National Register Nomination Information:
Set on the side of steep Dingleton Hill and accessed by a long curving drive above Route 12A, the Slade-Bulkeley property consists of a main house and gardens with a number of ancillary outbuildings including a summer cottage, caretakers cottage, stable, hay barn and assorted sheds. Like many of the other Cornish Colony houses, only the rear elevation has a full view of Mount Ascutney; the bulk of the lot is heavily wooded, both naturally and with ornamental plantings. Descriptions of the house as it was originally constructed, suggest that both the house and the grounds have experienced only the most minimal alterations since their construction. 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 wood frame structure sheathed in stucco with a standing seam metal hip roof, that replaces an earlier roof sheathing. The house displays an u-shaped plan oriented with its opening forming an entrance court facing a circular drive and the base of the "u" facing Mt. Ascutney. The entrance court is formed by a projecting service wing to the west and a studio wing to the east. The fifty- feet wide driveway facade is divided into five bays with a central entrance containing a panelled door, flanked by Roman Doric columns which support large scroll brackets and a pergola. Windows on this elevation predominantly contain 6/6 sash with molded surrounds and blinds. The facade of the east Wing is lit by a full length, tripart multilight window designed to maximize the northern light entering the studio but which is today largely obscured by vegetation. The window consists of a central 12/12/12 window flanked by 6/6/6 sash. The west wall of the studio is without openings. The facade of the west wing is largely obscured by vegetation but consists of smaller windows. The east wall of this wing is lit by a joined pair of 4/4 sash on each floor. Symmetrical large rectangular, brick chimneys and hip dormers sheathed in wood shingles with exposed rafters punctuate the front and rear roof slopes. The cornice surrounding the entire building is decorated by modillions and exposed rafters, which are largely obscured by gutters. Decorative metal downspouts are seen on many of the walls.
Facing the garden, the first floor of the east. elevation is lit by two sets of multilight french doors decorated by blinds and arbors. Upstairs, to the south, there is a tripart 6/6 window flanked by two 4/4 windows with shutters.
The rear elevation facing Mt. Ascutney is dominated by a loggia extending the full length of the house, over a hundred feet. The center block of the house projects slightly from the rear walls of the two flanking wings. The loggia consists of fluted Doric columns with smooth lower areas. Resting on the columns is a beam alternating rectangular and square panels with square panels above each column. Balanced above the beam are perpendicular joists above which lattice strips are running in an east-west direction. The patio is laid with brick pavers and marble borders and thresholds. Two pairs of columns, capped by large consoles, mark a central set of marble steps leading down to the lawn. Only one of the volute consoles appears to be original, the other three are simpler, lacking the decorative details of the original.
Behind the loggia, the center block of the house is punctuated by a series of seven pairs of french doors with transoms. Each set of doors is flanked by a pair of fluted pilasters with smooth lower sections. Upstairs a central 6/6 window is flanked by two tripart windows.
The loggia in front of the library and dining room, which occupy the rear of the two side wings, is supported on each side by four large concrete posts with fluted side faces. Each post is capped by two large brackets. The posts are spanned by a bulbous balustrade. Recessed open porches occupy the two corners behind the loggia. The back walls are sheathed with marble panels. The ceiling in this area is decorated by exposed beams. The east and west porches rest on mortared fieldstone foundations.
The west elevation of the house is associated with the kitchen and service wing. Projecting from the west side is a side entrance framed by two concrete posts and resting on a mortared fieldstone foundation. The front hall is filled by recessed panels and is punctuated by a central entrance with a multi-pane glass door capped by a pergola and fronted by wooden stairs. The posts are spanned by a wooden stick balustrade. To the side is a 6/6 window. On the second floor this elevation is punctuated by three 6/6 windows with blinds. Also visible on this side is the exposed fieldstone basement, punctuated by 6/6 windows.
Offset at the southeast corner of the house is a single story carport, capped by an asphalt shingled gable roof. The building has a clapboarded gable front and open, latticework sides.
The design of Dingleton House aptly illustrates Platt's proficiency at uniting building and landscape by means of gardens. As he did at his earlier design for "High Court" in Cornish, Platt has placed the gardens on the side of the house, rising in three tiers, so as not to interrupt the view of Ascutney from the main house with the gardens. The central axis of the garden area aims at Mount Ascutney and runs uphill from the perennial garden to the rose garden. Adjacent to the east side of the house is a formal flower garden composed of large rectangular beds of perennials, including foxglove, delphinium, peonies, phlox and poppies, grouped around a circular lily pond of concrete. A gravel path outlines the beds while low concrete walls run along the east and west sides of this section of the garden. To the east of the lily pond, there is a short set of concrete steps. On the axis west of the pond is a wooden gate capped by an arbor. Built into the wall just to the north of the gate is a lions head fountain spouting water into a concrete trough.
