National Register Nomination Information:
Accessed by a long circuitous drive, the Croly-Newbold property consists of a 56 acre tract of land and buildings including a main house, stable and two sheds. The buildings are sited on a largely wooded lot which is level for the most part excepting a downward slope to the west of the main house. Only the area immediately around the buildings including a field to the west of the house has been cleared. There is a fine view of Mount Ascutney; from the front door of the house, a historic view which the owners have taken care to maintain through selective tree cutting. The nominated property possesses a high level of integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling and association.
The main house is a two story building, L-shaped in plan and sheathed in a horizontal novelty shiplap siding favored by its architect, Charles Platt. As originally constructed in 1897, the house consisted of only the two story hiproofed section to the west. The ell extending to the east and the stable were constructed in 1902 and the garden was added in 1904; both were designed by the Platt firm. Additional minor interior modifications were made in 1937 and 1948 according to designs by William and Geoffrey Platt.
The building is capped by a hip asphalt roof with exposed rafters. Siding extends to the ground, obscuring the building's foundation. The main, offcenter entrance is located on the west side and consists of a wide wooden front door with three panels, framed by an eared surround and partial entablature. The entrance is sheltered by an enclosed, single story, hip roofed entrance porch added to the building in 1987 which necessitated the removal of the uppermost section of the entablature. The porch echoes many of the details found on the kitchen porch on the north side of the building. Recessed panel pilasters and sidelights flank the porch entrance, above which is a full entablature. The sidewalls of the porch are glassed. A set of three multilight casement windows are located south of the porch, each window consisting of a 2 x 5 pane panel. An additional set of casement windows is located to the north and upstairs there are four individual casement windows with 1/1 exterior storm windows. All of the windows are flanked by blinds. The south end of the building ends in a single story pergola supported by two fluted Doric columns flanked by two square piers with recessed panels. On top of the columns are beams with a cyma reversa profile, above which are joists with a cyma recta shape. Above the pergola the south end is punctuated by two casement windows.
A brick patio with a concrete border runs underneath the pergola. The south wall of the house protected by the pergola is punctuated by a set of french doors. On either side of this entrance is a painted bas relief depicting two children supporting a central crest. The two are copies of molds executed by sculptor and Cornish Colony member, Herbert Adams, for a building on Wall Street in New York City.
Full length, multilight double doors open onto the interior courtyard formed by the L-shaped plan. The east wall of the house facing the courtyard has two multilight French doors, framed by blinds. The doors are capped by a lintel with a low cyma recta profile, which originally supported an additional projecting pergola set above a fieldstone patio. Neither the pergola nor patio survive today. Above these windows the second floor on this side is punctuated by two casement windows. The south side of the courtyard is fronted by a pergola consisting of a series of six recessed panel piers supporting a trellis. Under this trellis there are four multilight, full length glass doors, as well as a modern sliding window flanked by two pairs of geometric star window bands. Upstairs are two additional individual casement windows with blinds.
The long north elevation, facing the driveway consists of the end elevation of the original house to the south and projecting from it and to the east the section added in 1902. The original section is a single bay wide, with a casement window lighting each floor. The corner between the original section and 1902 addition is occupied by a single story hipped roof porch supported by recessed panel piers supporting a two part entablature. The sidewalls of the porch are latticed. The remaining part of the north elevation is punctuated by three unevenly spaced casement windows on the second floor. Fronting the east part of the elevation is a single story flat roofed projection lit by a tripart multilight casement window.
The east end of the building, facing the barn is lit by two casement windows upstairs. The first floor features a single casement opening and a projecting enclosed entrance porch which was added sometime after about 1947 when the Carters purchased the property. The door to the mudroom is a modern multiglass and panel door.
The impressive gardens which were an integral part of Platt's design no longer survive. As designed by Platt in 1904, the garden was set into the angle of the house's L-shaped plan and was composed of terraces which were originally divided into rectangular flower beds. The four rectangular beds measuring approximately 24 feet by 13 feet were separated by a walkways four feet wide. The far terrace was elevated slightly and was enclosed by an exedra with semicircular seat and table. An additional pergola was originally located in the courtyard above a fieldstone base. The fieldstone walls and lily pond which survive in the center of the courtyard were added for the Carters in 1949 by Charles Middleleer, a New York landscape architect.
A series of outbuildings are located east of the main house and are described below.
Wood shed, c. 1980. Noncontributing building. Closest to the house is this small wood shed of recent construction. The building is sheathed in vertical boards and capped by a shed roof.
Wood shed, c. 1950. Noncontributing building. Across the walkway from the woodshed described above is this small outbuilding of vertical bead board construction with three bays and a shed roof.
