Without question, this property is the most photographed site in the tiny town of Pomfret, Vermont, if not the state. The property dates to the late 18th century when John and Samuel Doten moved to the newly settled town of Pomfret Vermont, overlooking the growing town of Woodstock in the valley below. The two brothers acquired vast farmland on the hills of Pomfret and each built farmhouses adjacent to eachother, with Samuel getting elevated land and John developing the land sunken off what is now known as Cloudland Road into this stunning property. Sleepy Hollow Farm remained in the Doten family for centuries until the 1950s, when the owners sold the property to move to Woodstock and work for Laurance Rockefeller, the famous philanthropist and conservationist, who later donated his Summer home in Woodstock to the National Park Service. The property sold numerous times in the late 20th century, and is presently owned by Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry and his wife, Billie. They are clearly great stewards to the property’s rich history and various outbuildings, and must not care too much to have swarms of photographers at the end of their driveway year-round!
Located in North Pomfret, Vermont, the North Pomfret Congregational Church is one of many white clapboard church buildings constructed in the mid 19th century. Built in 1847 by the Church of Christian Brothers and the Congregationalists, the church was used by the two religious societies as a joint meeting house, each society holding services in the church on alternating Sundays. The Greek Revival style church features a prominent tiered, boxed bell tower with louvered lancet openings and a slender octagonal spire.
Gifted to the town of Pomfret by Ira Abbott, the Abbott Memorial Library is one of the most stunning little libraries in the State of Vermont. Given to his hometown as a memorial to his parents by Ira Abbott, who was at that time a State Supreme Court justice in the territory of New Mexico. Its architect, Henry M. Francis, used diverse materials — brick, granite, fieldstone, red birch, and pre-stressed concrete, to design the eclectic building. Capped with a red slate roof with terra cotta ridge tiles, the building stands out as one of the most unique buildings in the state and has been extremely well-maintained through its public-privately funded Commission.
In researching historic buildings in the tiny Vermont town of Pomfret, I was stunned to find images of this stunning Modern design in the town. Designed by the Birdseye Design Firm based out of Richmond, VT, “Woodshed” was completed by 2017 and serves as both a guest house and entertainment space for the main residence down the road. From the firm’s website, “The project is conceptually inspired by the vernacular woodshed, a familiar and iconic element in the Vermont landscape. The residence is composed of two asymmetric gable roof forms, akin to the traditional woodshed, connected by a central entryway”. The common thought on new construction is typically bland and “cookie-cutter” McMansions or boxy apartments, but this project is a testament to thoughtful Modern design found in even the smallest towns in the region!
This little brick building may appear like a schoolhouse, but it was actually built to house the 1761 Town Charter for Pomfret, Vermont. The building is believed to have been built in honor of Hosea Doten (1809-1886), who was an engineer, school teacher, and land surveyor in Windsor County Vermont, with his former students constructing the building. It was built nearby the Town Hall and Clerk’s Office and features a fire-proof walk-in vault inside.
Located across the street from the Congregationalist Church (now Town Hall) in Pomfret Center, the Methodists in Pomfret Vermont built this church building just a couple years after their neighbor was completed. Replicating the Greek Revival style seen across the street, the building showcases a templed form with projecting portico, as an excellent vernacular example of the style. Similar to its neighbor, this church was sold to the Town of Pomfret in the 1880s, modernized in the early 20th century, and converted to a district schoolhouse.
The quaint town of Pomfret, Vermont sees flocks of “leaf-peepers” and Instagrammers every Fall who are in awe of the natural scenery and historic farms seen there. The town was first settled in 1770 when Bartholomew Durkee travelled from Pomfret, Connecticut, along with his family and friends and named the town “New Pomfret” at first to show their roots in Connecticut. The tiny town grew to its peak population in 1830 at just under 1,900 residents, declining steadily over time to roughly 900 today, greatly adding to the rural character of the town.
In Pomfret Center, the local Congregationalists sought a new place of worship and had this structure constructed as their church in 1845. Local builder Eli Buch constructed the Greek Revival edifice with its projecting portico, doric columns, and corner pilasters. As nearby Woodstock Vermont grew, many families moved there and the church sold their building to the Town of Pomfret in 1872 and the building has since been used as Pomfret’s Town Hall.