Newbury Village Historic District
Municipality: Newbury, VT
Location: Newbury village
Site Type: Historic District
Vt Survey No: --
UTMs: (Zone 18)
National Register Nomination Information:
The Newbury Village Historic District is located in a north-south running valley bounded by Mt. Pulaski, a large and immediate backdrop to the west, and by the lush intervale farmlands known as "The Meadows", flanking the Connecticut River to the east. Buildings within the district are aligned following the valley along Vt. Route 5 and are concentrated around a large green at the center of the basically linear district. Woodframe, clapboard-covered 1-1/2 to 2-1/2-story, gabled structures predominate with the architecture tending towards well articulated vernacular designs rather than high style examples. The most common form is the Greek Revival "temple front", which is often achieved by the use of a formal portico or a projecting front gable supported by columns. Many of these gable-fronted houses employ a five-bay facade with central entrance, a throwback to the Federal period, rather than the three-bay sidehall plan more common to the Greek Revival. The Federal style is well represented, while the later Victorian styles appear chiefly in Italianate motifs or as elaborately ornamental porches added to earlier buildings. Several Colonial Revival examples continue the scale and proportions established previously. Although the structures range in date from 1790 to 1930, their scale, materials, and form and often detail is consistent and along with the visual unity provided by the green they create a highly cohesive villagescape
The layout of the Newbury Village Historic District is comprised of three parts: the southern and northern portions are linear in configuration and have buildings, mostly residential, aligning Vermont Route 5 (Main Street); between them is the core of the village, built around the village common. This large open space is dominated on the western edge by three public buildings; the Village Hall (#28), the Town School (#29), and the Methodist Church (#30), which emphasize the public nature of the common, and represent the two major eras of building activity in the village - buildings erected before 1860 and those constructed after a major fire in 1913.
The first houses in Newbury stood on the intervale near the river, but because this area was subject to sudden and devastating flooding, settlers soon chose to build on higher land. The plateau which separates the intervale and the western hills proved ideal. Before long, houses were strung out on the ridge along the main road, known as the River Road (now Vermont. Route 5), and were concentrated where the village is now. The pattern of land division, est blished by the town proprietors, reinforced this linear plan of development. The first survey conducted by Benjamin Whiting in 1763 divided the land into three categories: meadow lots along the river for farming, house lots aligning the river road and fifty-acre lots in the more remote, backwoods section of the town. Each of the original grantees of the town charter received a lot from each category. Although ownership changed frequently, this settlement pattern remained substantially the same until population growth pushed development into the more remote areas.
The Greek Revival style's era of popularity coincided with the village's greatest period of growth, c.1835-1860, so that this style naturally predominates among Newbury's architecture. It should be noted that many of the Greek Revival houses are actually later additions, built in front of earlier houses which were smaller, more vernacular dwellings dating from the frontier era.
The founding of the Newbury Seminary in 1832 greatly affected the physical growth and design of the village and directly caused the creation of the public common around which the village was to grow in the ensuing decades. When the Seminary was built next to the Methodist Church (#30) in 1833, its trustees purchased most of the land surrounding the two buildings; and by 1834, had acquired another lot and cleared it of its structures so that the present boundaries of the common were established.(1) The immediate success of the Seminary, combined with a surging prosperity in the town's farm industry, created a sudden demand for in-town housing. As Frederic Wells states in his History of Newbury, Vermont, almost 40 houses were built within the village between 1833-1843, and many older houses were enlarged to accommodate boarding students and teachers.(2)
The Greek Revival style proved to be a particularly appropriate mode for the shape of house lots in the village. Because the lots generally had narrow frontage and extensive depth, the Greek Revival method of placing the narrower gable end toward the street made sense. Typically, this "temple front" style employed sidehall entrances, but in Newbury there are a surprising number of gable-front houses with central entries. The depth of the lots allowed for variations of continuous architecture extending toward the rear, frequently terminating in small stables or carriage houses.
The construction techniques and frequent similarity of architectural details displayed in some of these Greek Revival structures indicate the probability that one or several builders working in Newbury at this time were well versed in the carpenter guidebooks of Asher Benjamin. Particularly elegant ornamental detail which shows the influence of Benjamin can be seen in the Perry House (#3), the Buckley House (#51), the Hale House (#54), and the Peabody House (#55).
Although the majority of Greek Revival style buildings in the village are woodframe with clapboard siding, there are several notable exceptions built of brick. The Wells House (#56), the Reid House (#35), and "Valmont" (#41) display outstanding craftsmanship and fine detail, and the latter two buildings demonstrate the adaptability of the Greek Revival gable front style to brick.
The gradual decline of the village's prosperity and population after the Civil War is evident in the scarcity of Victorian structures in the village. Although some buildings were erected between 1865 and 1900, notably the Tenney Memorial Library in 1896 (#43), the Solomon House (#45), c.1880, and the Fuller House (#58), c.1870, most of the building activity during this era involved remodeling older structures into stylish, contemporary renditions. For instance, the Porter House (#15); previously a sedate Classic Cottage, was embellished with a profusion of Queen Anne-Stick Style ornamentation.
