Parker Hill Rural Historic District
Municipality: Rockingham/Springfield, VT. Location: Parker Hill
Site Type: Historic District
Vt Survey No: --
UTMs: (Zone 18) 1. 705140/4791980. 2. 705940/4788720. 3. 704300/4785000. 4. 703560/4785370. 5. 704470/4791980
National Register Nomination Information:
Occupying rural portions of the southeastern Vermont townships of Rockingham and Springfield, the Parker Hill Rural Historic District encompasses a 2000-acre tract of undulating upland terrain flanked by low hills on the east and west sides and by stream valleys on the north and south sides. The historically agricultural landscape incorporates fields and pastures surrounding several clusters of farmstead buildings and interspersed with areas of mixed forest. Among the 50 primary resources, 25 contribute to the district's historic character while 25 are considered noncontributing; the latter are post-1940 houses built on small lots subdivided from the farms. The farmstead buildings include predominantly turn-of-the-nineteenth century, vernacular Federal style houses (both brick and wood framed) of Georgian plan plus nineteenth-century, wood-framed outbuildings of various types. Individual examples exist of the Georgian, Greek Revival and Italianate styles. Several abandoned turn-of-the-nineteenth-century farmstead sites are marked by stone foundations, and stone (fence) walls extend throughout the historic district bounding present or former fields and pastures.
The historic district retains overall integrity of location but its integrity of setting, design, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association varies in degree among the farmsteads. The extant historic buildings hold relatively high degrees of individual integrity while the surrounding agricultural landscape has undergone more substantial change, largely by reversion to forest. Agricultural activities have declined steadily since about 1930. Commercial farming has been succeeded by part-time farming and many outbuildings have been removed. Furthermore, several of the farms have been adapted to seasonal residences for out-of-state owners both prior to 1940 and later. Those adapted to seasonal residential or non-agricultural usage during the historic period generally retain a higher degree of integrity relating to that usage than the farmsteads where agriculture has been abandoned during the post-1940 period. Generally, however, the historic district continues to convey a strong sense of its agricultural heritage.
The Parker Hill Rural Historic District encompasses adjoining portions of the contiguous townships of Rockingham and Springfield. The boundary between these townships also demarcates Windham and Windsor Counties. Rockingham occupies the northeast corner of the former county and Springfield the southeast corner of the latter. Both are bounded along the east side by the Connecticut River, whose west shore also constitutes the boundary between the states of Vermont and New Hampshire.
Panoramic views stretch in several directions from places within the historic district. The broad open knolls of the Haselton Carey (#8) and Thayer-Allbee (#9) farms overlook the Connecticut River valley and hills of southwestern New Hampshire. The view from the Gammell-Bolles Farm (#21) looks more southeasterly toward Bellows Falls village in the same valley. The fields around the Lewis and Martha Cutler House (#13) provide an exceptional view northeastward over the Connecticut River valley (although the house itself faces the road in the opposite direction). At the north edge of the historic district, the Damon-Baker (#1) and Gould-Hadwen (#50) farms overlook the Black River valley and Mt. Ascutney to the north, and, more distantly to the northeast, the mountains of central New Hampshire.
The historic district extends about 4.5 miles in north-south length and about 1.25 miles in maximum east-west width. The town and county boundary follows an east-west course across the historic district about three miles north of its south limit. The boundary crosses the Parker Hill Road south of the modern Andrews House (#41) and crosses the Lower Parker Hill Road south of the modern Kossakoski House (#10).
The southern edge of the historic district follows the Green Mountain Railroad track along the northwest-southeast-trending valley of the Williams River, a major tributary of the Connecticut River. This narrow stretch of the valley has relatively steep sides rising directly from the river and very limited bottomland. The first farmstead - the Allbee-Abbott Farm (#28) - north of the river in the historic district occupies a small terrace on the hillside about one hundred feet above the valley bottom. From there, the historic district ascends northward to undulating terrain that lies generally between six and seven hundred feet higher than the three-hundred-foot elevation of the Williams River.
Apart from the Williams River valley, the topography of the Parker Hill area generally follows a linear pattern of north south orientation. A chain of low rounded hills flanks the west side of the historic district. Along the southwest portion, the namesake Parker Hill actually forms a ridge with the highest point reaching about 1220 feet in elevation west of the Glynn Brown Farm (#38). A ravine with a southwest-flowing brook draining the small crescent Closson Pond separates the northern end of the Parker Hill ridge from Cobble Hill, a 1280-foot eminence west of the former center of Parker Hill settlement. The northernmost summit in the chain, Pudding Hill, rises to about 1260 feet west of the Gould-Hadwen Farm (#50), the northernmost farm in the historic district. North of that farm, the terrain descends abruptly into an east-west-trending portion of the Seavers Brook valley at Hardscrabble Corner (outside the historic district). Lower knolls and ridges flank the east side of the historic district.
South of the Springfield-Rockingham boundary, a mostly forested, rocky ridge about 1200 feet in elevation traverses the historic district in a northwest-southeast course. A broad, relatively flat terrace mostly occupied by open fields and pasture extends northward from the ridge to the ravine drained by Commissary Brook. South of the ridge, the terrain becomes more undulating and the open fields lie on gentle or moderate slopes. O'Brien Brook rises near the Josiah White Farm Site (#37) and flows eastward through the field west of the White-Hadwen House (#19) where beavers have dammed the brook to create a large pond. The brook then turns southeastward along a more declivitous passage.
The hills and ridges both flanking and within the historic district are generally covered with second-growth forest of mixed deciduous and coniferous species. Most of this landscape was cleared of the original forest during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and adapted to pastures for grazing livestock (especially sheep) and fields for tillage or mowing. The decline of Parker Hill agriculture during the twentieth century has been accompanied by the gradual reversion of many fields and pastures to mixed forest.
The principal roads through the Parker Hill area follow the north-south orientation of the landscape. The paved Parker Hill Road extends the entire length of the historic district from Rockingham village to Hardscrabble Corner in Springfield. About one-half mile north of the railroad overpass (#29), the mostly gravel-surfaced O'Brien Road diverges northeastward and continues northward to join the Lower Parker Hill Road. Gravel-surfaced in Rockingham and paved in Springfield, the latter road extends northward and then northwestward to intersect the Parker Hill Road south of Commissary Brook.
Lesser roads traverse the historic district in east-west directions. The gravel Cross (or Lawrence) Road connects Parker Hill Road and the intersecting O'Brien and Lower Parker Hill Roads. The paved Osgood Road extends westward from the Parker Hill Road opposite the Gammell-Bolles Farm (#21) building cluster; now truncated on the hillside outside the historic district, this road continued westward to the Brockways Mills valley during the nineteenth century, An unnamed road extends westward from the Parker Hill Road opposite the Lewis and Martha Cutler House (#13), now serving as a gravel driveway to the modern Prescott House (#44). Abandoned (except for private use) beyond the house, the dirt road divides into two branches that continue over the hill to the Brockways Mills valley; one branch passes the George Cutler Farm Site (#46) south of Cobble Hill and the other goes north of the hill.
An extensive network of stone (fence) walls reticulates the entire historic district. These walls were constructed generally during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries while the land was being cleared for fields and pastures. The walls are built mostly of available fieldstone removed from the immediate vicinity and laid without mortar. They range upward to four or five feet in maximum height. However, subsidence, partial collapse, and the accumulation of debris against their flanks have generally reduced their exposed height.
Stone walls define the edges of the rights-of-way along most of the road mileage in the historic district. Also stone walls mark many property boundaries established in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The walls were intended especially to keep livestock within the pastures and outside the fields of crops. Many of the walls now pass through second-growth forest that has regenerated on abandoned fields and pastures.
There exists a total of 50 primary buildings, structures, and sites in the Parker Hill Rural Historic District. Additionally there are some 62 secondary counterparts, most of those being outbuildings related to the primary building on the property. Among the primary resources, 25 contribute to the historic character of the district while 25 are considered noncontributing owing to their age of less than fifty years. Five primary resources consist solely of foundations marking the sites of historic buildings that have been removed.
A slight majority of the buildings within the Parker Hill Rural Historic District relates to historic farmsteads. These are generally arranged in discrete clusters situated some distance apart along the roadsides or at the end of driveways leading from the public roads. Most of the building clusters are surrounded by open fields or pastures. Given the minimal agricultural activity at present, only the best fields are being mowed and few pastures are being grazed; the remainder are becoming overgrown with brush and trees. That reversion to second-growth forest occurred earlier this century on most of the former hillside pastures flanking the fields. The resulting pattern of the landscape within the historic district incorporates disconnected and shrinking areas of open fields separated by expanding areas of mixed forest.
Furthermore, some of the reforested areas are being subdivided into small lots for the construction of modern houses. This practice began in the 1950s and accelerated in the 1960s, causing marked change in the appearance of Parker Hill's built environment. During the 1980s, subdivision spread into some open fields (especially along O'Brien Road) where new houses now stand fully exposed to view. The former farms in the Rockingham portion of the Parker Hill area have been subdivided to a greater extent than those in the Springfield portion, and many lots exist where houses have not yet been built.
The clusters of historic farmstead buildings are usually focused on the main house although the placement of the various types of buildings does not conform to a standard plan. Generally the house stands closest to the road and the outbuildings are houses are not oriented with their main facades toward the roads that run north-south in direction. Instead, having been built prior to the advent of efficient heating devices, the houses face southward to capture the maximum amount of sunshine during the often harshly cold winter of the Parker Hill climate.
The extant outbuildings on the farmsteads are not usually connected to the houses or to one another. A notable exception exists in the case of the Lewis and Martha Cutler House (#13), which was built c. 1875 when the practice of connecting farm buildings was at its height. The main block of that house has an attached wing and, in turn, an attached shed; an immense bank barn was originally connected to the shed, following the orientation of the other blocks.
The buildings within the historic district represent only a limited variety of architectural styles. The Federal style appears most frequently although in relatively plain expressions on houses created by builders who in some cases were also the original owners. One house - at the Fletcher-Tanner Farm (#7) shows the influence of the Georgian style, especially on its main entrance ensemble. Only one example of the Greek Revival exists also, the house at the Allbee-Abbott Farm (#28). The single example of Italianate style, the Lewis and Martha Cutler House (#13), also constitutes the most fully developed expression of any style in the historic district. Two other styles - the Queen Anne and the Colonial Revival - are represented by porch components.
At least four of the turn-of-the-nineteenth-century houses in the historic district are distinguished by original interior plans that included a second-floor ballroom. In the cases of the Fletcher-Cutler (#4) and Gould-Hadwen (#50) houses, the ballroom extended along the eaves-front half of the second floor. The Fletcher-Tanner (#7) and Walker-Cutler (#43) houses differed by having the ballroom in a side-gable half of the second floor. The ballrooms in the Fletcher-Cutler and Walker-Cutler houses complemented their early usage partly as taverns. These ballrooms were the focus of Parker Hill community social activities during the first half of the nineteenth century. All four ballrooms have subsequently been subdivided into bedrooms.
A considerable variety of types of historic buildings exists in the historic district. Single-family houses predominate and include two examples of Cape Cod type (#s l and 2) and a single Classic Cottage (#27). The houses generally are complemented by one or more outbuildings of agricultural origin. The latter include barns usually of English type (e.g, #47A), connected silos in the cases of two farms (#s l and 28), sheds (e.g., #50C), chickenhouses (e.g., #8A), milkhouses (e.g., #7C), sugarhouses (notably, #21B), and a smokehouse (#28F). Historic engineering structures are limited to a short railroad overpass (#29) and two small stone culverts (e.g., #22). Also present within the historic district are a cemetery (#42A) and several stone foundations (e.g., #46) from houses, barns, and other buildings that have been removed.
The agricultural outbuildings present in the historic district were generally constructed during the nineteenth century. (The distinctive group of twentieth-century buildings at the Allbee Abbott Farm, #28, constitutes a major exception.) The specific years or even decades of construction are not known for most of these outbuildings. The physical evidence of the buildings themselves often involves materials and structural types whose uses spanned long periods of time and were commonly recycled in an agricultural economy noted for the scarcity of money and the parsimony of its inhabitants. The dates cited for most of these outbuildings, therefore, are somewhat speculative and open to further research.
Among the materials used in historic Parker Hill buildings, wood, brick, and stone appear most commonly. A majority of the buildings possesses wood frames (post-and-beam or balloon) and sheathing (clapboards, flush boards hung either vertically or horizontally, or wood shingles). Brick buildings constitute the second largest group, although a small minority. Stone (especially granite) occurs most frequently in the foundations supporting both wood and brick buildings; slate shingles are applied to some roofs. Sheet metal appears most commonly as roof sheathing, especially on outbuildings. Modern materials such as aluminum or vinyl siding have been applied in recent decades over the historic sheathing on several buildings.
Stone for the foundations of Parker Hill buildings came mostly from outcrops of granite that exist in several places next to the fields along the east side of the Parker Hill Road in Springfield. The principal source was a relatively extensive surface quarry located southeast of Hardscrabble Corner (outside the historic district) where large blocks were drilled and cut for building construction in addition to the slabs and small blocks for foundations. Other minor sources exist in a forested area east of the fields around the Lewis and Martha Cutler House (#13). These are simply small outcrops where some slabs have been pried or wedged loose from the stratified bedrock.
The buildings in the historic district are generally being maintained in good to excellent condition. A few cases of deteriorating condition exist among agricultural outbuildings that are not being actively used. Several farmhouses have been extensively rehabilitated during recent decades, especially after being adapted to seasonal residences. Generally, however, their historic exterior character has been preserved with only minor alterations. In some cases, historic wings have been removed (or destroyed by fire) and replaced by modern counterparts.
1. Damon-Baker Farm (Parker Hill Road).
The Damon-Baker Farm retains the greatest variety of agricultural outbuildings present on any individual farm in the Springfield portion of the historic district. The house stands at the west edge of the cluster, facing the Parker Hill Road. Nearly abutting the house's rear (east) ell, a late nineteenth-century horse barn (A) encloses the north side of the farmyard. The dairy barn (B), renovated and enlarged c. 1940, extends eastward across a driveway from the horse barn. Twin silos and an attached granary flank the north side of the dairy barn while three smaller outbuildings - a milkhouse (C), a chicken house (D), a shed (E) - surround the barn's milking parlor addition.
Samuel Damon together with his wife and twelve children migrated from Scituate, Massachusetts to settle on Parker Hill in 1793. Their first house was built of logs, and that was replaced probably about 1800 by the extant frame house of Cape Cod type. Despite the size of the Damon family, the second floor of this house was never finished. A fireplace was built into the center chimney at that level, indicating that the Damons planned to finish the second floor at a later time. Samuel, however, died in 1807, and the farm was sold out of the family in 1828. The Weston family owned the farm during the latter half of the century. Ralph C. and Helen M. Baker acquired this farm in 1939, a year after their purchase of the adjacent Gould-Hadwen Farm; the Bakers have owned both farms to the present (1990), becoming their longest-term individual owners.
Extensive improvements have been made to this farmstead's buildings during the Baker ownership. To accommodate an increase in the size of the dairy herd to about thirty cows, the milking parlor was added c. 1940 to the south side of the barn and the twin silos were erected in 1952 next to the north side. The milkhouse was built near the west front of the milking parlor. The Bakers employed a resident manager to operate the farm until its unprofitability caused the abandonment of dairying in 1958. Aside from the smaller Walker-Cutler Farm (#43) then owned by David Russell, this was the last active commercial dairy farm in the Springfield portion of the historic district. The house was thoroughly rehabilitated in 1963.
The terrain around the cluster of buildings slopes gently downward toward the east. Open hayfields extend along both sides of the driveway between the Parker Hill Road and the base of a mostly forested low ridge that extends in a north-south direction a short distance east of the buildings. Northeast of the buildings, a pond was excavated in 1965 along a southward-flowing drainage that follows the base of the ridge and becomes Commissary Brook.
House; c. 1800.
The five-bay main (west) eaves facade is arranged symmetrically with a central entrance flanked by pairs of window openings. The door possesses four vertical lights over two panels. (The entrance was formerly sheltered by a single-bay, gabled porch added during the nineteenth century and removed earlier this century.) The windows are fitted with twelve-over-twelve sash (plus modern metal storm sash), plain surrounds, and louvered wood shutters. Probably corresponding to the original sash, these sash were installed in 1963 to replace latter nineteenth century two-over-two sash. The lintels of the openings abut the horizontal eaves.
Facing the driveway, the three-bay south gable facade includes a right-center entrance with a door having two vertical lights over two panels approached by granite-slab steps. The opposite (north) facade is spanned by a three-bay, shed-roofed porch with boxed posts, a diagonal stick balustrade, and a rectangular lattice skirt that was added during the twentieth century.
Deeply recessed from the south gable facade, the house's clapboarded rear (east) ell rises only one story in height to its asphalt-shingled gable roof. Its south eaves facade extends four bays in length, including a central entry with a nine-light-over two-panel door. The window treatment varies by the bay; triplet small six-over-six sash have been installed on the left while a twelve-over-twelve sash occurs on the right of the entry and an eight-over-one in the right bay. (The right side of the south facade was originally entered by an open carriage bay.) An interior brick stove chimney emerges from the north roof slope at the ridge.
A. Horse Barn; c. 1890.
The main (south) eaves facade has been somewhat altered on the first story by the installation of two broad paneled overhead garage doors in the place of double sliding doors. However, a vertical-boarded loft door remains in place above the left garage door. The east gable facade is marked by a shallow one-story, two-bay, shed-roofed projection that may have been a privy; it is lighted by two small one-pane fixed windows. A six-pane fixed sash with a plain surround occupies the left bay of the first story, and another the gable peak. An exterior concrete-block chimney on the right of this facade marks the joint with a one story, one-bay-deep, clapboarded, shed-roofed wing that spans the barn's north facade on the lower ground level. A large exterior vertical-boarded sliding door enters the wing's north facade.
B. Dairy Barn; c. 1850, enlarged c. 1940.
The main block is sheathed with clapboards and its gable roof covered with corrugated sheet metal. Its three-bay west gable facade includes the main entry - a vertical-boarded exterior sliding door - at the right corner next to the south wing. The center and left bays are occupied by large horizontal four-light fixed windows with plain surrounds. A triangular-headed, clapboarded, bottom-hinged hay door enters the gable peak, sheltered by a triangular projection of the roof that supports the steel track of a hay fork.
The south eaves facade was originally the principal one with the central wagon entrance of double-leaf, vertical-boarded, hinged doors surmounted by a transom opening. It was concealed by the addition of the one-story, three-by-nine-bay south wing containing the milking parlor. The wing rests on a concrete foundation and is sheathed with shiplap; its shed roof is covered with corrugated sheet metal. Its three-bay west facade includes a vertical-boarded, hinged pass door on the left and a pair of vertical six-light fixed windows with plain surrounds at the right corner. On the nine-bay south facade, the cattle entrance - a vertical-boarded exterior sliding door - occupies the left corner and eight bays of sash like those on the west facade are spaced regularly along the remainder.
Flush with the main block's west facade, a one-story, shiplapped granary ell projects from the north facade beneath a shed roof covered with standing-seam sheet metal. The ell's two-bay west facade is entered on the right by a vertical-boarded exterior sliding door; a small fixed window lights the left side.
The north ell connects to the twin cylindrical silos that are aligned diagonally to the barn's north facade. Standing on concrete bases, the silos are constructed of vertical wood staves bound by horizontal metal hoops. Each carries a board-and battened, two-tier, conical cap with a small metal ventilator at the peak. The two silos are joined vertically by a vertical boarded connection that shelters the equipment for filling them.
C. Milkhouse; c. 1940.
D. Chicken House; c. 1920.
E. Shed; c. 1900.
2. Cutler-Gulick House (Parker Hill Road); c. 1800, 1948.
The current owners, Charles and Gertrude Gulick, acquired the property in 1939. The wood-framed ell and wing attached to the rear of the brick house were constructed for them in 1948, replacing the historic ell and connected barn that were destroyed by a fire ignited by a bolt of lightning That remains a perennial hazard on the higher and more exposed areas of the Parker Hill district. Numerous buildings have been damaged or destroyed by lightning strikes and resulting fires.
A tall coniferous hedge screens the house from the road. The former fields and pastures surrounding the house are now reverting to brush and trees with the exception of an open hayfield that extends to the southeast.
Oriented parallel to the road, the one-and-one-half-story, five by-three-bay, eaves-front house rests on a foundation of elongated granite slabs. The brick walls are laid in seven course American bond. A projecting cornice with gable returns follows both the horizontal and raking eaves. The gable roof of the main block is covered with asbestos shingles that were applied after the 1948 fire. A rebuilt interior brick chimney with a stone cap rises from each end of the west slope next to the ridge.
The five-bay main (west) eaves facade is arranged symmetrically around a central entrance with a replacement door approached by granite steps and crowned by a five-light transom. The window openings are fitted with the six-over-six sash common to the main block. The three-bay south gable facade includes a right-center entry also with a replacement door and granite steps.
The one-and-one-half-story, wood-framed and clapboarded rear (east) ell extends three bays in length along its south eaves facade. An original central entry sheltered by a two-bay shed roofed porch with boxed posts has been augmented on the right by a sliding glass door that opens onto a contemporary deck. Full length shed dormers with coupled six-over-six sash emerge from both the south and north slopes of the asbestos-shingled gable roof. A tall interior brick chimney rises from the south slope and a shorter brick chimney from the ridge.
