A bright side of COVID gave Portland, Connecticut, architect Alain Munkittrick time to produce his book depicting 160 restored and historic houses in the Connecticut River Valley, all of which have stories to tell. Who designed, built, owned, inherited, or restored them? Many unknown owners contributed to the economy, cultural history, and socio-political advances of the New World. Among those designated by Munkittrick as “River Gods,” John Holbrook of Brattleboro, Vermont, started out as a surveyor, then town planner, store owner, and the largest owner of flatboats taking goods from Hartford to Brattleboro. William Jarvis, a “River Producer” of Weathersfield, Vermont, was the first farmer to import Merino sheep, the livestock largely responsible for tens of thousands of miles of stone walls in New England. Among the “River Reformers” we meet Alice Hamilton, the remarkable industrial toxicologist largely responsible for the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
The book, Historic Houses of the Connecticut River Valley, can be obtained for $23.99 by visiting arcadiapublishing.com.