Frosted Window on a Cold Night

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In an upstairs room that is slowly being transformed into a bathroom (and, to the chagrin of my family, I do mean ssslllooowwwllly), there is a window above the stairs that frosts whenever the temperature drops below freezing.

We love this window because we can immediately tell how cold it is outside by the amount of frost covering it. In the 20’s, about a quarter of the window. In the teens, about half the window, In the single digits, about 75 percent. And at below zero, it is a full sheet of ice. In the picture above, it was 6 degrees.

Of course, it’s no secret that we aren’t fans of vinyl siding or windows. And I can tell you that we don’t get this magical effect from the unfortunate few vinyl windows we have that were installed by the previous owner.

In our zeal for “energy efficiency,” we have lost these unexpected interactions with nature that add beauty to our lives. It’s difficult to seeĀ in the picture, but the window does have an historic wooden storm window on it (which is where the frost forms), but that will likely be the extent of our weatherization efforts. We’ve grown too fond of our ice.

If you need another reason to keep your wooden windows, see our post “Vinyl Windows Equal Less Light.”

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

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

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.