Windsor Village Historic District
Municipality: Windsor, VT
Location: Windsor Village
Site Type: Historic District
Vt Survey No: --
UTMs: (Zone 18) UTMs: 711515/4817805. B. 711515/4816790. C. 711125/4816790. D. 711125/4817805
National Register Nomination Information:
The Windsor Village Historic District includes contiguous residential and commercial sections along Main Street, Depot Avenue, and State Street through and including Court Square. Within the district there are approximately 45 either architecturally or historically significant buildings which reflect, primarily, the commercial and industrial prosperity of the village from the 1780s through the 1930s and which represent, architecturally, a significant spectrum of domestic, religious, commercial, and quasi-public building types and commonly associated architectural styles. Stylistically, the buildings are predominantly Federal for the domestic and Italianate revival for the commercial with at least one significant example of Georgian, Classical, Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, Romanesque, High Victorian Gothic, and Georgian Revival.
While Main Street functions as the major north-south axis of the district with Depot Avenue and State Street through and including Court Square tangent at its midsection, the street's slightly winding course prevents a continuous visual cohesiveness. Cohesiveness throughout the district is achieved by strategically positioned architectural landmarks which act both as either axial pivots or terminal focal points connecting visually cohesive sections of the district with each other and as transition points from one section of the village streetscape to the next.
Proceeding south from the Old Constitution House (78) along Main Street, the northern end of Main Street between the Old Constitution House and the Baptist Church (71) is thickly tree lined and strictly residential in character,the houses generally well spaced from each other and uniformly set back from the street. Approaching the Baptist Church, the street rises gradually and bends slightly to the south, southwest, the Unitarian Church (14) and a small supermarket north of the Windsor House (69) on the opposite side of the street. A new pseudo-Federal style bank building is presently (1975) being erected on a section of the supermarket parking lot, which will partially restore the visual continuity of the streetscape along this section of Main Street.
The streetscape visually narrows in front of the Windsor House and the United States Post Office (15) directly across the street marking the beginning of the villages commercial section. Building density in this section is high with the buildings forming a uniform facade line and fronting directly on the street. From this point looking down the street Old South Congregational Church (38) dominates the streetscape approximately one-quarter of a mile to the south at the high point of another gradual rise and a slight bend back to the south of the southern end of Main Street.
On the east, several buildings past the post office, Main Street is intersected by Depot Avenue, which descends down to the Windsor Railroad Station (20). A small open park, the original location of the Old Constitution House, occupies the southeast corner of the intersection. On the west side just beyond Depot Avenue, Main Street is intersected by State Street, which descends from the south side of Court Square. At the head of State Street opposite the southeast corner of the square, the streetscape is dominated by St. Paul's Episcopal Church (48), which projects slightly into the street forcing it to narrow somewhat as it ascends to the square. Court Square, the historic center of the village, is a large tree-bordered open park surrounded by residences, the Windsor Public Library (51) on the south, and the Windsor Town Hall (60) on the east.
Proceeding south along Main Street from State Street, the street's commercial character begins to peter out beyond River Street and become more residential as the streetscape opens up in front of the Masonic Hall (41) and the Knights of Columbus House (40) perched high above the street to the west on a steep tree-covered embankment. Beyond Old south Congregational Church, which is partially isolated from the other buildings on the west side of the street by extensive tree-covered cemeteries on the north and south, the predominantly residential character of the street continues to the end of the district marked by the Rachel Harlow Methodist Church on the northwest corner of Main and Durkee Streets. The visual integrity of the district falls off immediately to the north and the south with the encroachment of strip developments and drive-in roadside architecture.
