Monday, January 30, 2012
It has been suggested the change came when architects took over the design process from builders. Well, maybe. I just don’t think it’s that simple.
In Europe, during the Middle Ages, the understanding of how to use geometry was passed down through the guild apprenticeship system, specifically the masons’ guilds, the men who were the master builders of the medieval cathedrals, forts and castles.The title ‘architect’ was used in the late 1500’s, but often as metaphor. The OED cites its use as a synonym for God, “The work some praise, And some the Architect”. 1667, Milton, Paradise Lost. Only gradually is the word specifically associated with the task of designing rather than building a structure.
Consider this chain of command:
John Mylne (d.1657) was the Master Mason to the Crown of Scotland.
His son, John Mylne (1611-1667) and then his nephew, Robert Mylne (1630-1710), succeeded him. All were members of the masons’ guild.
Sir William Bruce of Scotland (c.1630-1710) is considered the ‘architect’ who brought Palladian ideas to Scotland. He was Surveyor General of the King’s Works. Was this a title created for him because he had lived and traveled abroad, had a great library but did not draw? Robert Mylne was one of the people who drew for him. Mylne also supervised the construction. And he, a mason, would most likely have been using the geometry passed down through the guild.
James Smith (1647-1731), succeeded Bruce as Surveyor General. He had traveled abroad, studied in Rome, but was trained by Mylne.
He in turn trained William Adam (1689-1748). Both were admitted to the local masonic guild. These men began to be referred to as ‘architects’: Colen Campbell (1676-1729) in his Vitruvius Britannicus calls Smith "the most experienced architect of that kingdom".
William Adam trained his sons, John Adam 1721-1792), Robert Adam (1728-1792), and James Adam (1732-1794) as masons.
Robert and John Adam are the men after whom the Adam Style (often called Federal in New England) is named. Robert was truly an ‘architect.’ He designed and drew, someone else executed.They traveled abroad. Most of them read Latin. But at least through the Adam brothers the knowledge of design and construction was rooted in the masons' knowledge, in regulating lines.
An aside: Scottish history during this time is full of political intrigue ( Queen Mary of Scots, King Charles, etc.) which influences who gets to design and build which buildings. For more information try Scottish Architecture, Glendinning and MacKechnie Thames & Hudson,Ltd., London, 2004. They are excellent historians and writers.
The highly respected instructor at the local vo-tec built this house for his family in the 1950's. Compact, with built-in furniture which dictated the use of every room, it felt much like the Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian houses I had visited.
Friday, January 27, 2012
Cross the railroad tracks, and walk up to # 50, the William Hawks House and carriage barn, built in 1855. They are not on the 1856 map. Perhaps they were not finished when the data for the map was collected.
Houghton St was named after the family whose elaborate Queen Anne Victorian house was here. For an extra excursion turn left on Houghton Street, continue across the tracks to Lake Paran Park on the right. Lake Paran was created by the railroad bridge over Paran Creek in the 1840’s.
Between the houses the Robinson barn - #51 - is visible. In 1856 this land was fields, farm yard, and kitchen garden.
# 52 may be the M.B. Murch house. The D. Corkins house has been replaced by St. John the Baptist Catholic Church. picture to come
# 54 –Warren Dutcher House. Greek Revival c. 1840, with added porch. Mr. Dutcher’s house in Bennington had burned in 1849. He invented a improved temple for mechanized looms. By 1858 he had relocated his factory – which had been on Paran Creek - to Hopewell, MA.
This side was the working side of the house: the location of the stable, dairy, kitchen garden, and barn yard. The front door was for company.
These are the main buildings which were in N. Bennington in 1856, with the exception of 11 houses, a school and an Academy (now gone), and 3 factories, all on Water Street. (Those buildings which remain will be added as a 'drive-by' tour.) Barns, shed, outhouses, and other secondary structures were not recorded.
I found it fascinating to understand physically, by walking down the streets of the village, how it would have felt to live here, how small a village it was. I hope you do too.
I welcome your comments and corrections. The internet makes improvements simple. Thank you for visiting.
Thursday, January 26, 2012
The topography required us to build in the same sandy location as the existing tiny, structurally unsound, stone garage. The garage needed to be, like the original, useful and incidental.
The original caretaker's cottage (just out of view on the left) overlooked the garage, so a low pitched hip roof was chosen as less intrusive than the original gable.
The whole property received a local Historic Preservation Award.
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Main Street was laid out in 1760 to go north to Shaftsbury. Houghton Street was cut in 1835, also to go to Shaftsbury, but avoiding the hill on the main road. The railroad was
here in 1856 but not Depot Street. The railroad continued across the dam at Lake Paran to Bennington. The bridge and dam which had washed out had quickly been replaced.
The tour begins at The Eddington House
# 44 - WF Hawkes House, now called The Eddington House. A porch once ran across the front of the house, probably not as early as 1856.
# 43 -SC Loomis House (picture of fan light)
# 45 – Surdam House, c. 1835. The house shape and size is similar to those on Bank St. Its stone construction is unusual in the village. The entrance side panels and hood are taken pictures in the1830 design book of Asher Benjamin.
