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Department of Agriculture (National Life Insurance Company)
When the National Life Insurance Company decided to build new headquarters (their fourth), they charged architect S. Edwin Tobey and builders L. D. Willcutt and Sons (both of Boston) with producing an up-to-date building befitting an emerging and highly influential company. The substantial, picturesque brick building has a conical-roofed corner tower and Flemish gables. Its windows, heavy arches, quoins, and base are of rock-faced Longmeadow sandstone. Tobey exercised the full vocabulary that he had used for his S. S. Pierce Building (1887) on Boston's Copley Square. That building was demolished in 1958, but the Richardsonian qualities there survive in this Montpelier successor, including an elaborate, floral, wood-carved tympanum over the main entrance. The grand spaces of the once-elegant interior, with its polychrome tile floors, marble wainscoting, and mahogany and brass elevator, were subdivided into small offices after National Life moved to larger quarters (WA19) in 1922. The building was sold to the state, which uses it for the Department of Agriculture.
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