Connected to the rear of the ell, a gable-roofed garage wing of similar scale differs by its board-and-batten sheathing. Its south eaves facade is entered by two paneled overhead doors hung within openings having canted upper corners. A small one-story, shed-roofed wing is attached to the rear (east) gable end of the garage wing.
A. Garage/Shed; c. 1960.
3. Mary Eldredge House (Parker Hill Road); 1987.
4. Fletcher-Cutler Farm (Parker Hill Road).
The cube-form vernacular house of Georgian plan faces southward, and a summer kitchen and shed wing extends northward from the rear of the main block. The detached shed/chicken coop stands south of the house. The principal agricultural buildings were formerly situated on the lower level to the northeast of the house. A horse barn stood next to a driveway that curves downhill from the house. A short distance northward, scattered large stones mark the foundation of an immense barn that was banked against the slope; a fieldstone wall near the top of the slope may represent a high drive that entered the barn's west facade at loft level.
The house was erected in 1790 by Ebenezer Fletcher, a carpenter and farmer then only twenty years of age. At the same time, Ebenezer's father and eighteen-year-old brother, Peter and David, were building an imposing Georgian house (#7) about three quarters of a mile to the south. Not long after completing the house, Ebenezer (with the help of some neighbors, one of whom was killed during the raising) erected the largest barn on Parker Hill. Ebenezer lived here only until 1807, when he moved to Charlestown, New Hampshire.
Silas Cutler, member of another prominent Parker Hill family, owned this farm for a much longer period. Silas purchased the farm in 1854 and lived here for a half-century. A decade or so after Silas' death, his nephew, Carleton Cutler, acquired the property but subsequently resided here only a few years. It was during Carleton's absentee ownership (probably about 1920) that a powerful bolt of lightning struck and demolished the great barn.
Since 1939, the property has belonged to Stuart and Marion Eldredge. The artist laureate of Parker Hill, Stuart Eldredge has painted many evocative scenes of buildings and landscapes within the historic district. The Eldredges have made a significant addition to the house by installing at the main (south) entrance a high-style Federal frontispiece salvaged from the demolished Hetty Green House in Bellows Falls village of Rockingham township.
The farm has been inactive for at least a half century, and the former fields and pastures to the east of the buildings have partly overgrown with woods. An open hayfield ascends gradually northward from a lane bounded by stone walls that leads eastward from the barn site. Along the west side of the road, a mostly open pasture slopes upward toward woods along its west edge.
The main (south) facade is arranged symmetrically around a central entrance with the ensemble from the Hetty Green House. The slightly recessed six-panel Christian door is flanked by four-pane sidelights of two-thirds length. The sidelights are enframed in turn by pilasters of unequal width. The slender pilasters next to the door are decorated with hand-cut twin vertical rope moldings while slightly wider paneled pilasters separate the sidelights from the adjoining clapboarded wall surface. Crowning the door and sidelights, a semielliptical fanlight with radiating muntins is enhanced by a reeded surround with a perimeter molding.
The rear (north) facade possesses a secondary entrance in the corresponding position opposite the main entrance. Its four panel door was displaced from the latter entrance when the Green ensemble was installed there. (Originally this opening contained a door but that was replaced by a window during the nineteenth century; the entrance was restored by the installation of the present door.) Full-length, seven-pane sidelights flank this door below a six-pane transom. The enframing smooth pilasters bear evidence of having previously been paneled; they support a plain frieze and a simple cornice molding.
The window openings are paired in the side bays on all facades. The openings are fitted with twelve-over-twelve sash (plus modern metal storm sash) and plain surrounds. On the east facade, the two bays on left side of the first story have been replaced during the Eldredge ownership by a hip-roofed rectangular bay window with clapboarded spandrels; the window is illuminated by triplet twelve-over-twelve sash on twelve-light sash on each side.
Attached to the left half of the north facade, a one-and-one half-story wing sheathed like the main block carries an asymmetrical gable roof with a short west slope. An interior brick chimney rises from the east slope, venting a brick bake oven. The four-bay west eaves facade includes three entries (including two pass doors) and a right-corner twelve-over-twelve sash; two twelve-pane fixed sash light the kneewall. The central bay is entered by double-leaf, vertical-boarded shed doors hanging on iron strap hinges. The opposite (east) facade is marked on the left by a smaller version of the hip-roofed rectangular bay window on the main block; this window has double twelve-over-twelves between single vertical six-light sash.
Connected perpendicularly to the wing's north end, a banked one and-one-half-story, gabled shed gains an exposed basement story on its east and south facades. This ell is sheathed with vertical flush boards. Its three-bay west gable facade is entered by central double-leaf, vertical-boarded, hinged doors. Single twelve-light fixed sash occupy the side bays, and coupled horizontal twelve-light sash punctuate the gable. Projecting eastward from the abutting wing, the ell's south eaves facade is illuminated by an overscaled horizontal eight-light window.
A photograph taken in 1895 shows the house in a slightly different appearance. The main entrance was sheltered by a one bay, hip-roofed porch with slotted posts and a balustrade. The first-story window openings were fitted with two-over-two sash. The original west chimney carried a corbeled original east chimney had been replaced with the stove chimney that also carried a corbeled cap.
A. Shed/chicken coop; c. 1900.
The west front of the building is entered on the left of the central joint by an exterior vertical-boarded sliding door; an abutting six-pane fixed sash lights the right half. Larger window openings on the south side have been infilled with boards.
5. Magoon-Prescott House (Lower Parker Hill Road); 1953.
6. Paul Maqoon House (Lower Parker Hill Road); c. 1970.
7. Fletcher-Tanner Farm (Lower Parker Hill Road).
The imposing house shows the influence of the Georgian style and plan, the latter being modified originally by the need to accommodate apartments for two families. The house may have been started by John Clarey, who owned the property for a year before Peter Fletcher, Sr. purchased the land "and appurtenances." In any case, it was completed in 1790 by Peter Fletcher and a son, David, who occupied the west half (toward the road) and east half, respectively. Reflecting this interior division of the house, entrances exist on both the east and west facades in addition to the formal central entrance on the main (south) facade. The house became a single-family residence in 1803 when Peter Fletcher sold his half to David and moved to Alstead, New Hampshire where other members of the family had settled.
Ownership of this farm by the Fletcher family spanned ninety-six years: David's son, Frink, lived here eighty-two years of that period. George and Emma (Hadwen) Tanner acquired the property in 1885 from Frink's widow and sons. George Tanner became a highly successful farmer, using progressive methods and machinery in raising a great diversity of crops, especially prize-winning fruit, together with keeping a herd of dairy cows. He continued to operate the farm until retiring to Springfield village in the early 1920s.
Unmatched by any other farm on Parker Hill, three substantial barns remain standing here. A horse barn connects to a shed ell of the house. Northwest of the horse barn, two nineteenth century detached barns (A and B) stand perpendicular to each other. Closer to the northwest corner of the horse barn, a milkhouse (C) is sited next to an eastward-flowing little brook. The milkhouse was built probably during the 1920s while George Tanner owned the farm, although possibly after he retired and rented the farm to Carleton Cutler.
A photograph of the farmstead cluster taken in 1941 shows especially the cluster of partly connected barns and sheds enclosing the barnyard, including two substantial sheds that have been subsequently removed. Connected to the north gable facade of the horse barn, a smaller-scaled, one-and-one-half story, clapboarded and vertical-boarded, gable-roofed wing extended five bays in length on its west eaves facade. The vertical-boarded south half of that facade was entered by two large hinged doors. The north half differed by being clapboarded and having at least one twelve-over-twelve sash next to what appears to have been a screen door.
Beyond a narrow space (probably where the little brook now flows), the 1941 photograph shows a more utilitarian, two-story, horizontal-boarded, shed-roofed shed that formed the east side of the barnyard. The right half of its west front was entered by exterior and interior vertical-boarded sliding doors while the left half was mostly open on both stories.
The barnyard itself was then enclosed along the north side of the little brook and between the north and west barns by a wood fence. The fence was built of nearly abutting upright boards held in place by three tiers of continuous horizontal boards. The photograph shows that goats were then being kept in the barnyard
The buildings are now surrounded by a varied landscape. South of the house, a large open hayfield extends along the east side of the road to the town boundary. Parallel stone walls form a lane that leads eastward from the house along the north edge of this field apparently to a former pasture. East of the buildings, the mostly open terrain slopes gradually downhill past a constructed pond and the remnant trees of George Tanner's fruit orchards. North of the barns, a smaller hayfield ascends the moderate slope to the edge of mixed deciduous and coniferous forest. Along the west side of the road, mixed forest has regenerated on the uphill slope where pastures were cleared during the nineteenth century.
The main (south) eaves facade presents a symmetrical arrangement around a central entrance now nearly hidden by a large white cedar tree that was planted in 1906 to commemorate the marriage of Viola Tanner and Fred Parker. Approached by granite steps, the Georgian entrance ensemble incorporates a door with six unmolded recessed panels surmounted by a five-light transom and flanked by fluted pilasters that support a molded pediment. The paired window openings in the side bays are fitted with the twelve-over-twelve sash (plus metal storm sash) and louvered wood shutters now common to the house; these sash were installed during the 1940s in place of nineteenth-century, two-over-two sash. The windows are generally crowned by cornice caps except on the second story of this facade where the window heads abut the eaves cornice.
The secondary west gable facade includes on the five-bay first story a slightly off-center entrance. Approached by a huge granite-slab step, this entrance is distinguished by an Italianate door with twin round-headed lights crowned by a cornice cap. The second story is lighted only by a single window bay centered above each pair on the first story. The opposite three-bay (east) gable facade also includes an off-center entrance, in this case having a door with six raised panels below a five-light transom and cornice cap.
Added during the nineteenth century, a one-and-one-half-story, clapboarded, gabled north ell connects the house and the adjacent horse barn. The ell's two-bay west eaves facade is entered on the right by a twelve-light-over-four-panel door. Small coupled six-over-six sash have been installed on the originally blind left side. A tall interior brick chimney rises from the north end of the roof's east slope.
Now undergoing structural repairs, the one-and-one-half-story horse barn is clapboarded on the main (west) eaves facade to match the house while the other facades are sheathed with boards-and-battens. The gable roof is covered with standing-seam sheet metal. The three-bay west facade includes a left-bay carriage entrance whose opening reaches to the eaves; the tall exterior vertical-boarded sliding door is lighted by an inset six-pane sash. In the right-center position, a vertical-boarded hinged pass door also with an inset six-pane sash provides a pedestrian entrance. At the right corner, another exterior vertical-boarded sliding door matches the height of the pass door
A photograph of the house taken in the early 1900s shows certain alterations from its original appearance that subsequently have been undone. The most obvious was the three-bay, shed-roofed porch with bracketed posts that spanned the entire length of the west gable facade (it was removed prior to 1941). The west entrance appears to have been the primary one at that time rather than the formal south entrance. The window openings were then fitted with two-over-two sash (instead of the original small light sash), and wood shutters were hung only at the windows on the west facade's first story, i.e., those sheltered by the porch.
A. North Barn; c. 1850.
The main (south) eaves facade originally included two wagon entrances from the barnyard, one centered on the left (west) half and the other on the right (east) half of this facade. The left wagon entrance retains its double exterior vertical-boarded sliding doors while the right entrance has been closed, the former doors being removed from the track and fixed to the wall. Four pedestrian or animal entrances remain in place, one on each side of each wagon entrance. One of three vertical-boarded, hinged pass doors enters the cow stable at the left end of the facade. A double-leaf set of these doors exists next to the left side of the right wagon entrance, installed probably when the latter was closed. The only window on this facade is a six-light fixed sash on the right side of the left wagon entrance.
Facing an upward sloping field, the rear (north) facade possesses wagon entrances in the corresponding positions opposite those on the south facade. This arrangement enabled wagons originally to have been driven through the barn without being turned or backed. The right (west) wagon entrance on this facade retains double leaf, vertical-boarded, hinged doors while the left (east) entrance now lacks doors.
This barn has served historically both for sheltering animals and storing hay. The west-end ground-level bay contains the cow stable with multiple wood stanchions and white-washed walls. The loft above the stable was used for hay, which was forked down to the stable through openings in the loft floor.
B. West Barn; c. 1850.
The main (east) eaves facade possesses a left-center wagon entrance with double-leaf, vertical-boarded, hinged doors. A small rectangular transom opening is centered above these door At the left corner and near the right corner of this facade, vertical-boarded pass doors provide pedestrian entry into the barn. A twelve-light fixed sash flanks the left side of the right pass door. The south gable facade is illuminated at ground level by three large home-made horizontal windows comprised of multiple overlapping small lights arranged in three tiers separated by horizontal muntins.
C. Milkhouse; c. 1925.
The one-story, one-by-one-bay building rests on a foundation of poured concrete that presumably extends beneath the interior to serve as the floor, a typical characteristic of milkhouse design. The balloon-framed structure is sheathed with shiplap stopped by corner boards. The gable roof has been recently covered with asphalt shingles. The main (east) gable facade is entered on the right by a vertical-beadboarded, hinged pass door within a plain surround. Both the north and south eaves facades are lighted by a single window opening with a plain surround placed toward the rear (west) corner; the north window contains a six-pane fixed sash while the south counterpart has a nine-pane sash of the same overall dimensions.
8. Haseltine-Carey Farm (Lower Parker Hill Road).
The farm was settled probably in the late eighteenth century by William Haseltine. The brick house was probably constructed for him in the first decade of the nineteenth century, possibly by Thomas Dana, the master mason who lived farther north on the Parker Hill Road. This house appears similar to the contemporary brick house on the White-Hadwen Farm (#19) at the west end of the Cross Road. William Haseltine owned this farm until 1830, when he conveyed its 133 acres to Thomas Haselton for $1,600.
The farm became strongly associated with the Carey family during the first half of the twentieth century. Clarence A. and Ernest L. Carey of Lempster, New Hampshire acquired the farm in 1899 for $4,000; six years later, Ernest sold his half-interest to Clarence. Clarence and his wife, Gertrude, continued to own the farm until 1943, and made many improvements during that period. Its area increased to some 360 acres during the Carey ownership. The farm was sold out of the Carey family about 1945.
The Federal-style brick farmhouse stands roughly perpendicular to the road, facing south toward the view over the Connecticut River valley. Three small outbuildings of agricultural origin remain standing in the vicinity of the house. Clarence Carey built the former chicken house (A) for his son, Bernard, who became a skilled specialist in poultry during his high-school years. An apparently earlier chicken coop (B) also survives along with a contemporary equipment shed (C).
The largest building on the farmstead, a massive late nineteenth century bank barn, formerly stood east of the house, oriented the same way and approached by a raised drive to its west gable facade. Only the foundation (E) of that barn now emerges from the sloping site. A milkhouse dating probably from the 1920s (and therefore built by or for Clarence Carey) apparently stood either closely adjacent or attached to the southwest corner of the bank barn; its foundation (D) lies atop the ramp to the barn's west facade. About fifty feet east of the bank barn foundation, the foundation (F) of a smaller barn contrasts by rising above the sloping ground. The main barn, milkhouse, and probably the smaller barn were destroyed by fire about 1954.
An open hayfield expands southeastward and downhill away from the barn sites over the crown of a knoll. The northeast corner of the field is occupied by an orchard of apple trees, whose fruit was stored in the former chicken house (A) that Clarence Carey adapted for the purpose after his son and poultry specialist, Bernard, left the farm. North of the buildings and foundations, the slope becomes steeper and the ground surface rougher with exposed bedrock. This area was undoubtedly used for animal pasture, and is now becoming overgrown with brush and trees.
House; c. 1810.
The five-bay main (south) eaves facade is arranged symmetrically around the central entrance. Approached by a high flight of granite steps, the entrance is now protected by a vertical-boarded storm door and surmounted by a four-pane transom. Flanking the door, fluted pilasters support frieze blocks below the molded cornice enhanced by a stylized band of dentils. A splayed flat arch crowns the doorway. Also relieved by splayed flat arches, the window openings contain the twelve-over twelve sash with molded surrounds common to the house. (Although sash of the same division were undoubtedly original to the house, the present sash have replaced historic two-over-two sash visible in turn-of-the century photographs.) Unique to the eaves of this facade, a narrow frieze is ornamented by chevroned blocks alternating with stylized triglyphs.
The two-bay west gable facade is lighted by window openings (with twelve-over-twelve sash) placed near the corners of the main stories and another at the gable peak. The less exposed east gable facade includes a nine-over-six sash at the gable peak.
A two-story, wood-framed, gable-roofed wing of reduced scale extends from the east gable facade. This wing has been either rebuilt from an historic wing or added to the house in recent decades. Its south eaves facade is covered with vinyl siding while its east gable facade is sheathed with grooved plywood. A modern sliding glass door and flanking plate-glass windows illuminate the south facade, and other large fixed lights punctuate the east facade. This wing does not contribute to the historic character of the house.
Extending from the opposite (west) facade, a recessed one-story, two-bay, wood-framed wing has been either rebuilt from a shed or built specifically for a garage. This wing is sheathed with vinyl siding below its asphalt shingled shed roof. The two vehicle bays on its south front have blind paneled overhead doors installed in the semielliptical-headed openings. Like the east counterpart, this wing does not contribute to the historic character of the house.
A. Chicken House; c. 1915.
B. Shed; c. 1900.
A vertical-boarded, hinged pass door enters the left bay of the east facade. The windows common to the building consist of fixed sash with two vertical lights.
C. Shed; c. 1900.
Like the shed behind the house, this building is sheathed with weathered wood shingles while the roof is covered with corrugated sheet metal. Approached by a concrete apron, the main (west) facade is entered by modern double-leaf, hinged stable doors made of plywood with applied cross-bracing. The rear (east) facade is lighted by a small one-light fixed window.
D. Milkhouse Foundation; c. 1925.
E. Bank Barn Foundation.
The west wall is exposed for about 20 feet in length and reaches a maximum height of seven feet from the lower ground level at its south corner. (The perpendicular south wall of the raised drive ramp tapers downward and westward from the same corner for a length of about 28 feet.) This wall is built of roughly formed large granite blocks and slabs laid without mortar. The north half apparently has been buried by the regrading that continues along the north wall of the barn foundation eastward to the silo.
The silo foundation incorporates thin slabs and rubble heavily mortared into a wall about eighteen inches in thickness. The cylindrical foundation has an inside diameter of twelve feet, and rises a maximum of about six feet above the ground surface on its south side. The north side of the silo foundation abuts the north wall of the barn foundation.
The east wall of the barn foundation remains mostly exposed along its 40-foot length, reaching a height of nine feet at its south corner. This dry-laid wall is constructed of large granite boulders and rubble that have begun to buckle along the middle of its length. From the south corner, a wall of mortared thin slabs and rubble about four feet high projects westward about 15 feet to form the only enclosure on the south side of the barn foundation. About 63 feet along the south side from the opposite (west) end, a square concrete base for a post indicates the wood construction of the basement's south wall.
F. Barn Foundation.
9. Thayer-Allbee Farm (Lower Parker Hill Road).
The farm was settled by William, Sr., and Susannah Thayer, who moved here from Taunton, Massachusetts in 1788. William constructed the present house in 1795, and lived here the rest of his life. His son, William Thayer, Jr. (1790-1853), was absent from the farm between 1806 and 1833 while he learned the tanning trade and then operated the tannery and lived in the Gear-Rollins House (#47); he returned to this farm in the latter year and remained until his death. A daughter of William Thayer, Jr., Sarah, married Lewis Allbee in 1842; the couple acquired this farm from her father, and lived here the remainder of their lives. Both the cottage and the barn were built probably during the period of the Allbee ownership. The farm continued in Thayer-Allbee family ownership at least until about 1911.
The vernacular Federal style house faces eastward, oriented diagonally to the curving road. The vernacular cottage stands adjacent to the southwest rear corner of the house, following its orientation; historically, this cottage may have been inhabited by hired farm workers when it stood on its original site a short distance to the east. Slightly farther from the northwest rear corner of the house, the middle nineteenth-century banked barn stands at a lower level on the gradual downslope behind the house. A driveway from the road leads directly to a wagon entrance on the main floor of the barn's east eaves facade.
An expansive hayfield follows the crest of the knoll southward from the buildings and descends the east side to the road. On the west side of the knoll, a relatively large pond has been created by damming the headwaters of Little Commissary Brook to the southwest of the buildings. The west edge of the field adjoins second-growth forest of mixed deciduous and coniferous species.
The symmetrically arranged five-bay main (east) facade possesses a central entrance and pairs of window openings on each side. Approached by low granite steps, the six-panel Christian door is recessed slightly while the six-light transom is flush with the wall surface. A molded surround enframes both the door and transom, the surround flares obliquely outward next to the transom. The window openings contrast by having plain surrounds (plus louvered wood shutters) enframing the six-over six sash.
The three-bay south gable facade includes a secondary entrance includes a secondary entrance in the left-center position. The treatment of this doorway virtually matches that of the front entrance, the exception being that here the transom is recessed to a depth flush with the door. A full-length porch added to this facade during the nineteenth century has been removed. The opposite (north) facade lacks an entrance, being punctuated only by two widely spaced bays of windows on the main stories and one in the gable.
Projecting westward from the south half of the rear (west) facade, a one-and-one-half-story, three-by-two-bay, gable-roofed ell is clapboarded except for a one-story brick appendage of square plan at its southwest corner. A four-panel door enters the central bay of both the north and south eaves facades. The window openings contain a variety of double-hung and fixed sash with small lights, including twelve-over-eight, eight-over-eight, and eight-over-twelve examples. Laid in stretcher bond, the ell's brick appendage projects southward under an extension of the south roof slope that also shelters the ell's south entrance. The brick section is lighted by six- and eight-pane horizontal fixed sash. A rebuilt interior brick chimney rises from its portion of the roof
A. Cottage; c. 1900.
The three-bay main (east) eaves facade includes a right-bay entrance with a four panel door. The window openings are fitted with six-over-six sash and crowned by cornice caps. A one-story, hip-roofed wing has been added to the rear (west) facade. The wing consists of a one-by-one-bay north half next to a two-bay recessed porch with square posts and a stick balustrade.
