The Shaw Warehouse located inside Prescott Park in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, was constructed between 1806 and 1813 and is significant as a rare example of a vernacular warehouse building from the early 19th century. It is very vernacular, unadorned with a very functional use, but these types of buildings (like barns and stables) are some of the most charming and provide a link to working-class history from the past. The building is the only of its kind remaining in its original location in Portsmouth, and as a result, was listed in 2011 on the New Hampshire State Register of Historic Places. It now houses offices for the nearby park.
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!
Moretown Public Library // c.1845
This 1840s Greek Revival home turned library, sits on the main street in the charming rural town of Moretown, Vermont. The quaint village never had a public library, but that changed starting in 1904, when residents and the town established a fund for purchasing books for the town’s citizens. In 1923, the library trustees purchased this residence which would serve as a stand-alone library for the village. Resident Lilla Haylett was instrumental in the accession and conversion of the home for use as a library from the estate of Ellen J. Palmer, who lived there until her death in 1923. The opening and celebration was short-lived however, as in 1927, elevated levels of the Mad River flooded much of the town. Water levels were well over the first floor of the building and nearly all books were lost. The Moretown Memorial Library was nearly lost, but the town rebuilt over years. The library remains today as a testament to the desire for learning and it serves as a landmark for the charming rural village.
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.
Isaac Newton Center Homestead // c.1850
Isaac Newton Center (1811-1889) was born in Windham, NH and arrived to the rural town of Litchfield, NH in its early days. Upon arrival, he appears to have built this homestead sometime in the mid-19th century based on its style. Like many in town, he was a farmer and was involved with the local Presbyterian Church, which is still neighboring this old farmhouse. After his death, the old farmhouse and homestead was inherited by Isaac’s youngest son, Isaac Newton Center, Jr., who was engaged in local town affairs, serving as City Clerk, Treasurer, Forest Fire Warden, and Library Trustee. The house appears as a melding of late Greek Revival and Italianate, possibly from the 1850s or 1860s.
Meehan Auditorium – Brown University // 1962
Across from the new Nelson Fitness Center at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island,Meehan Auditorium is an excellent example of a 1960s institutional athletic facility. The auditorium was dedicated at the Brown-Princeton hockey game on January 6, 1962 and was named after George V. Meehan, donor of half a million dollars for its construction. The new facility filled the need for a skating rink and large auditorium for indoor functions, specifically for ice skating and hockey and was the first building of the new athletic plant at Aldrich-Dexter Field east of the campus. The building was designed by Perry, Shaw, Hepburn & Dean, a prominent firm who designed many collegiate buildings in the 20th century, all over New England.
Nelson Fitness Center – Brown University // 2012
When I walked by Brown University’s athletic center, I assumed it was an older building, but was so plesantly surprised to learn that the building was actually completed in 2012! The 84,000-square foot aquatics and fitness center is a $46-million addition to the existing athletic facilities built on and near the site of the former Smith Swim Center. Designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects and constructed by Shawmut Design and Construction, the project includes the Katherine Moran Coleman Aquatics Center, the Nelson Fitness Center, the David J. Zucconi Varsity Strength and Conditioning Center. Architecturally, the buildings seamlessly blend into their surroundings thanks to timeless traditional design and high-quality materials. The stunning cupola was actually the original cupola from Marvel Gymnasium, a Brown University gymnasium demolished in 2002, it was added atop the Nelson Fitness Center preserving some history of old Brown. American colleges and universities need more of this high-quality design, kudos RAMSA Architects.
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!
Oliver Walker House // c.1809
The Oliver Walker House in Kennebunkport Village is one of the better examples that shows how overlapping architectural styles can work really well on an old house (when done right)! The original house was constructed around 1809 for Oliver Walker (1788-1851), a sea captain who later accepted the call and became a deacon for the South Congregational Church in Kennebunkport. Walker died in 1851 and the Federal style property was inherited by his only surviving child, daughter Susan, who had married Portland native, Captain John Lowell Little. Under their ownership, the traditionally designed Federal house was modernized with fashionable Italianate style modifications of the decorative brackets and an enclosed round arched window in the side gable. A later Colonial Revival projecting vestibule adds to the complex, yet pleasing design. I have a feeling the interiors of this house are just as spectacular as the exterior.
Noank Train Depot // 1858
Starting in 1848, rail service connecting New Haven and New London, Connecticut commenced to provide transit between two of the state’s economic centers. The New Haven and New London Railroad was completed in 1852 and almost immediately, work commenced on extending the line eastward as the New London and Stonington Railroad. This completed the “Shore Line” route between New York City and Boston through other lines and the span became re-organized and named the Shore Line Railway. One of the many village stops along the route was in Noank, in this 1858 rail depot. The small train station is covered in board-and-batten siding with an overhanging gable roof supported by brackets. In 1976, much of the shoreline track was purchased by Amtrak, which is now known as the Northeast Corridor. The Noank station was cancelled as a stop, and the building was sold from the holdings, it is now office space, seemingly for the Noank Village Boatyard.