Stable, 1902. Contributing building. Facing the east end of the house is a carriage house constructed of horizontal novelty siding, capped by an asphalt roof that is trimmed with exposed rafters. The gable fronted facade is pierced by a set of double sliding doors with ramp; a hayloft opening with recessed panel double doors is located above, framed by a simple projecting rake board. An adjoining single story section is set at right angles on either side of the gable front. The south side rests on a mortared fieldstone foundation and is capped by a gable roof with an octagonal birdhouse atop a square louvered ventilator. This ventilator was originally located on the projection off the main house, prior to the construction of the 1902 addition. A row of three four light square windows light the west elevation. The south gable end of the building has two double doors with multiglass over a solid panel. Behind this section is a shed roofed section which appears to have been added later for use as an apartment. Resting on a concrete block foundation it is lit by a 4 x 2 and 3 x 3 window.
The extension to the north of the gablefront also has a stone foundation but is capped by a shed roof. The facade is punctuated by two 4 x 3 fixed windows and a vertical board door. On the north end of the building there is a sliding door. The rear of this section displays a fieldstone foundation with a large concentration of quartz rock. Inscribed in the concrete is "WP 1902". The fenestration on this side has been altered from its original and now features a row of three single pane windows over two doors.
Projecting from the rear of the gabled section is a two story section added in 1986, covered in vertical boards above a concrete foundation. Fenestration includes two modern garage doors, a hayloft opening, 3 x 2 and 6/9 windows and two starred windows which were originally on the ell of the main house.
Along with drawings for the main house, the present owners retain blueprint copies of several schemes for the stable drawn by the Platt firm and dated 1901. It would appear that the design went through several revisions. One scheme showed the shed roofed section adjacent to the gablefront as being ordered by three columns. It is not clear whether this was ever constructed. Inside the drawings indicate that the building was partitioned into a carriage house, shed, pig pen, stable, feed room and cold storage with a manure room apparently added in the northeast corner later.
Shed, 1985. Noncontributing building. A modern shed with five clipped corner openings is located on the other side of the driveway and was constructed in 1985.
Horse Shed, 1985. Noncontributing building. Located in the pasture down the hill west of the main house, this modern horse shed pole barn was constructed in 1985.
STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE
Constructed in 1897, the Croly-Newbold House is significant as one of several houses in Cornish designed by prominent architect, Charles Platt. It is also important for associations with the Cornish Colony and with Herbert Croly, who as editor of Architectural Record, was an important early supporter and publicist of Platt's work as an architect and garden designer.
The Croly House is typical of Platt's houses of the late 1890's with its rough horizontal boarding, hipped roof, L-shaped plan and projecting loggia. Along with other works completed during this period, including the Lawrence House in Plainfield and the Elliot House in Needham, Massachusetts, the house represents Platt's adaptation of the Italian villa to the requirements of a small, inexpensive American summer house. As originally constructed, the drawing room and loggia formed one wing of the L with the kitchen at the corner and an abbreviated wing including a wood shed, cold storage and a water closet extending at a right angle. The service ell has extended in 1902, at which time the original kitchen was converted to a dining room. Platt was later to repeat this plan in various modifications, favoring it because of the way the drawing room and loggia provided views of the flower garden on one side and of the distant landscape, in this case Mount Ascutney, on the other.(1)
Herbert Croly and Louis Shipman both came to Cornish initially in 1893. For the next two summers they and their families rented "Barberry House", then belonging to Frank Johnson. In 1897 Herbert Croly, then editor of the Architectural Record bought this piece of pasture land from Edward Bryant and commissioned Charles Platt to build this house overlooking Dingleton Hill, the Connecticut Valley and Mt. Ascutney. It was here that Croly wrote The Promise of American Life (1909) and Progressive Democracy (1914). Croly also served as editor of the liberal weekly, New Republic, founded in 1914. Philip Littell, who lived down the hill, served as the first literary editor. Croly was one of a handful of colonists who remained in Cornish for the greater part of the year.(2)
In 1946 Burnham and Virginia Carter bought the property. He has a New York public relations man and writer of Saturday Evening Post stories. Carter took an active role in town planning and educational affairs and served as town representative in 1952-3 before returning to New York and later moving to Orford, New Hampshire. The Cornish property was later occupied by his son David Carter, a banker in New York.(3) The present owners are Michael and Sally Newbold, who purchased the property in 1978.
(1) Keith N. Morgan. Charles A. Platt: The Artist as Architect. (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1985), p. 48.
(2) Hugh Mason Wade. A Brief History of Cornish l763-l974. (Hanover, .The University Press of New England, 1976), p. 92.
(3) Ibid, p. 92.
MAJOR BIBLIOGRAPHICAL REFERENCES
FORM PREPARED BY: Lisa Mausolf, Preservation Specialist, Upper Valley-Lake Sunapee Council, 314 First NH Bank Building, Lebanon, NH 03766. Tel: 603-448-1680. Date: November 1989.
DATE ENTERED: NOMINATION IS PENDING.
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