Friday, August 27, 2021

The Beautiful Homes of Saint Johnsbury

July 25, 2021                                                                   Most Recent Posts:
Moose River Campground                                The Fantastic Flume Gorge
Saint Johnsbury,  Vermont          Hiking Mount Pisgah- Not North Carolina



It has been raining and raining which has given me time to do some journaling and reading.  I guess Pooh is tired of the rain too since he turned his back on the river.

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There have been some partially dry days and on one of those I took another walk around town.  I did a previous blog with a look at the local falls, municipal forest, the gorgeous library and other public buildings.  You can find that post here if you haven’t read it.

Today I went back on my own unplanned personal walking tour just enjoying the wonderful houses in this town.


IMG_20210725_140350472_HDRI came to town to pick up some things at the local health food store called Natural Provisions.  I hadn’t thought I was going to have anything to photograph so I left my camera at home.  When I got inside the store it was a feast for the eyes but I had nothing but my phone with the terrible camera.  I took a number of pictures but most of them were so bad they aren’t worth posting.  Even the one I am including of the inside is an insult to this beautiful store.

The outside has a castle feature.  But based on the stained glass in the tops of the windows inside, I’d say the building's previous life was as a church.  Not sure if a congregation went out of business or built a bigger church.  There are a lot of churches in Saint Johnsbury and they are lovely.  Some of them, but not all, are in my previous post.


None of my pictures of the food section are decent but this one of the local crafts area was the best of the lot.  The windows all have stained glass which was really beautiful.  Some are full stained as these are and some only the top of the window is stained.


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Just north of the bridge coming into town, the Moose Rive,r which runs behind Winnona, joins the Passumpsic River which flows on under the bridge and off south.  The Passumpsic is a much larger river and I wonder about kayaking it.  I walked across the bridge just to take a look at the river.


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I love the wildness of it right along the banks though you can see the town just behind the trees on the right hand side.  I think I’m glad they haven’t done a river walk and disrupted the naturalness of it.

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IMG_20210725_142330946_HDRFrom there I walked down Railroad Street which is really the main street in Saint Johnsbury and cut up Concord.  But on that corner there is another bridge crossing the Passumsic River.  I could hear rushing water so I went over to look.  Sure enough, a dam.  I couldn’t get very good pictures the water fall but I thought a park around the falls might be a good civic project. 

It was a lovely falls and I was sorry I couldn’t enjoy it more.  That’s the second falls in the Saint Johnsbury city area that is not being enjoyed by residents and visitors.  Really too bad.  Who doesn’t love a waterfall?

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Shouldn’t they really have a park around it on one side or the other despite the utility buildings?  I’d love to see picnic tables, benches, spots to sit and read.

Well I’m not in charge so I went off up Concord Street which is a stiff climb and topped into Main Street which isn’t actually the main business district street.  But seems to be the main fancy houses street

Late 19th, early 20th century houses are my favorites.  That’s probably why I love the farm.  That’s its time period.


This house was on the climb up Concord I believe.  When we renovated the farmhouse we considered a double stacked bay like this but it didn’t look right.

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Most of the rest of the homes were on Main Street.  I just love their roof features and porches.  Why have we stopped building homes like this?  Too costly?  There are mighty expensive and huge homes being built all over but none like these beauties.


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I love the wide sweeping porch contrasted with the two skylights.  The porch protects from sun and the skylights let it in.

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Wish I hadn’t zoomed in so far and cut off the top peaks of this house in this picture.  The details of it are wonderful.  Boy I’d hate to paint it though.

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Here are two other pictures taken from the sidewalk in front of the house.  I hope they show the details.  This might be my favorite of the houses.  It’s a work of art.  Look at the embellishments under the trim of the little bay window.  Have you seen any house built in the last 70 years that was a work of art?

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There were several other houses that I couldn’t get good pictures of because of all the trees.  Here are some pieces of one of them. 