The architecturally significant buildings within the district are:
3. Jesse Lull House. Federal style, 1806.
15. United States Post Office. Italianate Revival style, 1852.
16. Tuxbury Block. High Victorian Italianate style, 1898.
20. Central Vermont Railway Station, Windsor. Vernacular Romanesque style, circa 1905.
35. Rachel Harlow Methodist Church. High Victorian Gothic style, 1895.
38. Old South Congregational Church. Federal style, 1798, 1844, 1879 and 1922.
48. St. Paul's Episcopal Church. Classical style, 1822.
56. McIndoe House. Gothic Revival style, 1840.
60. Windsor Town Hall (American Legion Hall). Romanesque style, 1888.
67. Pettes-Journal Block (Vermont National Bank). Federal style, 1824.
69. Windsor House. Greek Revival style, 1836.
72. Abner Forbes House. Federal style, 1796.
73. Zebina Curtis-William Maxwell Evarts House. Georgian style, 1796.
74. John Skinner House. Federal style, circa 1820.
76. Simeon Ide House. Federal style, circa 1825.
7. Samuel Patrick, Jr. House. Federal style, circa 1825.
36. Clement Pettes House. Federal style, circa 1825.
37. Shubael Wardner House.Federal style, circa 1825.
52. Rufus Emerson-Gilbert Davis House. Federal style, 1831.
54. Johonnot House. Federal style, circa 1830.
70. Thomas Emerson-Edwin Stoughton House (Old Windsor Hospital). Federal style, 1836, and
The historically significant buildings in this district are:
33. Reuben Dean House, circa 1770 and 1899.
61. Old Windsor County Courthouse (Carleton Hall), 1784.
78. Old Constitution House, circa 1776.
Inventory of Structures Located Within the Windsor Village Historic District, Windsor, Vermont.
1. House, 9 Main Street: 2-1/2 story, clapboarded, frame, hiproofed, circa 1900, vernacular Queen Anne.
2. House, 15 Main Street: 2-1/2 story, clapboarded, frame, hiproofed, circa 1900, vernacular Queen Anne.
3. Jesse Lull House, 17 Main Street: see Description.
4. Carlos Coolidge House, 21 Main Street: see Description.
5. Naham Trask; House 25 Main Street: 2-1/2 story, clapboarded, frame, gable-roofed, Federal style I-House with symmetrically paired, interior chimney stacks on rear elevation; entablatures above first-story windows; pediment supported by pilasters framing entrance and fanlight. The house was erected by Naham Trask in 1796 and is similar, architecturally, to the Abner Forbes House (72).
6. House, 29 Main Street: 2-1/2 story, clapboarded, frame, gable-roofed, circa 1890, vernacular Queen Anne.
7. Samuel Patrick, Jr. House, 33 Main Street. see Description.
8. Luther Mills House, 35 Main Street: 1-1/2 story, clapboarded, frame, gable-roofed, Gothic Revival style cottage with scroll sawn, trefoil patterned vergeboards. The house was erected by Luther Mills in circa 1840 and is a simplified version of the McIndoe House (46).
9. House, 37 Main Street: 1-1/2 story, clapboarded, frame, gable-roofed.
10. House, 39 Main Street: 1-1/2 story, clapboarded, frame, gable-roofed.
11. Congregational Parsonage, 41 Main Street: 1-1/2 story, clapboarded, frame, gable-roofed.
12. House, 43 Main Street: 1-1/2 story, clapboarded, frame, gable-roofed.
13. House, 49 Main Street: 2-1/2 story, clapboarded, frame, hip-roofed.
14. Unitarian Church, Main Street: 1-1/2 story, clapboarded, frame, gable-roofed, Gothic Revival style church with front gable elevation; gothic-arched fenestration; steeplyspired, tiered octagonal bell tower. Erected in 1846.
15. United States Post Office, Main Street: see Description.
16. Tuxbury Block, 61 Main Street; see Description.
17. Stone Tracy Block 65 Main Street: 3-story, brick, flat-roofed, Italianate Revival style commercial building with early twentieth century storefront beneath entablature; segmentalarched, hooded windows; stamped tin, bracketed, modillion cornice; wall surfaces divided into recessed panels which rise height of building. The block was erected in 1888 and is similar, architecturally to the Amsdell Block (18) and the commercial blocks located at 15 State Street (51 and 52).
18. Amsden Block, 23 Depot Avenue 2story brick, flat-roofed, Italianate Revival style commercial building with cast iron columns across first story of front elevation which were integral parts of original cast iron storefront; segmental-arched, hooded windows; decorative arched, corbelled and banded cornice; wall surfaces divided into recessed panels. Erected in circa 1890, the block is similar, architecturally, to the Stone-Tracy Block (17) and the commercial blocks located at 15 State Street (51 and 52).
19. Central Vermont Railway Freight Station, Windsor; 1-1/2 story, clapboarded, frame, gable-roofed building. Erected in circa 1850, the freight station is the first generation Vermont Central Railroad architecture.
20. Central Vermont Railway Station, Windsor, Depot Avenue: see Description.
21. Putnam Block, 8589 Main Street: 2-1/2 story, brick, flat-roofed commercial building with original 1914 storefronts; bracketed cornice.
22. Colby Block (Aubuchon Hardware), 105 Main Street 2-1/2 story, brick, gable-roofed, Federal style House with symmetrically paired, interior chimney stacks and raking parapets on gable end (north and south) elevations. Erected in 1831, before the addition of the extended storefront, the house was identical, architecturally, to the John Skinner House (74).
23. Sherman Block. 107-113 Main Street: 2-1/2 story, clapboarded, frame, gable-roofed.
24. House, 133 Main Street: 1-1/2 story, clapboarded, frame, gable-roofed, Greek Revival.
25. Windsor Diner, 135 Main Street: stainless steel, patented roadside diner of the type commonly erected in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, Manufactured in 1955 by the Worcester Diner Company, of Worcester, Massachusetts, the diner (No. 835) was the last manufactured by this company and was moved to Windsor in 1958.
26. House, 137 Main Street; 1-1/2 story, clapboarded, frame, gable-roofed.
27. House, 139 Main Street: 2-1/2 story, clapboarded, frame, gable-roofed.
28, House, 145 Main .Street 2-1/2 story, clapboarded, frame, gable-roofed, vernacular Queen Anne.
29. Municipal Building (Windsor Fire Station), 147 Main Street: 2-story, brick, flat-roofed, Georgian Revival style firehouse with five elliptically-arched garage bays across front elevation; stepped parapet; exaggerated cut granite impost blocks, keystones, window lintels, and quoins. Erected in 1929.
30. House, 149 Main Street: 1-1/2story, clapboarded, frame, gable-roofed.
31. House, 151 Main Street: 2-1/2story, clapboarded, frame, gable-roofed.
32. House, 153 Main Street: 2-1/2story, clapboarded, frame, gable-roofed
33. Reuben Dean House, 161 Main Street: see Description,
34. Methodist Parsonage, 165 Main Street: 2-1/2 story, clapboarded, frame, gable-roofed.
35. Rachel Harlow Methodist Church, Main Street. see Description.
36. Clement Pettes House (B.P.O.E.), 156 Main Street: see Description.
37. Shubael Wardner House, 150 Main Street: see Description.
38. Old South Congregational Church, Main Street; see Description,
39. Old Apothecary Shop (Old Bank Building), 108 Main Street: 2-1/2 story, brick, gable-roofed building with front gable elevation; clapboarded, frame gables. Erected in 1804 by Isaac Green, a physician who settled in Windsor in 1788, for use as an apothecary shop, the building was used as a banking office from 1848 to 1881 by the Ascutney-Windsor Bank.
40. Isaac Green House (Knights of Columbus), 106 Main Street: 2-1/2 story, clapboarded, frame, gable-roofed, Federal style house with center chimney stack; parapeted north gable end elevation, The house was erected in 1792 by Isaac Green,
41. Nathaniel Leonard House (Masonic Lodge), 104 Main Street; 2-1/2 story, clapboarded, frame, gableroofed, Georgian style house with pediment supported by pilasters framing entrance and fanlight; palladian window; symmetrically paired interior chimney stacks; "Georgian" floor plan. The house was erected in circa 1785 by Nathaniel Leonard, was partially destroyed by fire in 1881 and rebuilt, and was restored in 1919 by George Gridley.
