Atherton Farmstead // c.1840

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.

Church House // c.1840

When you think of the quintessential New England Village, what do you think of? These villages of white houses around a town green, usually anchored by a congregational church with a tall, white steeple, have been the subject of myriad photographs and memories for decades. Why are so many like this? Well, historically, the bright white we know of as a common house color was not available until the 1920s. Before the early 1900s, “white” paint was more cream or off-white as we would describe it. Many such villages started seeing white paint proliferate as Titanium Dioxide was mixed with pigments to generate the bright white, about at the same time Colonial Revival style homes saw a second resurgence in popularity. The bright-white paint was more expensive and represented stability and prestige. Publications like Yankee Magazine showed photographs of these charming villages blending into the freshly fallen snow or fall foliage and the romanticization of New England truly began. Newfane, Vermont is one of these villages, which are dominated by the bright white paint. It is an obvious choice, especially due to the number of classically inspired Greek Revival style houses.

Scott Farm – Pig Barn // 1911

Cows, horses and pigs once dominated the 571-acre landscape of Scott Farm in Dummerston, VT. We have seen where the farmer, cows, and horses lived, so now it’s time to see where the pigs “pigged” out. This barn building was constructed around the time of the horse barn when the farm was owned by Frederick Holbrook II of Boston. The one-and-a-half-story pig barn, like the others, was built into the landscape which would allow for the animals to easily get into the structures. This building was used as the “Cider House” in the 1999 movie Cider House Rules.

Scott Farm – Horse Barn // c.1910

You saw the cow barn at Scott Farm, now you can see where the horses lived! The Horse Barn at Scott Farm in Dummerston, Vermont is a very photogenic building with its symmetrical facade and bright colors. The barn was built not long after Frederick Holbrook II of Boston acquired most of the farm to add to Naulakha, where he lived. Holbrook used the farm as a gentleman’s farm where he would have laborers managing the grounds and supplying him with the freshest produce and dairy products. Inside, there is a ramp down to the basement which still retains the horse stalls, it’s so charming!

Scott Farm – Farmhouse // c.1845

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.

Dutton Farmhouse // c.1840

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.

Tower-Wyman Farmhouse // pre-1790

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.

Nevers-Bennett Farmhouse // c.1820+

In 1820, just seven years after the incorporation of Sweden Maine, a homesteader, Amos Parker purchased fifty acres of land and began to erect a two-story, Federal house with a center chimney and a detached store beside it. Plagued by debt, Parker sold the unfinished house to Samuel Nevers circa 1833–1835, who purchased the property with the store for his recently married son, Benjamin. By 1860, Benjamin Nevers had a successful store and prospering farmstead. Benjamin died in 1883, and in the next two years, their daughter Charlotte, and her husband, Charles Bennett, dramatically remodeled and modernized the farmstead, adding a connected two-story ell building outward from the main house toward the old 1840 barn, connecting the entire property. I believe that the property remains in the Nevers-Bennett Family, as recently, Steve and Judy Bennett, recently negotiated an easement with the Maine Farmland Trust to protect their hay, beef, and maple sugaring acreage as farmland into the future.

Elijah Waters House // 1845

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!

Bond Farmhouse // c.1800

This farmhouse is unreal… Located on a rural back road in Millbury, I came across this rambling old Cape house with a stone wall and everything! The home appears to have been built in the late 18th or early 19th century, possibly as a half-cape (with the door and two windows to the right) for Emery Bond, or possibly his father, Oliver Bond. The home (like many Cape houses) was added onto as the family grew and finances could necessitate a more substantial house. It likely added the two bays to the left of the front door next, then bumping out the sides by the 20th century to give it the present, elongated appearance. It’s not often that a once-modest Cape house stops me in my tracks!