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There was a conjunction with Main, Boyton and Mount Pleasant Streets.  A sweet little park was in that triangle.  Boy do I wish I’d brought my real camera.  And why in the world is this so off center that it doesn’t show the entire circle?  Crappy photographer being careless.


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A home for “aged women” seems like a relic from the time period.  I love the houses but the position of women in the time, not so much.

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Or maybe this one is my favorite with the two little dormers, the tower and the carriage drive through at the front entrance.

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Or maybe this one with the carriage drive on the side and the little walk out on the second floor.

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At the welcome center I could not find a walking map that gave the dates of all these houses.  Wish there had been one.  These two have similar rounded porch entry features.  I’d like to know if they are close in age.  Other than that feature, they seem quite different.


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I wonder if you can actually get in this square turret on top.  In Victoriana a tower rests on the ground a turret on the house.  In sea faring towns the cupola was often surrounded by a widows watch for the wife of the sea captain.  But mostly they were just for decoration.


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A more modest house gets a renovation.  Neat bay window.

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I’m pretty sure this is a European Mountain Ash also known as the Rowen Tree.   Since ancient times European people have planted a Rowan beside their homes.  In Celtic mythology it's known as the Tree of Life and symbolizes courage, wisdom and protection.  The rowan’s wood is strong and was often used for walking sticks, tool handles, spindles and spinning wheels.  Not sure if birds can eat the berries but the raw berries are astringent and diuretic to both humans and dogs.  They are made into jams and eaten traditionally in Europe with lamb and game.


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I’d never recognized one before and it was so loaded with fruit. 

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And so ends my walking tour of Saint Johnsbury.  It is definitely a great place to stroll with lots of homes and public buildings I haven’t shown.  

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Back home, my backyard at twilight.

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Which of the houses was your favorite? 

Does your home town have beautiful homes to stroll by? 

30 comments:

  1. What a sweet little New England town. Just curious about the home prices for those lovely historic houses. Will have to go check Zillow I guess. loved the feeling of history. Now I want to know who lives there, what is the population of the town, what do folks do for work? Demographics? that sort of stuff. I will go research it so you really don't have to answer any of those questions, but just wanted you to know you piqued my curiosity.

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    1. I'm glad I piqued your curiosity. I'd have to look up the answers to your questions myself since I don't really know. At the campground they tell me that the town is shrinking in terms of population so perhaps home prices are good although there aren't many for sale.

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  2. The waterfalls are great! I love the health food store- how cool is that? The place looks so light and looks to be a lot of room. What did you buy? St. Johnsbury has so many lovely homes! My favorite is the green one with the curlicues. The houses look like the ones on Washington Street in Cumberland, MD where my grandparent's house was (it's still there and has been sold a few times). The house right before the brick house is similar to theirs. Either Park St. or Locust Ave. in Charlottesville has houses like these. That Logan tree doesn't look very sturdy to me. It reminds me of a mimosa. It does have a ton of berries bit from your description, I don't thinks I'd want to eat anything made from them. Were there any businesses on the streets? xxxooo

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    1. I bought some nutritional yeast and some natural insect spray since I can't find mine and a few other things. It really was a beautiful store.

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  3. I love to see the old, Victorian mansions so lovingly displayed. I also love that I don't own one, think of all the work to keep them so clean and painted. But I have to hand it to those owners that take pride in the upkeep so I can enjoy looking at their gorgeous homes. Nobody builds home that that today.

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    1. I was also happy to see them so well taken care of and wish we built homes that were that artistic nowadays since many people obviously can afford to.

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  4. I've always loved the old Victorian architecture. I had an old Victorian in Pennsylvania, sadly it's fallen into disrepair judging from pictures from friends. In California there are beautiful ones up north, in San Francisco as well as north of that. I don't think people build them anymore, too costly, or just not in vogue anymore.

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    1. Laurie, I'm so sorry to hear that your Victorian in Pennsylvania is not being taken care of by whomever owns it now. That's very sad.

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  5. I've always admired this era of architecture but wouldn't want to take care of the maintenance. Very costly artistic styles. I think people spend that money on their cars and gadgets now. This is the kind of project you could pitch to volunteer doing, with research putting together a walking guide. I like your river view best.