A fire in 1913 destroyed many buildings in Newbury. Beginning in a blacksmith shop located on Pine Street near the Fuller House (#58), the fire moved south consuming buildings along the side street between Cross and Main Streets. Then, fanned by high winds, it jumped erratically and reached as far as the southern half of Main Street. The losses were tremendous, especially to J. B. Hale who lost his house and store (sites 48 and 47). Perhaps the hardest loss to the village in terms of sentimental value was the Newbury Seminary building (site 29). Although the school had moved to Montpelier in 1868, it had fostered much of the village's growth and the building had become a beloved landmark. Also destroyed was the Sawyer House (site 20), one of the boarding houses that served Seminary students. Besides the buildings which burned, many were torn down in an effort to stop the fire.
Within approximately ten years after the fire, most of the buildings had been replaced by stylistically Colonial Revival dwellings. Many of these post-fire buildings can be recognized because of their slate-tile roofs. One beneficial result of the fire was the installation of a village water system.
Newbury has always been noted for its setting, which is a remarkable and varied natural landscape. This and the residents' endeavors to maintain the architectural integrity of Newbury village provide an environmental legacy for present and future residents.
The Newbury Village Historic District is comprised of the following buildings (numbers refer to the enclosed sketch map):
1. Robitzer/King House, c.1840.
This house illustrates how vernacular structures often strived for more elegant Greek Revival style features, yet seldom achieved such sophistication. The charming appeal of this house is the awkward attempt.
1A. Barn. One-and-one-half story, gable roof, clapboard siding, cornice returns.
2. Texaco Station, c.1940.
3. Perry House, c.1835.
One-and-one-half story, woodframe, clapboard siding, 5 x 2 bay gable front, with full pediment and recessed, slightly off-center entrance. The pediment has a raking molded cornice and a frieze with Wall of Troy molding. The two windows in the gable peak have 6/6 sash, louvered shutters, and molded surrounds with corner blocks. Identical components are found with the other windows. Doric pilasters at the corners and at the entrance have fretwork, a design copied from Benjamin's The Practical House Carpenter, Plate 28 (1830). The door is flanked by half-length sidelights and topped by a transom and corner lights.
Behind the main block is a 1-1/2 story wing. It has a continuous shed dormer on the north side, and a gable dormer, recessed porch, and two former arched carriage bays on the south side. Attached to the wing is a 1-1/2 story, gabled garage with clapboard siding.
3A. Garage. One-story, gable roof, clapboard siding, two garage bays and entrance door.
4. Mahoney House, c.1822.
The Buxton addition exemplifies the Federal style in the Connecticut Valley region. It has a profusion of stylistic details combined with stately proportions, all of which have been respected and preserved throughout the years. With 2-1/2 stories, two tall interior end chimneys, and 5 x 2 bays, the broad facade is crowned by a large pediment. A window in the gable peak attracts attention because it has a semi-circular louver above it and a wooden, arched surround with a keystone. Corner pilasters support the denticulated cornice which returns across the facade to form the pediment. Arched dentils are continued along the raking cornice. Most of the windows have retained 12/12 sash and are flanked by louvered shutters; windows on the first floor of the facade are especially noteworthy because of their projecting cornices and friezes, the latter of which are embellished with reeded bars.
Exquisite detail is found in the central entrance. Sidelights rest on panelled bases and flank the door. Above is a semi-elliptical fanlight with radiating muntins. The door surround has fluted pilasters with reeded frieze bands that continue across the top of the sidelights and door and underneath the arch. Springing from the pilasters is a molded arch decorated with carved rosette-like designs interspersed by bars of reeding. At the top is a keystone decorated with a carved oval floral motif. It seems likely that a carpenter from Haverhill, New Hampshire, located across the Connecticut from Newbury, built this doorway. Seven similar doorways can be seen in that town and three of those are almost identical to the Buxton doorway.
When the front section of the house was built, the north wall of the ell was raised to meet the roofline of the Buxton addition. Window treatment is identical to that of the front portion and the side entrance has a sophisticated Greek Revival surround with a projecting cornice. The south side of the ell was not altered in 1822 and it retains an earlier entrance which has a transom.
Behind the ell is a former carriage barn with three arched, keystoned bays, two of which have been enclosed with multi-paned windows. Connected at a right angle to the carriage barn is a large 1-1/2 story barn which has a gable roof, clapboard siding, and panelled corner Doric pilasters. This barn appears to be a later addition, perhaps built during the third quarter of the 19th century.
5. Chamberlin House, c.1835.
Attached to the rear of the south end is a lean-to shed and garage.
The Walling Map of 18S8 and the Beer's Map of 1877 list Ebenezer C. Stocker as residing here. A harness shop stood in front of the house next to the road during these years, although the later map shows that the shop was moved at some point to the northwest corner of the property.
Wells' History of Newbury, Vermont states that Stocker came to Newbury to serve as an apprentice to Deacon John Buxton who owned the harness shop mentioned above and lived across the street in the house now owned by Scott Mahoney (44). Stocker later became a partner with Buxton and then ran the business on his own, probably after Buxton's death. The harness shop was perhaps moved at that time.
5A. A deteriorated, woodframe outbuilding, it does not contribute to historic district.
6. Kasson-Mahoney House, c.1855.
A one-story, gabled wing connects the house to the 1-1/2 story, gabled, clapboard barn. The wing, the original house, may have been built c.1780 by Peter Wheelock. It is noteworthy for the two remaining kneewall windows on the south side.
6A. Shed. One-and-one-half story, gable roof, clapboard siding, 2 x 2 bays. This was built around 1910 or 1915 and served as a slaughter house. A shop in which the meat was sold stood several feet south of the Kasson-Mahoney Barn.
7. Oliver House, c.1865.
A 1-1/2 story wing is attached to the south side. It has a porch supported by chamfered columns, a bay window, and a gable dormer with a round-headed window. Behind the wing is a 1-1/2 story, gabled ell which has three carriage bays, two of which are arched.
Although the house's form is derived from vernacular models of the first half of the 19th century, the stylistic detailing is Italianate Revival.
8. Cobb House, c.1800, 1850.
9. Carbee House, c.1885.
P. W. Ladd's tin shop stood on this site during the 19th century (see Bryan House #10); it was replaced by this house c.1885. The few stylistic details on the house - crown moldings on the cornerboards, cornice returns and gable-front orientation - suggests the persistence in vernacular architecture of the Greek "temple front" style which had been so popular in Newbury decades before this house was built.
10. Cheney House, c.1840.
11. Bryan House, 1828.
Walling's Map of 1858 and Beer's Map of 1877 list Peabody Webster Ladd (1805-1891) as owner of this property and of a tin shop located directly south of the house.
In Wells' History of Newbury, Vermont, the author states that Ladd arrived in Newbury in 1826 and built this house two years later.
12. Chamberlin House, c.1850.
12A. Garage. Modern, one-bay garage with gable roof and board siding. Non-contributing.
13. Horace W. Bailey Memorial Club, 1839.
Originally built as a schoolhouse, this structure also served as a milliner's shop before Horace Bailey (1852-1914) bought it in 1904 to house his impressive collection of books. After his death, the building was used as a social club until it was purchased by the Town in 1969 for $600 to serve as the Town Clerk's Office. Now it is again used as a meetingplace.
The building underwent extensive repair after a tornado struck in 1973 causing the front wall and ceiling to collapse.
14. Rhoads House, c.1835.
15. Porter House, c.1865.
The Porter House is an interesting mixture of four 19th century styles and illustrates how buildings have often evolved and changed according to the dictates of fashion. The gable-front form and classical details are vestiges of the Greek Revival; the steep roof pitches and cross gables are Gothic Revival influences; the profusion of facade details on the main block are primarily elements of the Italianate Revival; and the two entrance porches and the wing's dormer, later additions, reflect the whimsical intricacies of the Queen Anne style.
16. Thomas House, 1838.
This house was built in 1838 to serve as the parsonage for the Methodist Church.
17. Murphy House, c.1835.
18. Jacobs House, c.1920.
Built after the 1913 fire, this house appears to be a fusion of the earlier Queen Anne and contemporary Colonial Revival styles. It is also a large house, typical of that era, and a late example of pre-World War I domestic architecture.
19. Drugach House, c.1915.
Although probably built after the 1913 fire, the chief stylistic elements are a throwback to 19th century vernacular architecture.
19A. Garage. One-and-one half story, clapboard siding, two garage bays and a hayloft opening.
20. Hamblin House, c.1920.
Although built after the fire of 1913, this house is a typical example of the Colonial Revival in which a number of stylistic details are presented without regard for historical architectural accuracy.
20A. Garage. One-story, gable roof, asbestos siding, two garage bays.
21. Magrath House, c.1925.
21A. Garage/Guest House. One-and-one-half story, gambrel roof, continuous shed dormer, weatherboard siding, corner Doric pilasters, one garage bay.
21B. Garden Shed. Small, 1-story, gambrel-roofed shed in poor condition Does not contribute to historic district.
22. Newbury Inn/Thomas House, 1853 (built by Oliver Rogers).
With 2-1/2 stories and 5 x 4 bays, the gable front is anchored by panelled corner pilasters which support a wide, plain entablature. In turn, the entablature extends across the facade forming a full pediment. The central entrance has two-third-length sidelights flanked by panelled vertical strips which support a peaked headboard. Similar peaked headboards also appear over the first floor windows. An interesting variation is seen in the central bay of the second floor: three narrow windows are grouped together, vaguely reminiscent of a Palladian window, and are topped by arched surrounds with keystone blocks. Window sash has been changed to 1/1 with louvered shutters and fine simple surrounds. A one-story porch extending across the facade is supported by square columns.
On the east side, a bay window projects. Because of its panelled base and cornice, it appears to have been added c.1890, perhaps at the same time as the porch.
Attached to the rear is a two-story clapboard wing which may also have been a later addition.
22A. Barn. One-and-one-half story, gable roof, clapboard siding, with one-story, shed-roof, two-bay garage attached.
23. King House, c.1853.
The King House has a 2-1/2 story gable front, 3 x 3 bays, and a sidehall plan. Panelled Doric corner pilasters support a plain architrave, frieze, and cornice, the latter of which returns at the gable ends. The entrance and windows have peaked headboards and some of the elongated first floor windows retain original 9/6 sash. All of the windows have louvered shutters. A one-story porch extends across the facade and continues along the east side to the end of the first wing; the panelled square columns supporting the porch of the main block mimic the corner pilasters.
