132 State Street, Taplin House, ca. 1895
George E. Taplin, whose family owned many parcels of land along State Street, built this Queen Anne style home around 1890. At one time Taplin worked for J. P. Dewey, who lived on Western Avenue (now Gov. Aiken Avenue) and ran a store at 110 State, now the site of the State's Personnel office. George was the brother of Horatio N. Taplin, Jr., who lived down the street at 124 State Street (now occupied by the American Legion; not pictured). Horatio served as Treasurer and President of National Life Insurance Co. That company eventually owned this building for 30 years. The state purchased the property in the 1960s when a subsequent owner threatened to erect a service station on the site.
128 State Street, Riverside Inn
This building was built as an inn in the mid nineteenth century. It functioned as such for over 100 years but by the 1940s it failed to attract urban tourists and the owners sold it to the state. It was torn down in 1947 and the Edward Dewey House was moved by the state to this location.
120 State Street, Dewey Houses
The top photo shows the home built by Dr. Julius Y. Dewey around 1830. Dewey was the founder of the National Life Insurance Co. and father of George Dewey who achieved international fame as the naval hero of Manila Bay in 1898. In 1889 son Edward, vice president of National Life, moved his family's house west to 144 State Street.
In its place he constructed a Queen Anne style house designed by Montpelier architect (and mayor) George H. Guernsey, shown in the bottom picture. This second house was sold in 1941 by Edward's son-in-law, Frederick Howland, then president of National Life, to the State of Vermont, which moved it to 128 State Street. The George Dewey birthplace was demolished in the late 1960s.
110-116 State Street, Insurance Companies & Train Station ca.1900
Vermont Mutual Life Insurance Company built the Second Empire style office building on the left in 1870 to replace the home of its founder, Daniel P. Baldwin, who had moved to 1 Baldwin Street. The Central Vermont Railway depot in the center of the photograph was built next door in 1880. The Romanesque style building on the right, the National Life Insurance Company's fifth home office, was added to the streetscape in 1891, replacing the Federal style home of the founder's son, Edward Dewey, who built a new home at 120 State Street.
109 State Street, Pavilion Hotel
A hotel was first built on this spot in 1808 in anticipation of the completion of the first State House. In 1827 Mahlon Cottrill enlarged the building, added covered piazzas, and named it the Pavilion Hotel. The first structure was torn down in 1874 to make room for a modern, luxury hotel, the second Pavilion. In 1888 a mansard roof was added to increase the hotel's capacity and to update its appearance. At the turn of the century the hotel, often referred to as "Vermont's Third House," enjoyed a reputation as one of New England's finest. It was a popular destination for vacationers who arrived by train across the street. A victim of changing transportation patterns, the Pavilion Hotel slowly deteriorated and closed its doors for good in September 1966. After a protracted preservation fight that received national attention, it was demolished in 1969.
2 Governor Aiken Avenue, John P. Dewey & Charles Porter Houses
Are these two houses the same building? In 1836 J. P. Dewey (no relation to the Dewey who owned the homes at 120 State Street) built the house in the upper photograph in the Greek Revival style. Tradition holds that Ammi B. Young, architect of the second State House, designed this house. Montpelier lawyer Charles Porter bought the house in 1885 and rebuilt it in the present Queen Anne configuration. Between 1923 and 1968 National Life Insurance Co. used the building for a guesthouse. This street was called Western Avenue until 1987 when it was renamed in honor of former Governor and U.S. Senator George D. Aiken.
1 Baldwin Street, Baldwin House
Daniel Baldwin, who built this house next to the State House in 1848, was one of the most prominent leaders of Montpelier's business community in the 19th century. He founded the Vermont Mutual Life Insurance Company in 1828, the first of its kind in the state, and was involved in several other business ventures including the building of the Vermont Central Railway. Baldwin had run his insurance company out of his home at 110 State Street until he eventually vacated it in favor of this new home. Baldwin, who achieved mythic status by the time of his death in 1881, lived to be 89 years old. Ten years before his death he sold his house to his daughter and son-in-law, Marcus and Maria Gilman. Gilman, a Vermont historian and bibliographer, was librarian of the Vermont Historical Society that was located next door in the State House.