Orange County Courthouse // 1847

The Orange County Courthouse in Chelsea, Vermont, is a two-story white clapboard Greek Revival structure. Built in 1847, the prominent civic building overlooks the south common of Chelsea village. The prominent three-section rectangular bell tower is topped by a gilded copper dome. The courthouse has many hallmarks of the Greek Revival style. Foremost is the temple front image created by the triangular shaped pediment in the gable and the paneled corner pilasters that imitate columns.

The original Orange County Courthouse was built in 1801 by Oliver Terry on land donated by Reuben Hatch, some of which became the South Common in Chelsea. Due to numerous expenses in the early 1840’s for repairs to the deteriorating, old courthouse, in 1846 the county levied a tax to fund a new building. The county dismantled the original building and Master Builder Horace Carpenter of Chelsea constructed the present Greek Revival style in 1847 for $4,228.80. Horace Carpenter was at the start of an illustrious career when he built the courthouse in 1847. In 1848, Carpenter built the Universalist Church (now Baptist) in Washington, VT, using an almost identical exterior design. That same year he also built “Pinehurst,” the home of Horace Fairbanks, and later became the chief carpenter for the Fairbanks Scale Company. He built the Caledonia County courthouse in 1856.

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