Snell House // 1849

Amasa Snell (1794-1850) and his son Nelson built this house, just a year before his death. The house is yet another example of the vernacular snecked ashlar construction method, which Chester, Vermont is known for. This house is located in the rural Trebo section of town, an area where many of the masons who built these snecked ashlar homes lived. It stands out for the use of light and dark stone laid in alternating rows. This house is perfect!

Emery Bolles House // 1841

Next to the Israel Moore house (last post) in Chester, VT, the Emery Bolles house is yet another beautiful example of a snecked ashlar building in central Vermont. The town of Chester has the largest concentration of these buildings in the state in the north village, now known as Stone Village. The building method was so popular that even a couple examples sprouted up in the larger Chester Village nearby. Erected for Emory Bolles (who operated a wagon shop next door), this 1841 house possesses a 5-bay facade and a later, distinguished Victorian-era full-width porch. The porch incorporates turned posts with a central gable above the steps that carries an openwork screen.

Israel Moore Snecked Ashlar House // c.1846

Located on Main Street in Chester, Vermont, you can find this perfect little Snecked Ashlar home. The building technique is very local and can be found in just a handful of towns in central Vermont. Scottish-born masons from Canada introduced the technique to local masons while erecting a mill in nearby Cavendish in 1832, and within a few years, the first stone structure in North Chester village was built by local masons. Soon after, the local school, church and other homes were all constructed the same way. This home outside the Stone Village district was built later than almost all other examples in town. It features Federal and Greek Revival detailing with a central fluted fan at the door and large gable-front roof.

Have you heard of Snecked Ashlar before?

Gingerbread Apartments // c.1850

Built in the mid-19th century this former home in Chester, VT, exhibits the range in tastes seen from the Classically inspired Greek Revival style to the ornate and over-the-top Queen Anne style. The original 1850 Greek Revival design of the house survives in its temple form and classical details, augmented by a visually dominant overlay of Queen Anne features. The house was acquired sometime after 1870 by the Haselton family, whose daughter Hattie married John Greenwood. The Greenwoods undertook a major renovation of the building about 1900, adding the elaborate front porch and other features, giving it the wedding cake or lace-like appearance we see today. The home was converted to apartments in the 1960s, but retains much of its architectural details, it is best known as the Gingerbread Apartments.

Chester Town Hall // 1884

The town of Chester, Vermont, was originally chartered by New Hampshire Governor Benning Wentworth as Flamstead, in 1754. The terms of the charter were not met and the town was re-chartered as New Flamstead in 1761. In 1766, a patent was issued by New York that changed the name of the town to Chester, after George Augustus Frederick, the Earl of Chester and the eldest son of King George III. Vermont in the 18th century was contested land claimed by both New Hampshire and New York, unsettled until the colonists in the area decided to petition for their own statehood. The town of Chester voted to keep their name. The town grew with two distinct villages, Chester Village and Stone Village. Both villages were very distinct in terms of politics, religious affiliations, and architecture. When the railroad cut through the town, the route passed between Chester’s North and South villages, and Chester Depot village emerged right in the middle. The establishment of a third village by the railroad depot, offered neutral ground on which to erect a town hall, as before 1884, town meetings were held alternately each year in the two opposing villages. The large town hall building in Depot Village is a late example of Greek Revival and Italianate design.

James Paul House // c.1835

The James Paul House in Durham, NH, stands out as a rare example of stone construction in town. The house was built between 1830 and 1840, and is transitional Federal/Greek Revival in style. It has four tall chimneys (two on each slope of the roof), granite lintels over the windows, and granite quoins at the corners which together, create an elegant composition. Tragically, James Paul died unexpectedly when removing the staging on this house, he was never able to live in this beauty. The home was occupied by two reverends of a local church.

Captain Simpson House – Parsonage // 1840

In 1840, a recently married Andrew Lapish Simpson built this home for his new bride, Lydia Kelly. The house blends Federal and Greek Revival architectural styles and has a perfect door surround that stopped me in my tracks. The L-shaped home is attached to a barn which was originally an older home. Andrew was a sea captain who took months long excursions, leaving his wife to maintain the home on her own. He died in 1870, and was survived by his widow for 25 years. The family home was gifted to the local Congregational church in which she was an active member. It was occupied as the church’s parsonage until the 1950s. It was an office until a couple years ago and it is now a single-family home.

Dr. Ellis House – Sippican Historical Society // 1839

This house was built in 1839 Dr. Walton Nye Ellis (1808-1867), who served as physician in Marion in the second quarter of the 19th century. Born in Wareham, Ellis moved to Marion, and married Susan Delano (1809-
1840) after her death, within the year, he married Lucy Clark Allen (1820-1885); he had a daughter with his first wife and four daughters and three sons with his second. By 1838, he purchased a lot in Sippican Village for the price was $225. In 1855, Dr. Ellis organized a meeting of prosperous Village men, mostly sea captains, with the purpose of planning a library for the town. They pooled resources and funded a library which was located in a large closet on the second floor of his home seen here. The library’s books could be borrowed for a few cents a week. Subsequent funding from Elizabeth Taber helped create the Taber Library just decades later. In the 1960s, the home was gifted to the Sippican Historical Society, who remain in the building to this day.

Cobb House // 1841

The highest-style Greek Revival house in Marion is this home, built in 1841 as a parsonage for Marion’s Congregational Church. The first pastor to reside here was Rev. Leander Cobb. He assisted his father, Rev. Oliver Cobb, who had been preaching in Marion since the completion of the first meeting house in 1799. Leander’s daughter, Sarah Elizabeth, married Captain Benjamin Briggs, who’s father ran the local post office (see last post). In 1872, Captain Briggs set sail aboard his ship, Mary Celeste, with his wife and two year old daughter Sophia, and seven crewmates. Their school-aged son was left at home with his grandmother. They sailed from Massachusetts on November 7, 1872, bound for Europe with a cargo of commercial alcohol. Less than a month later, on December 4, the ship was found sailing erratically off the coast of Gibraltar. A local crew boarded the ship to investigate when they saw no one on deck. The sails were furled and the ship was in excellent condition. In the infant’s crib remained the impression of a sleeping child. However, no sign of the crew or the Briggs family was ever found. There are many theories about what happened, with the most likely being that some alcohol barrels got loose and flammable liquor poured out near the kitchen. It is possible the family and crew became frightened and boarded the safety boat incase of an explosion. The boat was not tethered and they likely could not reach the main ship as her sails were up. They were probably capsized by a wave and drowned to death in the open ocean.

Marion Post Office // 1830

Built around 1830, this little cottage is set behind a front lawn and is among the many photogenic buildings along Marion’s Main Street. Originally located behind the Marion Congregational Church, this structure was moved to its current site between 1855 and 1879, and run as a post office for the village. During the mid-19th century, the job of post-master was a political appointment. For a time Captain Nathan Briggs, a retired sea captain and Democratic party appointee, operated a post office in this structure, competing with Republican Dr. Walton N. Ellis who was in charge of a rival Post Office nearby. He ran the post office until he was struck by lightning in the doorway of his home. Who knew that everything was as political then as they are now? Things do not change!