The Little River area of Waterbury, Vermont, was a very sparsely developed area of farms located on the slope of Ricker Mountain, which was difficult to traverse and farm. Almeron Goodell (1834-1910) and his wife Luthera bought farmland here in 1863 and built this farmhouse that year from rough-hewn timbers on the land. In 1870, the couple and their seven-year-old son, Bert, had four cows, one horse, and a flock of chickens on their property – enough to supply the family’s needs. Life on Ricker Mountain was hard. By the late 1800s, the loss of soil fertility on the land prompted some farmers to abandon the hillsides for more fertile land in the valleys nearby or the free land offered in the American West. Additionally, the Green Mountain Power Company began purchasing farmland to erect a hydroelectric dam and reservoir in 1920, effectively abandoning the area. The Little River area was left behind, with abandoned farms, family cemeteries, and carriage roads, slowly returning back to the earth. Luckily for us, the area is preserved as part of the Little River State Park, where you can hike and explore the area, learning about the past inhabitants of the now ghost village. The Goodell Farmhouse is the only extant farmhouse left from this early settlement and a lasting reminder of how hard life was for many who settled in undeveloped land in New England. The farmhouse was used as a hunting lodge in the 1940s, likely the only reason it still stands to this day.
In the early years of the establishment of the settlement of Landgrove Vermont, Joshua Dale 1765-1845) moved to the newly incorporated town and built this large farmhouse on the south-facing slope of a mountain. With strong ties to nearby Weston, he tried to make a life in the new town of Landgrove, serving as a selectman, but he and his family moved back just four years later. The property was purchased by Obadiah Pease (1766-1830) who lived here with his wife Achsah and their seven children. The farm was eventually willed to their son Elihu, who did very well farming the property during his ownership (1830-1857). In 1842, he was the third-richest man in town at just 39 years old. From 1855 to 1857 he farmed only half the farm and a Shrewsbury man, Dexter R. Way, farmed the rest. At age 54, Elihu sold his farm to Dexter Way and left Landgrove to Wisconsin. After successive ownership, the farm was bought in 1933 by Nelson and Elizabeth Bigelow, for $1,500! The property included 200 acres of land, a dilapidated farmhouse and two decrepit barns. For the following seven years the land was gradually brought under control and the house restored, but the barns were unsalvageable. This homestead is a lasting example as to what a little faith and hard-work can accomplish, bringing what is seen as a tear-down up to one of the nicest homes in the area!
I stumbled upon this Greek Revival farmhouse located on one of many dirt roads in Landgrove, Vermont and had to snap a few photos! I couldn’t find much on the history of the house besides the fact it was listed on an 1869 atlas as the property of an “I. Cory”. The five-bay farmhouse has an elaborate door treatment and bold corner pilasters all perched behind a historic stone wall. The house telescoped outward with additions, eventually connecting it to what is now a garage. This farmhouse purchased in the 20th century by John A. Brown, who worked as Dean of Students at Princeton University.
This beautiful farmhouse in Cavendish, Vermont is located along a winding dirt road and has ties to one of the town’s original family’s. A home was built here in 1785 and changed hands numerously over the first few decades of its existence. The farmhouse that was built also served as a tavern for travellers along the newly laid out Wethersfield Turnpike. It is possible that the cheap land and rural character of the new town was appealing to some, but reality away from true commerce may have made many sell the farm after a few years, which could explain why the property was bought and sold so often early on. The property was purchased by Jonathan Atherton, a Revolutionary War veteran, farmer, surveyor and lawyer, who acquired large landholdings in Cavendish. In 1821, Jonathan Atherton was sued in court by his neighbor, Jedediah Tuttle for beating Tuttle’s wife Lydia. In order to finance the bonds, Atherton mortgaged all his real estate in Cavendish to his brother Joseph, and Elihu Ives, Jonathan Atherton Jr.’s father-in-law. Atherton St. lost the case and had to pay a fine. The property was eventually inherited by Stedman Atherton, the youngest son of Jonathan, who seems to have demolished the old homestead and constructed the present home on the site. The original dwelling was also the childhood home of Henry B. Atherton, a staunch abolitionist and soldier in the American Civil War, who later served as a lawyer and state legislator for New Hampshire, and his sister Eliza (Atherton) Aiken, a Civil War nurse who has been referred to as America’s own “Florence Nightingale”. The old Atherton farmstead was recently renovated.