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    1. Perhaps you're right about how people spend their money. If I owned one of these beauties I certainly would want to have enough money to pay someone else to do the upkeep. LOL!

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  6. Lovely homes. Now I always think of upkeep. I'm glad some people take care of it then. Nice city walk.

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    1. It was a nice City Walk Lynne. I'd love to know who lives in these houses but I didn't see anyone when I was out.

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  7. I always enjoy "town hikes" and leisurely wandering around and exploring. Although I have a great appreciation for architecture, I wouldn't want an elaborate home that requires a lot of upkeep! Just the thought of painting one of those Victorian houses is overwhelming. I'm glad we have a brick house now, LOL.

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    1. You are right Laurel that a brick house requires much less upkeep. But in my fantasy life I not only own one of these beauties but have so much money I can pay someone to take care of it.

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  8. I loved your home tour! Beautiful architecture

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    1. Thanks Patty. I'm glad you enjoyed it and commented to let me know.

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    1. Thanks william. It is very lovely architecture.

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  10. Ah, victorian homes! I swear I lived in that era in a past life. Absolutely love those houses. Your river view is definitely lovely.

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    1. Me too sweetheart. That's one of the reasons I love the farm.

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  11. Like the one towards the end with the cupalo, am sure a woman stood up there and pined... lovely homes tho and oh my the porches!!

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  12. I love the idea of someone pining in the cupola. Sounds very Victorian. I have always loved porches too but when I lived in the farmhouse which had po9rches all around, I realized how dark it makes a house.

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  13. Wow. How wonderful that these houses are so beautifully preserved. I wish there was a guide to their establishment. I wanted an old house when I was much younger, but changed my mind after talking to someone about how much money she was spending keeping hers up. She was much wealthier than me and I knew that if she was complaining about it, I had better re-think it. Plus, my carpenter father hated remodeling and I depended a lot on him. Seeing these pictures brings that desire back though. Perhaps I need to rent one? :-) Thank you for sharing. This really made my day.

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    1. I am so glad you enjoyed the houses Pam. Renting is a thought but probably the landlord wouldn't want to do the upkeep either. I think perhaps only the very wealthy can afford these beauties but I had no idea there was that kind of money in Saint Johnsbury from what the campground owners said.

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  14. What a wonderful collection of vintage homes!!! There isn't one I wouldn't love as my own, but the green one with the two turrets is my favorite. I'd love to have that as a morning walking route!

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    1. Head on over to Vermont Jodee and it's yours.

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  15. Enjoyed your tour tour of past century exotic homes. So many have been lost in the past.

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    1. You are so right Tom that many of beautiful Victorian homes has been allowed to deteriorate or broken up into Apartments which is often the first step in their deterioration

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  16. I love this town! If I ever get to New England, St. Johnsbury will be on my list. The houses are so perfect I can imagine I’m looking at dollhouses! My favorite is definitely the brown/green one also, which reminds me of an elaborate mint-chocolate chip ice cream sundae. Extra points that they’re displaying the rainbow flag along with the US flag.

    Didn’t see any people— it seems these were built in an era where there would be lots of children playing, porch-visiting and hired-help, well, helping. Who lives here and what were they doing at the time of day you walked by, I wonder? (and where are the elves who keep everything perfectly painted/mowed/pruned/washed/decorated/shingled/festooned/furbelowed?

    PS: What does Passumpsic mean?

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    1. Elves is right. And there have to be an entire crew of them on duty nearly around the clock I would think. I guess everyone was at work it being a Monday. Great question, thanks for asking it. Passumpsic is an Abenaki word. Thank goodness the river isn't named after some dead military man. Some say it means "flowing over a clear sandy bottom" others say it means "clear running water". I didn't get a good close look at it but that would definitely describe the Moose behind my campsite. Running over beautiful rocks would work too. the Passumpsic is a tributary of the Connecticut River and the Moose is a tributary of it.

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