The North Rochester Congregational Church is located in a distinctly rural, area in the northwest corner of the largely pastoral town of Rochester, Massachusetts. This church, built 1841, is locally important to the development of religion and community in North Rochester. In Rochester as in other early New England towns, the building of a church symbolized the founding of a community. North Rochester’s first church was built in 1748, about 1 mile west of the present building, and was served by traveling ministers from other communities. The church congregation was formally organized in 1790, and a new church was built at that time, serving a larger area. The current church building was built in 1841 by Solomon K. Eaton, a noted regional builder whose credits include several other area churches. The church is of the Greek Revival style, which was frequented in the designs of hundreds of churches all over New England in the mid-19th century.
This house was built in 1839 Dr. Walton Nye Ellis (1808-1867), who served as physician in Marion in the second quarter of the 19th century. Born in Wareham, Ellis moved to Marion, and married Susan Delano (1809-
1840) after her death, within the year, he married Lucy Clark Allen (1820-1885); he had a daughter with his first wife and four daughters and three sons with his second. By 1838, he purchased a lot in Sippican Village for the price was $225. In 1855, Dr. Ellis organized a meeting of prosperous Village men, mostly sea captains, with the purpose of planning a library for the town. They pooled resources and funded a library which was located in a large closet on the second floor of his home seen here. The library’s books could be borrowed for a few cents a week. Subsequent funding from Elizabeth Taber helped create the Taber Library just decades later. In the 1960s, the home was gifted to the Sippican Historical Society, who remain in the building to this day.
The highest-style Greek Revival house in Marion is this home, built in 1841 as a parsonage for Marion’s Congregational Church. The first pastor to reside here was Rev. Leander Cobb. He assisted his father, Rev. Oliver Cobb, who had been preaching in Marion since the completion of the first meeting house in 1799. Leander’s daughter, Sarah Elizabeth, married Captain Benjamin Briggs, who’s father ran the local post office (see last post). In 1872, Captain Briggs set sail aboard his ship, Mary Celeste, with his wife and two year old daughter Sophia, and seven crewmates. Their school-aged son was left at home with his grandmother. They sailed from Massachusetts on November 7, 1872, bound for Europe with a cargo of commercial alcohol. Less than a month later, on December 4, the ship was found sailing erratically off the coast of Gibraltar. A local crew boarded the ship to investigate when they saw no one on deck. The sails were furled and the ship was in excellent condition. In the infant’s crib remained the impression of a sleeping child. However, no sign of the crew or the Briggs family was ever found. There are many theories about what happened, with the most likely being that some alcohol barrels got loose and flammable liquor poured out near the kitchen. It is possible the family and crew became frightened and boarded the safety boat incase of an explosion. The boat was not tethered and they likely could not reach the main ship as her sails were up. They were probably capsized by a wave and drowned to death in the open ocean.
Extant one-room schoolhouses in New England are scarce, so whenever I stumble upon one, I always stop and take a photo! This little schoolhouse in Canterbury, Connecticut was built around 1850 near the village green, and provided schooling for the rural town center’s children for about 100 years until it closed after WWII. In 1947, the modern, Dr. Helen Baldwin School opened in town, forcing many smaller, outdated one-room schools to close. After this, many were either demolished or adapted to other uses. The Canterbury Green Schoolhouse was adapted to the town’s public library. The building later housed the town’s library until 2001, when a new library building was constructed. In the 2000s, the Canterbury Historical Society and town volunteers gathered funds and restored the building to her former glory and appearance. The school is now occasionally open as a small museum for the town.
One of the most stunning examples of Greek Revival architecture in Gardiner, Maine, is the Mitchell-Patten House. The home was constructed in the mid-1840s for John S. Mitchell (1804-1891) head of the firm of Mitchell, Wilson and Co., who were traders on the Kennebec river, in lumber and other goods. The home was likely built not long after John’s wife, Philenia Sewall Mitchell died during childbirth in 1837 to the couple’s son, who died at just two years old himself. After the death of his wife and only son, John met Mary and they married, moving into this home. Together, they had four children. Together, they had three sons, but like with his first marriage, tragedy wasn’t far behind. Their first son was stillborn, their son William died at age 27, and their third son, Egbert died in his first year. The family home was willed to the couple’s only living child, Susan, after her marriage to husband Freeman Patten. Freeman was a successful businessman in town and worked as a bank director, and later served as President of the Board of Trade and as Mayor of Gardiner 1899-1900.
