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Rich Meadows

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c. 1790, c. 1823, c. 1850. VT 102, just north of the Guildhall town line

German immigrant Jacob Rich came to Maidstone in 1784, before there was even a road. He bought a large tract of land, since known as Rich Meadows, and divided it into four farms for his sons, all of whom lived and died on this land. The farmhouses and outbuildings of two sons, Jacob and Moody, are extant and offer architectural insights into the early years of settlement in the upper reaches of the Connecticut River.

When Jacob died in 1813, his elder sons, John and Henry, managed the farms. It was another decade before they built the broad wood-frame Cape Cod house for the younger Jacob to establish his farm. Its simple detail, lack of a knee wall, and pair of small sash windows on either side of the central entrance suggest relative isolation from downriver stylistic developments. Its distinctive “floating” rafter plates, which form deep overhangs on the eaves sides, are an unusual traditional framing variation (the closest similar examples are on some barns of this period in Caledonia County).

Moody likely did not take over his father's house for another decade, and by then the plank-wall half Cape had become the ell of a wood-frame Cape, perhaps similar to the house of the younger Jacob. Moody remodeled the larger Cape into a two-story, central-hall-plan house by raising it and adding a first floor underneath, a not uncommon practice. This transformation is readily apparent: the original door of the Cape is retained behind shutters on the second floor. Both doors are trimmed with sidelights, fluted pilasters, and simple cornices.

Moody also upgraded his farm buildings, most notably about 1850 when he built a remarkable wood-frame, gable-front stable barn trimmed with Greek Revival details. The double-door entrance and the hay door above it are each framed with a simple cornice above pilasters applied to wide boards in a naive manner common to the Greek Revival in the Essex-Coos region of the upper Connecticut Valley.

Writing Credits

Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson


What's Nearby


Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson, "Rich Meadows", [Maidstone, Vermont], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Vermont

Buildings of Vermont, Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2013, 257-257.

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