Friday, December 16, 2011

North Bennington, Vermont, Walking Tour, #24- 26

#24 - McCullough Library, 1921, replaced the N. Bennington Boot and Shoe Factory which burned down in 1884. Its classic columns and symmetry compliment the markets across the park, but the columns have Corinthian capitals with leaves instead of the plain Doric capitals on the stores. The brick work is like a tapestry, an outer skin, decorative, not structural. The round brick columns at Welling and Thatcher’s Store hold up the building. The corner pilasters on Loomis and Hawkes’ store cover real wood posts.

In 1856, the Union Store (#3) was here as well as some carriage sheds and a clothing store.

#25 - B. Hammond House: Federal, c. 1825, is the reverse image of the Welling House (#10). Its circular fan light has the same ball detailing as the Welling House. Both houses were originally unpainted brick, as the Knapp House (#9) still is. George Briggs was the builer.

#26 - Hiland Knapp House, Federal, c. 1825. This house sports curving bands – guilloche – at the eaves and at the entrance, slender ionic columns, a subtle brick pattern, dressed marble lintels and sills. It is graceful and sophisticated. Its style - center entrance, gables to the sides - was soon eclipsed by side entrance, gable to the street houses such as Welling (#2) and Hammond (#25). Water St was laid out in 1825 along Paran Creek.

End the tour at #2 – The Welling house, seen from Main Street - the twin of # 25, the Hammond House, across the way.

And #1 - The Thatcher and Welling Store, which has been Powers Market since c1900.

It is the oldest country store in Vermont. Note the pulley for a hoist under the eaves of the roof and the bricked-in loading door.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The 1856 map of N. Bennington, Vermont

Here is the map of North Bennington in 1856.

The walking tour highlights the buildings shown here, ignores those built after the map was made.

The few exceptions are the William Hawks House that probably was built by 1856, but not when the map was first drawn, the McCullough Library and the VAE which are landmarks and replaced existing buildings, and the buildings on Nash Street.

This is a work in progress. The tour is posted here so that readers, (and I hope people who have walked the route) may comment and suggest changes.
A working version will be available at the McCullough Library with a page for each building - with lots of space for additions and comments. What else do we know about these houses, about their owners before and after this map? What have I missed?

A printable copy which will fold up onto a small booklet will also be available through the Fund for North Bennington. The logistics of the layout are time consuming...

North Bennington, Vermont, Walking Tour, #17- 23

#17 – Mosher – here the simple form used for mill housing ( see #11,13, 15,) has turned 90* - gable to the street – to become Greek Revival in style, like its neighbor, #18.

# 18 - The brick school house. How does this building tell us it is a school?? The entrance is in the center, not to one side. It opens into a cloak room and then into one large room. Schools might also have 2 doors on the front, one for boys, one for girls. The second floor windows are decorative: they don’t service a living space.

# 19 - P.L. Robinson House. (Robinson and Parsons mill?) Like the Bruce and Draper houses this house has 3 windows across the front, the usual pattern between 1820 and 1890. The verge boards at the roof line are the beginning of Victorian ‘gingerbread’ – surface decoration. The Elwell House on Bank Street, # 42 has similar trim and a similar porch. This house was deliberately set back and landscaped to separate the house from the hustle of the thoroughfare and give it a sense of ‘retirement’. This is a quite different feeling from the Draper House across the street.

# 20 - Mrs. A. Watson, c. 1830 with a later porch. The corner columns and front door are Greek Revival. These details become much more pronounced in later houses.

#21 - The G. Watson House, c. 1830 with c. 1910 wing. The older, left wing of the house is similar in size, proportion and window layout to Mrs. Watson’s house. The picture window in the right wing, with the small rectangular window at the top, called a ‘cottage window’, was very popular in 1915. There are many in the village.

#22 - The Rufus Towsley House is an ample two story residence. The wide, stylish Greek Revival frieze is only on the side walls as it would have blocked the 2nd floor windows on the front of the house.

This was the only house on Pleasant Street and had great presence when viewed from Main St, across Paran Creek. Today that view is hidden most of the year. In season Pleasant Street affords a view of the creek with its numerous falls, and the stone mill built by EM Welling.

Mr. Towsley’s carriage shop was next door. In 1866 he moved to Bank Street.

#23 - Dr. S F Ranney House. This house has been greatly altered since the 1852 flood. The window hoods on the west side show some of its original character. The flood destroyed the doctor’s office on the first floor.