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Soule Farm

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c. 1850, c. 1885. South Rd. at Buck Hollow Rd.

Soule Farm documents one of Franklin County's and Vermont's most important agricultural pursuits—large-scale maple sugaring. It is also a good example of the architecture of an evolved, nineteenth-century courtyard farmyard.

The farmyard built for Joseph Soule includes a Georgian-plan house with a one-and-a-half the town road. Complementing the house was a gable-entrance bank barn to the north and rear across the drive, a multipurpose barn to the east, and a farm shop with a second-story granary behind the house and ell. Across the town road from the house sits the brick, one-story, former Soule district schoolhouse (c. 1850), now boarded up and empty for years. The house is a conservative example of Greek Revival with heavy corner pilasters, full entablature, and the standard central trabeated frontispiece with pilasters and entablature.

More interesting are the modifications to the farmyard made after 1880 to support a large maple-sugaring operation. With more than twenty-five thousand taps and three sugarhouses, the facility produced three thousand pounds of maple sugar annually during the tenancy of Joseph's son (Joseph A.) and grandson (George) between 1880 and 1910. Most prominent of the modifications is the Italianate addition to the west gable end of the bank barn, doubling its size and converting it to shelter the horses, sledges, and wagons used to collect sap. Corner pilasters, an entablature that runs at the eaves, double “cross-buck” doors, a segmental-arched hay door, and a cross-pediment cupola placed at the junction of the old and new barn make it one of the most distinctive horse barns in Franklin County. Inside, the partitions and stabling area are finished in tongue and groove, with occasional graffiti inscribed by the men who worked the sugaring season. These hired hands occupied the farmhouse ell, which had its own entrance, and a parlor and dining area downstairs. Upstairs was “the ram's pasture,” an open dormitory space with a center stairwell enclosed by baluster railings. Also noteworthy is the c. 1880–1900 one-story tin shop that adjoins the farm shop/granary where George Soule invented the Soule evaporator for boiling maple sap. Beginning in 1908 and continuing through the midtwentieth century, the Soule evaporator was manufactured in St. Albans and sold throughout the northern United States and Canada.

Writing Credits

Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson


What's Nearby


Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson, "Soule Farm", [Fairfield, 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, 204-204.

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