Sweezy Summer House // 1916

Wilton, New Hampshire has a hidden enclave of high-style summer “cottages” built for wealthy residents in the early 20th century. The last of these examples I will feature is the Sweezy House, located in Wilton Center. The Federal Revival style mansion was built for Everett and Caroline Sweezy, summer residents who split their time between New Hampshire and New York. Mr. Sweezy was a banker for the Riverhead Savings Bank which was located on Long Island, which too was a summer destination. The couple hired the firm of Howe and Manning, led by female architects Lois Lilley Howe and Eleanor Manning, to design the home. The house is set back far from the street behind a rustic stone wall. The property remained in the Sweezy Family for four generations.

Wilton Masonic Temple // 1898

Located adjacent to the Gregg Free Library (Wilton’s Public Library), you will find the town’s Masonic Temple, a textbook example of Colonial Revival architecture. The building was dedicated in 1898 and sits on a prominence overlooking the Souhegan River, which supplied power and jobs to the East Wilton village. The brick building exhibits flared lintels, arched windows, a fanlight transom over the door, dentils, and prominent balustrade. The building appears to have been the work of architect Ernest Machado, an unsung specialist in Colonial Revival designs.

Everett Central Fire Station // 1908

There is something so enchanting about historic fire stations! The Central Fire Station in Everett, Massachusetts was built in 1908 from designs by the Boston architectural firm of Loring and Phipps (who also designed the first Everett High School and the Masonic Hall in town). The flat-roofed red brick structure displays Georgian Revival detailing including concrete quoins and oval windows. Originally there were four engine bays, but the station was converted to two large bays around 1980 as fire trucks got larger and larger. The building replaced an earlier, wood-frame fire station which was deemed unsatisfactory as horse-drawn apparatus made way for vehicular fire trucks.

Immaculate Conception Rectory // 1904

Next door to the Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church (last post) in Everett, you will find the church rectory, which completes the city block. Though very different in architectural style, the building is compatible with its more grand neighbor with the use of materials and setbacks. The rectory was built in 1904 in the Colonial Revival style, which was very popular at the time in New England. The three-story, hip-roofed building has bowed bays that flank a single-story porch with Doric columns that shelters a central entrance with fanlight and sidelights. Other Colonial-inspired details include the tripartite window set into the recessed arch above the porch, modillion cornices and splayed brick lintels with keystones. It is not clear who designed the rectory, but they did a great job at it! Rectories served as the residence of the priest of the church. Not bad digs if you ask me!

Brook Farm // 1894

By the late 1800s, Vermonters had left the state in high numbers as agriculture began to sharply decline as a career path in New England, with many leaving to urban centers and manufacturing towns. Vermont politicians responded to the de-population with initiatives to encourage the redevelopment of existing farms by seasonal residents with money who could summer there to escape the hustle and bustle (and dirty air) of urban centers. Towns threw events like “Old Home” days with activities to entice affluent family members to return home and bring their money with them. After 1850, railroads made it easier for urban families to trade the heat and congestion of the city for the beauty of Vermont. One of these wealthy expats was James Hale Bates (1826-1901), who was born in Cavendish, Vermont, and moved to New York and worked in advertising, operating a major firm there. He retired in 1895, after the completion of Brook Farm one year earlier, a gentleman’s farm that he had built in his ancestral hometown of Cavendish. This massive Colonial Revival mansion was the centerpiece among sweeping fields and orchards contained by rustic stone walls. It is believed that Vermont architect, Clinton Smith, designed the estate house and many of the out-buildings on the site from the carriage and cow barns to the caretaker’s house and creamery. In recent years, the estate was operated as a vineyard, but it appears to be closed now. This is one of the hidden gems of Vermont and one of the most stunning Colonial Revival homes I have seen!

