Richard Gardner Homestead // pre-1688

In 1690, Richard Gardner Jr. (1653-1728) received the land and dwelling house from his late father Richard Gardner (1622-1688) who was born in England and settled in Nantucket by way of Salem upon his death. The primitive, First Period home was occupied by subsequent generations of the Gardner family, and altered and expanded to fit the growing needs and wealth of the family. By 1840, the house was owned by George C. Gardner, a whaling captain and descendant of Richard Gardner. The original home was located on what is now Lowell Place, just off Main Street, and the Gardner Homestead was converted to a carriage house for the more modern George Gardner Home. By 1927, Ms. Gladys Wood purchased the deteriorating and heavily altered structure, and moved it to its current location on Main Street. Ms. Wood hired architect Alfred Shurrocks, who summered on the island and was restoring the Jethro Coffin house nearby, to restore the former Gardner Homestead, but this one was all based on conjecture and historical precedent. The home looks much like a 17th century saltbox and has stood the test of time.

Crocker Tavern // c.1754

One of the largest pre-Revolution houses in Barnstable is this stunning Georgian manse, known as the Crocker Tavern. The c.1754 home was built along Main Street in Barnstable Village by Cornelius Crocker (1704-1784), who operated it as a tavern along the Old King’s Highway, the main stagecoach route through Cape Cod. Cornelius died in 1784, and he left the eastern half of his house and land to his grandsons Robert, Uriah, and Joseph Crocker; the western half of land and house went to his daughter Lydia, widow of Captain Samuel Sturgis who died at 25, she never remarried. The house was “to be divided through by the middle of the great chimney“, a feature which was likely removed under separate ownership. Lydia eventually acquired the other half of the house, and continued operation of the tavern as her father did before her, though it was known as Aunt Lydia’s Tavern. The property was passed down through the family until 1925, when the property was left to the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities (later renamed Historic New England) as a historic house museum. The Georgian house and property were eventually de-accessioned by Historic New England and the tavern can be rented out on AirBnb!

Gregg House // 1869

Located in the western part of the East Village of Wilton, New Hampshire, this stunning Italianate manse stands out as one of the most architecturally grand in the area. The home was built for David Gregg (1816-1880), a merchant who was engaged in lumber dealing in Michigan as an investment. His company was based out of Nashua and manufactured wooden blinds, doors, window sashes and was co-owned by David and his son, David Jr. David was likely retiring from business by the late 1860s and built this large home on a hill outside the village. At about this time, he became involved with local politics, which he was involved with until his death in 1880. The Italianate style home features round arched windows, brackets, a belvedere at the roof, and what appears to be an attached, converted carriage house. The home was eventually turned into a bed and breakfast, but it has since been converted back to a private home.

Scott Farm – Cow Barn // 1862

Historic barns really are the most charming buildings, and luckily, Vermont is home to soooo many great examples. The Cow Barn at Scott Farm in Dummerston, VT was built in 1862 and constructed into the slope of the land. The barn has a brick and stone foundation, barn board siding, and a roof sheathed with small dark slate. It is built into the slope of the land and has a single-story shed roof addition (c.1915) off the west facade to give the building a saltbox form, and a single story gable roof milk house addition off the east facade. The rear facade has a more rustic appearance and has a large entrance to the space inside which is occupied by The Stone Trust, with the mission to preserve and advance the art and craft of dry stone walling. The organization holds classes and trainings where people can learn how to build a traditional or modern stone wall and more! The barn (and the rest of the buildings on the Scott Farm property) is owned by the Landmark Trust USA.

New England Telephone Building, Providence // 1917

This towering Georgian Revival building in Providence is definitely one of my favorites downtown. The 8-story building was constructed in 1917 for the New England Telephone and Telegraph Company, who outgrew their other facility just blocks away. The design is credited to the firm of Clarke & Howe, local architects. The two-story arcaded marble base is surmounted by a six-story brick tower, which is an architectural landmark in Downtown Providence. The building appears to retain its original windows and looks much as it did when built over 100 years ago. At the rear, a larger 1970s wing was added and shares little in terms of architectural detailing with the original structure.