The cottage has been moved a short distance northwestward from its original site and turned perpendicular to its original orientation. A c. 1920 photograph shows the cottage standing on the south side of a driveway and facing the south facade of the house. The three-by-two-bay, gable-roofed cottage then lacked the hip-roofed addition.
The same photograph also shows a different building standing where the cottage now stands. The previous building was a large one-story, probably vertical-boarded carriage shed. Two broad semielliptical-arched openings entered the east facade, approached by what was then the main driveway from the road.
B. Barn; c. 1860.
The main (east) eaves facade retains only a single opening, the central wagon entrance to the main floor above the banked basement Directly above the entrance's double-leaf. vertical boarded, hinged doors, a central blind gable emerges from the east slope of the roof; originally, this gable was probably entered by a loft or hay door .
The north gable facade includes a ground-level entrance to the barn in the form of an exterior vertical-boarded sliding door placed at the right (west) corner. Both the north and south gable facades are lighted by small multi-pane fixed windows at the gable peaks and other irregular positions.
10. Harry Rossakoski House (Lower Parker Hill Road); c. 1960.
11. Peter Anderson Camp (off Lower Parker Hill Road); c. 1975.
12. Palmer Ainsworth House (Lower Parker Hill Road); c. 1955.
13. Lewis and Martha Cutler House (Parker Hill Road); c. 1875.
Although an immense barn originally connected to this house has been removed, some evidence of Cutler's agricultural enterprise exists in the expansive hayfields that continue to surround the house. A row of eight mature sugar maple trees planted probably when the house was built parallels the road along the front grounds. The broad south grounds are bounded by a hedgerow of deciduous shrubs and trees; a mature apple tree and lilacs stand next to the house. The north grounds of the house verge into the adjacent field The house faces the opposite direction from a panoramic view northeastward over the field that extends to hills beyond the Connecticut River valley in New Hampshire.
Reflecting a somewhat belated architectural fashion, this house exhibits fully developed Italianate style, the only example in the historic district. The house retains virtually intact its original appearance with the exception of the front porch posts and the four-bay section of the porch that formerly wrapped around the south facade.
The two-and-one-half-story, three-by-four-bay, gable-front main block rests on a brick foundation and is sheathed with clapboards. Heavy paneled pilasters with molded capitals ascend the corners to support a full entablature that encircles the eaves and returns across the front gable to form a pediment; paired brackets with pendants support the cornice. The gable roof is shingled with slate. A rebuilt short brick chimney straddles the ridge in an off-central position, replacing all original tall brick chimney with a corbeled cap.
The three bay main (west) gable facade is entered in the left bay by a door with five lights over four raised panels. A six-light transom crowns the doorway within its plain surround. The window openings retain the original two-over-two sash crowned by heavy cornice caps. An oculus with a molded surround punctuates the pediment.
An original three-bay porch spans the main facade. Paired cut-out brackets support the eaves of the porch's flat roof. The present paired square posts have replaced the original slotted posts with scrolled brackets. The posts stand on a low open deck with a rectangular lattice skirt. The porch originally wrapped around the south eaves facade in for additional bays: that section has been removed and partly replaced by a one-bay, flat-roofed porch with triplet square posts that shelters a west-facing secondary entrance on the offset rear (east) wing.
The four-bay south eaves facade is lighted by a regular arrangement of two-over-two sash with cornice caps. The opposite (north) facade is arranged in the same pattern but only the rear (east) bay on both stories contains a window. Reflecting probably the cold north exposure, the other three bays are enframed by surrounds and cornice caps but are infilled with clapboards.
Offset southward one bay from the main block, the two-story, clapboarded, gable-roofed rear (east) wing extends four bays along its south eaves facade. A plain frieze and molded cornice follow the horizontal eaves. The roof retains slate shingles on the north slope while the south slope has been covered with asphalt shingles. A tall central brick stove chimney straddles the ridge, now lacking its original corbeled cap. A feature unique in the historic district surmounts the east end of the ridge; a bell is mounted in a metal frame and rung by means of a rope that passes through the roof to a room below. The bell presumably served to call anyone working in the surrounding fields, especially for meals.
The wing's south facade includes a prominent stylistic feature that typically occurs on the main block of Italianate houses. A three-sided bay window with a molded cornice and a shallow hip roof emerges from the left (west) bay, paired two-over-two sash illuminate its central face and a single one-over-one sash lights each side above paneled spandrels. A rear entry near the right corner of the wing is sheltered by a shed canopy on kneebraces.
Twin gabled wall dormers with reduced two-over-two sash have been added, probably pre-1940, to the south facade. The north roof slope has been interrupted by a large modern shed wall dormer with casement windows.
Connected to the rear (east) end of the first wing, a clapboarded shed wing matches the ridge line of the former but its asphalt shingled gable roof has a somewhat steeper slope. This wing extends five bays along its south eaves facade. The left two bays contain six-over-six sash with plain surrounds while the right two bays are entered by modern paneled overhead doors that have replaced at least one six-over-six sash; two six-light fixed sash punctuate the kneewall above the garage doors. A vertical boarded, hinged pass door provides a pedestrian entry to the left of the garage doors, and a loft door exists on the upper level to the left of the pass door. The opposite (north) facade of this wing descends to an exposed basement story. A small square, clapboarded, shed-roofed appendage to the north facade appears to have been a privy: a single-pane window lights its north face.
A fieldstone retaining wall extends southward from the southeast rear corner of the shed wing. This wall marks the position of one of the largest barns in southeastern Vermont that was originally connected on a southward offset to the wing's rear (east) end. Oriented parallel to the wing, the two-and-three quarters-story, board-and-battened barn carrying a wood-shingled gable roof was banked against its west gable facade.
Proportional to the scale of the barn, a huge square ventilating cupola straddled the center of the ridge. Its louvered faces appear to have been enframed by corner pilasters below the overhanging eaves of a wood-shingled bellcast cap. A metal weathervane in the form of a sheep rose from the apex of the cap.
Centered on the main (west) facade, double vertical-boarded. interior sliding doors provided a wagon entrance to the main floor of the barn; the doors were surmounted by a multi-light transom. The gable was punctuated on two levels by six-over-six sash with plain surrounds. The south eaves facade was lighted on the main story by three widely spaced bays of six-over-six sash next to pass doors without means of access to the ground below. The fully exposed basement story was subdivided into eight bays, most of which were open and separated by heavy vertical timbers with diagonal braces. A photograph taken probably c. 1900 shows several cows in the south barnyard enclosed by a board fence, indicating that the farm was then engaged primarily in dairying under the ownership of William Hadwen.
14. Richard Collins House (Parker Hill Road); c. 1960.
A. Shed: c. 1980.
15. William Manahan House (Parker Hill Road); c. 1960.
A. Garage: c. 1980.
16. Hall Cushman House (950 Parker Hill Road); 1983.
17. Arthur Becker House (off Parker Hill Road)- c. 1980.
A. Garage: c. 1980.
18. House (Parker Hill Road); c. 1970.
A. Garage: c. 1970.
19. White-Hadwen Farm (Parker Hill and Cross Roads).
Thomas Dana, a master brick mason who lived in the Springfield portion of the historic district probably constructed this house for Phineas White. The bricks were likely made by Levi Harlow or his sons, the first brickmakers in Springfield who also lived on a farm (#48) farther north on Parker Hill Road. Similar to its counterpart on the Haseltine-Carey Farm (#8) to the east, the house created for White appears relatively plain except at the high-style front entrance with its finely executed array of Federal ornamental details.
Phineas White's sons, Luke and William enlarged the farm to 500 acres prior to its sale in 1883 to another successful agriculturalist, Chester B. Hadwen. The son of Oliver R. Hadwen, who then owned the Gould-Hadwen Farm (#50) in the Springfield portion of the historic district, Chester operated this farm until retiring to Rockingham village in 1919.
Only the house and a minor shed (B) survive to represent the agricultural enterprise that formerly flourished here. The house holds a commanding position atop a low knoll in the northeast quadrant of the road intersection. Its main eaves facade looks southward past the stone foundation of a barn (C) on the opposite side of Cross Road and along the upper valley of O'Brien Brook. Sited northeast of the house, a small wood-framed shed probably dates from the White ownership although its origin and purpose are not known (it may have been the first frame house built by Josiah White on the farm, adapted to a corn barn after the brick house was built).
Across Parker Hill Road from the house, an expansive field ascends the gentle slope toward the west. Beavers have created a relatively large pond in its southeast corner by damming the headwaters of O'Brien Brook. A smaller open field descends gently southward to the brook along the south side of the Cross Road in front of the house. The fields are bounded generally by fieldstone walls and second-growth forest of mixed deciduous and coniferous species.
House; c. 1807.
The five-bay main (south) eaves facade displays a symmetrical arrangement focused on the central entrance. A six-panel Christian door is flanked by four-pane sidelights of two-thirds length above a single raised panel on the spandrel. The sidelights are enframed by slender reeded pilasters that are paired on the outer side. The pilasters carry plain frieze blocks below the thin cornice. The ensemble is crowned by a semielliptical fanlight with a molded surround.
The window openings on the main stories are headed by splayed brick flat arches, except on the second story of the south facade where they abut the frieze. The openings are fitted with twelve-over-twelve sash (plus modern metal storm sash) and molded wood surrounds above the wood sills. Both the east and west gables are lighted by two small four-pane hinged windows.
Extending from the rear (north) facade of the main block, a modern (or rebuilt) one-and-one-half-story ell is sheathed with brick in stretcher bond below the level of the first-story window lintels, clapboards above the lintels, and asphalt shingles on its gable roof. The four bay west eaves facade includes an entrance in the right-center position closely flanked by bays of the twelve-over-twelve sash common to the ell. A newly rebuilt, three-bay, shed-roofed porch with boxed posts spans this facade. A one-story, clapboarded, shed-roofed wing extends the length of the opposite (east) facade.
A. Garage: c. 1970.
B. Shed; c. 1850?
C. Barn Foundation.
The foundation itself consists of relatively high stone walls built against the bank along the north and west sides, and short rubble walls standing on the lower ground level along the east and south sides. The higher walls are constructed mostly of large rough granite slabs and blocks laid without mortar; some of the pieces show drill marks. The north wall extends about 44 feet in length and reaches a height of six feet at its east end but has partly collapsed near the middle. The west wall extends about 34 feet and rises between four and five feet in height.
Little is known about the origin or removal of this barn. Presumably it was built during the nineteenth century, and probably survived into the present century. Another presumably nineteenth-century barn is known to have existed on a site next to the Parker Hill Road north of the house. The latter barn was one and one half stories in height, sheathed with vertical boards, and carried a gable roof oriented parallel to the road. That barn remained standing until at least the 1960s but subsequently its foundation has been either removed or buried.
20. Donald Cuming House (Parker Hill Road); 1984.
21. Gammell-Bolles Farm (Parker Hill Road).
The farm belonged to the Gammell family from the 1860s until at least the 1880s. The Beers map of 1869 shows that L. O. Gammell then owned both this farm and the adjacent wheelwright shop, whose foundation (#36) lies south of the sugarhouse. Fred Gammell was the owner of the 260-acre farm in 1884. The farm is also associated with Francis A. Bolles, who operated it as the Green Mountain Turkey Farm between 1936 and about 1950; it was then the largest turkey farm in Vermont. That enterprise interrupted a longer period beginning in the latter nineteenth century and concluding in the 1960s when the farm was primarily engaged in dairying. The present owners have used the farm since 1981 for raising horses.
The modest vernacular farmhouse was built probably during the early nineteenth century and then renovated in a Colonial Revival manner probably during the second quarter of this century. More recently, a connected shed wing has been adapted to residential usage. The surviving late nineteenth-century barn (A) stands across the driveway to the south of the house, and is now used to shelter horses. The third building of this cluster, an open front equipment shed (C), was erected in 1981 on the lower slope northeast of the house.
Closely adjacent to the northeast facade of the extant barn, a stone foundation (D) outlines partly the site of a larger nineteenth-century dairy barn that was adapted to a five-story turkey barn during the period between 1936 and about 1950. Following the cessation of dairying here and the sale of the farm, the barn and an adjacent silo were demolished during the early 1970s.
The landscape surrounding the cluster of buildings consists mostly of open hayfields that slope gently downhill in an eastward direction. The fields are generally bounded by stone walls and hedgerows both along the roads and next to the flanking woods of mixed deciduous and coniferous species on the south, east, and west sides. A sugarbush of maple trees southwest of the sugarhouse has been tapped in recent decades to obtain sap for making maple syrup. Other fields flank this farm on the north side. A lane defined by parallel stone walls leads eastward downhill from the historic farmhouse to a former pasture now overgrown with regenerating forest.
House; c. 1800?
The main (east) eaves facade is dominated by an added (c. 1970), shed-roofed porch enclosed with multiple two-light fixed windows above a wood-shingled apron. The porch shelters both the off central entry and the right-bay window opening; the latter is occupied by one of the six-over-six sash (plus modern metal storm sash) with a cornice cap and molded surround common to the main stories. The left bay is marked by triplet coupled six-over-six sash with a continuous cornice cap. Twin gabled dormers with horizontal eight-light fixed sash emerge from the east roof slope above the side bays; a matching dormer occurs on the right side of the rear (west) slope.
Attached to the rear (west) facade, a one-and-one-half-story, gable-roofed ell of reduced scale matches the main block in sheathing materials. Its five-bay south eaves facade includes two entrances; the entry in the second-from-right bay and the window openings are trimmed like the main-block openings while the left-bay entry lacks a surround but has a gabled canopy. A gabled dormer lighted by a six-over-six sash emerges from the south roof slope.
Extending diagonally southwestward from the ell's west end, a two-story, wood-shingled former shed wing carries a gable roof covered with corrugated sheet metal; a brick chimney straddles the center of the ridge. The irregularly arranged, multi-bay southeast eaves facade includes entries with six-panel door in the left-center and right positions and intermediate bays of horizontal six-light fixed sash. The second story is lighted by coupled six-over-six sash with molded surrounds. Attached to the southwest gable facade, an originally one-and-one-half-story, one-by-one-bay, gabled wing has been altered by the raising of its southeast roof slope to accommodate a full second story with triplet twelve-light fixed sash; a vertical-boarded pass door enters its first story. This wing was used during the period 1936-c. 1950 for incubating turkey chicks; subsequently the second story has been adapted to residential usage.
A. Barn; c. 1895.
B. Sugarhouse; c. 1880.
Only the one-bay south gable facade appears unaltered, being entered by a vertical-boarded, hinged pass door below a horizontal two-light fixed window (mounted behind the broken frame of an eight-light sash) in the gable; both have plain surrounds. The openings of the previously four-bay east eaves facade have been somewhat changed. A left-bay opening has been infilled and the right two bays have been reduced in size around the two-light fixed sash now in place. The left-center bay contains the present main entrance with a two-panel, vertical beadboarded door. The openings of the opposite (west) facade have been reworked more extensively.
The original site and purpose of this building are not known. The clapboard sheathing and complete trimming on three facades indicates that it stood near the house of this or another farm. The lack of finish materials on the fourth facade suggest that it was either closely adjacent or attached to another building.
C. Equipment Shed; 1981.
D. Dairy/Turkey Bank Barn Foundation.
22. Stone Culvert; c. 1800?
The road crosses two small brooks on correspondingly small culverts constructed of dry-laid fieldstone. Both culverts have been plugged with gravel and debris at their upstream ends and the brooks now flow over their stone-slab decks. The deck slabs have been partly dislodged from their original positions.
The somewhat larger southerly culvert possesses a rectangular opening about 1.5 feet in width by two feet in height. The downstream (east) side of the culvert structure consists of a retaining wall about three feet in height and about eighteen feet in length; the opening occurs about five feet from its north end. Large stone slabs are laid over the partly collapsed sluiceway to form a deck about ten feet in width.
A. Stone Culvert: c. 1800?
23. Robert Boynton House (Parker Hill Road); c. 1985.
A. Shed: c. 1985.
24. Lowrey House (off Parker Hill Road); c. 1980.
25. Bernard Neil House (Parker Hill Road); c. 1975.
26. House (Parker Hill Road); c. 1950.
A. Garage: c. 1980.
27. Locke-O'Brien Farm (O'Brien Road).
The McClellan map of 1856 shows that this house belonged to E. Locke A second house, belonging to F. Locke, then stood a short distance to the west apparently where a stone foundation (A) now remains That small house may have been the first built after Ebenezer Locke acquired the land, and the present house may have been built c. 1850 to supplant it. The Locke family continued to own the farm until about 1860. The small house was in deteriorating condition when torn down about 1920, and a sugarhouse was subsequently built on its foundation.
Patrick O'Brien acquired the farm in 1877. By the publication of Child's Windham County directory in 1884, he was engaged in dairying with a herd of eighteen cows (large for that period) on the 230-acre farm. Patrick's sons, Hugh F. and George H., continued and expanded the enterprise into a 400-plus-acre farm during the first half of the present century. Hugh was also an officer of the Bellows Falls Co-operative Creamery while operating the farm. The farm was sold out of the family in 1958, and active dairying ceased about 1970.
The principal agricultural buildings formerly occupied a small flat area across the road to the south of the house, outside the historic district. Only two intersecting foundation or retaining walls of partly mortared fieldstone remain to mark the site of the barns that were oriented perpendicular to the road. (The last deteriorating barn was dismantled about 1985.) Next to the east side of the barn site, a circular concrete foundation flush with the ground surface indicates the position of one of the two cylindrical silos. The surrounding fields and pasture along the south side of the road are gradually reverting to brush and woods, and have been partly subdivided into lots for modern houses.
On the northwest side of the road (within the historic district), an open hayfield extends northeastward and gently upslope behind the house. A small brook flows southward along the west edge of the field. A former pasture on the rising slope west of the brook has almost entirely overgrown with mixed coniferous and deciduous trees.
House; c. 1850.
The five-bay main (south) eaves facade possesses a symmetrical arrangement of the first-story openings below a high kneewall. The central entrance with a four-panel door is enframed by full length, five-pane sidelights and a four-panel blind transom, all within a plain surround. The window openings are fitted with the six-over-six sash and peaked lintels common to the main block (apart from a nine-over-six sash in the west gable peak). Added probably c. 1920, a three-bay porch spans the main facade. Its triplet square pillars stand on a flared apron sheathed with wood shingles in alternating wide and na~ow courses. The slate shingled shed roof is interrupted by a slightly projecting central gable above the entrance.
The secondary four-bay east gable facade includes an unsheltered central entrance also hung with a four-panel door. The opposite (west) facade contrasts by being partly concealed behind a one story, one-by-two-bay wing and a one-bay recessed south porch, both capped by a shallow hip roof covered with sheet metal. Echoing the appearance of the front porch, this porch has triplet corner posts standing on a high wood-shingled apron; its openings are screened.
Connected to the main block at its northwest rear corner, a one and-one-half-story, clapboarded wing of reduced scale carries a gable roof shingled with staggered-butt slate. The wing extends four bays along its south eaves facade, whose recessed left half is punctuated by a four-panel door and a two-over-two sash window; this half is sheltered by a three-bay porch with square posts standing on an apron shingled with alternating wide and narrow courses. The right half of the wing contains a two-bay garage entered by one exterior and one interior, vertical boarded, sliding doors. An exterior brick chimney with a corbeled cap ascends the wing's west gable facade.
A. House or Sugarhouse Site.
28. Allbee-Abbott Farm (Parker Hill Road).
The house blends dominant Greek Revival and minor Italianate characteristics, indicating that it was built between 1850 and 1870. The McClellan map of 1856 does not show a house here. By 1869, the Beers atlas identifies a house belonging to L. L. Allbee, "farmer," on the site, and he may have been the original owner. The Allbee family retained possession until at least the 1880s. Child's business directory of 1884 indicates that George B. Allbee lived here; he was a "tinsmith and farmer; works for Lewis L. Albee [sic] of Bellows Falls."
This farm became strongly associated with John B. Abbott during the present century. A Vermont native, Abbott was a professor of chemistry at Purdue University in the 1910s, and purchased this farm in 1918 while teaching at the University of Massachusetts. Subsequently he was engaged in research with national fertilizer companies and became an international authority on grassland farming. He developed this farm into one of the most outstanding agricultural enterprises in southern Vermont. He pursued both dairying and poultry production, having a prize-winning herd of 60 registered Holstein cattle and 1,200 laying hens during the 1950s. Following John Abbott's death in 1963, dairying ceased here about 1970 although a nearby farmer continues to cut hay from the fields.
An extensive group of barns, sheds, and silos was constructed across the road to the southwest of the house during John Abbott's ownership. These buildings represent the expansion of the farm into the largest-scale dairy farm on Parker Hill. The dairy-related barns (B and C) share the bowed gambrel roof type that occurs only rarely in Vermont; the design derived from Abbott's experience in the middlewestern United States (and probably plans prepared by a university extension service there) although these buildings were constructed by farm workers using lumber cut on the farm. The roofs are framed with relatively light laminated arches and lack ridgepoles, and that structural system has proved inadequate to support the heavy loads of snow common during Vermont winters.
