|Photo from the Historic Sites & Structures Survey.|
And now, the Conte family home.
These are all names for one of Waterford's iconic homes, just off exit 1 of I-93, and up the hill from Pettyco Junction (another place with an older name, Aime's). The large stately house with its mansard roof has been sheltered in recent years by a cedar hedge; look more closely to see the attached carriage stalls, the wing with the ballroom upstairs, the traces of what was once a showplace farm for the region.
The Conte family is welcoming the June 26 (Wed.) meeting of the Waterford Historical Society at 6:30 pm in the ballroom -- most easily reached by parking behind the present home, where an entrance meets that level of the house. With photographs and stories to share and review, it's going to be a lively get-together!
|Photo courtesy of the Conte family.|
Allen Hodgdon's historic survey of the structure in 1980 placed its date of construction a century earlier, 1881, in the "Second Empire" style. But the site clearly hosted much earlier a structure belonging to the Hill family, who settled that part of Waterford.
Originally known as the Simeon Hill farm the [Antoine] Begin farm, also referred to as White Birch Farm, was settled around 1808 by Simeon Hill*, a native of Walpole, N.H. Hill kept a tavern here until 1810. The timber-framed wing of the building predates the brick block. It exhibits a ballroom on the second floor, over the open-end carriage stalls. The northwesterly end of the wing may be part of the original house. The outstanding Second Empire style main block was built by Richardson B. Graves* around 1881. Graves' son, Herbert K. Graves, continued his father's farm, and by 1904 it was considered "one of the most desirable farms in northern Vermont [according to William H. Jeffrey in "Successful Vermonters, A Modern Gazetteer of Caledonia, Essex, and Orleans Counties," 1904].There are other aspects of the place that Hodgdon didn't mention: the old road from Waterford to Route 2, for instance; and the important role of the farm as an E.T. & H.K. Ide company farm.
|From the Jamie Ide family album, 1926: taken from White Birch Farm. (Lee farm in distance.)|
Residents today may also recall its use as an inn for some years, the Looking Glass Inn, owned by Perry Viles and family.
What a treat it will be to see the interior and hear what the Conte family has discovered!
Simeon Hill: Born about 1783 in Massachusetts; wife was Rebecca; died April 3, 1845, in Waterford, and buried at the Charles Hill Cemetery (attached to today's Gingue farm). Probably hosted his tavern from about 1808 through at least the 1820s. It appears that his parents Thomas and Eunice lived in Waterford by the 1820s also.
Richardson B. Graves ["Successful Vermonters"]: