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Burtch/Udall House and Barn

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c. 1790. Quechee Main St. at Hillside Rd.

In 1786 William Burtch began building on part of his father Benjamin's five-hundred-acre farm on the north bank of the Ottauquechee River. The barn was likely completed by 1790, but the wood-frame center-chimney house remained a work in progress. After running into financial difficulties, the Burtch family sold their farm to neighbor Samuel Udall in 1805. He, in turn, left the farm to his son James Udall. Today, nearly untouched since James's tenancy, the house and barn are an undeveloped State Historic Site and are open by appointment. They are each significant: the house as a timepiece of c. 1800 interior decor and the barn as one of the few documented larger eighteenth-century barns remaining in Vermont.

Like most early barns, this one has a modest exterior, but at 40 × 60 feet it was very large for its time, as they typically measured 30 × 40 feet. The size allowed storage of additional hay to feed more livestock over the winter, an indication of the relative wealth of its owner. The quality of the barn's beech frame is also rare. Assembled with each joint uniquely married and scribed, the barn has flared wall and purlin posts, the tie beams and plates have hewn camber, and the rafters have taper—overall a showpiece of the joiner's craft.

The house is an imposing, though typical, Georgian design, with a heavy cornice with doubled dentils and sash windows paired on either side of the central entrance, with its raised-panel double-leaf door, pilasters, and entablature. Inside, the Burtch tenancy is evident in the entrance with its three-run stair with marbleized treads, in the east parlor with a raised-panel fireplace wall and wainscoting, and in the rare, well-preserved rear kitchen with its massive hearth surrounded by a raised-panel wall. Udall finished the west front parlor and the front second-floor chambers in the Federal style, which is most notable in the west front bedchamber with a refined mantelpiece and original green and blue block-print wallpaper.

Writing Credits

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

Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson, "Burtch/Udall House and Barn", [Hartford, Vermont], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/VT-01-WS14.

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Vermont

Buildings of Vermont, Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2013, 358-359.

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