A different type of barn was added to the cluster about 1945, when John Abbott undertook the large-scale raising of chickens to produce hatching eggs for a poultry firm in nearby Walpole, New Hampshire. That activity was relatively short-lived, ending about 1960. one banked chicken barn (D) survives together with the foundation (I) of a larger counterpart to represent this important secondary enterprise.
Soon after John Abbott's death, a possibly prefabricated, shed roofed dairy barn (H) was erected to connect the two Abbott barns (B and C). The modern barn collapsed about 1970 from an overload of snow and precipitated the 1972 collapse of the principal Abbott barn (C) and a wing of the smaller barn (B). At the present time (1990), only the ground story plus part of the north gable facade of the principal barn (C) remain standing, and the smaller barn (B) itself shows signs of structural failure. The three silos and the chicken barn (D) are in various stages of disrepair Nevertheless all of these contribute to the most varied group of agricultural outbuildings extant on any farm in the historic district.
The smallest but nonetheless distinctive buildings in the cluster are sited north of the Carriage shed (A). The only brick structure on the farm, the smokehouse (F) was built during the Abbott ownership for smoking meat. The earlier ice house (G) has been adapted to recreational use.
The cluster of buildings occupies a small flat bench in the hillside. A rounded field lies northeast of the house on the same level, and mostly open pastures ascend the irregular terrain of the hillside northward along the east side of the road. A short distance uphill from the outbuildings on the west side of the road, the terrain flattens into an expansive open hayfield. Most of this hayfield remains in that usage by the owner of a farm outside the historic district. However, two modern houses (#s31 and 32) have been built along the north side of the field, and the gravel driveway to one of those houses bisects nearly its entire east-west length. Mixed forest generally surrounds the perimeter of the field where the terrain becomes sloping.
House; c. 1860.
The five-bay main (south) eaves facade incorporates porch recessions of unequal length on the left half of the first and second stories, supported by heavy paneled square pillars and pilasters with thin scroll brackets. The two-bay, first-story porch spans a three-bay recession that includes the central entrance (relative to the entire facade) surmounted by a peaked lintel. Protected by a stick balustrade, the single-bay. second story porch spans a two-bay recession of the wall plane. The window openings are fitted with the two-over-two sash, peaked lintels, and louvered wood shutters common to the main block.
The west gable facade incorporates at its right corner the end bays of the two-story recessed southwest porch. The second-story opening is crowned by an extended return of the eaves cornice. The central and left bays share the window treatment of the main facade. The high clapboarded gable is punctuated by the oculus with a plain surround.
Recessed from the west gable facade, a two-and-one-half-story, clapboarded rear (north) ell of slightly reduced scale carries a lower gable roof shingled with slate. The ell's west eaves facade extends five bays in length, the two central bays being paired. An entrance occurs at the right corner next to the main block, sheltered by a one-bay, shed-roofed corner porch with a boxed post. The ell's window openings contain two-over-two sash on the publicly visible west facade but include six-over-six sash on the rear (north) the facade; their plain surrounds lack the peaked lintels of the main block. A two-bay, shed-roofed porch with boxed posts spans most of the north facade and the flush north end of a one-story, one-bay-deep, shed-roofed wing that extends along the east side of the ell. A rebuilt interior brick chimney straddles the ell's ridge.
A. Carriage Shed; c. 1860.
B Young-stock Barn; c. 1942.
The three-bay main (east) gable facade is entered at the ground level by a central vertical-boarded exterior sliding vehicle door. The vehicle door is aligned with an unusual vertical boarded loft door with a peaked head abutting the gable peak; the loft door slides vertically on an exterior track. Sheltering the loft door, a triangular prow extends outward from the gable peak, supporting the metal track of a hay fork. Flanking the loft door, small rectangular openings with plain surrounds serve apparently to ventilate the loft.
The four-bay north eaves facade includes a central sliding door like the one on the east facade but apparently intended for animals; it opens into the barnyard whose ground surface is paved with concrete. The window openings on both this facade and the five-bay opposite (south) facade are fitted with six-light fixed sash and plain surrounds.
Attached to the west gable facade, a similar wing of reduced scale has deteriorated severely. It extends three bays (containing six-light fixed sash) in length along its intact north side. The west gable facade presumably included an entrance but its first-story wall is now missing. The bowed roof has partly collapsed although a circular crown metal ventilator remains in place on the sagging ridge. A collapsed portion of the roof reveals its light construction; several very thin softwood boards are nailed together to form the arched trusses, and the thin tongue-and-groove roof boards are bolted to the trusses.
Connected to the south side of the west wing next to the joint with the main block, a contemporary cylindrical silo has also begun to deteriorate. The silo stands on a polygonal concrete base, and is sheathed with curved shiplap applied horizontally over vertical tongue-and-groove boards and encircled by horizontal metal hoops. Capping the silo, its asphalt-shingled polygonal peaked roof is interrupted by a south-facing gabled dormer with an opening for access and ventilation.
The west gable of the west wing displays the shadow of a lower gable roof, and a poured concrete floor extends westward from the wing. These vestiges derive from the dairy barn (H) erected about 1963 to connect the two Abbott barns, and then destroyed by collapse about 1970.
C. Dairy Barn: c. 1930.
The barn's remnant three bay north gable facade is banked against the rising ground nearly to the height of the ground story. Horizontal four-light fixed sash in the side bays of the ground story are aligned below the six-light fixed sash with plain surrounds that flank the central loft doors. These twin exterior sliding doors are vertical-boarded with applied X-braces. Although only a few feet from the ground, the loft doors apparently have never been accessible by vehicle unless a constructed ramp has been removed.
Portions of the east and west sides of the barn's ground story are exposed between the ells and hyphens. These portions are punctuated regularly by nine-light fixed sash with plain surrounds. The interior of the ground story retains two parallel longitudinal rows of metal-pipe cow stanchions set in the poured concrete floor along depressed drain gutters.
The east ells share one-and-one-half-story height, clapboard sheathing, and asphalt shingles on their bowed roofs with flared horizontal eaves. A circular crown metal ventilator surmounts the ridge of each roof. Flush with the barn's north facade and also banked against the rising ground, the northerly ell extends four bays in length along its south eaves facade, lighted by six pane fixed windows. The two-bay east gable facade includes a right-corner entrance with a vertical-boarded, exterior sliding door; the gable is punctuated by a vertical-boarded, interior hinged loft door.
The southerly ell differs primarily by having a single-story, shed-roofed wing attached along its south side. Its two-bay main (east) gable facade has a right-corner entrance with a three horizontal-light-over-three-horizontal-panel hinged door and a loft door in the gable. The south wing serves to illuminate the ell with a band of single-light fixed sash on its south side. Although apparently truncated from its original length (where a concrete-slab foundation remains in place), the wing projects one bay forward from the ell's front. A vertical-boarded, exterior sliding door enters the wing's clapboarded north side.
Projecting from the west side of the barn's ground story and corresponding to the east ells, two single-story, single-bay, clapboarded, gable-roofed hyphens connect to two cylindrical silos standing somewhat apart from the barn. These silos essentially match the appearance of the shorter silo next to the young stock barn (B). The northerly silo was erected probably at the time of the main barn's construction while the southerly silo was added probably during the 1940s.
The barn's original bowed gambrel roof rose from flared horizontal eaves to a ridge that matched the height of the silos. Twin large circular crown metal ventilators were spaced along the ridge. The south gable facade was punctuated by three small openings high on the wall.
D. Chicken Barn; c. 1945.
The broad main (south) facade is illuminated on each story by a band of multiple single-light fixed sash (plus chicken-wire screens): much of the glazing is either broken or missing. The bands of windows are interrupted at regular intervals on both stories by four vertical-boarded, hinged pass doors that are vertically aligned. The main entrance to the building occurs on the east wing's one-bay east facade in the form of a vertical boarded exterior sliding door.
E. Equipment Shed; c. 1950.
F. Smokehouse; c. 1920.
G. Ice House, c. 1900.
H. Dairy Barn Foundation.
I. Chicken Barn Foundation.
29. Abbott Tenant House (Parker Hill Road); c. 1935.
Oriented parallel to the west side of the road, the one-and-one half-story, three-by-two-bay, clapboarded, eaves-front main block rests on a concrete foundation. A molded cornice with gable returns follows both the horizontal and raking eaves of the asphalt-shingled gable roof. An interior brick chimney with a concrete cap rises from the ridge.
The three-bay main (east) eaves facade is arranged symmetrically apart from an added one-bay shed dormer on the left side of the roof slope. Approached by concrete steps, the central entrance has a single-light, multi-horizontal-panel door sheltered by a one-bay, gabled, Colonial Revival porch. The porch incorporates square posts, a molded eaves cornice with gable returns, and a semielliptical-arched ceiling. The side bays contain coupled two-over-two sash with plain surrounds. The dormer differs by having modern triplet sash with three horizontal lights.
A recessed, one-story, gabled wing extends from the main block's north facade. The wing's three-bay east eaves facade includes a right entrance with a one-light, four-panel door and modern one over-one sash in the other bays. Connected perpendicularly to the north end of the wing, a c. 1980, one-and-one-half-story, two-bay garage sheathed with vertical flush boards carries an asphalt-shingled gambrel roof. A double-width paneled overhead door enters its east gable front.
30. Green Mountain Railroad Overpass (Parker Hill Road); c. 1900.
The stone abutments of the overpass appear nineteenth century in origin while the steel beams carrying the track were apparently installed during the present century. Both the abutments and the deck structure were constructed probably during the existence of the Rutland Railroad, the corporate predecessor (1849-1963) of the Green Mountain Railroad.
The short one-span overpass has a clear span of only about twelve feet. It rests on massive coursed ashlar abutments constructed of large rock-faced cut granite blocks. The outer corners of both abutments (next to the road) are embellished with a single vertical bead cut into each block to form a continuous line. The blocks of the west abutment are laid dry while those of the east abutment have been mostly mortared for reinforcement.
The track is supported by multiple steel I-beams placed parallel to the rails; three I-beams are clustered closely together below each rail Heavy timbers serving as ties are laid perpendicularly on the I-beams, and the steel tie plates and rails are laid in turn on the ties. The short length of the overpass eliminates the need for guard rails in the track.
This overpass may have replaced an original grade crossing located a short distance to the east where the slope is less steep. The Beers map of 1869 shows a distinct eastward bulge in the course of the road in the vicinity of the railroad.
31. Aurelius DiBernado House (off Parker Hill Road); c. 1975.
32. House (off Parker Hill Road); c. 1980.
A. Garage; c. 1980.
33. House (Parker Hill Road); c. 1980.
34. House (Parker Hill Road); c. 1980.
35. Weeden Farm (Parker Hill Road).
This farm is strongly associated with the Weeden family, who owned it for a century after about 1860. The Beers map of 1869 shows that it then belonged to Charles E. and Marshall F. Weeden. The brothers engaged in diversified agriculture, including sheep raising, cattle breeding, and maple sugaring. The house may have been enlarged during their ownership. Frank W. Weeden became the last member of the family to operate the farm, keeping a medium sized dairy herd here until the middle 1950s and serving as an officer of the Bellows Falls Co-operative Creamery. Weeden was also involved in the operation of the Green Mountain Turkey Farm on the nearby Gammell-Bolles Farm (#21) from the late 1930s until about 1950.
The Weeden farmhouse stands on the north side of the road. The main block of this vernacular house bears marked similarity to the house of the nearby Allbee-Abbott Farm (#28), most notably by having a recessed two-story corner porch. This eaves-front main block is oriented perpendicular to the road with the main facade looking eastward while the south gable end and flush west ell form a secondary facade facing the road. The eaves-front barn stands diagonally across the road to the southwest, also oriented perpendicular to it The collapsed ruins of a third building are visible in the field to the southeast of the barn; that wood framed, gable-roofed shed remained standing until at least the 1970s. A larger dairy barn stood perpendicular to the west side of the extant barn; it was torn down about 1970.
A large field not mowed in recent years extends westward from the Parker Hill Road along the south side of the farm road. About halfway along the road, a knoll formed by an outcropping of bedrock interrupts the field; the knoll is shaded by a copse of oak trees. The large field continues westward beyond the barn, and also extends uphill to the northwest of the house. Directly uphill from the house, a copse predominantly of maple trees shades the hillside. A small field ascends the slope on the north side of the road between the house and the Parker Hill Road The fields are generally bounded by stone walls and second-growth forest of mixed deciduous and coniferous species.
House; c. 1850?, probably enlarged c. 1880.
The irregularly arranged five-bay main (east) eaves facade possesses a full-length, three-bay, recessed, Queen Anne porch on the first story and a two-bay counterpart on the left half of the second story. The main entrance is placed in a slightly left-of center position on the first story, and hung with a one-light, four-horizontal-panel door. The first-story porch incorporates turned posts with spindle brackets, a spindle valance, a turned balustrade, ball-headed square newels at the entry opening, and a skirt consisting of cut-out keyhole panels and alternating solid panels. The second-story porch lacks brackets, valance, and newel posts: it shelters an entry in the second bay from the left end of the facade. The window openings are fitted with the two over-two sash and plain surrounds common to the house.
The main block's four-bay south gable facade and the ell's three bay south eaves facade combine to form a continuous seven-bay secondary facade of somewhat irregular arrangement. The only entry occurs in the left bay of the gable portion; its one-light over-four-panel door is enframed by stepped-out plain pilasters supporting a wide frieze and a rebuilt boxed cornice.
Connected to the west ell, a one-and-one-half-story, two-by-two bay, clapboarded shed wing carries an asphalt-shingled gable roof. Its mostly open south eaves facade is entered by two broad carriage bays with canted upper corners. A small gabled appendage at the shed's northwest rear corner appears to have been a former privy. The clapboard sheathing has been removed from part of the one-story, one-by-one-bay appendage; a small rectangular window opening remains in the north wall, now lacking a sash. An old plank door leads into the privy from the shed.
A. Barn: c. 1850.
The main block now contains on the interior six box stalls for horses next to the three-bay east eaves facade lighted by six pane fixed sash. The opposite (west) facade includes an open animal entry at the right corner and a former entry at the left corner that has been infilled with vertical flush boards; a loft opening is centered on the upper level. A loft door remains in place on the north gable of the north wing. On the other hand, the clapboards have been removed to create large first-story openings on the wing's north and east facades.
Attached to the wing's west facade next to the corner of the main block, a small one-story chicken coop sheathed with vertical flush boards has a shed roof covered with corrugated sheet metal. Triple large six-light fixed windows illuminate its west front.
36. Gammell House or Wheelwright Shop Site (Parker Hill Road).
The dry-laid fieldstone wall along the south side of the main block rises between two and three feet in height. The fieldstone walls along the east and north sides have mostly collapsed into the interior of the rectangle. A berm composed of earth and fieldstone about eight feet in width extends along the east side and around the northeast corner of the foundation, indicating a possible extension of the building. The fieldstone west wall has been partly removed. The west wing foundation consists simply of a line of surface stones.
This foundation marks the site of what was apparently a house shown on the McClellan map of 1856 and identified as belonging to L. O. Gameell [sic]. By the publication of the Beers atlas in 1869, L. O. Gammell owned the farm (later the Bolles Farm) whose principal buildings stand across the road to the northeast. The building on this site is identified as a wheelwright shop also belonging to Gammell. It is unknown how long the building remained standing.
37. Josiah White Farm Site (off Parker Hill Road).
The widower Josiah White (1711-1806) together with the younger of his fifteen children came to Rockingham in 1773. He acquired from Jeremiah Allen the land in Lot No. 9, Range 2 "and appurtenances," presumably building(s), and settled here. In 1779, Josiah White married the widowed Elizabeth Pulsipher of nearby Rockingham village: she, however, lived only seven years after that marriage.
One of Josiah's sons, Phineas, purchased the adjacent Lot No. 13, Range 2 after his marriage in 1788 to Jerusha Marsh; the land belonged previously to her family. Although approaching eighty years of age, Josiah then built a frame house on his son's lot and moved there (Phineas and Jerusha were living in Springfield at the time). He may have provided the new house for his third wife, Tabitha, whom he married in 1794 when he was 83. (After Josiah's death in 1806, Phineas and Jerusha moved to the farm and the extant brick house was erected for their residence; Josiah's house then became a corn barn ) It is not known whether anyone else ever lived on Josiah's original farmstead.
The single visible foundation here appears to have been a barn. The foundation lies a short distance northwest from, and somewhat higher than, the Adirondack shelter. An old driveway ascends the slope toward the east side of the foundation from the abandoned road. The rectangular foundation measures about 28 by 42 feet, the longer dimension extending in an east-west direction. The foundation is built of unmortared fieldstone that has subsided to the extent that most of it rises only slightly above the ground surface; the south wall remains the most exposed. Aligned with the east side of the foundation, a fieldstone fence wall extends southward to intersect a perpendicular (east-west) wall; these walls probably enclosed the barnyard.
About 150 feet south of the stone foundation, the house site crowns the knoll in line with the abandoned road and above a small brook. Only a slight depression of roughly rectangular outline overgrown with brush and brambles is now evident. A cellar hole of unknown dimensions with fieldstone walls of unknown height existed here until about 1980, when it was bulldozed and filled.
A. Shelter; c. 1983.
38. Glynn-Brown Farm (Parker Hill Road).
The farm belonged to Isaac Glynn from at least the 1840s until the 1860s, when he moved to the village of Saxtons River in Rockingham township. The Agricultural Census of 1850 records that Glynn harvested the extraordinary quantity of 1000 bushels of buckwheat that year on the 165-acre farm although his primary activity, like most of his Parker Hill neighbors, was sheep raising. He was succeeded by Calvin Brown, who resided here during the remainder of the nineteenth and into the twentieth century.
The distinctive house was built probably during the 1790s. Unlike most of the houses in the historic district, it possesses a five-bay gable facade with a central entrance. The house displays little ornament other than the high-style Federal features that embellish both the gable-facade entrance and the similar entrance on the three-bay eaves facade facing the road. The barn is sited a short distance northwest of the house next to a stone-walled paddock. Its upright north half is distinguished by an unusual wagon entrance with canted sides.
The south yard of the house is enclosed by parallel stone walls along the roadside and the edge of a field to the west. The low roadside wall is constructed of unmortared flat fieldstone slabs that apparently have been cut along one edge to form a relatively uniform vertical wall surface. A slab at the north end of the wall is inscribed with the name, "Park B. Herrick," and a possible date, either "01" or "07." Several mature apple trees stand within the yard near the house.
An open field expands westward from the buildings, sloping gradually upward beyond a wooded shallow swale. The field is bounded by stone walls and second-growth forest of mixed deciduous and coniferous species. A hedgerow along the south side of this field separates it from the field northwest of the White-Hadwen House (#19).
House; c. 1790.
The three-bay east eaves facade presents to the road a symmetrical arrangement excepting the right bay of the first story, where there has been installed a coupled pair of the six-over-nine sash with plain surrounds common to the house. The central entrance on this facade has a six-panel Christian door surmounted by a four-light transom. Twin slender fluted pilasters flank the door, and support a frieze embellished with triylyphs and guttae; frieze blocks above the outer pilasters bear incised urns. The enframement culminates in a thin denticulated cornice. The central entrance on the five-bay south gable facade virtually replicates this treatment.
A recessed, one-and-one-half-story, gable-roofed wing extends from the north gable facade, sheathed like the main block. Its five-bay east eaves facade includes a pedestrian entry with a six-panel door in the third bay from the left and a vehicle entry with double-leaf, vertical-boarded, hinged doors in the right end bay. The first-story window openings contain six-over-nine sash with plain surrounds while three six-light fixed sash are spaced regularly along the kneewall. An interior brick stove chimney rises from the east roof slope near the ridge.
A. Barn c. 1850.
The main (east) eaves facade is marked by one large ground-level wagon entrance with canted sides and the outline of another on the right. The latter has been mostly infilled with flush horizontal boards around a pass door opening. A six-light fixed sash punctuates the wall on the left of the remaining wagon entrance.
39. Daniel Manahan House (Parker Hill Road); c. 1964.
40. David Russell House (off Parker Hill Road); 1969.
A. Shed: 1969.
41. Lance Andrews House (Parker Hill Road); c. 1970.
42 Universalist Church Site and Burying Ground (Parker Hill Road).
Pine trees now of medium height have been planted along the section of the north fence corresponding to the church portion of the lot. Pairs of the trees also flank both the front gate and the uncut granite block that stands within this grassy area to commemorate the church. The monument bears a rectangular bronze plaque with the following inscription: 'This Stone Marks the Site of "The Society House of Worship" Built and Used by the Universalist Society of Springfield, 1790.'
The church was actually built about 1805. The one-story building was constructed of brick presumably made by Levi Harlow, Sr. at his farm (#48) located about one mile to the north, and probably laid by Thomas Dana, the master mason who lived nearby. The building was abandoned probably after the erection in 1833 for the Universalist Society of a much larger brick church in Springfield village. This church was dismantled in 1853 by Charles Holt, a carpenter who then owned the adjacent Walker Cutler Farm (#43). Holt may have used some of the materials in other buildings that he constructed in Springfield.
During the first half of the twentieth century, a small sugarhouse built probably by Leon Cutler stood south of the monument, oriented parallel to the road. That one-story, horizontal-boarded building carried a small louvered ventilating cupola atop the ridge of its gable roof. The sugarhouse was removed about 1958.
A. Burying Ground.
The historic gravestones face westward away from the church site and Parker Hill Road. The earliest gravestone - dated 1794 - and several others predate the church, and the possibility exists that an early road passed the west edge of the cemetery. Use of the cemetery declined after the church was closed in the 1830s, and virtually ceased during the latter nineteenth century. Only one burial (1984) has occurred this century, and that modest marker faces eastward in the previously unoccupied southeast corner.
The gravestones exhibit a limited variety of materials and designs. Most of the burials occurred during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and are marked by the thin slabs of slate typical of that period. Many of the slate examples have semicircular heads flanked by narrow perpendicular or semicircular shoulders while a few have triangular (pointed-arch) heads. Most are incised with designs depicting especially willow trees, urns, or faces, and some bear epitaphs in addition to the usual names and dates. Several marble markers are interspersed, generally dating from the middle decades of the nineteenth century and being plainer in design; some of these have semicircular or segmental heads. A few distinctive soapstone markers exist, also having semicircular heads and perpendicular shoulders.
43. Walker-Cutler Farm (Parker Hill Road).
The house was built c. 1800 by or for Leonard Walker, a successful blacksmith who also kept a tavern here for some years. Walker married Betsy Parker, daughter of Isaac, the namesake of Parker Hill who lived diagonally across the road. This farm entered the possession of the Cutler family in 1868 when George Lewis Cutler purchased it. Eight years later, George Lewis moved into a new house (#13) on the former Isaac Parker farm, and his eldest son, Leon, bought this farm. Leon and his wife, Addie, remained here until their deaths in 1942 and 1944, respectively.
The vernacular Federal style house originally of Georgian plan shows the effects of repeated minor alterations made during its nearly two centuries of existence. These include the repeated addition and removal (most recently about 1968) of a front porch, the related lowering and raising (the latter in 1989) of the front first-story window openings, the replacement of the sash, the subdivision of a second-story ballroom, the addition of an exterior fireplace chimney, and the enlargement of the rear ell.
The early nineteenth-century barn (A) was originally a typical three-bay, eaves-front example of the English type with central drive-through wagon entrances on both eaves facades. During the Cutler family ownership of the farm, the barn was extended southward against the bank and a wagon entrance into the loft was installed on that gable facade. Next to the barn's north gable facade, a circular foundation of mortared stone measuring 12 feet in diameter formerly supported a wood-stave silo; it was dismantled about 1960 and moved to another farm in Springfield. The horse barn (B) was undoubtedly constructed while Leon Cutler owned the farm.
A rounded rocky knoll now used as a pasture occupies the area between the barns and the Parker Hill Burying Ground (#42) to the south. West of the knoll, a small tilled field extends southward past the burying ground to an apple orchard, whose now-mature trees were planted by Leon Cutler. An undulating former pasture now overgrown with mixed forest bounds the field and orchard on the west side.
Across Parker Hill Road from the buildings, a former hayfield now used as a sheep pasture and enclosed by a high wire fence extends southward on the relatively flat terrain. A shallow depression set back from the road within the fenced area probably indicates the site of a house shown on the Doton map of 1855; the building has been gone for a long period. Somewhat farther south across the town boundary in Rockingham, a copse of trees conceals the collapsed remains of a nineteenth century sheep barn (F). North of the fenced area, a broad lane overgrown with brush and trees and bounded by parallel stone walls leads eastward from the Parker Hill Road to a former pasture that has reverted to second-growth mixed forest.
The current owners of this farm, Kenton and Mimi Stringham, pursue the agricultural enterprise on a part-time basis. Their primary activity involves the breeding of sheep and goats. Those animals are now kept on the loft level of the rear barn (A) together with the hay for their winter feed, and gain entry through the south gable facade. The ground level of that barn contains the former cow stable, last used for that purpose during the 1940s and 1950s when a previous owner, David Russell, operated a small-scale dairy farm here. The stable is currently used for horses instead of the horse barn.
House; c. 1800.
The five-bay main (east) eaves facade is arranged symmetrically around a central entrance. The broad opening is fitted with double-leaf, hinged doors, each bearing three raised panels, and surmounted by a six-light transom. The molded surround of the doorway culminates in a cornice cap. The window openings are paired in the side bays, and fitted with the two-over-two sash crowned by cornice caps that predominate on the house.
The south gable facade has been somewhat altered from its original appearance. Added in 1944 at the onset of the Russell ownership, an exterior brick fireplace and furnace chimney ascends the right side, flanked by small six-light fixed sash installed at the same time. A secondary entrance in the left-center position contains a four-light-over two-panel door enframed by a molded surround and flanked in turn by tapered smooth pilasters with molded capitals. This entrance is sheltered by a one-bay, hip-roofed porch with turned posts, scrolled brackets, and serratcd valance On the left of the entrance, a full-size window opening contains a twelve-over twelve sash.
Raised about 1905 from an original single story with a gable roof, the two-story, clapboarded rear (west) ell carries a nearly flat roof. Its south-facade fenestration consists of a modern three-sided bay window on the first story and two bays of two over-two sash with cornice caps on the second story. Attached to the rear (west) end of the ell, a one-and-one-half-story, clapboarded shed wing contrasts by having an asphalt-shingled gable roof. Placed at the flush joint between the ell and wing on the south facade, a shed entrance with a vertical-plank, hinged door is crowned by a four-light transom and protected by a shed hood. The south eaves facade of the shed wing is entered by a modern vertical-boarded exterior sliding vehicle door with applied bracing. The rear (west) gable facade is sheathed with heavily weathered horizontal flush boards hung with hand-cut nails. Connected to the northwest rear corner of the shed wing, a one-story, one-bay, clapboarded, shed-roofed ell has been used as a milkhouse during both the Russell and Stringham ownerships.
A photograph taken about 1876 shows the house in a somewhat different appearance. Spanning the main facade, a five-bay, hip roofed porch incorporated slotted posts with scroll-sawn brackets but lacked a balustrade. (Those posts were later replaced with Queen Anne turned posts.) A matching one-bay porch sheltered the left-center entry on the south facade, where a two-over-two sash occupied each side bay. Louvered wood shutters were hung at the windows. A massive center chimney with a corbeled cap emerged from the east roof slope at the ridge. The rear ell was only one story in height with a gable roof; the right bay of its south facade was occupied by a two-over-two sash and the left-bay carriage entrance appears to have had double-leaf, hinged doors.
A. Barn; c. 1820.
The two-bay south gable facade includes the upper-level main entrance in the central position, consisting of double-leaf, vertical-boarded, hinged doors. A vertical-plank pass door occurs immediately to the left. The gable is lighted by coupled six-pane-over-nine pane fixed sash that have replaced a hay door; a beam supporting the metal track of a hay fork continues to project from the gable peak. A cylindrical metal bin for animal feed stands erect next to the right side of this facade.
The east eaves facade reveals the division between the original barn and the south extension at the ground level where the extension lacks enclosure. The original ground story is now punctuated by four openings; two pass doors alternate with two six-light fixed sash.
B. Horse Barn; c. 1900.
The asymmetrical five-bay main (east) eaves facade includes a carriage entrance in the left-central position. An earth ramp with fieldstone retaining walls leads to the vertical-boarded interior sliding door. Flanking the ramp at ground level are open bays with canted upper corners that serve for storage of mechanical equipment. The main story is lighted by two-over-two sash in three regularly spaced bays on the right of the carriage entrance and one on the left.
The south gable facade is punctuated regularly on the main story by five single-light horse stall windows. A small diagonally braced, vertical-boarded, interior-hinged loft door (suitable only for baled hay) enters the left side of the gable while a full-sized, two-over-two sash lights the gable peak.
C. East Barn Foundation.
D. Ice House Foundation.
E. Shed Foundation.
F. Sheep Barn Foundation.
44. John Prescott House (off Parker Hill Road); c. 1975.
A. Sugarhouse: 1947.
45. Timothy Closson House Site.
Timothy and Eunice Closson and family moved to Parker Hill from Rockingham village prior to 1789. Closson bought the southwest corner of Lot No. 41 in Springfield from Isaac Parker, the namesake of the community and its primary early developer. The size of the cellar hole indicates that only a modest house was built here for Closson, a weaver by trade. Nevertheless, his son, Ichabod, along with the latter's wife, Sally, and family also lived here until the deaths in 1807 of both Timothy and Ichabod, the latter on the day that Sally gave tenth child.
The town boundary follows a partly collapsed fieldstone wall that passes through the site in an east-west direction. Adjoining the south side of the wall, the sloping depression of a former cellar hole measures about 15 by 22 feet, the longer dimension being perpendicular to the wall. Deciduous trees and brush are now growing within the depression. A shallower depression of about 9 by 12 feet continues north of the wall, matching the east line of the cellar hole. Northeast of the latter depression. a fieldstone wall begins at a point about 24 feet from the wall marking the town boundary and extends northward.
46. George Cutler Farm Site.
The north-south road was opened in the late eighteenth century but was soon supplanted by the present Parker Hill Road; only traces of it are now visible. The northeast-southwest road was officially laid out in 1795, and continued in use possibly until the early twentieth century. The latter road follows a natural ravine on the steeper west side of the ridge. Its surface remains obvious and passable by vehicles intended for rough terrain although it is not now a public thoroughfare.
The house on this site was built probably around the turn of the nineteenth century. George Cutler (1793-1858) and his wife, Sophia, purchased the farmstead in 1829 and remained here an unknown length of time, possibly until their deaths. The Beers map of 1869 identifies the owner as "G L Cutler," or George Lewis Cutler (1825-1911), the elder son of George who amassed extensive land holdings and became the principal sheep farmer on Parker Hill during the latter half of the nineteenth century. George Lewis purchased his first farm (the site of #13) on Parker Hill Road in 1854, and the house on this site was undoubtedly inhabited by tenants after his parents ceased to live here. It is not known how long the house remained standing thereafter.
The house was constructed of brick and was banked against the rising ground like another early brick house (#48) in the vicinity, that built c. 1791 by Levi Harlow (and, coincidentally, occupied by George Lewis Cutler a century later) on the Parker Hill Road. Harlow was the first brickmaker on Parker Hill, and the brick used in this house almost certainly came from his yard. Also like the Harlow-Cutler House, this house presumably faced east and presented an eaves facade to the north-south road.
The house's rear facade, therefore, would have rested on the present six-foot-high stone wall that extends about 40 feet in north-south length. The unmortared wall is constructed of irregular fieldstone laid horizontally with cut edges forming a relatively smooth interior surface. Similarly constructed perpendicular walls slope downward on the 28-foot north and south sides, following the ground surface. About 16 feet from the rear wall, the north wall dwindles to the low foundation of roughly shaped stone blocks that extend around the remainder of the foundation's perimeter. About 12 feet from the rear wall, the south-side wall intersects another perpendicular wall between two and three feet in height that extends 16 feet southward. This south projection probably served as the foundation for a south wing.
Many bricks are scattered on the ground within the perimeter of the house foundation What appear to have been the mortared brick bases of chimneys exist within the southwest and northwest quadrants of the floor area. The positions of these bases indicate that the house did not have a single center chimney.
A. Barn/Shed Foundation.
From the northwest corner of the smaller foundation, low fieldstone walls (fences) extend north and west on the higher ground to intersect perpendicular walls that apparently enclosed a barnyard. A deeply worn path probably created by livestock leads northwestward through a short lane bounded by parallel stone walls to a former pasture on the hillside, now overgrown with mixed forest.
47. Gear-Rollins House (Parker Hill Road).
A person by the name of Gear owned the tannery around the turn of the nineteenth century, and may have been the original owner of this house. (An earlier house stood across the road next to the tannery.) In 1806, William Thayer, Jr., moved here from the family farm (#8) on the Lower Parker Hill Road to learn the tanning trade; he purchased the business and house about 1812 and remained here until 1833. Samuel Rollins was operating the tanyard by 1842 and he continued to own the house at least until 1869; he was probably the last operator of the tanyard although it is not known how long the business remained active.
The house stands perpendicular to the west side of the Parker Hill Road. An English barn (A) follows the same orientation to the west of the house. A modern cottage (B) has been built southwest of the barn, oriented perpendicular to it. The third building in the cluster, a modern garage (C), is sited on the east side of the road.
Adjacent to the upstream (west) side of the road, a concrete headgate impounds the brook to form a small pond. It is not known whether this pond was built originally to serve the tannery on the opposite (east) side of the road. Nothing remains of the tannery building nor of a small shop south of the house where William Thayer made boots and shoes during his ownership of the property.
House; c. 1800.
The main (south) eaves facade is arranged symmetrically around a central entrance with a replacement six-panel door. Flanking the door are sidelights of two-thirds length with four panes of glazing above a single raised panel on the spandrel. A molded cornice above the doorway abuts the ceiling of a one-bay, gabled porch with square posts that was mostly rebuilt 1980s; the porch's earlier deck incorporates a circular millstone laid in concrete. The window openings on this facade and elsewhere on the house are fitted mostly with two-over-two sash. The surrounds were removed when the aluminum siding was applied, but louvered wood shutters continue to hang at the openings.
Facing the road, the three-bay secondary (east) gable facade includes a right-center entrance with a plain surround and a six over-six sash in the gable. An exterior brick fireplace chimney engages the left-central positition; added during the 1950s, this chimney replaced an original interior brick chimney that corresponded to the existing chimney at the opposite end of the south roof slope.
Attached to the main block¹s west gable facade, a two-story, four-by-three-bay, post-and-beam-framed, aluminum-sided, gabled shed wing has been altered repeatedly during its existence. The wing was either moved here from another site or built independently from the main block, being structurally separated by about three feet. It was raised during the nineteenth century from an original single story in height, and extended northward a few feet in breadth by the present owners, who also have adapted it partly to living space.
The wing's four-bay south eaves facade includes a right-center entrance, shifted from a previous left-center position. The first-story window openings contain new one-over-one sash (with snap-in muntins) while the second story retains historic two over-two sash like the main block. Added during the 1950s, an exterior brick fireplace chimney bisects the west gable facade.
A. Barn; c. 1850.
The main (south) eaves facade is punctuated by five bays, including a central wagon entrance with double exterior vertical-boarded sliding doors. A vertical-boarded, hinged pass door enters each corner of this facade. Window openings on each side of the wagon entrance contain, respectively, a twelve-light fixed sash on the right and coupled two-light sash on the left. On the east gable facade, three bays of horizontal six-pane fixed sash light the former cow stable on the ground level while a large vertical four-pane sash lights the gable.
The circular mortared fieldstone foundation of a former silo lies a short distance south of the barn. A shed may have formerly stood between the barn and the silo. Other sheds apparently linked the east end of the barn and the west wing of the house
B. Buckingham Cottage/Office; 1963.
The construction of this building was performed for Eliot Buckingham, the current owner, by Walter Kangas of Springfield and his crew, it was the first building that Kangas completed as owner of a contracting firm that continues active at the present (1900) . Noncontributing owing to its age of 1ess than fifty years.
C. Garage, 1982.
48. Harlow-Cutler Farm (Parker Hill Road).
In 1787, Levi Harlow, Sr. bought part of Springfield Lot No. 42 and settled his family on this farmstead. He practiced the trade of brickmaking, and undoubtedly made the bricks used in the construction of his house. A clay deposit to the northwest of the house may have been the source of his material; in recent decades, it has been partly excavated for a pond. Harlow may have been the mason who actually built the house although the historical sources refer only to his activity as brickmaker, the trade pursued also by his sons.
In any case, the house holds the distinction of having its main facade laid in Flemish bond - the only example in the Parker Hill historic district - although it displays little stylistic decoration. Unlike any other historic Parker Hill house, the house is banked against the slope so that only a single story rises above grade on the rear facade. The present appearance of the house reflects a renovation performed about 1950 for the contemporary owner, Mary Rowland.
During the middle 1890s, George Lewis Cutler and family purchased this farm after being bankrupted by the collapse of the wool market. Previously Cutler had been the most successful sheep farmer on Parker Hill, owning at least three other farms represented by the Italianate house (#13) visible from here on the hillside about three-quarters of a mile to the south. Cutler apparently raised turkeys and kept multi-acre apple orchards while living on this farm until his death in 1911.
Several mature apple trees constitute a small orchard south of the house, protected by a stone wall along the roadside. An open hayfield extends westward from the orchard, bounded partly by stone walls and the barn at its north edge. Parallel stone walls form a lane that leads westward from the north front of the barn to former pastures beyond the pond. Another field ascends the moderate slope north of the barn, bounded by second-growth forest of mixed deciduous and coniferous species.
House; c. 1791.
The five-bay main eaves facade is deeply recessed central entrance. renovation, the entrance ensemble incorporates a broad twelve panel door and five-light transom flanked by ten-panel reveals; the historic door with four tiers of raised panels was recycled from a house in Bellows Falls village to the southeast in Rockingham township. The opening is enframed by smooth pilasters carrying frieze blocks and crowned by a segmental cornice. Above the outer ends of the cornice, the outer upper corners of splayed brick soldier courses are partly visible; these belong to the original lintel treatment of the doorway that apparently matched the adjacent first-story window openings. A porch added to this facade probably in the latter nineteenth century was removed during the renovation.
The window openings on the first story are distinguished by segmental-arched heads formed by splayed brick soldier courses. These openings are fitted with the six-over-six sash common to the house, also installed during the c. 1950 project. On the north gable facade, the second-story, the left-bay window opening was infilled with brick in 1961.
Only the front (right) bay is exposed on the first story of the three-bay south gable facade, the remainder being banked against the upward sloping ground. A fieldstone retaining wall perpendicular to this facade indicates the former existence of a south shed wing. On the interior, the first story becomes a basement under the rear (west) half of the house.
The rear (west) eaves facade contrasts markedly with its front counterpart. Its single main story is punctuated by only three bays, including an off-center entrance with a six-panel door flanked by half-length, eight-pane sidelights; this ensemble was also installed c. 1950. Added during the same period to the west roof slope, a continuous shed dormer offsets the original lack of an above-grade second story; the dormer is lighted by casement windows in right and left positions.
Attached in 1961 to the main block's north gable facade, a one and-one-half-story, wood-framed and aluminum-sided wing with an asphalt-shingled gable roof replaced a deteriorated historic counterpart. The wing extends two bays along its east eaves facade, the openings being a broad three-part picture window and a right-corner entry. The wing connects to a contemporary two-by-two-bay garage ell of matching form and sheathing. Two paneled overhead doors enter its east gable front below a semicircular gable fanlight; its north eaves side is lighted by six-over-six sash.
A. Barn; c. 1850.
The main (north) eaves facade includes wagon entrances centered in both the left and right halves. The right entry is marked by an exterior vertical-boarded sliding door while the left entry has two-leaf, plywood, hinged doors. Two of the intermediate bays contain coupled six-over-six sash with horizontal lights and plain surrounds. The opposite (south) facade includes a basement wagon entrance with double exterior vertical-boarded sliding doors surmounted by triplet two-light fixed sash serving as an enlarged transom.
49. William Leach House (Parker Hill Road); c. 1963.
50. Gould-Hadwen Farm (Parker Hill Road).
During the early nineteenth century, this land belonged to the Harlow family, who then owned the Harlow-Cutler Farm (#48) to the south. In 1822, William Gould (1788-1871) bought the land; he was married to Clarissa Damon (1791-1875), a daughter of Samuel Damon who lived on the farm across the road. The extant brick house was erected as their residence although the year is uncertain; the date 1831 appears on the attic wall of the south gable, apparently inscribed while the original mortar was fresh. Thomas Dana, Parker Hill's resident brick mason, was probably the builder. Gould owned the saw and grist mills at the hamlet later known as Goulds Mills on the Black River in the valley to the northeast. He sold the farm and moved there in 1864.
After an interim ownership, the farm was acquired early in 1872 by Oliver R. and Ella W. Hadwen and it remained in their possession until 1910. A painting made by Emily Hadwen about 1880 shows the farmstead at the height of its agricultural activity with numerous outbuildings around the house. In 1938, Ralph C. and Helen M. Baker acquired this farm together with the adjoining Damon-Baker Farm, and have since become the longest term individual owners in the history of both farms.
The imposing Federal style house dominates the cluster of buildings on the Gould-Hadwen Farm. The brick house and an elongated, partly brick, partly wood-framed south wing parallel the Parker Hill Road. Three smaller outbuildings are sited on the rising ground to the northwest of the house, set back from the road. A former cottage (A) that stood originally behind the house was moved probably during the late nineteenth century and converted to a shed on its present site; Ralph Baker has subsequently enlarged the building to serve as his office. A former milkhouse (B) and a shed (C) represent the agricultural activity that ended here prior to 1940.
Several other agricultural outbuildings formerly stood adjacent to the present survivors. A photograph taken probably during the late nineteenth century shows both connected and detached one-and-one-half-story, vertical-boarded, gable-roofed barns and sheds. Oriented on an east-west axis, an English barn stood immediately west of the present office (A); central double-leaf, hinged wagon doors entered its south eaves facade. A hyphen of slightly reduced scale connected the first barn and a similar second barn partly visible north of the present shed (C). Southeast of the same shed (C) and also paralleling its orientation, a smaller shed - probably used for storing grain rested on stone corner piers; a hinged pass door entered its east gable facade. Yet another shed, and the only visible building oriented on a north-south axis, stood south of the extant shed (C). The east side of the barnyard was enclosed by a board fence south of the granary - whose east entry was outside the enclosure - and a stone wall with a wood wagon gate to the north.
Probably early in this century, a wood-stave cylindrical silo was erected between the English barn and the shed/office (A). Both were deteriorating when the Bakers acquired the farm, and were removed about 1950. The concrete silo base remains in place under a rock garden next to the west side of the shed/office. The other outbuilding foundations have been removed.
