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Wiswell House

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1868, c. 1890. N. Main St., 0.1 miles north of Cabot village green

After graduating from the medical college in Woodstock in 1851, Dr. Sherburne L. Wiswell interned in Boston and with several Vermont doctors before coming to Cabot village to take over the practice of Dr. D. M. Goodwin in 1861. He married Seraphina Crosby of Hard-wick, and they moved into a Classic Cottage on N. Main Street. In 1866 a fire consumed much of the house, and over the next two years they rebuilt it, adding a second story to the front. They decorated the exterior with an eclectic mix of ornament, including pedimented window hoods, an oriel window, and an iron-crested balcony over the Greek Revival entrance. In 1868, Dr. Wiswell was appointed to the Montpelier Board of Examining Physicians for the U.S. Pension Department, but he had also gained renown as an amateur woodworker, making Eastlake furniture and several ornate floors in his house. By 1889, increasingly frustrated by leaks be tween the dormers on his front addition, he replaced them with a mansard roof. He also added a tiered, two-story, shingle-covered round bay to one side of his front entrance and a rounded porch at its other side, creating a strikingly idiosyncratic effect. The house's original color scheme was the traditional colors of rural Vermont: red, ochre, white, and dark gray. Seraphina is thought to have initiated many of the stylistic changes to the house. After her death in 1919, the house passed from mother to daughter through five subsequent generations to its present owners. The front porch was squared and expanded in 1923, but the house otherwise remains very much as it was when the Wiswells finished their remodeling.

Writing Credits

Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson


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Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson, "Wiswell House", [Cabot, 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, 294-294.

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