion and Bowling Alley contribute to the site's significance in the area of Social History for its associations with the civil defense movement of the Cold War era and the construction of private fallout shelters.

Any Associated Files
Agricultural Resources of Vermont MPS


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Properties are listed in the National Register of Historic Places under four criteria: A, B, C, and D. For information on what these criterion are and how they are applied, please see our Bulletin on How to Apply the National Register Criteria