Mostly open fields bounded by stone walls now surround the cluster of buildings and extend along the west side of the road. The largest hayfield expands northward from the outbuildings, descending the moderate slope toward the Seavers Brook valley. A lane formed by parallel stone walls leads westward from the former barnyard to former pastures where regenerating mixed forest now flanks the fields and ascends the slopes of Pudding Hill. Along the east side of the Parker Hill Road opposite this farm are the open hayfields of the Damon-Baker Farm.
Three large rectangular brick chimneys surmount the roof, being placed at both (north and south) interior ends of the front (east) slope and the north end of the rear (west) slope. The original north chimneys are distinguished by corbeled caps. The original southeast chimney was destroyed in 1959 by a bolt of lightning, and the replacement is somewhat larger in plan and has a stone-slab cap; above the roof, this chimney is built of historic brick salvaged from the Warren-Maxwell House, demolished to clear the area for the North Springfield flood control dam on the Black River. The southwest quadrant of the roof originally carried an interior chimney placed at the horizontal eaves; however, that chimney was truncated at the attic level during the late nineteenth century, probably owing to water leakage.
The five-bay main (east) facade is arranged symmetrically around a formal central entrance approached by massive tooled granite steps and sill. The broad six-panel Christian door is flanked by three-pane sidelights of two-thirds length above single-panel spandrels. The sidelights are enframed on both sides by slender paneled pilasters. A continuous reeded frieze band with stepped out pilaster heads spans the openings. An unusually broad semielliptical louvered fan crowns the ensemble. Paired in the aide bays of the facade, the window openings are fitted with the six-over-six sash, granite sills, and louvered wood shutters common to the house.
The three-bay north gable facade is arranged asymmetrically with the middle bay on each main story occupying a left-central position. The less regularly arranged rear (west) eaves facade includes some twelve-over-twelve sash that were probably original to the house. Projecting from the left side at ground level, a small one-story, one-bay, brick vestibule with a slate-shingled gable roof provides a basement entry.
Recessed from the line of the main block's east facade, the one and-one-half-story south wing incorporates a brick north half attached to the main block and a wood-framed, clapboarded south half under a continuous slate-shingled gable roof. Each three-bay half of the east eaves facade has a right-center entry flanked by window bays of six-over-six sash except on the left end of the south half where a broad semielliptical-arched opening with a keystoned surround is now filled with split firewood. Marking the joint between the halves of the wing, a rectangular brick chimney emerges from the east slope at the ridge.
Attached to the south end of the wing and following its orientation, a modern (c. 1960) one-and-one-half-story, three-by two-bay garage wing has replaced an historic shed extension of the wing. The clapboarded garage carries a slate-shingled gable roof whose slopes match those of the wing but extend farther downward. Its three-bay south gable facade is entered by triple smooth overhead doors, each crowned by a semielliptical-headed surround. The two-bay east eaves facade of the garage is lighted by six-over-six sash with louvered wood shutters
Photographs of the house taken about 1880 show that the present south half of the historic wing then constituted the middle third of the elongated wing. In place of its broad semielliptical arched opening, there existed a four-panel pass door flanked on the left by coupled twelve-light fixed sash and at the same height on the right by a rectangular opening filled with sticks of drying firewood. The southernmost third of the wing was clapboarded and its wood-shingled gable roof matched that of the other sections. Serving as the carriage shed, its east facade was entered by two vertical-boarded, exterior sliding doors.
The grounds of the house are shaded by mature maple and other deciduous trees. Several tall coniferous shrubs along a fieldstone wall with a flagstone coping shelter the main block from the road. Behind the wall, a flagstone terrace has replaced a nineteenth-century driveway that bowed toward the house from the road.
A. Shed/office; c. 1850, moved c. 1890, enlarged 1968.
The main block now lacks an entrance. The north gable facade has been altered by the installation of a huge plate-glass window on the first story below coupled twelve-over-twelve sash in the gable. The two-bay east and west eaves facades are lighted by twelve-over-twelve sash with plain surrounds.
The main entrance occurs on the wing's single-bay west eaves facade. The door with six molded panels is flanked by twelve pane sidelights of two-thirds length above spandrels with single raised panels The sidelights are enframed by slender fluted pilasters that carry bullseye head blocks linked by a fluted horizontal surround. This entire ensemble was salvaged from the Salmon House that stood in the nearby township of Weathersfield, Vermont until c. 1960. when it together with the Warren-Maxwell House cited above and many other historic buildings were demolished by the Army Corps of Engineers to clear the area for the North Springfield flood control dam on the Black River. The wing's south facade includes a central secondary entry and side bays occupied by historic twelve-over-twelve sash. A porte cochere with square posts shelters this facade under an extension of the wing's roof.
B. Milkhouse; c. 1925.
C. Shed; c. 1850.
The Parker Hill Rural Historic District holds significance for embodying the distinctive characteristics of an historically agricultural landscape that has evolved through a two hundred year period beginning in the 1780s. The several farmsteads located within the historic district contain a variety of domestic and agricultural buildings, including a predominant group of vernacular Federal style and Georgian plan farmhouses that reflects the late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century period of most intensive settlement and development. The Parker Hill landscape and extant farm buildings represent the dominant trends of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Vermont agriculture, including sheep raising, dairying, and diversified farming, The single high-style (Italianate) farmhouse (#13) illustrates the outstanding success of George Lewis Cutler in the sheep business during the latter nineteenth century. Furthermore, the Allbee Abbott Farm (#28) represents the scientific approach to crop and pasture management developed during the 1920-40 period by university and industrial research, and applied on that farm by a leading authority, John B. Abbott.
The Parker Hill Rural Historic District retains much evidence of its two-hundred-twenty-year history in its present landscape. While forest cover is encroaching on the historically open fields, cleared areas remain around most of the farmsteads and convey a strong feeling of what the district was like in its productive agricultural years. Furthermore, threading through the second-growth forest are long reaches of stone walls that demarcate historic patterns of fields and pastures.
Like the pattern in much of Vermont's hill country, the Parker Hill landscape reveals the preference of the eighteenth-century settlers for the ridges and uplands rather than the valley bottoms. Both traveling and land clearing were easier in the characteristic hardwood forests and drier ground of the elevated terrain. The first north-south road between Rockingham and Springfield passed over the hills of the historic district, and these uplands were chosen and cleared for early settlement. The virgin soil was relatively fertile albeit thin, and the crops rewarded the efforts of diligent farmers. Their relative success enabled them to build imposing houses of great architectural character if not high style.
During a century and more of intensive usage, the upland soils lost much of their productivity. Many other factors also intruded to reduce the viability of hill-country farming not only in the Parker Hill district but throughout Vermont. The fields and farmhouses began to attract interest for their aesthetic qualities, and a new wave of owners and part-time residents arrived during the second quarter of the twentieth century. These persons have made efforts to preserve both the agricultural landscape and the architectural heritage of the Parker Hill district. Unlike many parts of the state where the regenerating forest has engulfed the disused fields and cellar holes of earlier settlement, the present character of the Parker Hill Rural Historic District reflects directly the original and ongoing agricultural occupation of a distinct Vermont place.
Initial settlement in the area that would become known as Parker Hill occurred during the 1770s in the Rockingham portion and the following decade in the Springfield portion. The settlers were undoubtedly attracted by several favorable conditions: the gently sloping terrain, the well-drained and fertile ground for agriculture, the healthful location away from the pestilent valley swamps, and the proximity to travel routes. Furthermore, the area offered the great advantage of being close to existing communities and services in Rockingham township and Charlestown, New Hampshire, the latter being a flourishing village directly across the Connecticut River and accessible by ferry.
The first wagon road between Rockingham village and Springfield followed a different route than the present Parker Hill Road. It crossed the Williams River about a quarter mile east of the present bridge and ascended the slope to the vicinity of the Locke-O'Brien Farm (#27). Continuing northward, it may have crossed the two stone culverts (#s 22 and 22A) located east of present road. Turning northwestward, it intersected the current route probably somewhere between the Gammell-Bolles Farm (#21) and the Cross Road, and then passed near the Josiah White Farm Site (#37). It continued northward past Closson Pond and the George Cutler Farm Site (#46) and then east of Pudding Hill before descending to Hardscrabble Corner. (This road was probably abandoned in favor of the present route by the second decade of the nineteenth century, and little evidence of it remains.)
Josiah White and Ebenezer Locke were among the earliest settlers in the Rockingham portion of the historic district. White (1711 1806) arrived in Rockingham in 1773, and then purchased land in Lot No. 9 of Range 2 for a small farmstead (#37). About 1890, he moved eastward to Lot No. 13 (then owned by his son, Phineas) where he built a frame house (possibly #19B). Locke came from New Hampshire about 1780 but it is uncertain when he settled on the farm (#27) that remained in Locke family ownership until about 1860. (The extant house of Classic Cottage type was apparently not built until the middle of the century.)
William Thayer (died 1830) and his wife, Susannah, moved from Taunton, Massachusetts to Rockingham in 1788, settling on land next to the Lower Parker Hill Road that was officially laid out in 1792. Thayer constructed the large vernacular Federal style house (#9) in 1795.
Also from Taunton, Levi Harlow, Sr. brought his family to Rockingham during the winter of 1783-84. In 1787, he purchased part of Springfield Lot No. 42 in the second range north of the Rockingham boundary, and the family became the earliest settlers in the Springfield portion of the Parker Hill district. Levi and his sons began making bricks, apparently using clay from a deposit located a short distance northwest of the distinctive brick house (#48) erected for the family probably during the 1790s. Not only does the house exhibit the only main facade on Parker Hill with Flemish bond brickwork; it is also banked against the rising ground so that its rear facade loses a story above grade.
A year after the Harlows arrived, Isaac and Elizabeth Parker came from Chelmsford, Massachusetts and bought Springfield Lot No. 41 adjoining the Rockingham boundary south of the Harlows. That lot Parker proceeded to subdivide into small lots for sale to other settlers. He built a log cabin at the intersection of roads where the Lewis and Martha Cutler House (#13) now stands, later replacing it with a frame house. By his subdivision, Parker created the nucleus of a hamlet that preceded the village of Springfield in the Black River valley to the north. Both he and his wife, however, lived only a few years into the new century and did not experience its full evolution.
More settlers came to the vicinity in 1790. Peter Fletcher, Sr. (1736-1812) and family from New Ipswich, New Hampshire acquired for 180 pounds Springfield Lot No. 46 adjoining the Rockingham boundary, and proceeded to build two imposing houses. Peter Fletcher and his son, David (1772-1834), constructed a gable roofed house (#7) showing Georgian influence in its stylistic treatment and plan but divided internally to accommodate the father's family in the west half and the son in the east half.
Another son, Ebenezer (1770-1843), erected a hip-roofed counterpart(#4) north of his father and brother's house. Ebenezer soon surpassed everybody on Parker Hill by erecting an immense barn (later destroyed by lightning). Despite the stature of his buildings, Ebenezer remained on this farm only some sixteen years before selling it in 1807 to David McIntyre for $2,100 and moving across the Connecticut River to Charlestown.
North of Ebenezer Fletcher's farm, Samuel Damon (1749-1807) and family from Scituate, Massachusetts settled in 1793. Their initial log cabin was soon replaced by the only wood-framed Cape Cod house (#1) that survives in the historic district. Coincidentally, the only brick house (#2, later owned by Charles Cutler) of that type in the historic district was erected about the same time (c. 1800) between Samuel Damon's and Ebenezer Fletcher's farms. The first schoolhouse in the Springfield portion of Parker Hill was built of logs on a site about 40 rods east of the brick house; William Thayer taught there at least during the winter of 1794.
By the turn of the nineteenth century, a hamlet was emerging along the Parker Hill Road north and south of Commissary Brook. It included a small industry in the form of a tannery that was built next to the brook. A person by the name of Gear owned the tannery during the early 1800s, and his apprentice, William Thayer, Jr., took it over about 1812. Thayer expanded the business by making shoes and boots along with various other leather goods needed by the local farmers; his shoe shop was apparently situated south of the house.
Another Parker Hill settler from New Ipswich, Leonard Walker became a successful blacksmith here, and married Isaac Parker's daughter, Betsey, in 1801. He bought a lot diagonally across the road from Parker's house and there built a house (#43) where he opened a tavern complete with second-floor ballroom. (This ballroom was used for the Masonic meetings of St. John's Lodge No. 31 during the period 1811-32.) Walker's blacksmith shop was located on the north side of the house. Later he built a small store in the yard south of the house. He also became active in town government, and served as Springfield's representative to the Vermont legislature for four years.
Next to the south of Walker's house, the first (and only) Parker Hill church was erected about 1805 for the Universalist Society. John Thayer, writing in 1907, remembered that "It was built of brick, one story high, with a sort of a steeple, but only a few feet high." This building became the second public school for the Springfield portion of the Parker Hill community, replacing the original log schoolhouse that stood east of the Cutler-Gulick House (#2). Russell Streeter served for some years around 1811 as both pastor and schoolmaster.
Behind the church to the west, the burying ground had already been established during the 1790s although the land was not acquired by the Universalist Society until 1817 (the price was $30). The earliest headstone marks the grave of Betsey Shedd, who died in 1794. Numerous burials were made here during the next four decades but ceased after 1857. The mostly slate and marble headstones face westward away from the church. That orientation was adopted prior to the existence of the church and apparently was simply continued after its construction.
Most of the brick houses and the church on Parker Hill were built probably by a brick mason named Thomas Dana (1779-1852), who came to Springfield in 1799 and settled on Parker Hill. His small house (later removed) was situated "opposite" the Fletcher-Cutler House (#4), presumably on the west side of the road. In 1809, he built a brick house on a farm north of Hardscrabble Corner (outside the historic district) apparently for his own residence. He pursued the trade for about a half-century, and Windsor County gazetteer of 1884 credits Dana with having "built many of the brick houses in town."
It seems probable that Dana was the mason in the cases of the similar Federal style houses erected in Rockingham for William Haseltine (#7) and Phineas White (#19), the latter c. 1807. He may also have been involved in the Cutler-Gulick House (#2), built about 1800. Dana was a Universalist in religion, and therefore he also probably built Parker Hill's brick church about 1805. He is known to have been the mason of the successor Universalist Church erected in 1833 in Springfield village, where he resided during the last two decades of his life.
The most pretentious of the Parker Hill brick houses was constructed for William Gould on the northernmost farmstead (#50) in the historic district. This Federal style house is the latest of the group, dating possibly from 1831. Thomas Dana was probably the mason also of this house, which displays skilled craftsmanship and a high-style entrance ensemble. The granite for the foundation, steps, and sills was undoubtedly taken from the so-called Scrabble Quarry located within sight to the northeast.
In addition to the extant houses, several others probably more modest in character were built along the Parker Hill Road between the Cutler-Gulick House and the Rockingham boundary during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. John Thayer wrote in 1907 that there were as many as eight, of which he remembered four. (The sites of those houses have been subsequently obliterated to facilitate agricultural activities.)
The Parker Hill hamlet declined during the 1820s as commercial and industrial activity became increasingly concentrated around the abundant water power of the Black River falls at Springfield village. The Universalist Society discontinued services at the Parker Hill church, and then abandoned the building after Thomas Dana built the new brick village church in 1833. Only a handful of burials occurred in the Parker Hill cemetery after 1834. Some of the more modest houses in the vicinity were abandoned or converted to other uses.
After the brick church/school fell into disuse, another schoolhouse was built nearby but that one burned. Then (probably between 1835 and 1838) the so-called Tanyard School was constructed at the intersection of the Parker Hill and Lower Parker Hill roads, just south of the namesake tannery. The building served a union school district, No. 15, that included the adjoining portion of Rockingham township southward to the Haseltine-Carey Farm (#8) on the lower road but not to the Glynn Brown Farm (#38) on the upper road.
A major shift in Vermont agriculture occurred during the 1810s-20s when a boom in sheep-raising swept the state. William Jarvis of Weathersfield, the former United States consul in Lisbon, Portugal, introduced Spanish Merino sheep in 1811. The breed was well-suited to Vermont conditions and the initial group of 400 exploded during the following quarter-century. The number of sheep in the state reached 1,681,819 by 1840. The price of wool rose quickly during the War of 1812, slumped afterward, and then rose again during the 1820s, protected by high tariffs and driven by the rapidly increasing demand from the expanding number of woolen mills in New England. Vermont not only supplied the wool; small fulling and weaving mills were established in many of the state's villages, creating a local market for wool.
It is not known when the first Spanish Merino sheep were brought to Parker Hill. Weathersfield, however, lies only about fifteen miles to the north, and it seems unlikely that many years passed before Merinos were grazing the pastures of the more cognizant Springfield or Rockingham farmers. Eventually the breeding of Merino and other sheep became a principal activity on Parker Hill farms, and it persisted long after the boom ended in the 1840s. Indeed, the most successful of the Parker Hill sheep farmers, George Lewis Cutler, achieved his success between the 1850s and 1880s.
The Parker Hill Road climbs over two hills between its intersections with the Lower Parker Hill Road on the north and O'Brien Road on the south. Its exposure to wind combined with the usually ample amount of winter snow produced drifts that made winter travel difficult prior to the existence of snow rolling or removal equipment. In 1842, some 40 residents of Parker Hill petitioned the selectmen of the Town of Rockingham to lay out a new road (the present O'Brien Road) to provide a less hilly route. The new road started at a point southeast of William Thayer's house (#9) and extended southward through a ravine between Coburn Hill on the east and another hill on the west to connect with an existing road past the Locke-O'Brien Farm (#27). The opening of this road completed the network of principal roads in the Parker Hill vicinity.
Unlike the remainder of Vermont, the Greek Revival style exerted little influence on the architecture of Parker Hill. Only one house, at the Allbee-Abbott Farm (#28), represents that style (Along with a slight Italianate influence in the form of a gable oculus). The lack of Greek Revival buildings reflects the lack of building activity on Parker Hill during the middle decades of the nineteenth century. The area was then fully settled and the farms already possessed substantial houses built around the beginning of the century or later. Furthermore the expanding villages in the adjacent valleys were attracting development away from the hillside settlements. There was little need for additional houses on Parker Hill.
At the midpoint of the nineteenth century, a major technological improvement in transport came to the south edge of the Parker Hill area. The Rutland and Burlington Railroad was completed in December, 1849 between Bellows Falls and its namesake cities in western Vermont. The railroad followed the Willlams River valley northwestward from Bellows Falls through Rockingham township.
About a half-mile east of the Parker Hill Road, the track crossed the river to the north bank. A station was established at the Parker Hill Road crossing to serve Rockingham village and the surrounding area, including the Parker Hill community.
(The Black River valley north of Parker Hill in Springfield did not gain a railroad until the late nineteenth century. The Springfield residents of Parker Hill generally used the Charlestown, New Hampshire station of the Sullivan - later Boston and Maine - Railroad that also was constructed in the late 1840s and passed through Bellows Falls. They continued to change trains there after the branch-line electric railroad was built into Springfield.)
The specific agricultural activities being pursued by Parker Hill farmers at the midpoint of the century are documented in the Seventh Census of the United States taken in 1850. The records of "Agricultural Productions" show that sheep were the principal kind of livestock with the major farms having between 100 and 300 each; the sale of wool was their primary source of income. Dairying was then a secondary activity; most farmers kept between two and six "milch cows," and made several hundred pounds of butter and cheese for another important source of income. The principal field crops included Indian corn, oats, Irish potatoes, and hay while lesser amounts of wheat, rye, and buckwheat were also being grown. Orchard products were minimal, and none of the major farms reported making maple sugar. The farms' generally small areas of "unimproved" woodland or forest reflect the extent to which the land had been cleared of trees, primarily to create pastures for grazing sheep.
The statistics for individual Parker Hill farms reveal considerable variation in the commodities produced, indicating both the relative capabilities and the personal preferences of the owners. The White-Hadwen Farm (19), was the largest in the Rockingham portion of the historic district. Phineas White's sons, Luke (1800-?) and William (1802-80), acquired the farm from their father about 1840 and remained here some forty years until their deaths. In 1850, the farm incorporated 330 acres of land, of which 250 were considered "improved," and it had a cash value of $5,500 augmented by farm implements and machinery worth $230. The livestock included 300 sheep, five milch cows, six working oxen, six "other cattle," seven swine, and two horses with a total value of $1000. The sheep yielded only 172 pounds of wool, an amount disproportionately lower than other farms. Unlike most other farmers, the Whites did not report the production of any butter or cheese. Their field crops were dominated by 200 bushels of Indian corn and 200 bushels of oats along with 25 tons of hay; other crops included 75 bushels of buckwheat, 50 bushels of potatoes, 20 bushels of rye, and 10 bushels of wheat.
The next farm (#38) to the north on the Parker Hill Road was then owned by Isaac Glynn; Calvin Brown would acquire it a decade later. This farm covered 165 acres - only 25 being "unimproved" - and was valued at $2,700 plus implements and machinery worth $100. The livestock were valued at $460; there were 107 sheep, two milch cows, two working oxen, two horses, and three swine. Glynn reported producing 811 pounds of wool and 150 Pounds each of butter and cheese. Among the field crops, his harvest of 1000 bushels of buckwheat was more than ten times the amount on any other Parker Hill farm. His other crops included 200 bushels of corn, 30 bushels each of oats, rye, and potatoes, 10 bushels of wheat, and 80 tons of hay.