Captain John Gott House // 1806

One of the best-preserved homes I have seen in Rockport is the John Gott House, an 1806 Federal style property just blocks from Rockport Harbor. The home could be from the 1700s, as the central chimney normally is a feature of earlier homes, but the marker on the house states the 1806 date, so we will go with that! John Gott is a popular name in Rockport, but this home appears to have been built for Captain John Gott (1780-1845), a sea captain who was the son of (you guessed it) John Gott, who lived just down the street. This property retains its historic barn and an absolutely charming out-building which I cannot figure out what it was used for.

Bacon-Sampson House // 1814

Rufus Bacon, a lawyer, moved to Assonet in 1814 and built a modest Federal Cape house on the town’s Main Street. Rufus worked in town at a law office for over a decade until he moved to New York, selling his property in 1828 to Earl Sampson, who ran a profitable corner store just down the street. Sampson completely modernized the home, adding the Greek Revival doorway, chimneys, and south-facing veranda. After Sampson died, the home was either purchased or gifted to the Assonet Congregational Church, and occupied as a parsonage. The property has since been deaccessioned by the church and is a private home.

First Congregational Church, Norway // 1840

This beautiful, bucolic church in Norway Center was built in 1840 to replace an earlier meeting built in 1808-09 on the site. The present building is Gothic Revival in style with louvered panels making the windows appear lancet in shape and the amazing lancet window centered on the facade. The two-tiered tower is ornamented with crenellation and a wooden spire at each corner (besides one missing). The church features a louvered fan and strong pediment, which are nods to other prominent styles of the early-mid 19th century, Federal and Greek Revival respectively. This church quickly saw membership drop as Norway Village became the population center of town, with Norway Center becoming more agricultural and rural.

Hall-Balcom House // 1810

This historic house in West Millbury, Massachusetts, began in the end of the 18th century as a one-and-a-half-story wood-frame farmhouse. By 1810, the home was rotated 90 degrees and a more substantial, two-story brick house was constructed facing the street. The Federal style home was owned by Thaddeus Hall (1779-1855), and after his death, it was owned by his son, Orson Eddy Hall, who possibly rented the property for income while he resided in New Orleans and ran the iconic St. Charles Hotel there. The property was later acquired by Willard Balcom and remained in the family. Oh what I wouldn’t do to see the paint come off this old brick house!!

Bull-Mawdsley House // c.1680

One of the oldest houses in Rhode Island, this beautiful home has a full history that will be hard to fit in a post, but here goes! The earliest, two-room rear part of this house was built around 1680, probably by Jireh Bull near the time of his first marriage to Godsgift Arnold, the daughter of Benedict Arnold, the first Governor of Rhode Island. After Bull’s death, the wealthy businessman and privateer Captain John Mawdsley acquired the house and he enlarged it in keeping with his prominent social status, adding elements inspired by the Georgian classicism. Mawdsley in 1774 owned 20 slaves, many of which likely worked on his ships as crew or cooks. He was a Loyalist, and fled Newport during the American Revolution. During the winter of 1780-81, this was the home of French Major-General François chevalier Beauvoir de Chastellux, who was third in command of French forces in America under the French expeditionary force led by general Rochambeau. After the War, Mawdsley was actually allowed to return to Newport, and resided at the home until his death in 1795. In 1795, after Mawdsley’s death, the house was purchased by slave ship captain and wealthy merchant Caleb Gardner, who is said to have brought thousands of humans in bondage to the shores of Rhode Island and in the Caribbean. Gardner is responsible for the Federal period entry and marble front steps we see today. The home was purchased by Historic New England in the 20th century, and was documented as part of the Historic American Buildings Survey. It is now a private home.