The this 1830 home in Farmingdale ranks as one of the first Greek Revival temple style residences in Maine. Situated on a rise overlooking the Kennebec River, the house reflects a dignity befitting the commercial success of its original owner, Peter Grant. Peter Grant was born in 1770 in Berwick, Maine. He was a fourth generation descendent of an earlier Peter Grant, born in Scotland in 1631, and one of 3,000 Scots taken prisoner by Cromwell’s army at the Battle of Dunbar. In 1650, he was sent as a convict laborer to the iron works in Lynn, Massachusetts, for a term of seven years. A number of the Grant family settled in Berwick, Maine, and from there, Peter, builder of this house, and his father, Capt. Samuel Grant, moved to Gardiner. Peter Grant soon involved himself successfully in land speculation and shipping in the area. In 1796 he and a group of associates, purchased a large tract of land along the west shore of the Kennebec River, which later became Farmingdale. Grant became sole owner of better than 200-acres of this land in 1800 and built a substantial house soon after. The original house was destroyed by fire and was replaced by Grant with the present house in 1830 six years before his death in 1836.
Located a stone’s throw from the Elijah Locke Homestead (last post) in Rye, New Hampshire, this mid-19th century home stopped me in my tracks when driving by. According to old maps, the home was owned by Moses Leavitt Garland, who married Lucretia Locke, a descendant of Elijah. The home shows strong Greek Revival features including the large gable end facing the street serving as a pediment and pilaster at the corners and entry with entablature above. The house recently sold, and the owners demolished the ell connecting the home to the large barn (not pictured) and replaced it with a historically appropriate addition.
Rye, New Hampshire sits on the short coast of the state, between the busy towns of Portsmouth and Hampton, and provides a respite from the swarms of tourists and beach-goers alike. Modern-day Rye was the first settlement in New Hampshire by Europeans, and was originally named Pannaway Plantation, established in 1623 at Odiorne’s Point (more on that later). The settlement was eventually abandoned for Strawbery Banke, which became Portsmouth, the historic port town we know today. The town was later a village of New Castle, and was known as Sandy Beach Village, before it was called “Rye”, for Rye in Sussex, England, and incorporated as its own town in 1785. The town met in a Meeting House until it purchased an old 1839 Methodist church in town. In 1873, the building was purchased by the town of Rye for $1000, with an additional $2658 spent on renovations, which added a new ground floor to increase the height from 1.5 stories to 2.5 stories, added 10 feet in depth to the building, and the two-stage tower and belfry. The Greek Revival building has long been a landmark in town, hosting dances, concerts, whist parties, singing schools, oyster parties and immunization clinics, beyond the typical governmental functions. There were calls to demolish the building for a modern town hall, which saw resistance (thankfully) and now the town has agreed on a land-swap with a bank, demolishing an old house to take over the bank building, turning it into some town offices.
Driving down the dirt roads of rural Vermont with no cell phone service can be a great way to explore, so imagine my delight when i drove past this stunning old building tucked behind a historic cemetery! The building was erected in 1835-1837 by Levi Bailey, a local entrepreneur and mill owner who, in 1794, in partnership with a George Betterley, purchased the mill site and proceeded to build a dam, for later development. Legend says, in 1808, he required the good will of David Hapgood, his next door neighbor, so he could buy more land in front of his proposed mill. But, in fact, Levi had so irritated Hapgood somehow, that he instead donated the coveted acre to the Town of Reading for use as a town cemetery, ensuring that Bailey could never control it. Thus a “spite” cemetery was laid out, the only one I am aware of! Underterred, Bailey erected over the next two decades the series of buildings to manufacture goods, the buildings we see today. Bailey’s Mills in Reading, Vermont, is actually three connected, 2 1/2-story, brick, Greek Revival style buildings with several attached wood frame appendages added over time. He lived in the building and a store was run out of the building for locals. The building is now home to the Bailey Mills Bed & Breakfast.
This Greek Revival home in Reading, Vermont was built around 1853 for Levi Fay Hartshorn, and is an excellent example of a vernacular Greek Revival house in Central Vermont. Levi F. Hartshorn moved to Reading, Vermont and opened up a store, also built this home for his family. It appears that Mr. Hartshorn gifted the village one of his shops to be used as a local library, before the present building was constructed.