The Thayer-Allbee Farm (#9) on the Lower Parker Hill Road was then owned by William Thayer, Jr. (1790-1853). He returned to this farm in 1833 (the year of his widowed mother's death) after having operated the tannery opposite the Samuel Rollins House (#48) for about twenty years. In 1850, the farm encompassed 200 improved and 40 unimproved acres, and was valued at $5,000 plus $175 for implements and machinery. Thayer's livestock were worth $815; the 240 sheep predominated, followed distantly by five milch cows, two working oxen, ten other cattle, two horses, and six swine. Despite the large number of sheep, he did not report any wool production; he did make 200 pounds of butter and 50 pounds of cheese. His field crops were dominated by 200 bushels of oats, 140 bushels of corn, and 25 tons of hay. His other crops included 40 bushels each of wheat and buckwheat and 30 bushels of potatoes.
Farther north on the same road in Springfield, Frink Fletcher then owned the Fletcher-Tanner Farm (#7). A son of David, Frink (1799-1881) acquired this farm from his widowed mother in 1834 and remained here his entire life. In 1850, the farm comprised 150 acres of improved and 30 of unimproved land; it was worth $3,000 plus $150 for implements and machinery. The value of the livestock was relatively low, only $340. The 84 sheep dominated the livestock, there being only one horse, one milch cow, six other cattle, and two swine in addition. Fletcher's principal field crop was oats (130 bushels), followed by Indian corn (50), Irish potatoes (20), wheat (17), and rye (8) along with three tons of hay. He made 175 pounds of butter, and his market garden produce was worth $15. Fletcher's production was substantially below that of two neighbors on comparably sized farms.
Lewis Allbee (1816-99), who married William Thayer, Jr.'s daughter, Sarah, and later acquired the Thayer-Allbee Farm (#9), owned the Fletcher-Cutler Farm (#4) on the Parker Hill Road during the period 1840-52. In 1850, the latter farm contained 125 acres - 25 being unimproved - and was worth $3,000 Plus $150 for implements and machinery. The livestock were valued at $790, and the 150 sheep undoubtedly accounted for a majority of that amount; nevertheless, Allbee did not report having produced any wool. There were three milch cows, and Allbee made 200 pounds each of butter and cheese. Other livestock included two working oxen, four "other cattle," two horses, and three swine. The field crops comprised 100 bushels each of corn and oats, 40 of potatoes, 30 of wheat, and 20 of rye. An anomaly appears in the case of the four tons of hay, that being several times less than the amounts harvested on the other major farms.
At the north edge of the Parker Hill community, William Gould owned the Gould-Hadwen Farm (#50) in addition to mills in the Black River valley to the northeast. (He would sell the farm in 1864 and move down to the valley.) The 300-acre farm, even though there were 97 acres of unimproved land, was valued at $4,350 plus $200 for implements and machinery. The livestock was worth $830. In this case, the number of sheep - 110 - was proportionately smaller than on other farms although the unusually large amount of 1,500 pounds of wool was produced. There were five milch cows, and 600 pounds of butter and 300 pounds of cheese were produced. Other livestock included six working oxen, ten other cattle, four swine, and one horse. Harvested among the field crops were 150 bushels of potatoes, 100 bushels each of corn and oats, and 20 bushels of wheat in addition to 80 tons of hay. Unspecified orchard products to the value of $60 were also reported.
The dominance of sheep raising on Parker Hill farms in 1850 and the presence of dairying as an important secondary activity corresponded to the general status in Vermont agriculture at the midpoint of the century. However, a major technological change was then underway in transportation that would precipitate expansion of dairying into Vermont's principal agricultural activity during the succeeding decades. The state's railroad network was being expanded at a feverish pace after the first line had been opened in 1848. Rail service would reduce travel time between Vermont farms and the urban centers of southern New England and New York to a few hours, and enable the shipment of perishable dairy products to much larger markets. Furthermore, in 1851, the Northern Railroad of New York (later the Rutland) introduced the iced butter car to make possible year-round shipments of a commodity previously transported only during the winter months.
The wall map of Windsor County published by Hosea Doton in 1855 shows the contemporary pattern of settlement in the Springfield portion of the historic district. Both roads leading westward over the hill to the Brockways Mills valley were then open. The map shows the tannery where Parker Hill Road crosses Commissary Brook. Samuel Rollins then owned not only the tannery and the house (#47) across the road but also a house (now gone) a short distance to the north opposite the Fletcher-Cutler Farm (#4) as well as the Harlow-Cutler Farm (#48) beyond. The map also shows a third house that subsequently disappeared; it was situated southeast of the Walker-Cutler Farm (#43) on the opposite side of Parker Hill Road, the southernmost house in Springfield on that road. Several other houses known to have existed previously in vicinity of the Parker Hill hamlet were already gone.
The counterpart wall map of Windham County was published in 1856 by C. McClellan. Inexplicably, that map does not show the Cross Road between Parker Hill and Lower Parker Hill Roads even though the earliest route of that road was officially laid out in 1784. Another road then open for travel does not appear on the McClellan map; the later-named Osgood Road was officially laid out over the hill to the Brockways Mills valley in 1781. Next to the Bolles Farm (#21), a schoolhouse is shown on the east side of the Parker Hill Road rather than the west side where the District No. 4 school later stood. The map does show on the later-named O'Brien Road a residence owned by F. Locke a short distance west of the residence of E. Locke (the Locke-O'Brien House, #27) where there now exists only a disturbed foundation. Another member of the Locke family then owned what later became the Weeden Farm (#35) on the Parker Hill Road nearby.
By the publication of the Beers atlases for Windsor and Windham Counties in 1869, numerous changes had occurred in ownership and development on Parker Hill. In the Springfield portion, the north road over the hill to the Brockways Mills valley does not appear, indicating that it had been abandoned. Samuel Rollins continued to own the house next to Commissary Brook but the tannery across the road is not shown.
The Beers map of Rockingham township, unlike the McClellan map, shows both the Cross Road and the Osgood Road. The latter, however, was apparently not being used beyond the James Rollins Farm; the section down the hill to the Brockways Mills valley appears in dashed lines.
The Rockingham map in the Beers atlas indicates that the Parker Hill Road crossing of the Rutland Railroad at the south edge of the historic district probably has been shifted from its original location. The map shows the road paralleling both sides of the railroad toward the east before actually crossing the track; the local terrain indicates that the crossing would almost certainly have been at grade. The Rockingham depot appears on the map to have been on the south side of the track near the location of the present railroad overpass (#29).
An imposing new house (#13) appeared about 1876 on Isaac Parker's original farmstead at what had been the Parker Hill hamlet in Springfield a half century earlier. Not only was it the only substantial house built in the vicinity during the latter half of the nineteenth century; it is the only fully developed representative of Italianate style in the historic district. The house was constructed for George Lewis Cutler (1825-1911) after his second marriage, to Martha McCarthy (1851-96). Cutler was then approaching the pinnacle of his success in sheep raising, and called his enterprise the Parker Hill Stock Farm.
An immense gable-front bank barn was connected to the shed wing of the Cutlers' new house. The barn would both shelter and hold hay for feeding several hundred sheep during the winter. It ranked among the largest barns in Vermont, and was crowned by a giant ventilating cupola bearing a weathervane in the form of a sheep. (The barn was used for dairy cows by a subsequent owner, William Hadwen, in the early 1900s, and was later removed.) To expedite the cutting of sufficient hay for so many sheep, Cutler acquired the first horse-drawn mowing machine on Parker Hill along with other new mechanical equipment.
A transfer of property in 1877 initiated one of longest-term family ownerships of any farm in the Rockingham portion of the historic district. A native of County Mead, Ireland, Patrick O'Brien (1852-1924) married Elizabeth Hadwen (1851-1911) in 1876. (Four years earlier, Elizabeth's relatives, Oliver and Sarah Hadwen, had acquired the former Gould farm, #50, in Springfield.) The following year, Patrick O'Brien purchased the former Locke farm (#27) on the road that would later bear his name. O'Brien became one of the first farmers on Parker Hill to undertake dairying as his primary enterprise, possibly influenced by his father-in-law who was another.
The Tenth Census of the United States in 1880 documents the transition then underway in Vermont agriculture from sheep raising to dairy farming. The production figures for Parker Hill farms show marked differences in their primary activity. Some farms remained fully committed to sheep raising while others combined both sheep and dairy cattle. A third group had shifted primarily to dairying. In addition to their primary activity, most of the farms continued to report a diversity of crops (including wheat) and other products. Relatively large amounts of maple sugar appeared in the output of several farms.
The persistent sheep farms were located in the Springfield portion of the historic district, and belonged to members of the Cutler family. Silas Cutler then owned the Fletcher-Cutler Farm (#4), whose acreage was divided among 50 tilled, 78 meadow-pasture, and 12 woodland-forest; the farm was valued at $4,000 and the implements and machinery at $75. Silas kept 200 sheep, vastly outnumbering the two milch cows, two working oxen, four other cattle, three horses, and one swine, all valued at $650. He clipped 1,200 pounds of wool and also made 300 pounds of butter. His field crops included 5 acres/200 bushels of corn, 5 acres/100 bushels of oats, 2 acres/33 bushels of wheat, 1 acre/17 bushels of buckwheat, and 1/2 acre/40 bushels of potatoes along with 50 tons of hay cut from 38 acres of mowings. His apple orchard of 50 trees yielded 50 bushels, and he made 400 pounds of maple sugar. The value of all his farm products for the year was $600.
Rivaling his Uncle Silas, Leon Cutler then owned the Walker Cutler Farm (#43), whose acreage included 100 tilled, 92 meadow pasture, and 8 woodland-forest; it was worth $4,000 and had $250 of implements and machinery. Leon also kept 200 sheep but only one milch cow, two oxen, five other cattle, two horses, and two swine; this livestock was valued at $2,000, far higher than Silas' comparable numbers of animals. Leon clipped 1,800 pounds of wool but did not report making any butter or cheese. He surpassed his uncle in field crops, growing 8 acres/400 bushels of corn, 5 acres/200 bushels of oats, 2 acres/50 bushels of barley, 2 acres/40 bushels of wheat, and 3/4 acre/100 bushels of potatoes plus 50 tons of hay cut on 80 acres of mowings. His orchard of 100 apple trees yielded only 50 bushels. The total value of his farm products was S750.
Leon's father, George Lewis Cutler, then greatly surpassed all other Parker Hill farmers in the extent of his agricultural enterprise. Living at the Parker Hill Stock Farm (#13), Lewis owned land there and elsewhere; he reported 125 acres of tilled, 425 acres of meadow-pasture, and 50 acres of woodland-forest. The cash value of his farm(s) was $13,000 augmented by $350 of implements and machinery. His livestock was valued at $4141, most of that amount relating to his 750 sheep, the largest flock on Parker Hill; he also kept two milch cows, two oxen, five horses, and two swine. He clipped 4,400 pounds of wool, and also made 150 pounds of butter. His field crops were correspondingly large: 16 acres/500 bushels of corn, 10 acres/300 bushels of barley, 8 acres/400 bushels of oats, 2 acres/150 bushels of potatoes, 1 1/2 acres/30 bushels of wheat, and 1 acre/10 bushels of buckwheat along with 150 tons of hay cut on 87 acre~ of mowings. His apple orchards contained 500 trees and yielded 250 bushels, and he made 400 pounds of maple sugar. The total value of his farm products for the year was $1,600.
The value of Lewis Cutler's production was nearly matched by another farmer, Oliver Hadwen, on the Gould-Hadwen Farm (#50) at the north edge of the historic district, whose output was worth $1,500. Hadwen, however, contrasted sharply with Cutler by owning half the acreage and operating a dairy farm. Hadwen's acreage was divided among 80 tilled, 180 meadow-pasture, and 60 woodland-forest; his farm was valued at $7,500 plus $200 of implements and machinery. His livestock had the relatively high value of $1,400 despite the small numbers: 20 milch cows, 8 other cattle, 8 sheep, 6 horses, and 1 swine. Hadwen used the milk from the cows to make 7,500 pounds of cheese (by far the largest quantity made on any Parker Hill farm) and 465 pounds of butter. Like the sheep farmers, Hadwen grew large amounts of corn (7 acres/350 bushels) and oats (9 acres/325 bushels) along with potatoes (2 1/2 acres/300 bushels), buckwheat (2 acres/23 bushels), and rye (1 acre/16 bushels); he cut 55 tons of hay on 58 acres of mowings. His apple orchard of 100 trees yielded 100 bushels of fruit. Hadwen achieved the largest production of maple sugar (1000 pounds) and syrup (30 gallons) on Parker Hill.
The farmers in the Rockingham portion of the historic district were generally engaged in dairy farming although some continued to keep medium-sized flocks of sheep. Illustrative of that combination was the farm (#35) owned by the Weeden brothers, Charles and Marshall, then the largest agricultural enterprise on the Rockingham side of Parker Hill. Their farm incorporated 100 acres of tilled land, 250 acres of meadow-pasture, and 90 acres of woodland-forest. Its cash value of $8,000 was augmented by implements and machinery worth $500, the largest amount among the Parker Hill farms; this indicates that the Weedens readily adopted the technological improvements being introduced in farm equipment during that period.
The Weedens owned significant numbers of both sheep (84) and dairy cows (7) along with 15 other cattle, three horses, and two swine, altogether worth $1,260. The lack of oxen indicates that the Weedens relied on the faster horses for farm work and used horse-drawn machinery. The farm's animal products were mainly wool (500 pounds), butter (600 pounds), and cheese (100 pounds). The principal field crop was oats (8 acres/371 bushels) followed by corn (6 acres/260 bushels), buckwheat (2 1/2 acres/54 bushels), and potatoes (1/2 acres/75 bushels) together with 90 tons of hay cut from 90 acres of mowings. The Weedens also had an orchard of 200 apple trees that yielded 170 bushels, and they made 200 pounds of maple sugar. The total value of their farm products for the year amounted to $1, 339.
Following the trend then underway in Vermont agriculture, Patrick O'Brien pursued dairying as his primary activity and did not own any sheep. His farm (#27) included 50 acres of tilled land, 135 of meadow-pasture, and only 25 of woodland-forest; its cash value was $4,200 plus $250 of implements and machinery. His dairy herd of 16 cows was the largest in the Rockingham portion of the historic district, and he also owned 11 other cattle, three horses, and four swine worth a total of $726. Like Oliver Hadwen in Springfield, O'Brien converted the large quantity of milk produced by his cows mostly to cheese (4550 pounds) and butter (300 pounds). His field crops included corn (6 acres/300 bushels), oats (6 acres/220 bushels), potatoes (2 acres/150 bushels), and buckwheat (1 acre/10 bushels) along with 40 tons of hay cut from 34 acres of mowings. His apple orchard of 100 trees yielded 112 bushels, and he made 250 pounds of maple sugar. The value of his farm products for the year was $970.
The Haseltine-Carey Farm (#8) had been greatly expanded in scale since the 1850 census. A prior resident of Landgrove, Vermont, Dexter R. Way purchased the farm in 1867 from John and Hannah Thayer for $6,200, and then enlarged it in 1872 by buying additional land from Charles Holt for $2,300. In 1883, Way sold an undivided half-interest in the farm to Leonard and Orpha Thompson but retained his share until the 1899 sale to Clarence and Ernest Carey for the deflated amount of $4,000.
In 1880, Way was engaged primarily in dairying. The farm's acreage comprised 60 tilled, 240 meadow-pasture, and 50 woodland forest; the property was then worth $7,000 plus $150 for implements and machinery. The livestock included eight dairy cows, two oxen, 42 other cattle, two horses, and five swine, with a total value of $1,540. (The large number of "other cattle" suggests that Way also may have been a dealer in cattle.) Like the other dairy farmers, Way used most of his milk for making butter (1050 pounds), but did not report any cheese. His field crops were dominated by corn (6 acres/450 bushels) followed by oats (3 1/2 acres/270 bushels), wheat (2 acres/30 bushels), and potatoes (1/2 acre/100 bushels); additionally, he cut 60 tons of hay on 45 acres of mowings. His apple orchard of 200 trees yielded 260 bushels, and he made 800 pounds of maple sugar. The total value of his farm products was $1,106 for the year.
The business directories in Hamilton Child's gazetteers for Windham and Windsor Counties identify the residents of Parker Hill and their occupational activities in 1883-84. These sources document that sheep raising continued as a major activity on Parker Hill farms, especially those in the Springfield portion. The Child directories are especially useful for identifying some of the specific breeds of livestock then being raised.
Child gives only scant information about some of the Rockingham farms in the historic district, indicating that their owners did not subscribe to his publication. An exception, the Weeden Brothers, Charles E. and Marshall F., are described as "wool growers, breeders of Durham and Holstein cattle" in addition to having a maple "sugar orchard" of 125 trees on their farm (#35). Uphill from the Weeden farm, Fred Gammell then owned the 260-acre Gammell-Bolles Farm (#21) but his principal activities are not given (he probably refused to subscribe). The largest farm in terms of acreage (500) then belonged to Chester Hadwen (#19) at the corner of Parker Hill and Cross Roads, but again Child does not list any specific agricultural activity. Calvin Brown, on the other hand, is identified as "wool grower 100 sheep, and farmer 160" acres on the Glynn-Brown Farm (#38).
Near the Springfield town boundary on the Lower Parker Hill Road (and having a Springfield address), Lewis Albee [sic] combined dairying and sheep raising on his 250-acre farm (#9); he kept a small dairy herd of eight cows and was a "breeder Spanish Merino sheep, registered." The Allbee farm (#28) just uphill from the railroad was probably then being operated by George B. Allbee, "tinsmith and farmer, works for Lewis L. Albee [sic] of Bellows Falls." Harriet Goodnow, widow of Leonard, is listed as a farmer with 90 acres on the Parker Hill Road south of the O'Brien Road, however, it is not known where she actually lived.
Not all the residents in the Rockingham portion of the historic district were involved in farming. Living near the railroad track were three employees of the Central Vermont Railroad, the contemporary lessee of the Rutland Railroad. These included Edward B. Biglow, the agent at Rockingham depot as well as the local section boss for maintenance-of-way, and two "track hands." Biglow may have lived either in the extant house (#30) on the north side of the track or in the depot itself (later removed) on the opposite side.
The Child directory for the Springfield portion of the historic district yields somewhat more specific information about the agricultural activities then being conducted by the resident farmers. At the northern edge of the district, Oliver R. Hadwen operated the largest dairy farm (#50) on Parker Hill. He kept a herd of 21 cows in addition to being a "breeder of full blood Ayrshire cattle" and an "agent for Walter A. Wood's reapers and mowers, Champion horse rake, Eddy plow and Mosely & Stoddard creamery and churns." Oliver Hadwen was assisted on the farm by his son, Chester B. Hadwen, who is listed as being a ³breeder of pure blood Bronze turkeys, and full blood Ayrshire cattle." As reported in the 1880 Agricultural Census, Oliver Hadwen made large quantities of cheese, and his choice of cattle breed reflected the widely held preference for Ayrshire milk for that purpose.
Probably during this period, Chester's wife, Emily, made a painting that delineates clearly the Gould-Hadwen farmstead's cluster of numerous outbuildings. The same year that the Child directory was compiled (1883), Chester and Emily Hadwen purchased the 500-acre farm (#19) previously owned by Luke and William White in the Rockingham portion of the historic district; they operated it successfully until retiring in 1919 .
South of the Gould-Hadwen Farm, members of the Cutler family dominated the Parker Hill farming community in Springfield. Silas A. Cutler (born 1829) continued to own the Fletcher-Cutler Farm (#4), having a "flock of 150 Spanish Merino sheep" and being a "wool grower" with 200 sheep overall. He augmented this by having a maple "sugar orchard" of 200 trees and a fruit orchard [probably apples] of 100 trees.
George Lewis Cutler, the so-called "King Cutler," was then at the height of his success and living in the Italianate house (#13) built the previous decade after his second marriage. Child lists George L. as the "prop. of Parker Hill stock farm, breeder of pure blood Spanish sheep, flock of 100, flock of 650 sheep [non-Merino], breeder of horses, and farmer 800" acres. The 800 acres of land included other farms in the vicinity, and he also owned land in other towns, including a farm in the adjacent town of Chester. A son of George Lewis by his first wife, Charles D. Cutler, is listed simply as "farmer," suggesting that he was assisting his father rather than living on the Cutler-Gulick Farm (#2) that he owned later.
Diagonally across Parker Hill Road to the southwest, another son of George Lewis by his first marriage, Leon A. Cutler (1855 1942), was settled on the Walker-Cutler Farm (#43) that he had purchased from his father in 1876 and where he would stay the rest of his long life. Leon was also heavily engaged in sheep raising, being a "breeder of Spanish Merino sheep, flock of 300, and farmer 200" acres.
The Fletcher family that was pre-eminent in the Parker Hill community at the beginning of the nineteenth century continued to own only the farm (#7) on the Lower Parker Hill Road settled by Peter and David. A member of the third generation to live there, Charles O. Fletcher, then operated the farm. Charles shared his neighbors' interest in sheep but not exclusively; according to Child, he was a "breeder of Spanish Merino sheep, breeder of horses, grade Durham cattle." In addition to the 175-acre home farm, Charles worked 165 acres belonging to the estate of his father, Frink, the previous owner. Also living on the farm was Charles' widowed mother, Esther.
The former Damon farm (#1) at the northeast corner of the historic district was then owned by the Herrick family. Russell S. and Simon H. Herrick were farmers together, sharing the 230 acre farm. Furthermore, Simon was a carpenter, and presumably was involved in some of the nearby building activity during that period.
Two other persons living on the Parker Hill Road are listed in the Child directory with the occupation of "carpenter and builder." Lyman H. and Richard H. Halladay shared that trade while Richard also was a farmer with 17 acres. However, it is not known specifically where the Halladays resided, nor what building activity they accomplished.