The first wing has 2-1/2 stories yet is slightly smaller than the main block. Decorative details such as panelled corner pilasters, entablature, and cornice returns are continued on this section. Behind this wing is a 1-1/2 story wing; this leads to the 1-1/2 story barn. The barn, like the rest of the house, has a gable roof and clapboard siding. It also has a window with 12/12 sash in the gable peak; there are no eaves overhanging at the gable ends.
24. White House, c.1843.
This house is very similar in layout and design to the King House(#23) except that it is smaller in scale and lacks the latter's more sophisticated details such as pilasters and pedimented cornices. It makes a significant contribution to the district's stock of mid-19th century buildings.
Walling's Map of 1858 lists Colonel Barrow as owner; Beer's Map of 1877 lists M. Goodwin.
25. Knight House, c.1840.
The rear portion of the house was rebuilt in 1977. The 1-1/2 story portion is composed of a continuous shed-roof dormer which has an arched, recessed porch which mimics the one on the front gable; below is a recessed entrance leading to the apartments in this section. Attached to the rear is a one-story, one-bay garage.
25A. Barn, c.1880. Two-story, gable roof, board and batten siding.
26. Huntoon House, c.1845, c.1875.
27. Bentley House, c.1845.
A two-story, clapboard ell and a two-story clapboard barn are attached to the rear of the main section.
28. Village Meeting Hall, c.1926.
29. Town Central School, 1913.
The symmetrical 7 x 6 bay, 2-1/2 story main block has a slate-clad hip roof surmounted by an octagonal domed cupola with finial. The center bay in front has a large, balustraded entrance porch with Tuscan columns supporting an entablature and balustraded roof. Above the entrance is a three-part window with granite keystone flanked by doors with rectangular transoms; on the roof above this window is a small cross gable with a lunette flanked by stone tablets inscribed, "19" "13". Other facade detail, all typical of the Colonial Revival style, are brick quoins at the corners, a modillioned cornice, hip dormers centered on the side roof slopes, and two-over-two sash enclosed by granite sills and large flat-arched brick lintels.
29A. Austin Building Annex. A one-story, weatherboard-sided, gable-front house with cornice returns, entry and banks of windows on the south side.
30. Methodist Church, 1829.
The tower, built in 1899 to resemble the original tower, has three stages: a square, clapboard base with projecting cornice; a smaller square belfry with flushboard siding and semi-circular, keystoned arched louvers on each side; and a Gothic-inspired crown comprised of a central spire encompassed by four smaller spires at each corner, joined by a balustrade.
The history of the church is chronicled in detail by Wells' History of Newbury, Vermont. It was built on land given by Rasmus Johnson. Timothy Morse was a member of the building committee and is also noted in the village's history for building the Wells House (#56). Being linked to the Newbury Seminary, this church was very active until the Seminary moved to Montpelier in 1868.
31. Burroughs House, c.1810.
This may have been a store originally, moved here from another site after the 1913 fire. Although highly vernacular, the applied splayed lintel boards, narrow molded cornice, and overall proportions identify this as an early Federal period house.
32. Welch House, c.1830.
32A. Garage. One-story, one-bay, gable roof, plywood siding. Non-contributing.
33. Karen's Korner, c.1830.
Walling's Map of 1858 lists this building as the Post Office and shoe shop. The second floor's meeting hall was used by various organizations throughout the years.
34. Newbury General Store, c.1840.
The standard Greek Revival gable-front plan is employed and yet the facade is arresting because its 2-1/2 stories are recessed and enframed by an unusually wide entablature which is supported by walls that at first appear to be equally broad corner pilasters. However, these wall surfaces actually have narrow, panelled cornerboards separated by flush siding. Above these are large, molded cornice returns. Porches on the second floor and in the gable peak are supported by two square columns with Roman Doric capitals; the base of the gable peak's porch is molded and in effect, creates a full pediment. Latticework balustrades extend across the upper level balconies. The recessed ground level facade has three entrances with transoms and fluted surrounds; another interesting feature is that each "corner pilaster" has a doorway that opens onto the porch. Although window sash has been altered in places and oriel display windows have been built on the first floor facade, the two windows in the gable peak retain 6/6 sash.
Although the facade has flush siding, the sides have typical clapboarding. In the rear is a two-story, shed-roof garage ell with wood shingle siding.
John Ayers Meader (1813-1897) was the master workman in charge of the construction of this building. He was a farmer and carpenter in Newbury throughout his life and was responsible for building a number of houses.
35. Reid House, 1833.
Built in 1833, the house follows the Greek Revival style's practice of placing the gable end towards the street. There are 2-1/2 stories, and the three-bay facade has a sidehall entrance. The door displays panels and fretwork, with half-length sidelights and a transom embellished by tracery which creates a sense of delicacy countered by the massive granite blocks which frame the entrance. This contrast is repeated with the windows: the narrow lines of the 6/6 sash (and louvered shutters) are offset and emphasized by granite sills and lintels. The gable peak has an interesting triangular louver, in the middle of which is a small window with 3/3 sash. The house is capped by a molded cornice which returns at the gable ends.
Behind the brick section is a 2-1/2 story, gabled, clapboard ell and a smaller two-story wing beyond. The larger middle section has a one-story porch with square columns and extends to also cover two bays of the brick section. This section also has cornerboards. cornice returns, and a gable window which has a Gothic Revival arched design.