Windham County Historical Museum // 1936

One of the few brick buildings in Newfane, Vermont’s main village is the Windham County Historical Museum building, a later addition to the area (not over 100 years old). The building was constructed in 1936 as a museum to house and share artifacts and history related to Newfane and the surrounding communities. The idea for a countywide society to preserve artifacts related to Windham County came from Clara Chipman Newton, whose ancestors settled on Newfane Hill after the American Revolution. The organization was incorporated August 10, 1933. Once the Society began receiving artifacts, there became a need for storing and displaying them. The Society members began a building fund and the cornerstone of the present Museum was laid August 5, 1936. The structure was designed to appear like a Federal style home, with its symmetrical facade and a raised basement.

Scott Farm – Horse Barn // c.1910

You saw the cow barn at Scott Farm, now you can see where the horses lived! The Horse Barn at Scott Farm in Dummerston, Vermont is a very photogenic building with its symmetrical facade and bright colors. The barn was built not long after Frederick Holbrook II of Boston acquired most of the farm to add to Naulakha, where he lived. Holbrook used the farm as a gentleman’s farm where he would have laborers managing the grounds and supplying him with the freshest produce and dairy products. Inside, there is a ramp down to the basement which still retains the horse stalls, it’s so charming!

St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church // 1914

When Ridgefield, Connecticut was settled in 1708 by Europeans, there was only one Episcopal Church in the state, and the general assembly allowed dissenters their own churches so long as they continued to pay taxes to support the Congregational Church. Ridgefield’s first Episcopal church, St. Stephen’s was built in 1740 on land granted by the Proprietors who founded the town and laid out lots along the towns new Main Street. In 1776, St. Stephen’s minister, Epenetus Townsend, a Tory (loyal to the British), was ordered to leave town with his wife and five children when the Revolution picked up steam. He was appointed chaplain to a British regiment and in 1779, the battalion was ordered to Nova Scotia. En route by vessel, a severe storm arose and all passengers were lost. The church was taken over by the commissary department of the American Army. During the Battle of Ridgefield, British troops set it on fire as a statement to the townspeople. The church was replaced two more times until 1914 when the present building was constructed. The Colonial Revival church is absolutely stunning and built from plans by (unknown to me) architect Walter Kerr Rainsford. The rubblestone church is one of the most pleasing designs I have seen in Connecticut!

King Mansion // 1894

After the American Revolution, Lt. Joshua King settled in Ridgefield and built the King Mansion in 1801, a Federal style home that commanded the Main Street lot. King was born in Bridgewater, Massachusetts and fought in the Revolutionary War near the border of Connecticut and New York. After the war, he settled in Ridgefield and married one of the most eligible bachelorettes in town Anne Ingersoll. Anne was the daughter of the Rev. Jonathan Ingersoll, pastor of the Congregational Church of Ridgefield. After a long life running a store and raising a family, Joshua died in 1839, a year after his wife. The mansion was inherited by their son Joshua Jr. until his death in 1887. In 1889, a fire destroyed much of the house. When it burned down, The New York Times described it as “the grandest old mansion in the village.” It was quickly replaced by the current house, modeled after the original but larger, which was placed much farther back from the road in the Colonial Revival style. Fire damaged the house again in the 1990s, and the present structure was restored and enlarged from 2002-2004, its HUGE!

Dunnell House // 1884

William Wanton Dunnell (1850-1933) was born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island and was educated in Rhode Island schools. He eventually helped run his family’s cotton goods business, which grew over the next decades. The Dunnell Finishing Works factory was a success in Apponaug (Warwick) Rhode Island, and he had over 500 employees turning out over 1,000,000 yards of printed cloth a week! Before all this, William had this amazing house built in College Hill, Providence for his family. The local architectural firm of Stone, Carpenter & Willson was hired and blended Shingle, Queen Anne, and Colonial Revival styles elegantly under one roof. I am particularly fond of the sawtooth shingles, Palladian motif windows in the gable, and undulating facade. The house is owned today by RISD.