Moors Manor Cottage // c.1900

The earliest of Wilton New Hampshire’s summer “cottages” is Moors Manor Cottage, a turn-of-the-century mansion set on former farmland with views of the mountains in the distance! While Wilton never compared to Newport or Bar Harbor as the major summer resort towns for the wealthy, the upper-middle class would sometimes build summer homes in their familial towns where they would escape the hustle-and-bustle of city life. Luckily, this home has been very well-preserved inside and out (but I wish that big fence was gone it really obscures the beauty of the house).

George Whiting House // c.1880

Located next door to the Frederick Colony House (last post), the George Whiting House in Wilton, New Hampshire perfectly compliments the Victorian house lined street. George Whiting was the son of David Whiting, a businessman and developer in town. George worked in his family business, as a milk dealer and “contractor” for the family farm. The house he built in Wilton is a blending of Stick and Queen Anne styles, with SOOO much detail.

Frederick Colony House // c.1885

When you look up Queen Anne architecture on Google, this house in Wilton, NH should pop up! The Frederick Colony House was built around 1885 for the mill-owner who built a large cotton mill (last post) in town at the same time. Frederick Colony (1850-1925) was from a prominent textile and cotton mill-owning family based in Massachusetts and Keene, New Hampshire. Colony purchased land along the Souhegan River and built a new mill, there to make his own fortune, and that he did! The Frederick Colony House remains as one of the best-preserved homes in Wilton, and recently sold. Those interiors!

Wilton Train Depot // 1892

The coming of the railroad to Wilton, New Hampshire was largely due to the rapid increase in the number of mills and factories built in and around the East Village along the river beginning in the early 19th century. This increase was the impetus to Wilton business leaders of the time to petition the state for a charter to form the Wilton Railroad Company which was granted in 1844. The first official run of a wood-burning steam engine from Nashua City Station to the newly constructed Wilton Station occurred on Dec. 1, 1851. The small, wood-frame station was deemed obsolete, and replaced by 1860 with a more substantial structure. In this time, the town prospered, and the local mills cranked out everything from worsted yarn to wooden boxes and furniture. After thirty years of use, however, this second station began to show its age; the tin roof was rusting and it leaked. In 1888, a derrick on a wrecker train caught the side of the building and heavily damaged it, requiring the demolition of the station. By 1892, it was replaced by this new brick station. Between the World Wars, automobile use dominated the American transportation landscape, shifting demands from rail to road. In the late 40’s, a restaurant opened in part of the building, operating until the early-to-mid 50’s. The station was closed when passenger service finally ended and the building, undergoing “adaptive re-use”, into a medical center. It operated for some time as a scenic, heritage railroad stop from 2003-2006.

Wilton Town Hall and Theater // 1885

Welcome to Wilton, New Hampshire! With a population less than 4,000, the tiny New England town sure packs a lot of old buildings into its borders. The town was first part of a township chartered as “Salem-Canada” in 1735, by Colonial Governor Jonathan Belcher of Massachusetts, which then claimed this area. The land here was granted to soldiers from Salem, Massachusetts, who had served in 1690 under Sir William Phips in the war against Canada. “Salem-Canada” was one of the towns on the state’s border intended to provide protection against attack from native tribes. In 1762, residents of the town petitioned New Hampshire Governor Benning Wentworth to incorporate the town as Wilton, likely named after Wilton, England. The town prospered as a sleepy farming town, largely concentrated around Wilton Center. By the 1860s, the village of East Wilton developed around the Souhegan River, with mills and businesses centered there. The town decided to relocate their town hall “closer to the action”. Land was acquired on a triangular piece of land in the center of the village, which was recently cleared by the destruction of Whiting House, a hotel that formerly occupied the site. The architectural firm of Merrill & Cutler of Lowell, MA, were hired to design the building, which blends Richardsonian Romanesque and Queen Anne styles perfectly on the difficult site, opening in 1885. Silent movies were first shown in the auditorium in 1912 and by the 1930s, the auditorium was used most often as a movie theater. A large part of the building has since been occupied as a theater for the community.

First Everett High School // 1893

While Everett’s population had remained small compared to nearby towns throughout much of the nineteenth century, its close proximity to Boston resulted in dramatic population growth between 1885 and 1915. During this late industrial period Everett’s population was one of the fastest growing in the state, doubling between 1870 and 1880, nearly tripling from 1880 to 1890 and doubling again between 1890-1900. The City of Everett immediately went about erecting a new schoolhouse to educate its youth. Architects Loring & Phipps were retained to prepare plans for the new high school. Ground was broken in August 1892 and the building was dedicated just over a year later in September 1893. The school was opened to 175 students on Monday, October 2, 1892 with a capacity of 550 students (as it was realized that the city would continue to grow). The building is high-style Queen Anne with red brick and mortar and light sandstone trimming. In 1905, the capacity of the high school was nearly doubled by the construction of an addition on the west end of the original building. Even doubling the size of the school did not prove adequate as the building was outgrown less than a decade later. From this, the Second Everett High School was built a block away. The First Everett High School is now known as the Whitney Lorenti House, a low income, elderly housing complex.

Sturtevant-Foss House // c.1903

Benjamin Franklin Sturtevant (1833-1890) was born in a poor Maine farming family and began working as a shoemaker to make ends meet. He devised a crude machine used in shoe manufacturing and moved to Boston in 1856 seeking backing for further development, thus began his career as an inventor. In his travels around shoe factories, Sturtevant was troubled by the airborne wood dust created by the machines wanted to invent a way to eliminate the dust and its resulting health effects. In 1867, he patented a rotary exhaust fan and began manufacturing the fan and selling it to industrial buyers across the country. He built a factory in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood that manufactured his invented air blowers, fans, and pneumatic conveyors. The factory in the 1870s was the largest fan manufacturing plant in the world. From his success, Ben Franklin Sturtevant built a house in the fashionable Sumner Hill neighborhood of Boston. The home was likely built in the Second Empire or Stick style, both popular at the time. When Benjamin died in the home, the home was willed to his widow until her death in 1903. In that time, the home was likely updated in the Queen Anne style, with Colonial embellishments. The couple’s youngest daughter, Lilla, occupied the home with her husband Eugene, who was previously hired to the B. F. Sturtevant Company by her late father. Eugene Foss, who married Lilla, was a member of the United States House of Representatives, and served as a three-term governor of Massachusetts. No biggie.

The Tower Cottage // 1880

Tower Cottage was built in 1880 and is one of the best examples of Queen Anne architecture in the town of Ridgefield, CT. The home was designed and built by Charles Betts Northrup, a carpenter and builder who grew up in town. The home was eventually occupied as a summer retreat for Maude Bouvier Davis, who would spend some summers at the house away from the big city. In Ridgefield, Maude was sometimes visited by her niece, Jackie Bouvier, later known as Jackie Kennedy Onassis, First Lady to President John F. Kennedy. Maude owned the property until 1972 and the home has been lovingly preserved since.