The House at Shelburne Farms: The Story of One of America's Great Country Estates
by Joe Sherman
A stranger in a buckboard appeared at Edward Saxton's door in 1885 and offered to buy his farm overlooking Lake Champlain. The farmer gave him an ... Show synopsis A stranger in a buckboard appeared at Edward Saxton's door in 1885 and offered to buy his farm overlooking Lake Champlain. The farmer gave him an option and later sold. One of the largest houses in Vermont soon squatted in Saxton's apple orchard, only to be displaced within a decade by the biggest house in the state, a Y-shaped mansion of one hundred rooms manned by thirty servants and overseeing a 4000-acre agricultural estate. That house is the subject of this book: its owners, its architecture and construction, the lifestyle of four generations of Webb family occupants, and the present day restoration and adaptation for use as an inn. In our time many similar grand country estates have come to early ends. This imposing Queen Anne structure set in a landscape designed by Frederick Law Olmsted has survived, its aura of aristocracy and authenticity intact. This account of the house now adapted to an inn tells of a rare triple treat: architecture from the era of boundless dreams-the so-called Gilded Age; landscape from the visionary mind of America's father of landscape architecture, Frederick Law Olmsted; and a vicarious sense of lifestyle as manifested by a distinctive, wealthy American family, the W. Seward Webbs.