42. Bianchi Block, 8894 Main Street 2-story, brick, flat-roofed, commercial building with original 1915 storefronts; piers and slotted, corbelled cornice supporting parapet.
43. Merrifield Block, 82-86 Main Street: 2-1/2 story, brick, gable-roofed commercial building with stepped parapet on front elevation. Erected in 1849.
44. Stiles-Billings Block (Rexall Drugs), 80 Main Street: 3-1/2 story, clapboarded, frame, hip-roofed commercial building, with bracketed entablature supported by corner pilasters. Erected in circa 1870.
45. MillerStuart Block, 9 State Street: 3 story, brick, flat-roofed. Erected in circa 1830.
46 & 47. Old Windsor Savings Bank Block (47) and Annex (46), 15 State Street: 2 story, brick, flat-roofed. Italianate Revival style commercial building, with segmental-arched, hooded fenestration, decorative, paneled, dentilated and banded cornice; wall surfaces divided into recessed panels. Erected in circa 1820; in circa 1870 when the annex was erected, the front building, originally only one story high, was remodelled.
48. St. Paul's Episcopal Church, State Street: see Description.
49. Episcopal Parsonage, 37 State Street: 2-1/2 story clapboarded, frame, gable-roofed.
50. House, 39 State Street: 2-1/2 story, clapboarded, frame, gable-roofed.
51. Windsor Library, 43 State Street. 1-1/2 story, brick, gable-roofed, Georgian Revival style library with entablatured and pedimented granite entrance portico supported by Doric columns; exaggerated cut granite silled and linteled windows, quoins dentilated cornice, and raking, corniced parapets with one interior chimney stack centered on ridge on gable end (east and west) elevations. Erected in circa 1905.
52. Rufus Emerson-Gilbert Davis House (Davis Home), 45 State Street: see Description.
53. House, 46 Court Square: 2-1/2 story, clapboarded, frame, gable-roofed, circa 1800, Federal.
54. Johonnot House, 44 Court Square: see Description.
55. House, 40 Court Square: 2-1/2 story, clapboarded, frame, hip-roofed.
56. McIndoe House, 5 Court Street: see Description.
57. House, 10 Court Street: 2-1/2 story, clapboarded, frame, hip-roofed, circa 1890, vernacular. Queen Anne.
58. House, 8 Court Street: 2-1/2 story, clapboarded, frame, gable-roofed, circa 1860, Gothic Revival.
59. House, 6 Court Street: 1-1/2 story, clapboarded, frame, gable-roofed, circa 1840, Greek Revival.
60. Windsor Town Hall (American Legion Hall, Court Street: see Description.
61. Old Windsor County Courthouse, 24 State Street: see Description.
62. Commercial Block, 16 State Street: 2-1/2 story, clapboarded, frame, gable-roofed.
63. Commercial Block, 12 State Street: 2-1/2 story, clapboarded, frame, gable-roofed.
64. Commercial Block 10 State Street 2-1/2 story, clapboarded, frame, gable-roofed.
65.Tontine Block (Windsor News Co.), 70 Main Street: 2-1/2 story, brick, gable-roofed, commercial building with raking parapet on gable end (north and south) elevations. Erected in circa 1825, this building was the end section of a tontine commercial block which ran north and abutted the Pettes-Journal Block (67).
