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Joseph Adams House

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1861, A. C. Hopson. S. Park Pl., Fair Haven village
  • (Photograph by Curtis B. Johnson, C. B. Johnson Photography)

The green and cream marble Italianate house that Joseph Adams built overlooking the green announced Fair Haven's arrival as a successful center for the production of fine building materials. The village developed in the 1790s around the mill sites and the donated church and green of Colonel Matthew Lyon. By the mid-1840s, townsmen Alonson Allen, William Kittredge, and Joseph Adams were processing marble from West Rutland, drawing large blocks to their Fair Haven mill and transporting the finished products to Whitehall, New York, for shipment on the Champlain Canal. The 1850 opening of the Rutland and Whitehall Railroad facilitated this process. A decade later the town was wealthy enough to embellish its green with railings, walks, and plantings, and Adams was wealthy enough to engage A. C. Hopson of Whitehall to build a house that would showcase his marble.

The house has a palazzo form, its cubic mass wrapped by verandas, capped by a hipped roof, and topped with a belvedere. While the format is not unusual for early Italianate in Vermont, the materials and detailing are. The veranda with its cruciform posts and angled corner bay that looks across the green, the weighty frieze, and the triple-arched belvedere are all capped with broad eaves supported on bold scrolled brackets. But it is the marble of the walls and window frames that makes the house notable. Here Hopson incorporated the products of Adams's mills: vermiculated quoins, and arched and keystoned window hoods carried on carved brackets of varied design. The interior features weighty woodwork with shouldered architraves, a spiral staircase mounting to the belvedere, elaborate molded plaster cornices and chandelier mounts, and a set of eight richly carved marble fireplaces. As an example of high Italianate, this lavish house would be significant wherever it was built; as a product of local materials and workmanship, it has special meaning in Fair Haven.

Writing Credits

Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson


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Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson, "Joseph Adams House", [Fair Haven, 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, 93-93.

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