The former Vermont State Hospital campus in Waterbury, Vermont, is a 36.3-acre campus of institutional buildings that have been converted for use as state government offices. A sprawling array of more than 17 structures, the hospital, which historically treated mental disorders, was first funded by the Vermont State Legislature in 1888. Construction began on the plans by the Boston architectural firm of Rand & Taylor in 1890. The architects designed the landmark main administration and auditorium building at the core, which is built of brick on a rusticated stone foundation and under a steep hipped slate roof. The building is connected by single-story links to two-and-a-half-story wings, which are attached to clustered two-story cylindrical wards. In planning the hospital, Rand & Taylor stressed the isolation of patients and stressed the importance of light and air in each room and restricted height of the building to facilitate egress from upper floors in the event of fire or emergency. The asylum has a dark history in that Dr. Eugene A. Stanley, the Superintendent from 1918–1936, was an advocate of eugenics and espoused forced sterilization and advised the Eugenics Society based on his patients records. From this, the word, “Waterbury,” became used in a derogatory sense, and did harm to the town for years. The hospital was closed in 2011 due to flooding in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene, and after a thorough renovation by architects Freeman French Freeman and Goody Clancy, the complex re-opened in 2015 as State Offices with renovated historic assets and modern, contextual new buildings.
Dr. Henry Janes House – Waterbury Municipal Center // c.1890
Probably best known for being in charge of all the military hospitals in the Gettysburg area after the bloodiest battle of the Civil War, Waterbury, Vermont native, Dr. Henry Janes (1832-1915) had a decorated career and gave much to his country and hometown. Janes attended local schools before enrolling at St. Johnsbury Academy, later graduating from New York City’s College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1855. After a few years working in NY and MA, he moved back to Waterbury to take up a private practice. This was disrupted by the Civil War where he was a major surgeon on the front lines and had over 250 surgeons under his command. After returning home from the war, Dr. Janes was involved in politics and business, and had a home built in town. According to local historians, this present home of Janes was built in 1890, but it definitely could date to the 1870s with Stick style features. Upon his death, the Dr. Janes home was gifted to the town for use as a public library. When Tropical Storm Irene hit the region in 2011, the town offices were destroyed and Vermont Integrated Architecture was hired to expand the Janes House adding space for town offices, meeting space, a modern library and to reconfigure the historic home for the Waterbury Historical Society. Everything about this is perfect, down to the paint colors!
Stagecoach Inn // 1826
Built by the Carpenter brothers in Waterbury, who also designed and built the neighboring Congregational Church (last post), this large structure was a stagecoach stop on the road to Stowe for much of the nineteenth century. Briefly, the Inn served as a private residence for Albert and Annette “Nettie” Spencer. Nettie grew up in Waterbury and married Albert who owned rubber factories in Ohio and invested in real estate in Burlington. At one time, the Spencers’ residences included their Waterbury house, a suite at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City, a house in Newport, an apartment in Paris, as well as one in London. Albert died in London, and Nettie continued living in Waterbury until her death in 1947, approaching 100 years of age. Within a year, the property was sold and the owners reopened the main house as a sort of boarding house. The property was restored and operates today as the Old Stagecoach Inn.
Aaron Cutler Memorial Library // 1924
In his 1917 will, Aaron Cutler of Hudson, N.H. left his estate to family and friends with his remaining estate to be bequeathed “for the purpose of the erection, furnishing and maintenance of a Public Library, upon the express condition that the citizens of said town give land upon which to erect the same. Said land to be located within one-quarter of a mile of the town hall. Said Library to be of brick and slate. And to be known as “The Aaron Cutler Memorial Library.” His town of Hudson recently erected a memorial library, so he sought to fund a library in an adjacent municipality. Land was donated in Litchfield for a new library there and architect William M. Butterfield furnished plans for the building. The library was completed in 1924 and exhibits Tudor/English Revival design, unique for the town.
The Floats // 1900
Newton Booth Tarkington (1869–1946) was an American author best known for his novels The Magnificent Ambersons (1918) and Alice Adams (1921). He is one of only four novelists to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and was considered the greatest living American author in much of the 1910s and 1920s. While he was born and grew up in Indiana, “Booth” eventually fell in love with the coast of Maine, and built a home in the charming village of Kennebunkport. In Kennebunkport, he was well known as a sailor, and his schooner, the Regina, survived him. Regina was moored next to Tarkington’s boathouse this building, which was named “The Floats” which he also used as his studio. The building was constructed in 1900 as a shop to build ships. He purchased the building, preserving it for generations to come. After his death, the boathouse and studio were converted into the Kennebunkport Maritime Museum. The building appears to now be a private residence, perched above the harbor. How charming!
