Photograph courtesy of Christopher Bellamy

  Historic view of Allenwood, early 20th Century
Photograph by Harold Townsend

The first settlers in Plainfield arrived at the turn of the 19th century. Only a quarter of a century later it had grown into a well established agricultural township. In 1827 Allen Martin, son of one of the original settlers, erected a home for himself along the fertile Winooski River. Allenwood, as the home is known today, is a typical 19th-century Vermont hill farmstead. It is an example of the unusually large number of brick houses erected in Plainfield, which together create the village's unique historic architectural character. This concentration of brick homes was made possible by a few early local brick masons, one of whom was William Martin, Allen's brother. Allenwood is just one of several brick homes in Plainfield attributed to the Martins.

A notable feature of Allenwood is its double wall construction, two brick walls with air space in between where hay was inserted for insulation. This durable construction was an interesting response by Vermont's early settlers to the region's harsh winters. In addition to the house, three 19th-century barns reflect the historic agricultural use of the property. Unlike many historic houses, minimal changes have been made to Allenwood since its construction, the fortuitous result of several factors. Allen Martin resided in the home until his death in 1876. The lack of changes to the house made during his occupancy indicates that modernization was either not desired or affordable. After Allen's death the house was inherited by his nephew Willard Martin, a judge, farmer, and businessman who owned the neighboring Greatwood Farm. Willard Martin's son, Willard Jr., an even more successful businessman, inherited the properties in the early 20th century and proceeded to expand Greatwood and its gardens in opulent style. Allenwood became the home of Greatwood's gardeners and did not receive stylistic updating during that time. Upon Willard Jr.'s death, the house was deeded to his daughter, Marjorie Townsend, whose careful stewardship during her lifetime has resulted in the home's preservation.

Allenwood is located west of Plainfield on Rt. 2, just east of that road's intersection by State Rt. 214. It is a private home and not open to the public.

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