Abandoned Vermont: Bakersfield House

Perched on a hill off Route 108 in Bakersfield, Vermont, this little house looks like many in that region of Vermont: a classic cottage with windows in the knee-walls. Only this one has seen better days.

Bakersfield, VT. You can see wood windows and storms in this photo – though 2/2 are quite possibly replacements.

Side of the house.

The large trees surrounding the house seem to guard the old homestead.

The rear of the house shows that an entire section has been removed.

So many pieces coming together & falling apart simultaneously. You can see the green soffit and cornice – perhaps this house was once white with green details, like many Vermont houses.

Vines growing through original wood windows are usually a sign of long abandoned houses.

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10 thoughts on “Abandoned Vermont: Bakersfield House

  1. John Hlumyk says:

    The 2/2 windows are definitely replacements, probably 1870 or so. The original glass size can be found in the three light, single sash windows in the second story. Take that glass size and configure them into a 6/6 double hung and those are the originals. I would not be at all surprised to find that same glass size in the sidelights of the front entry.

    Cool house. It looks as though someone made an effort fairly recently. I wish they’d have another go at it before its too late.

  2. Mark says:

    Anyone know the name for those small second floor windows ? (there’s a name for that type of window, which escapes me at the moment). I remember reading that they were somewhat popular in NY state. They’re also seen in the older houses where I’m from. I always thought they were a bit odd, since you would look outside by casting your eyes downward.

    • Mark says:

      I guess I’m talking to myself here ! (….wouldn’t be the first time). So, apparently, some people call these smaller windows knee windows, or even eyebrow windows even though there’s nothing round or curved about them. Anyone else ?

      • John Hlumyk says:

        “Knee windows” I would accept on a colloquial vernacular level. Eyebrow windows are something completely different. Eyebrows are those lazy, arch-top windows in the roof line, especially the faux-thatched roof lines of the English Cottage style of the 1920’s. In the robust ornamentation of the Greek Revival, sometimes these single sash windows would be incorporated within the frieze board, thus giving them the additional name of “frieze windows.” And it was during the Greek Revival period that houses with this type of window became popular. The one and half story house, which is what is pictured above, was popular across New England, into New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and all the way out to Missouri. To our modern way of seeing, the windows are quite odd, but we live in a world full of light switches. Back then, looking out those windows was secondary to the “borrowed” light they let in. Light that was basically cast into an otherwise dark attic living area. Seeing what you were doing up there would have required the burning of expensive candles or lamp oil if not for these little windows. Besides I think they also help fill what would be an awkward, top heavy appearing void in the spacial relationship of the side gable facades.

  3. Mark says:

    Yes, I agree about their functionality. Maybe it was easier to use this type of window than breach the eave and put in a dormer ?? And yet, it was intentionally incorporated into homes by some noted architects of the day like Charles Bulfinch. He used them in this c. 1817 house he designed:

    http://www.historicplaces.ca/en/rep-reg/image-image.aspx?id=4946#i1

    Now I’m wondering how old this house in Bakersfield is ???? I have a rough idea.

  4. John Hlumyk says:

    Were you thinking 1840-1860, Mark? That is my initial guess based on what I can be see in the photos. To narrow it down more we would have to look inside or do some good sleuth work at the local library or courthouse.
    Man, the roof line on the Girvan Bank-Runciman House is interesting. Looks like it bells out subtly about a quarter of the way up, about where the slight double conical roofs intersect in the front. I would love to see how that roof was framed.

  5. Mark says:

    Ya, pretty close to what I thought (1830-1850). But then again, I’m no expert, and I take such things w/ a grain of salt. I’ve seen these windows on earlier structures too, going back roughly to the time of the Revolution (I’m thinking of at least one structure from 1787).

    As I look closer, I’m intrigued by the wide front entry. Was it a double door (?), or was it simply a large door that was flanked by sidelights ? I also find the adornments quite simple…pilsaters, window frames, etc…..this was a simple, plain house that wasn’t embellished. It stands in stark contrast to houses in S. New England that are done up to the 9’s. It says: functionality !

    The GBR house is interesting….I posted it b/c the use of knee windows slightly predates the 1820-1850 period when Greek Revivalism was so dominant. So its interesting from a timing perspective.

    I think we need more Abandoned Vermont !!

    • Kaitlin says:

      Well, I’m glad you, Mark and John, could carry on this conversation. Offhand, I do not know how old this house is, but I’ll see if I can find out. I agree with the knee windows – though I might say windows in the knee wall instead. And I think the front door – which is currently covered in plywood – would have been a normal size door with sidelights on flanking it. And I’d give it a mid 1800s date.

      See this from the UVM Landscape Change Program: http://www.uvm.edu/landscape/dating/residential_architecture/classic_cottage.php

      More Abandoned Vermont coming as I find it!

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