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Whittier House

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c. 1789–c. 1795. Greenbanks Hollow Rd., 0.25 miles north of Town Hwy. 56
  • (Photograph by Curtis B. Johnson, C. B. Johnson Photography)

The Whittier house is the only early gambrel-roofed building surviving in the northeast corner of the state and one of the better examples of Georgian detailing. Thought to have been built by David Whittier between 1786 and 1789, the house's form and interior detailing clearly reflect eighteenth-century building traditions of eastern Massachusetts where Whittier and other early settlers of Danville originated.

A gambrel roof in such a frontier community as Danville certainly distinguished this house from the log cabins and small one- and two-room houses of its neighbors. Whittier is referred to by early chroniclers as a “gentleman,” and the choice of the gambrel roof and an elaborately paneled interior clearly reflect his standing as a man of means. When he sold the property in 1789, the house, a barn, and saw- and gristmills (on Joe's Brook) were noted on the property, indicating a level of improvements to his two-hundred-acre property consistent with a dwelling of this character. In 1793 Mitchell Davis of Tewksbury, Massachusetts, took title to the farm and it is possible he erected or finished the house. Both front parlors have paneled walls and hearth surrounds similar to those in contemporary houses of the Connecticut River Valley, as well as interior paneled sliding window shutters. One of the two second-floor chambers also has a paneled hearth wall and might have served as a “best” bedchamber where guests could be received, as was then the custom. Whether Whittier or Davis built the house, this eastern Massachusetts gambrel Cape standing on a remote hill in Danville is a striking reminder of the high quality of construction found in early Caledonia County.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson
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Citation

Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson, "Whittier House", [Danville, Vermont], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/VT-01-CA28.

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Vermont

Buildings of Vermont, Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2013, 281-281.

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