Colony-Abbott Worsted Mill // 1882

The site along the southern bank of the Souhegan River in East Wilton, NH has been the location of successive mills since 1814. These wooden mills were wiped out by fire, and the land was vacant until 1882, when members of the mill-owning Colony family of Keene, NH bought the site for a new cotton mill. That year they built a three-story brick mill building atop a raised basement level. Colony Bros., the company, began their manufacturing in early 1883. They produced woolen flannel and other woolen goods and employed 70 workers in the factory. The building was powered by steam and water from the adjacent Souhegan River. In 1894, the Colony Bros. mill passed into the hands of Philip Amidon, who formed the Wilton Woolen Company, who produced everything from traditional woolen goods to the finest cashmere. In 1932, the struggling mill was purchased by the Abbotts, owners of two local mills and others in Massachusetts. Abbott Worsted produced a very fine finished cloth, with much of their product going to New York City where it was made into fine men’s suits. The building was later purchased in 1971 by Leonard Peterson, to house his growing company, Label Art. The company has for many years been a nationwide distributor of pressure sensitive labels. Their occupancy likely saved the buildings from the wrecking ball, like so many others did at the time!

Oh, and how cute is the 1885 office for the mill?! The date is found in the brickwork!

Proctorsville Firehouse // 1883

Industrial villages like Proctorsville in Cavendish, Vermont, have always been susceptible to fire and complete destruction. As a result, many such villages erected firehouses or barns where apparatus (and sometimes horses) would be kept in case of emergency. The Proctorsville Volunteer Fire Department was formed in 1883, and this structure was built to house the fire apparatus and possibly a small apartment or living quarters above. Today, the building appears to be home to the Fire Society.

Black Whipple House // c.1780

Brothers Prince and Cuffee Whipple were born in Ghana to relatively wealthy parents, and were sent to study in America in 1750 at roughly age 10. During the journey, they were kidnapped by a slave trader and sent to a prison in the Caribbean. Prince, his brother, and hundreds of other enslaved Africans at the prison were sold to a sea captain, with a majority of the prisoners sent to sugar and tobacco plantations in the West Indies and the Southern British Colonies. Prince and Cuffee were not among those sold in the plantations, but instead were sent to Portsmouth, New Hampshire to be house slaves, soon after purchased by William Whipple, a sea captain and merchant from Kittery, Maine. William Whipple, who married his first cousin Catherine Moffat in 1767, moved into the Moffatt-Ladd House on Market Street in Portsmouth in 1769. Upon the beginnings of the American Revolution, Whipple asked Prince and Cuffee Whipple to fight alongside him, promising to emancipate him after the war, and he did. After the war, the “Black Whipple Brothers” and their wives, Dinah and Rebeccah, were given lifelong use of a plot of land by their former enslaver in Portsmouth, NH, just behind his walled garden. In a house they had built on this site, the two couples worked and ran a school for free Black children. After all four died, the house began to deteriorate and was demolished. The present building (though altered), was constructed on the original foundation and is now a stop on the New Hampshire Black Heritage Trail.

Scott Farm – Pig Barn // 1911

Cows, horses and pigs once dominated the 571-acre landscape of Scott Farm in Dummerston, VT. We have seen where the farmer, cows, and horses lived, so now it’s time to see where the pigs “pigged” out. This barn building was constructed around the time of the horse barn when the farm was owned by Frederick Holbrook II of Boston. The one-and-a-half-story pig barn, like the others, was built into the landscape which would allow for the animals to easily get into the structures. This building was used as the “Cider House” in the 1999 movie Cider House Rules.