This house in Cavendish was constructed in 1850 by Joshua Parker and is an outstanding example of a gothicized snecked ashlar house. The house is in the Cape form and largely exhibits a more traditional cottage layout, but with the steep gable dormer, giving the home a distinctive Gothic feeling. The 1850 home replaced a late 18th century farmhouse, but in the iconic snecked ashlar construction. The farm grew over the subsequent decades, including a c.1900 snecked ashlar barn (not pictured), which is probably the last building of “Snecked Ashlar” construction erected in the State of Vermont.
Scott Farm, established as a working farm in the late 18th century and as a commercial apple orchard in 1911, is an excellent example of the vernacular architecture that Vermont is known for. The sprawling 571-acre farm was established in Dummerston in 1791 and purchased by Rufus Scott in the mid-1800s. In the 1840s, he built this farmhouse and many of the barn buildings soon after. The five bay Greek Revival house is in a Cape form and retains its historic slate roof and detailing. The property has been owned since 1995 by The Landmark Trust USA, a non-profit organization whose mission is to preserve historic properties through creative sustainable uses for public enjoyment and education. The farm sits a short drive to Naulakha and the Dutton Farmhouse (both featured previously) which are also managed by the Landmark Trust USA.
Another one of the Landmark Trust USA properties in Dummerston, Vermont is the Dutton Farmhouse, a meticulously restored Greek Revival farmhouse from around 1840. The gable-roof farmhouse was possibly an addition to an earlier dwelling built decades earlier as a one-and-a-half-story center-chimney home, seen at the rear today. The first known owner of the farmhouse was Asa Dutton who farmed off the large orchards. Generations later, the farmhouse served as a dormitory for migrant laborers who worked nearby, with the interior being altered. The property was eventually gifted to the Landmark Trust USA, who began a massive restoration project on the home, uncovering original detailing and even historic wallpaper! The house has since been meticulously restored and preserved and is available for short-term rentals! The charming interiors and near silence outside is a perfect getaway from city life.
One of the oldest extant homes in Waban Village, Newton, is this 18th century farmhouse which is an excellent example a Federal-period home in the Boston area. Dates of construction for this house have ranged from c.1765 to 1790. The earliest recorded ownership of 38 acres of land at this location is attributed to Eleazer Hyde (1664-1731), one of Newton’s earliest citizens and one of a long line of Hydes in Newton. From 1772 to 1791, the house was owned by Josiah Starr. Immediately after, this property was owned by a housewright named Capt. Ebenezer Richardson, who possibly built or re-built this house in the current configuration. Thaddeus Tower owned the land from 1844-1866, when the City of Boston took a portion of it in 1848 for the new Cochituate Aqueduct, which ran right behind his home. Not long after, Thaddeus sold the farm to Edward Wyman, a linen importer from Roxbury. He subsequently sold it to his brother Dr. Morrill Wyman in 1869. Dr. Morrill Wyman sold 150-acre property to developers, never appearing to have lived in the home, after the railroad came west from Boston in 1886 and increased the value of the surrounding farmland, later known as the village of Waban. All of the land was developed with homes, and all that remains of the old farm is the farmhouse seen here.
Elijah Waters (1773-1846), a hardscrabble farmer in West Millbury inherited his father’s large farm and resided there for over thirty years before wanting something more his style. Unmarried and without children, Elijah (who was 72 at the time), had this impressive Greek Revival farmhouse constructed near his old family homestead. He was possibly looking to spend money saved up and without a wife or heirs to will it to. The massive temple-front Greek Revival mansion has a stunning doorway and six columns supporting a projecting pediment. Within a year after the home was built, Elijah died. The home was willed to his nephew, Jonathan Waters. The house is for sale for $384,000 which is a STEAL!