# 46 – Built c. 1780 for Fannie Hinsdill. It originally had a center chimney. This house has been continually updated - the triple windows, c. 1910, and the picture windows in the 1950’s for a barbershop.
#47 – The Cobblestone House, 1848, Gothic Revival, with its steep roof and gingerbread icing along the eaves was inspired by medieval stone carvings. It retains its early American story-and-a-half shape and scale. In 1856 one of the Colvins lived here. The cobblestone exterior was also popular in western NY. This house was built by Warren Dutcher who auctioned it off for $1 per chance.
#48 - GW Simmon House, c. 1850, is a classic Greek Revival - with a later porch and Italianate double door. It was constructed with timbers from a mill on Paran Creek which was being rebuilt.
#49 – Robinson is a mirror image of #50. This house has Italianate ‘improvements’: a double front door and a bracketed entry roof.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
#44 – Sam C. Loomis House, Federal, c. 1830. This house is hidden by its siding – its graceful front entrance, corner pilasters, and fanlight in the gable still peek through. It is smaller, only 2 windows wide, less imposing than its neighbors down the street (#2, 25, 26).
#26 - Hiland Knapp House, c. 1825. The curving bands – guilloche – at the eaves and at the entrance, slender ionic columns, a subtle brick pattern, dressed marble lintels and sills are graceful and sophisticated. The style, Federal, was inspired by the Adams Brothers, popular English architects at the time.
#25 - B. Hammond House: Federal, c. 1825, is the reverse image of the Welling House (#2). In 1856, there was no roof over the front porch.
#2 –The Welling House end the Green Tour. Its Italianate side porch to the north once circled the house.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
The Colvin family farmed the land on this road. They also owned mills.
#37 - Sidney Colvin House, 1855. This house was set back from the road to create a setting, much as was the Robinson House on Prospect Street. Popular authors at the time recommended withdrawing one’s
house from the road to reinforce the Jeffersonian ideal of each family being self-sufficient
#38 - Charles Colvin House – Wood could be planed by steam powered machinery in 1835. Wide smooth boards were easy to mill, and readily available. These columns and frieze boards are the result. This house sits close to the street, urban compared to #37.
#39 - built by E. Safford. These cottages (with a central unit and side wing) have corners that look like colum
#40 - Originally this was a single family house, built c.1820, with simple trim, no frills, and a center entrance. It is larger than the simple mill houses on West and Sage St. The porch is later.
#41 – G. Robertson House, The Greek Revival house once boasted a frieze and corner pilasters, now hidden by vinyl siding. The Italianate porch is later.
#42 – Elwell House, 1851, Italianate, is very similar in shape and detail to the PL Robinson House on Prospect Street. However, it is not set back but sits directly on the street. One looks up at it and the feeling quite different. Its shape is similar to #41, , but its trim is light and airy, not solid.
#43 - Once the barn for the Elwell House, this building was moved in 1917-18 and remodeled to become a Masonic Temple. Note the similar verge boards at the eaves. Barns have cupolas (the tower at the top) to vent the hay stored inside, because hay heats up and can easily catch fire.
Behind that was a carpenter shop.
SB Loomis owned the hotel. He lived next door and also owned, with WE Hawkes, one of the stores in Lincoln Square.
Thursday, January 12, 2012
#32 – W.J.Toombs House. The gable of this Greek Revival house
33 – Known as “the Lodge” because it served as a guest house for the Parks and McCulloughs whose 1864 mansion is across the street. Now a school with many wings and alterations, the original house, built by Martin B. Scott, is in the middle.
Take a walk through the Historic Park-McCullough House grounds. Visit the ‘Big House’ and see what Trenor and Laura Hall Park built in 1864 in their village with money from the California gold rush.
The Hall – Park - McCullough family was a generous contributor to the betterment of the village. Hiland Hall and John McCullough served as governors of Vermont.
The Hiland Hall farmhouse is beyond the Big House.
Church St was not here in 1856. This was Hall and Colvin farm land.
The North Bennington Graded School was built in with the help of Hiland Hall and Trenor Park.
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Sunday, January 8, 2012
Walking up hill, west from the McCullough Library, corner West and Main Streets, North Bennington, Vermont
In 1856, the Boot and Shoe Factory sat on the right side of West St. with the Union Store (#3) to its north, a tin shop to the west. On the left was the Hawks & Co. mill.
# 27 – Doty Hall, which housed tailor shop and a shoe shop in 1856, was built by Asa Doty as a private school with a second floor auditorium. While the school is a box topped by a stylish pediment, its location and its lack of detail give it much less presence than the stores at Lincoln Park.
#28 - Built in 1827 by Asa Doty, this house matches the Hammond and Welling houses. Its fan light has the same row of balls. About 1850, it was ‘up-dated’ with Italianate details: the corbels under the roof, a bay window on the east side. The Park family lived here while their summer mansion was being built in 1864.
#29 – RW Bangs House, probably c.1830, as the entrance is centered on the front under the roof slope. The shape has not yet been turned so that the gable end faces the street.
#30 – mill housing with little detail other than simple Greek Revival eave returns.