Reverend Abel Fiske House // c.1791

Reverend Abel Fiske (1752-1802) was born in Pepperell, Massachusetts and graduated from Harvard College in the class of 1774. Four years later in 1778, at 26 years old, he was ordained as the successor of Reverend Jonathan Livermore at Wilton, New Hampshire, where he remained until his death. During his time in Wilton, Rev. Fiske built this Federal style home for his family. The house is a short walk to the old church where he gave sermons to the growing rural community.

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.

Brookline Round Schoolhouse // 1822

Historic schoolhouses in rural New England are often one-room wood-frame buildings, but not in Brookline, Vermont! The Brookline Round Schoolhouse is constructed of brick and… you guessed it, ROUND! The iconic building sits on the same road as the Baptist Church in town (last post) and likely built from bricks made at the same brickyard. The school was built in 1822 to replace a log school house originally built nearby. The plan for the round design was apparently made by Dr. John Wilson. Wilson, known as “Thunderbolt”, was reputed to have been a robber and highway-man who came from Scotland to escape punishment. He eventually settled in Vermont and had many occupations but settled on saying he was a doctor and began practicing. He eventually took up teaching and somehow convinced the town he should design the new school building. Local legend asserts that Wilson designed the school house round so that he could see from any position, all possible intruders. At the interior, the single-room originally contained sixty oak benches and desks arranged in a circular position facing a teacher’s desk near the door. The building is capped by a conical wood shingle roof, which appears in great condition. The structure functioned as a school until 1929, when a new school was built which conformed to state codes. At this time the round school was turned over to the town for use as a Town Hall, a use it held until the 1980s.

East Freetown Grange // 1916

The East Freetown Grange is a community organization founded in 1912, as a meeting place for the local chapter of The National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry. Granges have been the heart of rural American communities for generations. The home of local chapters of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry, Grange Halls are where farmers have traditionally gathered to learn new agricultural practices, develop strategic business partnerships, and barter for goods and services. Grange Halls also serve as a gathering place for community celebrations and annual agricultural fairs. These social halls can be found in agricultural towns and villages all over New England, and historically have been as important (or more) to farming communities as churches in those areas. Within years of the East Freetown forming an organization, they gathered enough funding to erect this Arts and Crafts style building, with rustic fieldstone piers, likely from stone pulled off farmland nearby. The hall is still used today for everything from agriculture fairs to Girl Scout meetings!

South Canton Center School // 1848

Located across the street from the Canton Congregational Church (last post) you can find the cutest one room schoolhouse in central Connecticut. The schoolhouse, built in 1848, was one of nine one-room schoolhouses in Canton at the time. The perfectly proportioned classically designed school features two front doors, one on each side of the recessed entry, with the right door for girls and the left for boys. There were also two outhouses behind the building for students and the teacher. This building served the community as a school until 1942. In the years following, the building was used as a meeting place for women from the congregational church, a community library, and a small public space for members of town. It is owned by the Congregational Church, who maintain it to this day.

Captain John Dexter House // 1860

This beautiful house was built by retired whaling Captain John G. Dexter in 1860. The Dexter family’s ties to Rochester, Massachusetts, began when William Dexter became the first descendant of the Dexter
family to settle in town around 1679. William, one of the 32 original grantees of the town (from land by Sachem Metacomet), died in Rochester in 1694 and his four sons and grandsons remained in Rochester through the 19th century. After being away for months or years at a time, Captain John Dexter returned to his hometown to build this home on family land that was previously undeveloped. The Dexter family remained in the house well into the early 20th century, carrying on the family’s deep rooted history in the area. The home is a blending of Gothic and Italianate styles, which work really well in the rural area.

Reading Town Hall // 1911

The Reading Town Hall in Reading, Vermont is an imposing shingle-clad, gambrel roof building which sits in the village of Felchville. The hall was built in 1911 as a gift to the citizens of Reading by Wallace F. Robinson. Wallace Robinson was born in Reading in 1832. He went to Boston as a young man and entered into the provisions (groceries) market, and became quite successful, expanding into the wholesale provisions business and meat packing. He was active in civic and business affairs of Boston, most notably as the President of the Boston Chamber of Commerce and as a State Representative in the Legislature for two terms. By around 1900, Robinson had retired and had taken up a life of philanthropy, spending much of his wealth on memorial buildings and to places that had a lasting impact on him, including Robinson Hall at Dartmouth College and renovations at UVM. The design for the Reading Town Hall is especially notable for the fact that it was designed to resemble historic gambrel roofed barns found in the state.

Sprague Hall // 1889

Built in 1889, this interesting structure is located away from the rocky coastline of Cape Elizabeth, a lasting remnant of the agricultural history of the town. The building was constructed as the Cape Elizabeth Grange Hall. The National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry, is a social organization in the United States that encourages families to band together to promote the economic and political well-being of the community and agriculture. The Grange organization, as it is often known as, had grange halls all over the country, where farming community members would gather to discuss issues and challenges that needed addressing. The building echos late 19th century architectural styles, blending multiple to create an elegant composition, wrapped in wood clapboard and shingle siding. In 1916, the hall was purchased by P. W. Sprague from the Cape Elizabeth Grangers to insure its use and upkeep – and it is still the home of the Patrons of Husbandry, Cape Elizabeth Grange #242.

First Congregational Church, Thetford // 1785 & 1830

Attempts were made to organize the Congregational Church in Thetford, Vermont as early as 1771, making this congregation among the five earliest in the state. As was typical of the day, the meetinghouse was intended to serve both public and religious functions, before the separation of church and state. Following the customary dispute over the location of the meetinghouse in town, the structure was erected on the Town Common, marking the beginning of the village of Thetford Hill. Construction began on the meetinghouse in 1785, being completed within a couple years. Sometime between 1807 and 1812, the Congregational Church ceased to be supported by taxes as the separation of church and state resulted in the sale of the meetinghouse and its subsequent move in 1830, from the town-owned common to its present site just north of it. In 1830, the pavilion, tower, and pilasters were added to give the church a Greek Revival flair. The church is reportedly the oldest meetinghouse in the state still in continuous service.