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Chase House

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1804, Asa Egerton. 86 Main St., Randolph Center

This elaborate Federal house, the most literal and best-preserved example of Asher Benjamin's Connecticut River Valley style in Vermont, was built in an attempt to make Randolph Center the state capital. Centrally located within the state, on the important Boston to Montreal turnpike, and laid out with well-spaced buildings, broad lawns, and dignified rows of trees, this village was one of three locations considered as a permanent seat for the then-itinerant government. To convince legislators to choose his town, the politically ambitious Dudley Chase commissioned this house from a disciple of Benjamin's, intending to offer it to the state as a governor's mansion. Though Montpelier became the capital, the house has been known locally as the governor's mansion ever since. Asa Egerton, a joiner, may have studied or worked under Benjamin in Windsor. Shortly after Benjamin's departure for Boston, Egerton appeared in Randolph and advertised his own “school” based on his master's model. Soon after, he built Chase's house following Benjamin's aesthetic and borrowing specific motifs from his buildings in Greenfield, Massachusetts, and in Windsor. The hipped-roof house combines a central pediment, Ionic pilasters with patera-decorated entablature blocks, and a door with sidelights framed by colonnettes that carry a broken pediment. For all its sophistication in sources and detail, Egerton's design reveals his follower status at this point in his career. Windows invade the zone of the entablature, and discrepancies in scale and horizontal alignment between the elements of the central and lateral bays suggest that this is a well-informed pastiche. Nonetheless, it is remarkable as an early work, and the house has no documented successors in Vermont. By 1806 Egerton had moved on to Utica, New York.

Writing Credits

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

Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson, "Chase House", [Randolph, Vermont], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/VT-01-OG34.

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Vermont

Buildings of Vermont, Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2013, 343-344.

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