A bedroom at Red Farm, originally the Rowell Farm, the house was built in the Federal style in 1796 and occupied by three generations of the Rowell family. It was purchased in the 1920s by Helen Cummings, the wife of a local mill owner, who had an interest in historic preservation. It was one of several historic buildings she “collected” in the area.
The stock market crash of 1929 brought Mrs. Cummings and her children back from Paris, where they had been residing, to establish a chicken farm at the Rowell place to get the family through the Depression. While her husband struggled to keep the mill afloat, Mrs. Cummings raised 5,000 laying hens and undertook the “restoration” of the house they were living in.
Bringing a Colonial Revival aesthetic to the task, she removed Victorian era alterations and created an impression of how a colonial era house might have appeared. In the 1940s, her son Bill Cummings began an art school on the property and spent several decades continuing to work on the house. Today, the school preserves Red Farm as it was restored (as the term was understood then) by them.
Red Farm is one of 13 featured homes photographed by noted architectural photographer David Clough for “Restoring Your Historic House, The Comprehensive Guide for Homeowners.”
The 720-page award-winning and best-selling hardcover book is available in bookstores nationwide and from online retailers.
Signed and personalized copies are available directly from the author in the shop on this page, Shop – Your Historic House.
Bookstores can order copies from W.W. Norton.
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