36. Renfrew House, c.1830.
A 1-1/2 story ell is attached to the rear south side. It has a one-story porch with bracketed posts and a shed-roof dormer on the east side.
Although the house is essentially Greek Revival in form and style, the detailing retains the delicacy which is more typical of the earlier Federal style.
36A. Garage. One-and-one-half story, gable roof, clapboard siding.
37. First Congregational Church, 1856.
The 4 x 3 bay gable-front plan with four-tiered steeple was a historical derivative of the New England meetinghouse and, ultimately, of the church designs of Christopher Wren and James Gibbs in England. Its chief features, both typical of the Greek Revival style, are the use of flushboard siding over the entire facade and steeple, and a tetrastyle monumental portico, composed of a pediment which projects out from the middle half of the front gable, supported by four fluted Greek Doric columns. Behind the portico are two entrances with plain pedimented surrounds and double-leaf doors; blind gallery windows are overhead. The portico's pediment is silhouetted by the larger pediment on the front gable. Other facade detail includes molded box cornices around both pediments and each stage of the steeple. Plain headboards are applied over the tall, narrow window openings, now filled with c.1890 memorial stained glass. The second stage of the steeple has clocks on all four faces; the third stage, the belfry, has corner pilasters and fluted during columns framing rectangular louvers; on top is an octagonal metal spire with weathervane.
38. Congregational Vestry, 1843.
Attached to the rear is a 1-1/2 story, two-bay addition. It also has clapboard siding and corner pilasters and entablature identical to those of the main portion. Beyond the addition is a smaller, one-story, shed-roofed, clapboard addition.
Although small in scale, the building's unusual and extensive facade detail makes a significant contribution to Newbury's stock of Greek Revival architecture.
39. Melendy House, c.1840.
40. Slack House, 1919.
Square plan, 2-1/2 stories, hip roof with boldly projecting eaves, central hip roof dormer, irregular sizing and placement of windows, clapboard siding on first floor, scalloped-shaped shingle siding elsewhere. The first story porch across the facade has a pedimented entrance and Tuscan columns resting on a shingled skirt. South elevation has an oriel window with scalloped shingle siding. The north elevation has a two-story bay window.
40A. Garage. Gable roof, vertical board siding, two garage bays, each having double-leaf doors.
41. 'Valmont," Crowley House, c.1835.
The central entrance has half-length sidelights and a transom with tracery and a wide heavy surround of granite slabs, similar to the doorway of the Keyes House (#35). Granite is also used for the window lintels and sills. The windows have 6/6 sash and louvered shutters.
Attached to the rear is a two-story, clapboard wing, built before 1800. Beyond this wing is a one-story clapboard extension which has two arched carriage bays. A somewhat larger extension lies beyond this and it has two bay openings, one of which is on a sliding track.
The house is unusual for its mixture of brick and clapboards on the facade, for its five-bay central hall plan under a front gable (common in Newbury but uncommon elsewhere in Vermont), and for its tall paired side chimneys.
42. Ottina House, c.1830.
The 1-1/2 story ell is distinguished by its cross gable. Attached to the ell is a gabled, clapboarded barn. Window sash has been changed to 1/1. Overall, an interesting variety and fair amount of detail remains.
43. Tenney Memorial Library, 1896.
Designed by H. M. Francis of Fitchburg, Massachusetts, the library has 1-1/2 stories and a T-shaped plan. Although brick is the predominant building material, many of the stylistic details are emphasized by the use of granite, sandstone, slate and wood. The focal point of the building is the three-bay facade's central entrance. A slightly projecting gabled pavilion emphasizes the recessed entrance; further definition is provided by the rusticated stone which springs from decorative, foliated imposts to form an impressive arch. The base of the building has a light-colored granite, above this is a water table composed of rusticated sandstone blocks, transitional in color from the base below and brick above. The building is capped by a slate, hip roof and small dormer-like projections on the south and north ends help anchor brick chimneys. Ridge tiles, scrolls and corbelled brickwork on the chimneys provide additional detail to the roof.
The interior of the building is equally exquisite and well preserved. Like many buildings of the Victorian era, its woodwork is attuned to detail.
44. "Parsonage," c.1805, 1855.
Attached behind the house is a two-story, clapboard ell and a 1-1/2 story clapboard carriage barn.
Local sources say that part of the frame dates back to a one-story c.1805 store and tailor shop. The present two-story structure appears to date from the 1850's.
45. Solomon House, c.1880.
The sidehall entrance has a double-leaf door and was originally protected by a one-story porch; however, the porch was removed in the 1940 's and replaced with a small bracketed hood. The projecting wings on the south and north sides have bay windows with Queen Anne style designs. A two-story wing connects the main house to the 1-1/2 story barn. The barn is distinguished by having its exposed rafters met by brackets.
The Solomon House, built by Thomas Keyes, is one of the few buildings in the village built between 1860 and the fire of 1913. It is a unique vernacular example of the Queen Anne Style and displays a lively profusion of detail.
46. Bradford National Bank, 1884.
Although diminutive, this building illustrates how outstanding craftsmanship and detail can be applied to smaller structures.