66. J. J. Newberry Co., 64-68 Main Street: 1 story, brick, flat-roofed store with original 1929 storefront.
67. Pettes-Journal Block (Vermont National Bank), 60 Main Street: see Description.
68. Old Namco (National Acme Machine Company) Armory: 1-1/2 story, brick, gable-roofed, circa 1910.
69. Windsor House, 54 Main Street: see Description.
70. Thomas Emerson-Edwin Stoughton House (Old Windsor Hospital), 48 Main Street: see Description.
71. Baptist Church, Main Street: 1-1/2 story, brick, gable-roofed, pseudo Gothic Revival style church with gothic-arched fenestration; projecting, castellated bell tower on front gable elevation. Erected in 1943.
72. Abner Forbes House, 38 Main Street: see Description.
73. Zebina Curtis-William Maxwell Evarts House, 34 Main Street: see Description.
74. John Skinner House, 26 Main Street see Description.
75. Joseph Hatch (Edminster) House, 24 Main Street: see Description.
76. Simeon Ide House, 20 Main Street: see Description.
77. Susan Bishop House, 18 Main Street: 1-1/2 story, brick, gable-roofed, gothicized Greek Revival.
78. Old Constitution House, Main Street: see Description.
The Windsor Village Historic District represents a significant concentration of architectural styles dating from the 1790s through the early twentieth century. Reflecting the nineteenth century commercial and manufacturing prosperity of the village, the building form architecturally cohesive residential and commercial streetscapes which illustrate the village's predominantly nineteenth century development. Besides including a unique concentration of Federal style houses along Main Street--the Federal style Vermont National Bank, the Greek Revival style Windsor House, the Gothic Revival style McIndoe House, the Romanesque style Windsor Town Hall and Windsor Railroad Station, the High Victorian Italianate Tuxbury Block and the High Victorian Gothic Rachel Harlow Methodist Church, St. Paul's Episcopal Church and the United State Post Office, each designed by a nationally prominent nineteenth century "architect." While Alexander Parris and Ammi B. Young were practicing out of Boston at the time of their commissions for St. Paul's Episcopal Church and the United States Post Office, respectively, Asher Benjamin was residing in Windsor at the time he designed Old South Congregational Church in 1798 and was responsible for the designs of three demolished houses, the Fullerton House (1800), the Lane House (1802) and the Hubbard House (1803).
Equally significant, Windsor Village, under the impetus and the expertise of Historic Windsor, Inc., is actively playing a leading role in the field of historic preservation in the State of Vermont and, specifically, in the preservation of Windsor's historic villagescape. The village owes its late eighteenth century development and nineteenth century growth and prosperity to a number of important determining stimuli.
(1) In 1777, representatives of the New Hampshire and New York Grants, meeting in the Old Constitution House, adopted the first constitution of the "free and independent" Republic of Vermont. From 1777 to 1808 the village was the part-time capital of the new Republic, seat of Windsor County. The result was an early influx of professional people; i.e., lawyers, physicians, merchants, businessmen and entrepreneurs into the village who recognized the political and economic necessity and opportunities of being directly associated with the new republic's and then stateıs seat of government and, to a lesser extent, with the county seat. By 1783 there was enough political stability and commercial prosperity in the village to support the publication of a local newspaper, the politically important Vermont Journal. Some of the prominent individuals associated with the village were: (a) Reuben Dean, a silversmith and goldsmith, who in 1778 executed Ira Allen's design for the first Great Seal of the Republic of Vermont; (b) Horace Everett (1779-1851), one of Vermont's prominent early nineteenth century jurists and legislators in whose office William Maxwell Evarts studied law following his graduation from Yale College in 1837; (c) William Maxwell Evarts (1818-1901), a prominent jurist and statesman who served as President Andrew Johnson's Attorney General, as the Chief Counsel for the Defense in Johnson's 1868 impeachment trial, and as President Rutherford B. Hayes' Secretary of State; (d) Nicanor Kendell, Richard Lawrence and Samuel Robbins, inventors and entrepreneurs and the founders of the Robbins and Lawrence Company, the first manufactory in the United States to mass produce rifles with interchangeable parts.
(2) Authorized by an act of the State Legislature in 1807, in 1809 the first Vermont State Prison was erected in the village on State Street. While probably considered a social disgrace by the village community, the prison supported numerous local commercial services and provided a local labor force for some of the village's manufacturing concerns.
