The sprawling lodge that is the centerpiece of the twenty-seven-hundred-acre Trapp resort gives Stowe an unabashedly Alpine image in a landscape characterized by the farmhouse vernacular of its nineteenth-century hill agriculture, the Adirondack rusticity of its summer camps, and the early modernism of its emergent ski industry. Unlike the fantasy invention of Sun Valley's 1936 Bavarian Village, the Trapp imagery is authentic, if out of context.
On a break from a concert tour in 1942, the famous singing family summered in Stowe and decided to settle here, establishing what the public perceived as a direct Alpine association. The family bought and remodeled a run-down farm on Luce Hill and ultimately attached a twenty-room Tyrolean chalet, reminiscent of their grandmother's home in Austria, to the kitchen wing of the old farmhouse. After running a summer music camp in a nearby CCC barracks and renting rooms to winter visitors, the family decided to open their home as a lodge in 1950. When the original building was lost to fire in 1980, they commissioned Vermont's Burley Partnership to design a replacement three times the size of the original but with the same distinctive character. The new lodge is two-and-a-half stories with natural siding and broad wood-shingled roof slopes punctuated by gabled dormers and deep eaves that shelter expansive balconies. Beneath its picturesque gable belfry and gingerbread balustrade cutouts, however, the horizontality of the eaves and galleries, the deep pent gables, and the massive chimneys display a kinship with the Prairie School of Frank Lloyd Wright. This is no surprise since a few years after completing the Trapp lodge, Robert Burley became the executive director of the Taliesin Preservation Commission in Wisconsin.