47. Town Clerk's Office and Post Office, 1913.
48. Newbury Manor, 1913.
The west elevation has a two-story bay window, a hip roof dormer, several paired windows, and a two-story porch in the rear The east elevation also has several paired windows, a stained-glass staircase window, and a two-story porch addition, of which the upper floor is enclosed. Behind the house is a 1-1/2 story, gable roof with slate tiles, clapboard barn.
49. Newbury Village Fire Department, 1936, 1972.
50. Cushing House, c.1925.
50A. Garage. Modern, one-story, one-bay, gable roof, vertical board siding. Non-contributing.
51. Buckley House, c.1835.
Two continuous shed roof wall dormers, two-bay window, and a side entrance have been added on the east side. Unfortunately, the addition of one of the dormers caused the loss of this side's wide entablature. A continuous shed dormer was also added on the west side but did not intrude with the entablature. Attached to the rear is a one-story, gable roof, garage.
This house has some of the finest and most elaborate Greek Revival style detail in Newbury. The detail appears copied from the designs of Asher Benjamin. Although the dormers and bay windows affect the house's integrity, the structure remains one of the best examples of the Greek Revival style in Vermont.
52. Knight House, c.1880.
Behind is a one-story enclosed porch which has the same denticulated frieze. The 1-1/2 story ell has two pedimented dormers with side scrolls and a one-story porch across most of the ell. The rear of the ell has a continuous shed roof wall dormer.
52A. Garage. One-and-one-half story, gable roof, clapboard siding, cornerboards, frieze board, cornice returns, three open garage bays.
53. Owen House, c 1850.
53A. Barn Garage c 1850. 2 level, gabled, post and beam barn.
54. Hale House c.1845.
The 1-1/2 story wing has an enclosed porch, two pedimented dormers on the east side and two carriage bays. Attached to the wing is a 1-1/2 story barn with a gable roof and clapboard siding.
Walling's Map of 1858 lists J. K. Kimball as owner; Beer's Map of 1877 lists J. Werthen.
55. Peabody House, c.1835.
A 1-1/2 story wing is attached to the rear; it has a recessed porch and a continuous shed dormer on the east side, and a lean-to addition on the west side. The wing is connected to a 1-1/2 story barn which has a gable roof and clapboard siding.
Walling's Map of 1858 lists R. Mellen as owner; Beer's Map of 1877 lists C. Howland.
56. Wells House, c.1830.
Situated at the bend of the Scotch Hollow Road, the Wells House has 5 x 2 bays and brick set in a seven-course American bonding pattern. The brick is highlighted by a granite foundation, splayed granite lintels, and granite sills. Fine detail is found in the central entrance: the door is flanked by half-length sidelights and fluted pilasters which support a semi-elliptical fanlight. The molding above the fanlight has decoratively carved rosettes and reeding. The entire doorway is crowned by a brick arch and a granite keystone.
Windows on the first floor have 6/1 sash while the five dormer windows have 6/6 sash. Louvered shutters complement each window. The dormer windows (probably c.1920) have pediments with molded cornices and flushboard tympanums. Between the outer dormers are two tall chimneys that rise beyond the height of the roof ridge. The roof's cornice returns at the gable ends and is noteworthy for its elegant band of molding. The entrance on the north side also has a fanlight and a keystone.
The ell, perhaps the oldest section, is similar in design to the front. It has an entrance (no fanlight) and two gable dormers. Behind this is a 1-1/2 story garage with living quarters above. Again, a gable dormer is found in this section and the first floor is distinguished by an arched carriage bay with a keystone above. Connected to the garage at a right angle is another, newer garage. It has a brick facade with three arched, keystoned carriage bays, and a clapboard gable end.
This was the house of George W. Leslie (1804-1885) for many years. Known as Squire Leslie, he was actively involved with the Newbury Seminary throughout his life and was a generous donor. According to F. P. Wells' History of Newbury, Vermont, this house was built by Timothy Morse, who dealt with real estate and was also very influential with the Seminary.
57. New England Telephone Company, 1970.
58. Fuller House, c.1870.
Wallings Map of 1858 does not show a house standing on this site, only a blacksmith shop. By 1877, the Beer's Map shows the John Parker Garland residence as being located here. As Wells states in his History of Newbury, Vermont, Garland, a blacksmith by trade, arrived in Newbury in 1863 and eventually built a shop on Pine Street. Perhaps Garland enlarged the earlier blacksmith shop while also building his residence.
The blacksmith shop later achieved notoriety as the building where the fire of 1913 began. Although vernacular in form and construction, the house displays most of the stylistic ornament which characterizes the Italianate Revival.
59. Rower House, 1914.
Attached to the south side is a 1-1/2 story wing with a saltbox roof, a large sliding door, and asphalt siding designed to look like brick. This section, built in 1940, was a stone shed originally; it now serves as a carpenter's shop.
60. Slack's Garage, 1921.
Two one-story wings are attached on the north side. The canopy which shields the east side of the main structure was built by Mr. Slack in 1936.
61. Newbury Bible Church, c.1914.
In the rear is a one-story) gable, clapboard-addition which was built c,1955.
62. Town Garage, c.1925.
63. Henderson House, c.1850.
Wallings Map of 1858 lists Mrs. Gurney as residing here. In 1877, Beers Map indicates a Mr Goodwin resided in the house.