A pergola, covered by wild grape, separates the flower garden and a woodland garden, as well as marking a change of level. Concrete posts and walls are located at the east and west ends of the pergola, between which are two rows of Roman Doric columns. Excepting the center columns, those on the north side are spanned by a geometric wooden screen. Four columns support a central arch which is in turn flanked by two columns to each side. The patio under the pergola is of concrete with an incised central circle flanked by diamond shapes. Beyond the pergola is the woodland garden consisting of a continuation of the gravel axis path, framed by shade-loving plants which flourish under the cover of coniferous trees. The focus of this section is a pedestal concrete birdbath, surrounded by a concrete ring planted with hostas. This is encircled by brick paving with two sections of curved concrete benches marking the outer circle. In back of the benches original hemlock hedges have been replaced by the Bulkeleys with laurels.
Beyond the woodland garden and elevated by a few steps is a lattice arch marking the entrance to a square rose garden. Additional wooden arbors on the north and west sides, frame an urn and bench respectively. On the east side is an allee of roses with climbers dating to the garden's beginnings. At the center of the rose garden is a concrete basin with egg and dart molding. According to writings by landscape architect and Colony member Rose Nichols, the rose garden may have been designed by Miss Emily Slade, although it almost certainly has part of Charles Platt's overall garden scheme.
In general, the present appearance of the gardens is very much in keeping with Charles Platt's original design. The plantings have been simplified a bit; grass plots designed by landscape architect Ellen Shipman, a student of Platt's, in the 1920s, fill in some areas in the perennial section that were once all flowers. In addition, some of the original sweeping lawns to the south of the house were turned to pasture during World War II when no help was available. Today, they remain pasture, set off by a split rail fence. A row of white pines in the area was lost in the 1938 hurricane. However, many of the plantings including spirea, astilbe, grape, hostas, roses and peonies survive from original plantings. Nearly all of the garden elements including the pergola, basins, fountains, and the sundial on the south end are also original to the design.
To the east of the house are a number of outbuildings, described below.
Summer Cottage, 1938. Noncontributing building. Located just to the east of the rose garden is this single story, three room cabin measuring about twenty feet by twenty four feet, built about 1938-9 as a type of camp/bunkhouse. Sheathed in clapboards, the building is capped by an asphalt-shingled gable roof. The broad, north side is punctuated by a large multilight picture window and a door. An additional door and smaller multilight window are located on the east side and there are three 6/6 windows on the rear (south) side.
Caretaker's Cottage, 1950. Noncontributing building. Just north of the cabin described above, is this single story caretaker's residence measuring approximately twenty two feet by twenty eight feet. The building rests on a concrete foundation, is sheathed in vertical T111 siding and is capped by an asphalt-shingled gable roof. A front porch supported by square posts spans the east gable end. Fenestration on the building is primarily 6/1 doublehung sash.
Stable, 1905. Contributing building. Constructed at the same time as the main house, this wood-frame stable building has seen only sympathetic additions and alterations in its history. The building consists of a central gablefront section, capped by a cupola and flanked by two side wings. The main, central section and the wing closest to the house are original while the east wing and cupola are later additions, dating to about 1939. The building is sheathed in a shiplap type siding favored by Platt and capped by an asphalt roof. The gable front of the main section is punctuated by a large central opening. To each side is an opening consisting of a door with a panelled lower section capped by 4 x 2 panes. These two openings were added when the building was converted from a carriage house to a stable. Rising from the center of the roof is a pyramidal roofed cupola consisting of a shiplap base and arched louvered openings. The gilded hackney horse weathervane atop the cupola was acquired by Mrs. Bulkeley from the Heublein House in West Hartford, Connecticut. Punctuating the rear of the main roof are two shed-roofed dormers, which are also later additions. Flanking each side of the main block is a single story wing, set at right angles. The facade of the original, to the west, is dominated by two arched openings. One of the arches is fit with a four panel door; the other contains a door flanked by two windows. The east wing has been constructed in a similar shiplap siding to be harmonious with the main building. It is capped by a wood shingle roof and also displays two arched openings resting on pilasters. The fenestration on the rear of the stable includes 6/6 windows. The attached shed at the rear was added in 1983. Inside the front originally houses carriages while the rear consisted of straight standing stalls, with a tack room to the side.
