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Rich Tavern

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1805, Isaac Wells. VT 14, 0.2 miles south of Factory St., Nort Montpelier

Samuel Rich, a farmer and mechanic, moved from Sutton, Massachusetts, to Montpelier in 1792 and soon after constructed a dam and saw- and gristmills at a bend in the Kingsbury Branch of the Winooski River. Next, he added a potato whiskey distillery, brickyard, store, and a carding and fulling mill, as well as houses for his workers. Then in 1805 on the hillside above what was then called “Rich's Hollow,” he commissioned local builder Isaac Wells to erect this grand twin-chimney, Georgian-plan tavern that he also made his home. The tavern is two stories of plank-wall construction within a heavy-timber frame, with 4 × 20–inch planks from Rich's sawmill. It has delicate gouged triglyphs in its eave frieze and a wide entrance with sidelights and fanlight sheltered by a porch. A broad pent dormer echoes the porch and contains a semielliptical fan, features shared with many of the state's earliest high-style residences. Inside is one of the finest complete tavern interiors remaining in the state, with a parlor on either side of a wide entrance and stair hall. Each parlor, one containing an intact barroom with wooden benches and bar cage, has eared hearth architraves and over-mantels with pilasters and entablature filled by original wall paintings. On the second floor a ballroom with two hearths runs the length of the front of the building. The tavern has remained in the Rich family, which accounts for its remarkable preservation.

Writing Credits

Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson


What's Nearby


Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson, "Rich Tavern", [Plainfield, 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, 297-297.

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