(3) The village's location on the Connecticut River, immediately to the north of Mill Brook, provided convenient access to a number of transportation routes which were essential to the village's nineteenth century commercial growth and prosperity and which stimulated the village's development as a commercial center for surrounding towns. In 1796 the first toll bridge across the Connecticut River was erected on the location of the present (1975) Windsor-Cornish Bridge; and in 1800 a charter was granted by the State Legislature to the Connecticut River Turnpike Company to build a toll road between Bellows Falls and Thetford. Besides providing river transportation, the Connecticut River Valley was also the proposed and eventually chosen route of the Vermont Central Railroad (Central Vermont Railway). Started in 1847, the railroad enhanced the village's commercial and manufacturing prosperity by providing direct rail transportation with the rest of New England and the eastern United States.
The village's dependence on transportation for its commercial and manufacturing prosperity also resulted in its development along Main Street, the village's principal arterial corridor, away from its traditional development around Court Square, the village's original center common. When the railroad went through in 1847, Depot Avenue was opened down to the tracks from Main Street to the new passenger and freight depots; and the village adjusted its growth to include this new transportation ingredient.
(4) Mill Brook, located immediately south of the village, was an important factor in determining the village's location and was the principal waterpower source for the village's nineteenth century industries. The earliest dams across the book were erected as early as 1769 when the first sawmill and grist mill were erected. The brook's importance as a waterpower source was underscored in 1834 when the Ascutney Mill Dam Company erected a masonry, gravity-arch dam across the brook to increase the utility and potential of the brook's waterpower to industries located along it by providing a storage reservoir to regulate the flow of water in the brook and thereby eliminate seasonal irregularities. The company's principal interest was to accelerate the village's industrial growth by guaranteeing continuous waterpower. By the end of the Civil War the village was one of the leading manufacturing centers in New England.
Some of the important nineteenth century manufactories which were responsible for the village's growth were: (a) American Hydraulic Company (1829), manufacturers of the "Revolving Hydraulic Engine" (water pump) invented and patented by Asahel Hubbard in 1828. The pumps were manufactured by prisoners working in a machine shop in the Vermont State Prison. (b) Robbins and Lawrence Company (1846-1855), manufacturers of rifles with interchangeable parts. The Winchester Repeating Arms Company of New Haven, Connecticut, and the Smith and Wesson Company of Springfield, Massachusetts, were the direct outgrowths of the Robbins and Lawrence Company following its bankruptcy in 1855. (c) Windsor Cotton and Woolen Manufacturing Company (1828). (d) Windsor Manufacturing Company (1865), manufacturers of machine tools, repeating and single shot rifles, sewing machines and Lane's Patented Circular Sawmills. The Windsor Manufacturing Company was the successor to the Robbins and Lawrence Company, the predecessor to the Jones and Lamson Machine Company, and by 1869 the largest manufactory in the village. The Jones and Lamson Machine Company, manufacturers of machine tools, moved to Springfield, Vermont, in 1879. (e) Windsor Machine Company (1888), manufacturers of machine tools. Organized when the Jones and Lamson Machine Company moved to Springfield, Vermont, in 1879, in 1910 the Windsor Machine Company was incorporated nationally as the National Acme Machine Company.
Beers, F. W. Atlas of Windsor County, Vermont. F. W. Beers, A. D. Ellis and C. G. Soule, Publishers; New York: 1869.
Child, Hamilton. Gazetteer and Business Directory of Windsor County, Vermont, for 1883-84. Syracuse, New York: 1884.
Roe, Joseph W. English and American Tool Builders. The Yale Press; New Haven, Connecticut: 1916.
Archival and historic research material in the possession of Catherine Conlin, Windsor, Vermont, and of Historic Windsor Inc., Windsor, Vermont.
DATE ENTERED: April 23, 1975.
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