Soldiers to Innkeepers to Book Men: The Unusual Path of the Stevens Family of Barnet, Vermont

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Our pictures of the “Henry Stevens” and “Henry Stevens, jr.” road makers were recently featured in a article on the life of Henry Steven, jr. We would like to thank Beth Kanell, the writer of the article, and Vermont’s Northland Journal, the publisher of the article, for their permission to repost the article on our website.

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VT Road Marker Henry Stevens Barnet

“Henry Stevens”

VT Road Marker Henry Stevens jr Barnet

“Henry Stevens, jr.”

Wentworth Castle in Jackson, New Hampshire

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Front of Wentworth Castle in Jackson, New Hampshire

Front of Wentworth Castle in Jackson, New Hampshire

While looking through the MLS the other day, we saw that the remarkable Wentworth Castle is currently for sale and is listed for a cool $1,350,000. It is out of our price range, but it can’t hurt to dream. So we did a bit of digging around to find out more about this historic home.

Here is the description of Wentworth Castle from the National Register of Historic Places:

Wentworth Castle, 1891. Contributing building.

Set on a rocky prominence about a thousand feet north of the Wentworth Hall property, Wentworth Castle is a three-story, hip-roofed building constructed of rubble and dominated by twin round towers that are topped by conical roofs. The two-story east wall of the house behind the southeast tower is curved. Extending behind the front section is a hip-roofed ell of slightly lesser height.

Birdseye View of Wentworth Castle in Jackson, New Hampshire

Birdseye View of Wentworth Castle in Jackson, New Hampshire

Centered between the two south towers the main entrance consists of an arched entrance vestibule topped by a loggia fitted with an iron screen with a cutout circle. Sandwiched between the two towers is a hip-roofed dormer, flanked by two brick chimneys. Most of the original windows on the front of the house have been replaced by modern 1/1 sash and are capped by granite lintels. Diamond paned upper sash survive on the third floor. Elsewhere the windows consist of a mix of 6/6, 6/1, 1/1 and diamond-paned sash. A number of hip dormers and triangular windows rise from the slate roof.

View of Jackson Falls from Wentworth Castle in Jackson, New Hampshire

View of Jackson Falls from Wentworth Castle in Jackson, New Hampshire

The house is surrounded by a circular driveway partially lined by stone walls. A detailed description of the interior of the house was published in a Boston Globe article in 1894 and is largely unchanged today.

Construction of the Castle was begun in 1891 for General Marshall Clark Wentworth and his wife Georgia (Trickey) Wentworth, the original proprietors of Thorn Mountain House, which became Wentworth Hall. General Wentworth was born in Jackson in 1844 and raised on his father’s farm. He served in the Civil War although his title was honorary, given to him by New Hampshire Governor Charles Bell, for whom he served as quartermaster general in 1881-2. After the Civil War, Wentworth returned to Jackson and served as the proprietor of the Thorn Mountain House, erected for his wife, Georgia, by her father Joshua Trickey, owner of the adjacent Jackson Falls House. Wentworth Hall was a tremendous success during the 1880s and 1890s and Gen. Wentworth went on to also manage other successful resorts including the Laurel House in Lakewood, New Jersey, La Pintoresca and the Raymond at Pasadena, California; and the New Frontenac in the Thousand Islands of the St. Lawrence River as well as building the Hotel Huntington in Pasadena.

Parlor in Wentworth Castle in Jackson, New Hampshire

Parlor in Wentworth Castle in Jackson, New Hampshire

The Castle was designed by New York architect William A. Bates, who designed many of the buildings at Wentworth Hall. The design for the Castle was reportedly based on plans originally developed by Mrs. Wentworth. An earlier rendition of the design appearing in the December 1885 issue of “Buildings” depicts a structure, which is considerably more modest and lacks the second tower. The house was originally known as “Montecito” but within two years was renamed “The Towers”. It has been more commonly known as “The Castle”.

Dining Room in Wentworth Castle in Jackson, New Hampshire

Dining Room in Wentworth Castle in Jackson, New Hampshire

After General Wentworth’s death in 1915, Mrs. Wentworth sold the Castle in 1917 to the new owners of Wentworth Hall, Nathan and Estelle Amster. Under a live-lease agreement, Mrs. Wentworth was allowed to occupy the mansion until her death in 1930. The building remained unoccupied for 29 years years after her death and deteriorated considerably. The Castle was purchased in 1959 by Countess Mara de Bninska, an international humanitarian, philanthropist and hostess who repaired and modernized the building. It was purchased by David Arata in 1982 and by Don and Carol Jackson in 1989.

Kitchen in Wentworth Castle in Jackson, New Hampshire

Kitchen in Wentworth Castle in Jackson, New Hampshire

Garage, c.1940. Contributing building.

To the north of the house is a gable-front, wood-shingled garage measuring approximately 24′ X 26′ and set on a concrete foundation. There is a double-wide garage door on the gable-front, with an 8/8 window with semicircular fanlight. The south elevation is punctuated by a 6/1 window and wood-and-panel door. A wooden pergola extends from the south wall.

Sitting Room in Wentworth Castle in Jackson, New Hampshire

Sitting Room in Wentworth Castle in Jackson, New Hampshire

Guest House, c.1900. Contributing building.

Set on a granite foundation just north of the garage, this small cottage measures just 15′ X 25′. It is sheathed in wood shingles and capped by an asphalt roof with a decorative scalloped bargeboard. Centered on the gable-front is a glass-and-panel door flanked by a 6/1 window on each side. A horizontal wooden board acts as a window head above the door and windows. Above the board the bottom row of shingles displays a sawtooth edge. A tall brick chimney with concrete rises near the rear roof ridge.

Check out this short video of Wentworth Castle.

Dollar General Should be Ashamed in Lisbon, New Hampshire

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Picture of Demolished House in Lisbon, New Hampshire via Google Maps

Demolished House in Lisbon, New Hampshire via Google Maps

Recently we became aware that Dollar General has struck again . . . this time in Lisbon, New Hampshire (follow link to see our picture gallery). A well-kept, traditional New England style home with attached barn was demolished to build a hideous Dollar General store.

We also understand that the destroyer was completely unsympathetic to people wanting to salvage and reuse materials from the doomed home. It was a “demolish and run” job.

Picture of Dollar General Story under Construction in Lisbon, New Hampshire

Adding insult to injury, as indicated by the blue dot in the Google Map below, the Dollar General breaks the smooth transition from single family homes toward downtown Lisbon. We’ve all seen this process play out a hundred times and inevitably it means the other single family homes will begin to fall one-by-one.

After all, now all of the homes around this beast are less desirable to families. If they aren’t already, they will become multi-family rentals that will suffer from neglect. Eventually, another retailer or fast-food joint will move in next to the Dollar General further gutting the area.

And, of course, the architecture of the Dollar General is simply atrocious. Welcome to Anywhere, USA! Seriously, is this a store or a nuclear fallout shelter? I could go on, but it makes me too depressed.

The Dollar General is not just an affront to the living either as it sits right next to a funeral parlor. Now grieving relatives will have to drive by this monstrosity to pay their respects. Let’s not forget about blight created by the lighted yellow sign either.

Picture of Dollar General Sign in Lisbon, New Hampshire

Alas, this is not the first time that Dollar General has struck–follow link for a summary. Dollar General is not the only culprit either, Family Dollar also has a bad habit of destroying our architectural history as well.

We can only hope that the residents of Lisbon and surrounding communities shun the new Dollar General. Until these stores feel the sting in their bottom line, they will continue to pillage our villages.