Moses Latham House // c.1845
Noank is a charming seaside village within the town of Groton that is centered on a peninsula at the mouth of the Mystic River where it spills out into the Long Island Sound. Historically, the area was known as Nauyang (meaning “point of land”) and was a summer camping ground of the Pequot people, but they were driven out in 1655 following the Pequot War. White settlement was slow here until the mid-19th century, when the shipbuilding and fishing economy took off here. As a result, houses, stores, churches and industries were built, and an entire village was formed. Most extant homes here were constructed starting in the 1840s as the village (and nearby Mystic) saw economic growth from the maritime trades. This house, the Moses Latham House, was constructed for Mr. Latham in about 1845. The house is Greek Revival in style with flush-board siding, a fan light in the gable which reads as a pediment, and a simple portico supported by fluted Doric columns.
Rose and Howard K. Hilton House // 1900
Tudor Revivals may just be my favorite style of house. The interesting roof forms and gables, the use of stone, brick or stucco, and the presence of garrisoning and half-timbering in designs are always so charming. This enchanting Tudor Revival home in Providence, Rhode Island, was built in 1900 by local architect Howard K. Hilton (1867-1909) as his personal residence with wife Rose. He first worked in the office of H. W. Colwell and continued his training under Ellis Jackson joining him in partnership (Jackson & Hilton) and under the firm name was identified with the design of several churches, schools, hospitals and various other buildings in his native city before he retired in his final years. This home is very unique for its site on a narrow urban lot with the door at the side, brick first floor with jettying at the second floor of wood construction with half-timbering. While writing this, I noticed that there are also projecting gargoyles which serve as water spouts to send water away from the structure during rainfall events. Tudors are really the best!
The Carlisle // 1880
In 1880, Jonas Gerlusha Smith (1817-1893) received a permit to erect a multi-family apartment building on Warren Avenue in present-day South End. The lot was close to his personal residence at 13 Warren Avenue and would have been easy to maintain and oversee tenants in the building. Mr. Smith hired 26-year-old architect Arthur H. Vinal, who furnished the plans for the handsome Queen Anne building. Vinal would later become the City Architect of Boston from 1884 to 1887, designing the High Service Building at the Chestnut Hill Reservoir just seven years after this building. By the late 1880s, the building was known as The Carlisle and it remained in the Smith family holdings under Walter Edward Clifton Smith until the 1930s. Walter attended the Cambridge Episcopal Theological School and later worked at various churches in the Boston area, serving as pastor in his later years. He lived on Follen Street in Cambridge while he held the Carlisle for additional income. Under new ownership in 1950, a retail storefront was added to the first floor which was occupied as a florist for some years. In 1979, after years of deferred maintenance, the property was purchased by Louis G. Manzo and his son David W. Manzo, who meticulously restored the building over time into the time-capsule that it is today!
Talitha Cumi Home // 1912
One thing I love about Boston is that nearly every old building has such a rich history that takes so much time to compile and write up (this account keeps me busy)! Located on Forest Hills Street in Jamaica Plain, this stucco building caught my attention when driving by, so much so, that I had to stop and go back. The building was constructed in 1912 as a home for unwed mothers called Talitha Cumi Home (a phrase from the Bible meaning “Arise, young woman”). The charitable organization outgrew their space in the South End and sought greener pastures and open space in Jamaica Plain. The group had been organized in 1836 by “earnest Christian women” who longed to open a “door of hope” to “those hopeless and helpless girls who found themselves facing the sadness and shame and wrong of unwed motherhood.” The Talitha Cumi Home allowed pregnant women to reside and birth their children before their pregnancy began to show. The site originally included an administration building and a hospital with both structures connected by a covered breezeway. The home closed in the 1950s and the former home for unwed mothers has since been converted to a middle school.
William Allen Jr. House // 1866
Italianate style houses dominate the Deering Street area of Portland architecturally, but there are definitely some great Second Empire residences and other styles seen here. This house (like seemingly every building in Portland in the 1860s) was designed by architect George M. Harding for William Allen Jr. The house would soon be Harding’s neighbor, so he made an effort to site and design this residence with care. The brick building is capped by a slate mansard roof and it has a beautiful projecting door hood with pendants carved of grapes. Sadly, like some others on the street, the belvedere was removed in the mid-20th century.