Nichols House

The Nichols House is a small frame house situated off a dirt road in rural East Barre. Built by early settlers to the area, it is an excellent example of the classic Cape Cod house type. The Cape Cod, a small rectangular one and a half story building, only one and a half rooms deep with a high pitched gable roof, symmetrical openings and simple details, was an early and extremely popular house type throughout Vermont, and all of New England. Especially popular during the first half of the 19th century, the Cape Cod type was brought to Vermont by settlers from other New England States, and adapted well to Vermont's severe and confining winters. The Nichols house is a very early example of this building type in Vermont, and remains as one of a few dwellings in the area built by a family in the first wave of settlement.

The Thomas Nichols family, among the first settlers of Barre, migrated to the area from Worchester, Massachusetts in 1799. Upon arrival they erected this homestead, and soon after welcomed the birth of their second son. The simple floor plan of the house consisted of two front rooms flanking a small central hall, a large and small room at the rear of the house, and two large rooms on the second floor. A large beehive oven was built in one of the rooms at the rear of the house. Typical of early Cape houses in Vermont, the wooden trim was simple, void of stylistic influence. Thomas Nichols died just a year after the family migrated to Barre. His older son, John, was seventeen and became head of the family. The house remained in the Nichols family until about 1900. Grandson Thomas B. Nichols, maintained the family's farm in the 1880s, which at that time consisted of 130 acres, 18 heads of cattle and 1000 maple trees.

The house has experienced very little alteration over the past two centuries. The addition of a side ell increased the living space for the Nichols family, but the main house still reflects the essential features and materials of its original construction.

The Nichols House is on Rural Rt. 2 off of Vermont Rt. 100 in East Barre. It is a private residence and not open to the public.

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