This Italianate style house was built in 1868 for Augustus and Laura Blaisdell, natives of New Hampshire who moved here to Chester, Vermont, in 1860. The Blaisdell’s operated a company that manufactured fireproof roofing and paint at their home base in New Hampshire, and built this building on a prominent site in the village to promote sales, which were conducted from a storefront on its ground floor. The location of the Blaisdell House alongside the tracks of the local railroad depot, was strategic in order to provide ease in the transportation of goods to the village of Chester Depot from the New Hampshire-based headquarters of A.H. Blaisdell & Co.The home and store is significant in the local economy and is itself, a significant example of the Italianate style in town.
Located on the edge of the Chester Town Green, you can find this beautiful Federal style commercial building. The use of blind arches at the facade is a fairly common feature found in brick Federal style buildings in Vermont. The structure was built around 1830 and has served a variety of uses through its existence, the most notable being the tin shop owned by various members of the Miller and Hadley families that sold stoves and hardware during the latter half of the 19th century. The tin business in New England grew rapidly after 1820. Tin shop owners imported tinplated sheet iron from Great Britain, shaped it into a variety of forms, and distributed their finished goods through peddlers and country stores. They also sold tinware in their shops. Colanders, dippers, dish kettles, funnels, measures, and pans were in greatest demand. Other common items included lanterns, foot stoves, teapots, coffeepots, “tin kitchens”, skimmers, and sconces. After its use as a tin shop, the building was occupied as a telephone exchange and electric utility company office. It presently is home to an antique store.
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.
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?
Located right on Main Street in the beautiful village of Chester, Vermont, this historic inn has been a landmark in town since it was built in the mid 19th century. The house was constructed around 1850 for Dr. Abram Lowell (1794-1876), the village doctor. Dr. Lowell conducted his medical practice in a small building next to the main house and resided in the home, which originally had a side-gable roof. Tributes printed in regional newspapers at the time of his death called him an eminent physician, accomplished gardener, “eccentric in his ideas,” and “the wealthiest man in town.” After his death, the home was inherited by his daughter and her husband, George Hilton. They immediately “modernized” the home, adding the mansard roof, which provided an extra full story of living space. The home was converted to a bed & breakfast in 1998, and has been one of the most intact, Victorian era inns in the state since! It is known as Inn Victoria, so named after Queen Victoria and the Victorian period of architecture in the United States.
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.
The Chester Depot is historically significant as a well-preserved train depot in Vermont. The first public train arrived in town on July 18, 1849, and in December, the Rutland & Burlington Railroad opened the first rail line across Vermont linking the Connecticut River valley at Bellows Falls and Lake Champlain at Burlington. The route passed between Chester’s older North and South villages, and Chester Depot village emerged. Fire destroyed the first station in 1871, and the lessee Vermont Central RR built this one that year. By the 1890’s, several industrial and commercial enterprises made Chester Depot one of the busiest stations on the Rutland RR. The State purchased the line in 1963, leasing it in part to the Green Mountain RR. The depot is an amazing lasting example of an Italianate style railroad station with decorative brick corbeling and large wooden brackets supporting the overhanging roof.
Arguably the best example of Queen Anne architecture in Chester, Vermont is the Pollard House at 137 Main Street. William Pollard was a co-owner of a thriving shirt-waist factory who ran the company with his brother (who lived in the house nextdoor). The Queen Anne home features a prominent octagonal tower, intricate stickwork, and asymmetrical massing with porches. The home has been painted colors to accentuate the many details of the home which appears as a Vermont version of a “Painted Lady”.
The Fullerton Inn exemplifies the prevalence of large hotels in smaller New England towns. By the middle of the 19th century, the railroad had brought both a great increase in travel and the accompanying need for better accommodations in Chester. In 1862, a hotel was constructed on the site fronting the town Green hat would remain the location of the village’s icon, the Fullerton Inn. The Ingraham House (as it was originally called) was a 3-story, hip-roofed building in the Italianate style. The hotel on the Green became the node around which the village’s previously scattered commercial enterprises thereafter coalesced. The Ingraham House later burned to the ground in a massive fire in 1888.
The industrialization and development of the village boomed, and townsfolk rallied for a new hotel to bring in visitors. By 1890, a new hotel was constructed. Named “The Fullerton” after Nathaniel Fullerton, who largely underwrote its cost, the new 3-story, 30-room hotel presented to the Green an eclectic design distinguished mostly by a broad veranda with second-story balcony and a four-story, pyramidal-peaked corner tower. The Queen Anne Victorian hotel also succumbed to the same fate as the original, as a fire destroyed the building in 1920.
Within a year, however, a new Fullerton Inn arose on the site. The 35-room replacement emulates its predecessor in scale and the fullwidth veranda; its style, however, corresponds to a gambrel roofed version of the Colonial Revival shared by several contemporary houses in the village. A novel feature of the second Fullerton dominates its lobby: a rubble fireplace that incorporates 27 varieties of stone found in the vicinity in Chester.
The lemon-yellow Italianate mansion on Main Street in downtown Chester, Vemont was built for one of the richest men in town, Frederick Fullerton (1817-1869). Mr. Fullerton was the owner of a woolen mill in nearby Cavendish and was active in affairs in the town of Chester. Frederick was the son of Nathaniel Fullerton (1775-1872) who was a banker who also developed and funded numerous civic and recreational developments in town.
The asymmetrical house features a deep wrap-around veranda (porch) and while the home faces east, and not the street, commands the street with its massing, design features and bright paint color. There are estimates that the construction of the home took 50 men two years to build!