64. Cushing's Garage, c.1925.
65. Morris House, c.1850.
Walling's Map of 1858 lists Mrs. Little as residing at the site; Beer's Map of 1877 lists C. T. Henderson.
65A. Tractor Barn. One-story, gable roof, vertical board siding, two open bays, wood stave silo.
66. Flanders House, c.1845.
The 1-1/2 story wing has the same frieze, cornice and pedimented lintels. Some 6/6 sash remains while continuous shed dormers have been added on the west and east sides. The wing also has a recessed porch.
Attached to the rear of the wing at a right angle is a 1-1/2 story, clapboard barn with gable roof. On the east end is a lean-to addition with an arched carriage bay.
Altogether, the Flanders House displays nice Greek Revival detail and is a good example of continuous architecture.
Walling's Map of 1858 lists J. Dunbar as owner; Beer's Map of 1877 lists H. Knight.
67. Deming House, c.1840.
Attached to the rear is a smaller wing, also with a gable roof and asbestos siding. This house does not contribute architecturally or historically to the historic district.
67A. Garage. One-story, shed roof, clapboard siding, 9/6 sash, sliding barn door on the front, north facade.
68. Moore House, c.1845.
A 1-1/2 story wing is attached and has an enclosed porch with full-length, multi-paned windows.
69. Webster House, c.1835.
Because the house has been extensively altered, it does not contribute to the historic district.
70. Burnham House, c.1825.
Walling's Map of 1858 lists J. A. Bailey as owner; Beer's Map of 1877 lists J. George.
71. Hood House, c.1870.
72. Humphrey House, c.1840.
73. Atkinson House, c.1810.
The entrance has a later, Italianate-style door with two circular-headed windows. Flanking the door are two pilasters with exaggerated entasis. A pedimented entrance porch, c.1925, is supported by square pilasters. On the south side is a small bay window which was probably added when the front door was replaced.
Connected behind the main block is a two-story clapboard ell which has a one-story, enclosed porch on the south side.
73A. Barn. Two-and-one-half story, gable roof, clapboard siding, one-story lean-tos on south and north sides. The highlighting detail is a scalloped pattern found on the frieze board over the main entrance.
74. Bixby House, c.1790.
A porch was added in 1924 and reflects the Colonial Revival style. Tuscan columns support the porch roof on the first floor as well as the roof of the one-bay enclosed porch in the center of the second floor. Both have full pediments in the center.
Attached to the rear is a two-story ell and a one-story woodshed, the latter of which has wood shingle siding on the east side.
74A. Cabinet Shop, c.1915. One-and-one-half story, frame, wood shingle and clapboard siding, gable roof, 4 x 2 bays. The windows have 6/6 sash and lintels, and may have been taken from the first floor of the house.
This house was constructed from parts of old barn which stood across the street.
75. Stone-Ludwig House, c.1840.
76. Atkinson Retreat, c.1790.
Behind the main block is a two-story ell with another ell connected to it. At the end is a 1-1/2 story, clapboard barn with a gable roof and a transom over the main entrance.
Although reputed to have been built in 1765, the main block appears later. It was built by Joseph Chamberlin. It now serves as a retreat for ministers.
The Newbury Vill;lge Historic District is significant as an exceptional concentration of early 19th century architecture set in a traditional New England village plan around an open public common. From its beginnings as a frontier outpost and leading town in Vermont's revolutionary movement to its years of greatest prosperity as a thriving farm market town and educational center in the 1830's and 1840's, Newbury typified the vitality and quality of life attained in rural Vermont villages before the Civil War. With the exception of a number of visually compatible Colonial Revival buildings erected after a fire swept through the village in 1913, the present historic district has changed little in appearance since the 1860's.
The Connecticut River has influenced the history and growth of Newbury more than any other factor. Besides being the distinguishing geographical feature, the river's water and force have brought both fortune and calamity to the town. The valley's broad intervale meadows, rich in mineral deposits, have served the town's agricultural interests well for centuries. Early settlers were particularly dependent upon the river and its attending streams for water power and were quick to harness it to drive mills of various types. In terms of transportation, the Connecticut River was the first major corridor that connected the interior of New England to Long Island Sound and facilitated the migration of settlers throughout the region. Despite the beneficial aspects of the river, there was also a malevolent nature to it. Flooding was common and sometimes quickly destroyed crops and shelters. The long list of bridges which have been washed away also testifies to the river's strength.
Until 1763, Charlestown, New Hampshire was the northernmost outpost of the Connecticut River Valley inhabited by colonists. In that year, a group of men traveled north from Charlestown in search of a new area of settlement. Following the river, they reached the fertile intervale area long known as the Great Oxbow in Newbury, Vermont and Haverhill, New Hampshire, which was a well suited place to erect needed temporary shelters and plant crops. The success of the expedition induced others to follow. Soon a charter for the town was granted by Governor Benning Wentworth of New Hampshire to General Jacob Bayley and 74 other men, many of whom were related to each other. Bayley went on to distinguish himself along with Moses Hazen by clearing the famous military supply route to the north, now known as the Bayley-Hazen Road, during the American Revolution.
