Chauncey B. Leonard House
Photograph courtesy of Vthe ermont Division for Historic Preservation

  Continuous addditions of the Chauncey B. Leonard House
Photograph by Liz Pritchett

On a gentle slope of land near the center of the town of Berlin sits the Chauncey B. Leonard House. Built around 1845, the house is a simple Greek Revival style classic cottage, with extensive Queen Anne additions to both the interior and exterior. The house is an excellent example of continuous or additive architecture in Vermont. Its date of construction also reflects a prosperous time in Berlin's history, when the small hamlet supported active mills and industries.

The form of the small one and a half story wooden cottage is typical of the vernacular Greek Revival style. However, most of its applied details--diagonal clapboards in the gable peaks, shinglework, a three-panel door, and the three decorative porches--are typical Queen Anne features which were added around 1900. The manual door bell from this period, detailed with a raised scroll pattern, is still working, as are early 20th-century electrified ceiling fixtures. Typical for Vermont and New England, continuous additions were made to the house over time, an ell and horse barn after 1875, and a garage in 1910. The nearly half acre of property is bounded to the west by a large pond which formerly provided water power for the numerous mills and factories located along its banks.

The builders of the house are unknown. Its ownership passed through several different hands before Chauncey B. Leonard purchased it in 1868. Leonard was a blacksmith whose shop was located directly across the road from the house. In addition to his year round blacksmith business, Leonard also operated a small scale diversified farm and dairy. Leonard's farm included a small number of cattle, swine, sheep and chickens; and his 35 acres yielded Indian corn, oats, maple sugar and Irish potatoes. Leonard owned the house until his death in 1889. Mary Perkins, who owned the house from 1892 until the early 1930s, was probably responsible for the Queen Anne additions, but little else is known about her time there. The Dickey family, from Cleveland, Ohio, purchased the home in 1934 as a summer home. The Dickeys were part of a broad based trend, beginning in the late 19th century, of city dwellers retreating to the cool, uncrowded and quiet hillsides of Vermont in the summer months, a trend which continues today.

The Chauncey B. Leonard House is located in Berlin at the northwest corner of the intersection of Paine Trnpk. (Town Hwy. 14) and Shed Rd. (Town Hwy. 67). It is a private building and not open to the public.

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