Two white houses on the village green of Fair Haven, Vermont, are tributes to the state’s marble and slate industries–that just happen to look like a pair of frosted wedding cakes.
The homes anchor the west and south sides of Fair Haven Green, an overlay district that was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. They were built in the 1860s for a pair of early investors in western Vermont’s stone quarries, Joseph Adams and Ira Allen.
Both are of the highest Italianate style that was popular at the time, and both were built by the architect A.C. Hopson from nearby Whitehall, New York. Their distinctive glow comes from a creamy white marble with just a tinge of green, all from the quarries 15 miles to the east in Rutland.
Adams and Allen had grown wealthy from the stone business, taking advantage of their existing mills in Fair Haven and converting them from lumber to marble and slate. Raw slabs were hauled to town via the Rutland and Whitehall Railroad, hewn into finished blocks, and sent off to market. But both marble moguls made sure to keep some, to create their own personal confections.
Fair Haven has more than its share of distinctive architecture, but these two homes on the green are exceptional. The Adams House, dating to 1861 and the smaller of the two, is now divided into units of low-income housing. The Allen House, built six years later with nearly twice the number of rooms and an elegant porte cochère, is now a small hotel. Its name? The Marble Mansion Inn.