This two hundred year old home of a Revolutionary Patriot and his family occupies a unique position in the Lake Champlain valley – a region rich in heritage and history. It is the oldest home on the Vermont side of Lake Champlain open to the public and maintained as a museum. The home retains its original structure and contains a collection representing five generations of a prominent Vermont family.
The family whose hands turned the lock in the massive front door of the Strong Mansion arrived shortly after the French and Indian Wars and witnessed a decisive campaign of the American Revolution and a key battle in the War of 1812. Their lives were intertwined with historic events at Fort Ticonderoga, Crown Point, Mount Independence, Hubbardton and the Plattsburgh battle sites.
The Mansion was built about 1796 and ranks as one of Vermont’s most outstanding examples of early domestic architecture. Built as an elegant interpretation of the Georgian and Federal styles, it was originally set on 360 acres rolling down to Lake Champlain. It is a highly impressive house today and must have awed most when it was built. Thomas Keefe, preservation architect, stated in a 2006 report, “This is an extraordinary building, historically very significant on a statewide – even regional – level.”
The stately presence of the house is enhanced by the solid appearance of its brickwork. In turn, this solidity is counterbalanced by refined details such as the Palladian window, a semi-elliptical fanlight, the molded cornice and 12 over 12 windows. A hipped roof caps the symmetrical façade. The brick for the house was made on land owned by the Strong family in a kiln across the road from the house. The brick’s Flemish bond, the favorite choice of 18th century masons, contributes to the stylishness of the house. The inherent checkered pattern of the bond is enhanced by the highly decorative use of glazed headers that form a distinctive diamond-shaped pattern in the rear walls. This type of brickwork, while relatively common in the mid-Atlantic region and Virginia, is extremely rare in Vermont.
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