Chicken Coop, 1939. Noncontributing building. Constructed during Mrs. Morris' ownership, the chicken coop is a small wood frame structure, clad in shiplap siding with projecting eaves and an asphalt roof. A door and 6/2 window punctuate the west gablefront.
Shed, 1905. Contributing building. This small building, constructed of shiplap siding and clapboards, was originally built to house the Italian masons working on the construction of the main house. It was later used as a potting shed and moved to its present location. The building rests on a concrete foundation and is capped by an asphalt roof with exposed rafters. There are two sliding doors on the east elevation.
Hay Barn, 1905. Contributing building. This woodframe structure, less its two side sheds, was constructed about the same time as the main house for use as an ice house to store ice harvested from a pond on the property. The central, two story gablefront section rests on a fieldstone foundation. The shed spanning each side is set on a concrete block foundation and is capped by a rolled asphalt roof. The building is clad in shiplap siding. A ventilator, square in plan, rises from the center of the main roof.
Outbuilding, 1945. Noncontributing building. Beyond the haybarn are these modern sheds, clad in vertical boards with asphalt roofs.
This house was constructed in 1904-6 for Misses Emily and Augusta Slade according to designs by Charles Platt and on land on Dingleton Hill acquired in the fall of 1903 from Lyman Bartlett. The parcel purchased by the Slades also originally included the present home of Cheston Newbold off Dingleton Hill Road. Italian stone masons were employed from New York City. Millwork was done at Martin Mill in Hartland. The dining room panelling is of American Elm. The entrance hall stairs are embellished by wood carvings, designed And executed by Emily Slade. After the Slade Sisters' deaths, the property was left to two nieces from New Jersey who never chose to live in the house. The contents of the house were auctioned in 1935 and Dingleton House was acquired by Mrs. Shiras Morris of Hartford, Connecticut in 1936 and is now occupied by her daughter and son-in law, Mrs. and Mrs. William Bulkeley of Hartford. Much of the acreage associated with the property today was acquired subsequent to the Slades' original purchase. The original "Dingleton House" parcel extended only as far as the concrete entrance gates to the north of the house and about 200 feet south of the house. The original boundary extended right across the pond to the south which was added by the Bulkeleys.
STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE
The Slade-Bulkeley House is significant under National Register criterion C as the work of prominent architect, Charles A. Platt. The structure derives additional significance under criterion A for its associations with the Cornish Colony arts colony, of which Charles Platt was an important member. "Dingleton House", as it is also known, was completed in 1905 for Misses Emily and Augusta Slade. In this, the last of his commissions in Cornish, Platt combines detailing from 16th century Italian villas with elements of 18th century design of England and America. The design of Dingleton House is also a fine example of Platt's proficiency at uniting building and landscape by means of gardens. Adding to the significance and integrity of the property is the fact that it has only been owned by two families since its construction and that both the house and gardens have experienced few alterations from their original design. The present owners retain copies of the original Platt blueprints, copies of which are also preserved at Avery Architectural Library, Columbia University.
By the time "Dingleton House" was constructed, the Cornish Colony had grown greatly and no longer consisted only of artists and writers. Several years earlier in 1903, the Misses Slades' cousins, Misses Elizabeth and Frances Slade of Boston also built a large house in Cornish, on the crest of the Saint Gaudens hill. A wood sculptress of some talent, Miss Emily Slade was probably also drawn to Cornish by the other artists in residence. Although she was not an artist of prominence and did not apparently show her work, the construction of a studio in the house suggests she was fairly serious about her art or at least enjoyed the comraderie of her fellow Cornish artists. The participation of Miss Emily and Miss Augusta in the Masque of the Golden Bowl held to honor Augustus Saint Gaudens in 1905, shortly after their arrival in Cornish, also suggests that the Slade sisters were embraced by and a part of the larger Cornish Colony community.
MAJOR BIBLIOGRAPHICAL REFERENCES
Morgan, Keith N. "Charles A. Platt's houses and gardens in Cornish, New Hampshire", Antiques, July 1982.
Thorpe, Patricia. "Down the garden path: a dream of turn of the century summer is still in bloom in New Hampshire", House and Garden, July 1988, pp. 114-118.
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: September 1989.
DATE ENTERED: NOMINATION IS PENDING.
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