While Windsor's Old Constitution House is considered the birthplace of Vermont, the Windsor House is arguably the birthplace of organized citizen efforts to save Vermont's architectural heritage. Built on the site of Pettes Coffee House, the brick hotel with its imposing five-bay galleried portico on fluted Doric columns was one of the largest and most substantial of Vermont's Greek Revival inns. The inn hosted such luminaries as Jenny Lind and Theodore Roosevelt. Under ownership of the Windsor Machine Company and then the National Acme Company between 1916 and 1925, Windsor House hosted business guests. After the mid-twentieth-century departure of much of Windsor's manufacturing, neighboring Vermont National Bank acquired the declining property in 1971 with the intention of tearing it down to make way for a drive-in bank and parking lot. The proposed demolition set off a storm of activity among a group of civic-minded Windsorites, led by Georgianna Brush. Architectural critic Ada Louise Huxtable excoriated the project in the New York Times (March 5, 1972) and Governor Dean Davis requested State Division of Historic Sites officials to prepare a rush nomination to the National Register of Historic Places. More significant, a group of major depositors threatened to withdraw their assets from the bank. The combined efforts had their intended effect: the bank relented. Ownership of the building transferred to the Town of Windsor, enabling a series of grants, through which the property was conserved and leased to a new nonprofit organization, Historic Windsor, Inc.
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