Newfane Inn // 1787

Originally constructed in 1787 on Newfane Hill, the main block of this historic inn was moved in 1825 for owner Anthony Jones, to its present site overlooking the Common in Newfane, Vermont. The Federal style building was oriented towards the main street, with its length extending along the town common. The inn was a busy stop for lawyers and judges who worked at the courthouse across the street. Porches were added likely in the early 20th century. After a period of neglect, the inn was restored by decorator Christoph Stumpe Castou, and later sold. The inn was run for 42 years in the second half of the 20th century by Eric and Gundela Weindl, a couple who were both from Germany, yet met at Stratton Mountain in Vermont in 1963, marrying in 1968. They operated the inn until 2011.

Cedarbrook Farm // 1792

Last up on our tour of Scandinavia (Denmark, Sweden and now Norway) Maine, is Norway. The town of Norway centers around Pennessewasse Lake, which supported native people in the region for thousands of years. It wasn’t until after the American Revolution that European settlers established the town. By 1789, a sawmill and gristmill were established, the first road was built in 1796, and the town of Norway was officially incorporated on March 9, 1797. Before incorporation, the township adopted the name Rustfield, to recognize the contributions of prominent landowner Henry Rust of Salem, Mass and the community once petitioned the Massachusetts General Court to be named Norage, meaning “falls” in the native peoples’ language. Norway won the name, but the origin of the town’s name remains unknown. The town leaned more towards industry than Denmark and Sweden due to the stronger rivers, and its population increased as a result.

This historic farmhouse sits on the eastern edge of Pennessewasse Lake and is one of the oldest extant homes in town. It was built in 1792 just years after land here was purchased by Nathaniel Bennett in 1790. Nathaniel and Elizabeth Bennett resided in the home until they died, childless. The home was eventually purchased by Don Carlos Seitz, publisher of the New York World, who grew up and was educated in town. Seitz operated the property as a gentleman’s farm, and is responsible for naming the property “Cedarbrook Farm”. His estate sold the property to one of his hired hands in 1927. It remains very well preserved and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1996 as the Nathaniel and Elizabeth Bennett House.

Sunnylea // 1881

One of the best Queen Anne style summer cottages in Newport is this gem, named Sunnylea. The house was built in 1881 for Charles F. Chickering, who ran the Chickering & Sons Piano Company in Boston. Chickering hired local architect Dudley Newton, who had previously apprenticed under George Champlin Mason, a builder of many Newport summer houses. Sunnylea was the first independent commission that Newton designed with his own firm. The house was later owned by Luther Kountze, a New York banker and his wife Annie. After WWII, the home was converted away from single-family use, and was occupied as a prep school, before being converted to condos late in the 20th century. It recently sold, and wow, the interior is just as beautiful as the exterior!

“Beachmound” Mansion // 1897

Beachmound, a unique summer residence in Newport, was built in 1897 by architect Henry Ives Cobb for Benjamin Thaw Sr., (1859-1933) a Pittsburgh banker and philanthropist. The mansion is Neo-Classical in style, taking cues from Classical architecture, specifically Greek Revival, with the monumental columns, pediments, and pilasters. Benjamin Thaw was the half-brother of Harry Kendall Thaw (known for the 1906 murder of architect Stanford White). The murder took over the press as one of the more salacious scandals of the gilded era. Harry Thaw’s wife, the actress/model Evelyn Nesbit was said to have been raped by Stanford White while 16 year old (White was 47). She later married Harry K. Thaw. Thaw shot and killed White, the internationally famous architect, in front of hundreds of witnesses in a theater during a performance in New York. Following two trials, he was acquitted based on the insanity defense, a stint in an asylum from which he escaped, and eventual court-ordered freedom, Thaw was a celebrity. A comical piece of the story is that when Thaw later visited “Mar-a-Lago”, the Post Mansion in Palm Beach, Florida (now best known as Donald Trump’s home), he gasped, “My God, I shot the wrong architect!” Beachmound remains as a stunning, refined summer estate in Newport, and is comprised of condo units.

Lawton-Warren House // 1809

The Lawton-Warren House is one of the few large, brick Federal mansions in Newport, and is located a short walk from the Tillinghast House (last post) and the mysterious Newport Tower in Touro Park. The collapse of maritime trade in Newport following the British occupation was so complete that this house style, prevalent in Providence, is virtually nonexistent here. Robert Lawton was a sea captain and merchant who died at sea in 1818 off the coast of Africa and left the house to his wife, Penelope. After Penelope’s death in 1855, the traditional Federal style home was given Italianate detailing at the second floor. The home was likely painted around this time, which thankfully has been removed. The home was purchased in 1932 by George Henry Warren and his wife Mrs. Katherine Urquhart Warren. Katherine was a preservationist and art collector interested in preserving the Colonial town of Newport. To assist with this endeavor, she convinced the Countess Szycheni, a descendant of the Vanderbilt family and owner of The Breakers, to open The Breakers mansion to the public for tours. It was the start of the Preservation Society of Newport County. She would later be appointed by First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy, to the committee to restore the White House in 1961. Katherine died in 1976, she willed the home here to the Preservation Society, and it held offices there until 1994. The home was sold to a private owner who restored the home to near original conditions, keeping the Italianate detailing.