Only two years after the publication of Child's Windsor County gazetteer, the last Fletcher family departed from Parker Hill. In 1885, George Tanner from Danby, Vermont purchased the Fletcher farm (#7) on the Lower Parker Hill Road. Tanner married Emma Hadwen, whose parents owned the Gould-Hadwen Farm (#50) farther north on the Parker Hill Road. The Tanners became prominent members of the local agricultural community, being especially active in the Grange. George Tanner raised a multitude of crops and livestock, and exemplified the diversified farming that persisted throughout the nineteenth century in Vermont. He became well-known for his prize-winning fruits - "currants and gooseberries, both red and yellow raspberries, blackberries, grapes, apples, pears, plums, and quinces."
The status of sheep raising in Vermont changed dramatically during the 1880s. The number of sheep in the state had declined to 1,377,296 by 1886. The production of wool both in the western states and in Australia and New Zealand was increasing rapidly, and depressing the price. George Lewis Cutler was caught with 20,000 pounds that he was finally forced to sell at a great loss. He then went bankrupt and lost his Parker Hill farms. The law allowed him to keep a small number of animals for making another start, and he moved temporarily to a farm in the Connecticut River valley. After a few years, he returned to Parker Hill and acquired the Harlow-Cutler Farm (#48) within sight of the Italianate house (#13) that had been his previous residence. He proceeded to raise turkeys and apples, and apparently managed to repay his debts prior to his death in 1911.
A small industry related to dairy farming came into existence on Parker Hill probably during the last quarter of the nineteenth century. A cheese factory was built next to the brook on the southwest side of the intersection of the Parker Hill and Cross Roads. This enterprise gave the nearby farmers a market for some of their fresh milk. Little is known about the factory other than that it was used temporarily for Grange meetings after the great fire of 1908 destroyed most of Rockingham village. (The factory building subsequently disappeared.)
Accompanying the expansion of Parker Hill dairying, new and larger barns were erected to accommodate both the increasing numbers of cows and the quantity of hay required to feed them during the winter. A huge gable-front banked barn was constructed on the Haseltine-Carey Farm (#8) either in the late nineteenth century or just after Clarence A. and Ernest L. Carey of Lempster, New Hampshire purchased the farm for $4,000 in the fall of 1899. Probably rivaling the scale of the similar banked barn then connected to the Lewis and Martha Cutler House (#13), this barn was intended for cattle rather than sheep like the Cutler barn.
The front of the Carey barn appears in a photograph from 1906. That photograph, however, does not reveal whether the barn extended the entire 125 feet in length between the stone foundation walls that enclose three sides of the basement and now constitute the only surviving remnants on the site. The circular stone foundation of a silo abuts the inside of the north foundation wall about halfway along its length, indicating that an interior silo was present. If the silo was original to the barn, it constituted a early example of its type; the first cylindrical silos in Vermont appeared around the turn of the century. In any case, it was a progressive attempt to improve the quality of feed and thereby increase the milk production of the dairy herd during the winter months.
The ongoing need to generate additional income led to a different kind of economic activity on many Vermont farms during the late nineteenth century. Summer tourists were coming to the state by train in increasing numbers, and some of them were attracted by the opportunity to spend weeks or even months living on farms in bucolic settings at much lower cost than at hotels and resorts. Most large farmhouses would have one or more spare bedrooms, and one or more additional persons at the table would not require much additional food preparation in the usually extended families. This activity spread to Parker Hill owing in part to its proximity to excellent passenger service from Boston, New York, and Montreal; numerous through trains stopped daily at nearby Bellows Falls and some paused also at Rockingham depot.
The Walker-Cutler Farm (#43) became a notable focus of summer-boarder activity around the turn of the twentieth century. Indeed, the c. 1905 addition of the two-bedroom second story on the house's rear ell may have been done specifically for the purpose of accommodating such guests. Addie Cutler achieved reputation for serving "sumptuous board" to her temporary residents, who paid five dollars per week for their room and meals. Some of them came back year after year to share the pastoral life on Parker Hill.
The population of the Parker Hill community both declined and aged during the first two decades of the twentieth century. In Rockingham, owing partly to the disruption caused by the First World War, the number of students at the District No. 4 school decreased to eight during the fall and winter terms of 1916-17 and ten during the spring. That enrollment tied with the school in the adjoining district of Brockways Mills for being the lowest among the seven rural schools remaining in the township. The enrollment in District No. 4 plummeted to three during the next school year, and the Rockingham school report records that the school was closed in December, 1917, and the students were transferred to another school. The teacher in the No. 4 school that point was Winifred Maloney, whose family lived on a nearby farm. She had six years' teaching experience, and was paid $500.00 for the year. The school was reopened briefly during the 1920s, and then closed permanently in 1930 when it became less expensive to transport the students elsewhere. (The building was sold and later destroyed by fire.)
The District No. 15 or Tanyard School on the Springfield side of the town boundary went through a similar decline, and finally was closed in 1922. A photograph taken about 1906 shows it to have been a plain one-story, three-by-three-bay, clapboarded, gable roofed building with a diminutive corner ell ~presumably the privy); it was entered by a four-panel door and lighted by six over-six sash. The only decorative feature was a cornice molding along the eaves and short gable returns. (This schoolhouse was subsequently torn down when the road intersection was changed.)
Around the turn of the twentieth century, the rail shipment of fluid milk from Vermont to the urban centers began to occur. The Boston Dairy Co. constructed a creamery in Bellows Falls about1906, and some Parker Hill farmers were almost certainly among its suppliers, taking their cans of milk to Rockingham depot. That creamery, however, was only the precursor of a much larger counterpart that followed fifteen years later. A cooperative of dairy farmers in southeastern Vermont was organized in 1920 to establish a better outlet for their milk, and the Bellows Falls Co-operative Creamery opened the next year. The modern concrete processing plant near the Bellows Falls railroad station bottled milk and cream for shipment by insulated milk car to Boston. The co-operative secured a long-term contract with First National Stores for retail sales under the brand name of "Brookside Milk "
The advent of fluid milk shipment to urban markets brought greatly increased concern about sanitary handling at the farms where the milk was produced. State health regulations were adopted in the 1920s to require the construction of separate buildings for cooling milk and cleansing equipment. These little single-story, one-room milkhouse appeared on several Parker Hill farms, including the Fletcher-Tanner (#7), Gould-Hadwen (#50), and, later, the Damon-Baker (#1) farms (only these examples have survived to the present).
Three dairy farmers on the Rockingham side of Parker Hill were principals in the organization of the Bellows Falls Co-operative Creamery. Hugh F. O'Brien of the Locke-O'Brien Farm (#27) and Frank W. Weeden of the Weeden Farm (#35) belonged to its original board of directors (and served as officers into the 1950s). Another organizer, John B. Abbott of the Allbee-Abbott Farm (#28), brought the first milk to the newly opened plant.
While O'Brien and Weeden were heirs to the Parker Hill farms owned by their fathers, John Abbott (1883-1963) came from a much more cosmopolitan background albeit a native Vermonter himself. After graduating from the University of Vermont, he took a graduate degree from Purdue University and remained there to become professor of chemistry. In 1916, he moved to a teaching position at the University of Massachusetts, and while there two years later he purchased the former Allbee farm in Rockingham. (His wife, Myra, came from the adjoining town of Westminster.) Abbott then hired a member of another prominent Parker Hill farming family, Milton Cutler (son of Charles), to manage the farm. Milton held that position throughout the 1920s, and started the practice of hauling milk by truck directly from Parker Hill farms to the Bellows Falls creamery.
John Abbott's career shifted in 1925 when he joined the National Fertilizer Association as a specialist in hayland and pasture. Seven years later, he became Director of Research for the American Cyanamid Co. and during the following decade he worked closely with the agricultural experiment stations of many state universities, studying and lecturing throughout the United States and Canada. In 1930 and 1937, he attended as a delegate and speaker two International Grassland Congresses in Great Britain.
In 1942, Abbott "retired" to his Rockingham farm where he applied the theory and practice of grassland farming. He achieved a successful adaptation of the Hohenheim system of rotational grazing and pasture management. Dividing his usable acreage, he devoted 60 per cent to grazing and 40 per cent to raising winter feed. The pasture was further subdivided into seven separate enclosures. During the months (May-June) of most productive growth, cows were allowed to graze on three or four of the rougher areas. The other areas were mechanically harvested and the crop was stored as ensilage (with beet pulp added as a preservative) for feeding during the later summer months of much reduced pasture growth. Abbott chose to grow a mixture of grasses and perennial legumes for meadow crops and corn for the major grain crop that he ensiled for winter feed.
The first major architectural expression of Abbott's progressive practices appeared about 1930, when the main dairy barn (#28C) was erected across the road from the farmhouse. Not only was it the first modern dairy barn in the historic district; it was unlike most of the dairy barns then being built in Vermont. Its design probably came from the extension service of a middle western university, being distinguished by an expansive arched (or bowed gambrel) roof framed with laminated rafters. The barn's ground-level cow stable was surmounted by a cavernous loft for storage of the hay needed by Abbott's large dairy herd. One cylindrical silo and later another were erected next to the barn for ensilage. A smaller barn (#28B) of similar design was built a decade later for young cattle.
The onset of the Great Depression about 1930 was accompanied by a profound change in the traditional pattern of land ownership and occupancy on Parker Hill. Like so-called hill farms throughout Vermont, agricultural enterprise was discontinued on some of the Parker Hill farms. Furthermore, an unprecedented transfer of ownership in 1931 conveyed the Thayer-Albee Farm (#9) not to another resident farmer but to an out-of-state (Indiana) resident who intended to live there only during the summer. This was the first of several transactions during the same decade that transferred Parker Hill farms from resident farmers to non-resident or part-time resident owners from New York or other metropolitan areas.
While agriculture was being discontinued on some Parker Hill farms, a major shift of activity was undertaken on the Gammell Bolles Farm (#21) in Rockingham. Poultry raising had emerged in Vermont during the early twentieth century as an important and profitable enterprise; by 1936, it contributed (after dairying) the second largest amount of income on the state's farms. That same year, Francis A. Bolles, a Bellows Falls lawyer, together with Frank W. Weeden, owner of the nearby Weeden Farm (#35), started the large-scale raising of turkeys under the name of Green Mountain Turkey Farm.
Bolles and Weeden either built or adapted an existing barn into a five-story turkey barn (later demolished), and the enterprise became the largest White Holland turkey farm in New England. The farm won three Grand Champion awards during the late 1930s and early 1940s at the Boston Poultry Show. After the second World War, poultry raising in Vermont gradually declined, and Parker Hill's dominant turkey business ended about 1952.
Meanwhile, John Abbott at the Allbee-Abbott Farm (#28) entered a different kind of poultry business about 1945, when a chicken barn (#28D) was added to his farm complex. Abbott produced hatching eggs for Hubbard Farms, a major supplier of chicks in Walpole, New Hampshire. After adding a second barn (later removed), Abbott expanded his flock to 1,200 laying hens by 1955.
During the last two years of the 1930s, four adjacent farms in the Springfield part of the historic district were purchased by out-of-state residents. All of these owners eventually moved to Parker Hill and have retained possession of the farmsteads during the succeeding half-century to the present. Ralph C. and Helen M. Baker acquired the adjacent Gould-Hadwen (#50) and former Charles Cutler (#2) farms in 1938. The following year, they purchased the adjoining former Samuel Damon farm (#1) and sold the former Cutler farm to Charles and Gertrude Gulick.
Also in 1939, Stuart and Marion Eldredge joined the group by purchasing the Fletcher-Cutler Farm (#4) to the south. Stuart Eldredge subsequently created a unique visual record of the Parker Hill historic environment by painting many evocative scenes of its buildings and landscapes during the next four decades, showing several barns and outbuildings that have since been removed. Several of those paintings are reproduced in the book, Hamlet in the Hills, the history of the Parker Hill community written by Gladness Wharton Luce, who resided on the Fletcher-Tanner Farm (#7) during the period 1941-77. The Eldredges also made an architecturally significant change in the Fletcher-Cutler House by installing a high-style Federal entrance ensemble that had been salvaged from the demolished Hetty Green House in Bellows Falls village.
In a manner somewhat similar to what John Abbott did on the Allbee-Abbott Farm (#28) at the south edge of the historic district, Ralph Baker undertook medium-scale commercial dairy farming on the former Damon farm (#1). He proceeded to enlarge the barn, build the twin silos and the milkhouse, and make other improvements while expanding the herd to about thirty Jersey milking cows, the actual operation being conducted by resident manager. This enterprise continued until it proved sufficiently unprofitable that Baker abandoned it in 1958. Subsequently, however, the farm buildings have been carefully maintained, and the Damon-Baker farmstead now retains a higher degree of historic integrity than most of its Parker Hill counterparts.
Baker's experience reflected the accelerating downward spiral of Vermont agriculture during the 1950s and 1960s. Many factors caused and compounded this trend. Only the most efficient and committed farmers could survive under the constraints of limited acreage of prime soils, inflating Prices (except those paid for agricultural products), rising property taxes, development pressures, highway relocation (often through the best farmland), and labor scarcity. Furthermore, the state's economic policy was intentionally skewed away from agriculture (perceived as a declining industry) and toward the recreational development that was exacerbating the problems in farming. And new regulations requiring the installation of expensive bulk-tank milk handling systems in place of the traditional milk cans were the final blow to many farms throughout the state.
Countering the general trend, John Abbott continued his highly successful dairy and poultry farming through the 1950s. In 1952, the Sixth International grassland Congress was held in Pennsylvania, and a group of about sixty delegates came to Rockingham to view Abbott's farm and his innovative practices in raising forage crops. Then for three years (1955-57), Abbott received the "Progressive Breeders' Registry Award" from the Holstein-Friesian Association of America for his herd of 60 registered Holstein cows. Other awards and citations followed during the next several years in recognition of Abbott's achievements as both an internationally recognized agronomist and a practicing farmer.
Other events during the 1960s exerted adverse influence on Parker Hill agriculture. The northward construction of an Interstate express highway reached Rockingham in 1962, opening through routes from the urban centers of southern New England and New York and reducing travel times to a few hours. This occurred concurrently with the rapid development of downhill ski areas in towns near Rockingham, and brought a sudden increase in the demand for recreational houses or small lots for the construction of same. Located conveniently near the Interstate highway and the state highway (Route 103) leading to several ski areas, Parker Hill began to attract out-of-state purchasers of houses and land (including entire farms - but not for agricultural purposes). An event more specifically detrimental to dairy farming occurred in 1964 when the Bellows Falls Co-operative Creamery lost its contract to supply milk and cream to the First National Stores. The creamery stopped most processing the same year, and ceased operation at the end of 1965.
Responding to the increasing demand for both year-round houses, the owners of some Parker Hill farms began to subdivide small lots from their land for the construction of modern houses. This occurred, for example, during the 1960s at the Walker-Cutler Farm (#43) where such lots were subdivided in a large apple orchard on the east side of Parker Hill Road and on the rougher pastured terrain across the road and south of the cluster of farm buildings. The contemporary owners of the farm, David and Marjorie Russell, kept the last dairy herd in the Springfield portion of the historic district until discontinuing the business in the early 1960s. (They continued farming part time, raising Welsh-Hackney ponies for a decade thereafter.)
Parker Hill agriculture lost its leading figure in 1963 with the death of John Abbott, and the extraordinary vitality of his farm did not endure. A large increase in the size of the dairy herd and the construction of a new barn were soon followed by the farm's financial failure and the collapse of both the new barn and the main dairy barn (#28C) around 1970. The last commercial dairy farm in the historic district thereby came to an abrupt end. Subsequently the largest of Abbott's carefully managed hayfields has been subdivided and two modern houses (#s 31 and 32) have been built along its north edge, although a local farmer continues to cut hay on the remainder.
An event in the early 1970s at the Gammell-Bolles Farm (#21) marked the symbolic demise of commercial agriculture on Parker Hill and the conclusion of nearly two centuries of intensive agricultural activities. The farm was sold to non-residential owners whose primary interest was occasional recreational usage. They proceeded to demolish the huge dairy/turkey barn in order to improve the view southeastward from the house toward the Connecticut River valley. Not only did the Gammell-Bolles Farm thereby lose its principal agricultural building; Parker Hill lost a unique representative of a large-scale, twentieth-century agricultural enterprise. Subsequently the open fields of the farm have been partly subdivided and two modern houses have been built in them, thereby altering their agricultural character.
The historic farmhouse and other outbuildings remain at the Gammell-Bolles Farm, and the current owners have revived some agricultural activities while using the farm to raise horses. This has become the notable exception among the farms in the Rockingham portion of the Parker Hill district. After nearly a century of Weeden family farming ended on the nearby Weeden Farm (#35), the large dairy barn was removed about 1970 and the fields have not been mowed in recent years. At the Locke-O'Brien Farm (#27) on O'Brien Road, only the historic farmhouse remains standing, used occasionally for recreational purposes by an absentee owner. Along the opposite side of the road (outside the historic district), the last barn was dismantled about 1985 and the overgrowing fields have been partly subdivided into small lots for modern houses.
An attempt was made during the middle 1980s by an out-of-state corporation to expand the scale of land subdivision and development on Parker Hill to an unprecedented degree. The company purchased a relatively large tract of land south of the Gammell-Bolles Farm (#21) for the purpose of creating a multi-lot subdivision, and began clear-cutting the second-growth forest and constructing roads without the required state permits. A legal intervention forced the company to cease work but not before several acres were stripped of trees and crude roads were bulldozed through the area adjoining the east side of the Parker Hill Road. The ongoing litigation has left the landscape in that severely disturbed condition for some years now, and the ultimate resolution of the case appears uncertain.
A different kind of threat to the integrity of the historic district emerged during the late 1980s. Another out-of-state corporation proposed to construct a pipeline for transporting natural gas from Canada diagonally across Vermont to reach urban markets in Massachusetts. The route selected for the pipeline would take it diagonally across the Springfield portion of the historic district. A pumping station would stand in the vicinity of the Gear-Rollins (#47) and Fletcher-Cutler (#4) houses, creating a serious intrusion in one of the here-to-fore least altered areas of the historic district. Various financial and regulatory problems have brought this project to at least a temporary halt prior to the onset of construction.
Responding to these challenges, several residents have formed the Parker Hill Association in an attempt to achieve a position of collective strength. Members have become actively involved both in the cases of the unpermitted clear-cutting and road building and the planned pipeline project. The Association has initiated the current nomination of the Parker Hill Rural Historic District to the National Register of Historic Places, the funding for which has been provided by the Town of Rockingham (a Certified Local Government) and the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation.
At the present time (1990), the Parker Hill historic environment is at a pivotal juncture in its evolution. Much physical evidence of its traditional agricultural character remains on the farmsteads, both in the extant buildings and the surrounding landscape. Agricultural activity, however, has dwindled to the verge of extinction. Unneeded or scarcely used outbuildings are being undermaintained and then lost to attrition. The fields and pastures have virtually ceased to grow crops (other than hay) or to feed animals, and the relentless advance of brush and trees continues to encroach on the remaining open areas. Meanwhile, the landscape appears aesthetically superior to other parts of Vermont and, especially, more heavily developed states to the south, and the demand increases for small residential lots carved from the farmland. Several long-term owners of Parker Hill farmsteads have reached advanced ages or recently died, increasing the probability of their sale and subdivision. And major development projects are impinging from without. The integrity of the historic district now hangs in the balance.
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Town of Rockingham Records, Vol. 26, Highways. Available at the Town Clerk's Office, Bellows Falls, Vt.
Town of Rockingham Land Records. Several volumes from late eighteenth through twentieth centuries. Available at the Town Clerk's Office, Bellows Falls, Vt.
Nineteenth and early twentieth-century photographs of Parker Hill buildings in the collection of Vaughn Hadwen, Springfield, Vt.
Personal interviews conducted by Hugh H. Henry of the following current or former residents of the Parker Hill area during the period April-July, 1990:
Beers, F. W. Atlas of Windham County, Vermont. New York: F. W. Beers, A. D. Ellis, and G. G. Soule, 1869.
Beers, F. W. Atlas of Windsor County, Vermont. New York: F. W. Beers, A. D. Ellis, and G. G. Soule, 1869.
Chace, J., Jr. McClellan's Map of Windham County, Vermont. Philadelphia: C. McClellan and Co., 1856. Scale: 1 inch = mile.
Doton, Hosea. Map of Windsor County, Vermont From Actual Surveys. Pomfret, Vt., 1855. Scale: 1 inch = 1 mile.
Map of Highways Laid Out in the Town of Rockingham, Vermont. S. L. Ruggles, Civil Engineer. 1932. Scale: 1 inch = 2000 feet. Bound in Plan Book No. 3, Town of Rockingham. Available at the Town Clerk's Office, Bellows Falls, Vt.
Proposed Parker Hill Historic District. Prepared by Kenton Stringham, Parker Hill, Springfield, Vt. November, 1988. Scale: 1 inch = 417 feet.
Official Vermont Base Map. Rockingham and Cobble Hill Sheets. Series 5000 1974. Vermont Department of Taxes, Montpelier, Vt. Scale: 1:5000.
Aerial photograph No. VT-62-H, 36-38 showing Rockingham-Parker Hill Road area. Photograph taken November 9, 1962.
Aerial photograph No. VBM-6824, 6-95 showing Rockingham -Parker Hill Road area. Photograph taken in 1968?
DATE ENTERED: Entered May 20, 1993.
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