Scott Farm – Cow Barn // 1862

Historic barns really are the most charming buildings, and luckily, Vermont is home to soooo many great examples. The Cow Barn at Scott Farm in Dummerston, VT was built in 1862 and constructed into the slope of the land. The barn has a brick and stone foundation, barn board siding, and a roof sheathed with small dark slate. It is built into the slope of the land and has a single-story shed roof addition (c.1915) off the west facade to give the building a saltbox form, and a single story gable roof milk house addition off the east facade. The rear facade has a more rustic appearance and has a large entrance to the space inside which is occupied by The Stone Trust, with the mission to preserve and advance the art and craft of dry stone walling. The organization holds classes and trainings where people can learn how to build a traditional or modern stone wall and more! The barn (and the rest of the buildings on the Scott Farm property) is owned by the Landmark Trust USA.

West Dummerston Covered Bridge // 1872

Oh covered bridges, one of the many symbols of New England that always give me joy when I see them! This beauty was constructed in 1872 to span the West River in Dummerston, Vermont and is the longest that is wholly within the State of Vermont. The bridge was designed by Caleb B. Lamson, a master carpenter and the bridge is the only known bridge built by Lamson that survives. Vermont is significant for covered bridges as about one hundred bridges still stand in the state, which is probably the greatest concentration by area of covered bridges in the nation. A reason we have to thank Vermont for this is purely population. With more people living in the state, transportation demands change, and these bridges are often replaced with modern steel structures. Keep doing you Vermont!

St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Church // 1958

I typically do not connect my posts to current events, but I really wanted to take time to highlight the strength and fortitude of the Ukrainian people fighting to preserve their home and democracy around the globe. Closer to home, a growing Ukrainian community in Boston in 1956, decided to erect a new church in the Forest Hills section of Jamaica Plain. Land was acquired and a blessing ceremony was attended by members of the church, the architect, and Reverend John Theodorovich; the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of America, who was born in Ukraine, and served at chaplain with the Army of the Ukraine National Republic in the war against Russia in 1919-20, before eventually moving to North America. The architect, John Kodak, was a Toronto-based architect of Ukrainian descent who ended up in Canada after fleeing from his home to escape communist rule from the USSR. This church is a Modernist interpretation of the iconic St. Andrew’s Church in Kiev, Ukraine, with its onion domes surmounted by crosses. The church, like many others, is holding prayers for Ukraine and is coordinating donations and aid to the Ukrainian people and related charities.

Waterford Odd Fellows Hall // 1904

Built soon after a massive fire destroyed much of North Waterford Village in Maine, the Iocal order of Odd Fellows decided to rebuild, constructing this building for their members. Though active for several decades after the building was reopened, an aging and dwindling membership forced this chapter to merge with the Odd Fellows of nearby Norway, Maine. After, this building was occupied by the Daughters of Rebekah, an auxiliary group of the IOOF for women until 1973 when it was donated to the recently formed Waterford Historical Society. The society has since moved, and listed the building for sale in 2020 for just $10,000!!

Rockport Sail Loft // c.1840

Bearskin Neck in Rockport, Massachusetts is such a magical place, and a place I visit at least once a year. The narrow peninsula is lined by modest wooden buildings that were built when the village was a thriving fishing village. Fast forward to the mid-20th century, the neighborhood became an established artist colony, with many of these buildings converted to studios, shops, or restaurants. This charming old building was constructed by 1845 as a sail loft, where workers would lay out cloth and make sails for ships. The building was known to have been used as a sail loft up to about 1942. Like everything else on the Neck, the building has been faithfully restored and converted to commercial use by small business artisans, including Bearskin Neck Leathers. This is why historic preservation is so important. These buildings connect us to the past, but can be adaptively reused into modern uses.

Edmund and Ethel Sprague House // 1929

In the inter-war period, Norman Revival houses took off in popularity (though never at the same level as Tudor or Colonial Revival styles), partially due to returning soldiers who served in Normandy France in WWI. Many plans include a small round tower topped by a cone-shaped roof, resembling the grain silos of the ancient Normandy style. The architecture is characterized by steep, conical roofs or hipped roofs and round stair-towers. The style is much less common in the Boston area, but this notable example in Waban Village, Newton, was too good to pass by without snapping a photo! The home was built around 1929 for Edmund and Ethel Sprague. Edmund is listed in directories as a landscaper for trees and shrubs.