Frederick Parkhust House // c.1890

Frederick Parkhurst (1864-1921) was born in the small Maine town of Unity and attended local schools. He moved to New York to attend Columbia Law School, receiving his degree in 1887. Soon after, he was admitted to the Maine bar. Frederick moved back to Maine and joined his father in a leather goods business in Bangor, of which he later became president. He served on the Bangor City Council and later in the Maine House and State Senate. With his wealth and connections, he purchased a large house lot on West Broadway, then the most exclusive street in town, and hired local architect Wilfred Mansur, to design a Shingle style home for his family. During World War I he led the Liberty Loan effort and in 1920, was elected Governor with the largest margin in Maine history, moving to the State Capitol, Augusta soon after. Parkhurst served less than a month when he died on January 31, 1921.

Richmond-Herreshoff House // c.1803

Located on Hope Street, just south of the downtown area of Bristol, Rhode Island, this beautiful Federal-style home overlooks the water, and once oversaw a large ship-building empire. The home was built by Lemuel Clarke Richmond (1782-1876), possibly in response to his marriage to Hannah Gorham in 1803. Richmond was a wealthy whaler who owned nearly twenty ships, including the Empress, a Bristol-built bark. The Federal style home features a five-bay facade with central entry. A modest portico surrounds the door which has a fan light transom above. Oh, and there are some gorgeous 12-over-12 windows on the home, at the ground floor the windows have flared lintels above. The home was sold by Richmond in the early 1850s and rented out to Charles and Julia Ann Herreshoff, who resided there with their eight children! It was here where sons John and Nathanael overlooked the water as young boys and became consumed by the beauty of the ships that sailed by their front yard. The brothers later ran the internationally renowned Herreshoff Manufacturing Company, which occupied land all around the home (and was featured previously). The home was acquired by the family in the 1860s, and often changed hands within the family over the next decades until it was inherited by Norman F. Herreshoff. A collector of Americana, Norman Hcrreshoff completed a series of renovations to the family home, including remodeling of the kitchen to be “old-fashioned” and replacement of the front porch with the small Ionic portico which we see today. The home is owned by the Herreshoff Marine Museum, but has seen better days.

John Brown Herreshoff House // c.1870

John Brown Herreshoff, a fully-blind ship-builder, and later Founder and President of the Herreshoff Manufacturing Company in Bristol, built this house at the head of Burnside Street, overlooking his boat works (no pun intended). The home sits next to the stunning Codman Place mansion, featured previously, and takes architectural cues from its neighbor. The home is reported to have been built by J.B. Herreshoff, who despite being completely blind, developed his other senses to a high degree to overcome the handicap of sightlessness, and became renowned for his design skills in his ships. The home has a mansard roof with a central projecting entrance bay, capped with a steeply pitched roof, and a barrel-vaulted dormer and ocular window inset. While the house is now condo units, it retains its architectural integrity at the exterior.

Josiah Talbot House // 1835

Anyone that has followed this account for a while knows at least one thing, I LOVE Greek temple-front homes. Designed by famed architect, and Bristol-native, Russell Warren, this 2-story, 3-bay, gable-roof Greek Revival house is one of the finest in the state. Its facade has a pair of fluted Corinthian columns, set in antis (where the side walls extend to the front of the porch). A simple side-hall entrance is framed by heavy Doric pilasters, supporting a broad, plain entablature, making this such a head-turning Greek Revival home. The walls are sheathed with horizontal flush boarding at the facade to give a smoother look and clapboards on the side and rear. The home was built for Josiah Talbot, a sea captain. The house is excellently preserved to this day, almost 200 years later.

George H. Reynolds House // 1839

This two-story Greek Revival home was built in 1839 for George H. Reynolds (1809-1880), a descendant of Joseph Reynolds, who’s home was featured here previously. In 1836, George Reynolds worked as a blacksmith; by 1837 he sold shoes and groceries. By 1840, he was appointed postmaster. The side-hall home features corner pilasters and a gorgeous pedimented window in the gable end. The home was given a delicate entry portico in the latter half of the 19th century which immediately caught my attention.