Largely because of its rich farmland and advantageous trading location, Newbury steadily prospered. An early description of Newbury and the intervale written by Timothy Dwight in 1803 during one of his trips through New England testifies to this. From the River Road (Vermont Route 5), which Dwight referred to as ''a pleasant street,'' he described the vista:
"As we cast our eyes up and down the river, itself an object extremely beautiful, and with its romantic meanders extensively in view, a chain of intervals, sometimes on one and sometimes on both sides, reaching from north to south not less than ten or twelve miles, spread before us like a new Eden, covered with the richest verdure and displaying a thousand proofs of exuberant fertility. This spot was bounded on both sides by rising grounds, now sloping, now abrupt, always interesting, and overspread alternately with forests, farms, and villages."(1)
It was these extensive intervales, the largest of which was known as the Great Oxbow, which accounted for Newbury's great prosperity in the half century after its settlement. Not only was this land extremely fertile, but it was naturally clear of trees and rocks, and thus could be brought immediately under profitable cultivation.
Concerning the village, Dwights' praise was less enthusiastic: "The houses, both in size and structure, are moderately good, but not being painted have an unpleasant appearance."(2) It should be noted that at the time of Dwight's visit in 1803, the village was still in its rough-hewn frontier era, and that most of its fine homes had yet to be built.
Throughout the first quarter of the 19th century, Newbury's population continued to expand. After 1800, people settled the vacant, more hilly western sections of the town, but the increase in the size and prosperity of the surrounding farm districts meant that the village also burgeoned. With an essentially agricultural economy, Newbury never had the number of merchants or industry as nearby Wells River, but the village still offered many municipal and commercial services. It was also a popular stagecoach stop. Located on a major stage route (now Vermont Route 5), the village offered the traveler several taverns and inns from which to choose. Unfortunately, none survive today.
The founding of the Newbury Seminary in 1832 by the regional Methodist Conference had a tremendous impact on the village's growth. With over 200 students attending during the early years of its existence, the village had to accommodate this population with boarding rooms and basic services. In addition, many families moved to Newbury to afford their children the advantages of a sectarian education and the religious, literary and cultural experiences associated with it. Within the first ten years of the Seminary's founding, approximately forty houses were built in the village and numerous other houses were enlarged.(3)
In retrospect, the establishment of the Seminary probably only postponed the eventual decline of Newbury as a prosperous village. It provided a large degree of economic stability that kept many from moving west as was the case elsewhere in Vermont. Unfortunately, when the Seminary moved to Montpelier in 1868, its economic impact was fully realized, and the village began its descent towards economic hardship.
Village activity slowed during the post-Civil War years and most of the residents concentrated on farming. Very few buildings were erected and what little commercial activity there was centered around the Spring Hotel, located where the Tenney Memorial Library (#43) now stands. Built around 1795, this establishment initially served stage travelers. It was enlarged a number of times throughout the years and evolved into a popular summer resort that provided accommodations for those who sought cures from nearby sulphur springs. The Spring Hotel was a landmark because of its size and stylish French Second Empire style. Unfortunately, it was destroyed by a fire in 1879.
One of the more important events during these years was the establishment of the Tenney Memorial Library (#43) in 1897. Although numerous smaller library and literary associations preceded the Tenney Memorial Library, the latter provided a permanent structure in which to serve literary pursuits.
The building, a small Richardsonian Romanesque style design, was given by Miss Martha J. Tenney, a former resident of Newbury, in memory of her father, Colonel A. B. W. Tenney The generosity of her gift was partially matched by the owners of the former Spring Hotel who offered the site for the building, and by residents who established an endowment fund. Being somewhat isolated and set back from Vermont Route 5, the Library remains one of the village landmarks today.
The most significant event in the village during this century was the Fire of 1913. As mentioned earlier, the village suffered horrendous losses and the conflagration left a permanent scar on Newbury's architectural character. However, with surprising speed the residents quickly rebuilt where structures had been destroyed and the physical continuity of the village was regained, although stylistically different in places. Nearly all of the buildings erected in the aftermath of the fire show clapboard facades and Colonial Revival styling which blend remarkably well with the village's early 19th century building stock.
It is evident today that Newbury has avoided many aspects of 20th century "progress." The people of Newbury have also maintained and respected the quality of the town's historical physical environment. This combination has resulted in the preservation of the village's unique and charming ambiance.
(2) Ibid, p. 234.
(3) Wells, Frederic P., History of Newbury, Vermont, 1704-1902. (St Johnsbury: 1902, repr. 1975) p. 211.
(1) Beers, F. W. Atlas of Orange County, Vermont. F. W. Beers Co., N.Y., 1877.
(2) Dwight, Timothy. Travels in New England and New York. Edited by Barbara Miller Solomon, Cambridge: Belknap Press, Harvard University Press, 4 Volumes, 1969, Vol. II.
(3) Town of Newbury, Vermont. History of Newbury, Vermont, 1900 to 1977. Bradford, Vermont: Fox Publishing Corporation, 1978.
(4) Vermont Division for Historic Preservation, Vermont Historic Sites and Structures Survey, Town of Newbury, 1978.
(5) Wall, H. F. Atlas of Orange County, 1858, N.Y.
(6) Wells, Frederic P. History of Newbury, Vermont, 1704-1902. St. Johnsbury: The Caledonian County, 1902, reprinted 1975.
DATE ENTERED:August 4, 1983.
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