Post image for Photo Gallery: Aiken Stand, A Historic Site Stands Out

Photo Gallery: Aiken Stand, A Historic Site Stands Out

August 7, 2013

in History,News,Timeless Places

Timeless Places: A look at sites that make us unique
The Aiken Stand’s main building, built in 1805, was a two-and-a-half story clapboard house, which served as a tavern. Due to its location about midway on the turnpike, the Aiken Stand grew in popularity. In 1817, President Monroe stopped at the stand, and by the time Lafayette arrived, the Aiken Stand was more than just a tavern, it was a thriving inn.
Charles Kahn Photos

Read the feature inside the August 8, 2013 edition of the Vermont Standard.

A portion of these photos first appeared in the August 8, 2013 print edition of the Vermont Standard.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Nancy Wheeler Patterson October 24, 2013 at 3:56 pm

The Aiken Stand was the Wheeler family homestead for many, many years. My great-grandfather Eldorous Wheeler was sent back to Vermont from the midwest to select a farmstead for his father and mother so the family could return. It was said that his mother missed Vermont’s mountains.

He chose the Aiken Stand, apparently no longer a tavern. At that time the farm included some 600 acres of pasture, woodland, orchards and wetlands. My grandparents raised a family of five boys and two girls…the grand ‘ballroom’ upstairs was divided into numerous small bedrooms. My father, who grew up there, was amazed when the first person to restore the house discovered stenciling, the dance floor, fireplaces that had been boarded up and…an aunt told me that there’s a secret staircase in the house. From childhood days, I remember the scrubbed pine kitchen floor with lumpy knots that made my first steps a challenge. The dishwater flowed directly out a trough into the rhubarb patch behind the house. An attached back area was apparently an ‘outhouse’ and on it’s outside wall was a door sporting a smaller “cat door.” I happened to stop one day when I was home from college and found the restorers puzzled about that little door with leather hinges. It was fun to be able to tell them it’s purpose.

The barns were across Sayer (we called it Sawyer) Road – I can remember them, the cooling shed where milk and home-churned butter was kept. When I drive by each spring — an annual trek from my home in Waterbury, VT to tend the gravesites of my kinfolk (North Road and Barnard Village cemeteries) — I see only forest where the cowbarn, milking parlor and huge hay loft once existed. An enormous pine loomed over the northeast end of the house and entry was via an attached woodshed. The initial restorer kept the pantry’s thread spool drawer pulls…I wonder if they are still there? Many happy memories are mine still of my grandmother, Sadie Wheeler, playing her piano and singing with a voice that often graced church programs.

I’ve other recollections but have bored you long enough. Feel free to give my e-mail address to the present owners if they might be interested in the past. One of the seven Wheeler children is still living – she is in her 90s, living in Bennington, Vt. Her mind is still as clear as can be if they have any other questions about the “Stand”. It is far more elegant than ever it was in the 1940s. It was the very definition of “hardscrabble” farm then.

NWP

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