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Mountain View Farm

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1890, 1912, Elmer A. Darling. Darling Hill Rd., 3.8 miles north of VT 114

Elmer A. Darling's Mountain View is one of the few intact gentlemen's farms from the turn of the twentieth century, a time when such farms played an important role in sustaining the economy and cultural life of many Vermont communities. Darling, born in Burke, was the son of Henry G. Darling, who farmed at the foot of Burke Mountain. Elmer attended St. Johnsbury Academy and studied architecture at MIT. In 1874 he traveled to New York City where for more than three decades he managed his uncle Alfred's Fifth Avenue hotel, becoming wealthy in the process.

In 1883, Darling purchased a farm on top of a ridge that crossed from Lyndon to Burke and began acquiring additional acreage. He established a modern model farm here in 1890 and, with the help of twelve employees, bred Jersey cows and trotting horses, raised sheep and hogs, and made maple sugar. Darling then built the largest multifunction bank barn in Caledonia County. The L-shaped barn measures 181 × 46 feet and the ell measures 171 × 46 feet. It has a hipped-roof cupola at its angle and matching ventilator cupolas on each leg. The barn could accommodate 78 cows, 70 sheep, 60 hogs, three pairs of draft horses, one yoke oxen, and 250 tons of hay, grain, and straw. The same year Darling erected a creamery to make butter and cheese (20 and 70 pounds of each daily) for use in the New York City hotel. The creamery's Colonial Revival form replicates the eighteenth-century courthouse in Salem, Massachusetts.

After closing the hotel in May 1908, Darling devoted himself to local agricultural and philanthropic pursuits. He served as president of the national Morgan horse and Jersey cattle clubs, built an electric plant, sidewalks, water and sewer for East Burke village, and supported the Lyndonville Improvement Society, while managing his increasingly prosperous farm with the help of, now, sixty employees.

After retirement he became a Morgan horse devotee, and in 1912 he built another substantial barn for his twenty Morgan horses and colts. The barn's gambrel-roofed main section has two L-shaped wings forming a courtyard facing east. Its exterior is distinguished by Colonial Revival detailing, octagonal ventilator cupolas, and, on its east gambrel face, a large mechanical clock with chimes. The structure is known locally as “the clock barn.”

When Darling died in 1931 he left the carriage road and lookout tower he had built on Burke Mountain to the State of Vermont for a park, and his heirs divided up his seven-thousand-acre property. Beginning in the late 1980s, a portion of the acreage has been reassembled into Mountain View Farm, with a restaurant in the old creamery and guest-rooms and visitor facilities in some of the other agricultural buildings.

Writing Credits

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

Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson, "Mountain View Farm", [Burke, Vermont], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/VT-01-CA6.

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Vermont

Buildings of Vermont, Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2013, 266-267.

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