The Governor Hunt House


Before building the stylish mansion we see today, Jonathan Hunt likely built and lived in a simpler cabin, bearing little resemblance to the home he built in 1779. Early on, according to Vernon historian Barbara Moseley, Jonathan Hunt had built a rough cabin with sheds and barns attached. This style of building allowed New England settlers to access their stored firewood and provisions as well as to attend to their farm animals in inclement weather. For those of us today who slog through ice, mud, and snow early in the morning after a storm, we may reflect on the wisdom of those early settlers. 

But Jonathan's new wife, Lavinia, expected something more comfortable than a rustic cabin. Jonathan hired a master builder to convert his original home into a true mansion. The construction plan is post-and-beam with a large central chimney. While the entrance hallway is small and the staircase to the second-floor bedrooms is cramped, the staircase also leads to an open attic which is as big as the house. 

A nearby sawmill and access to giant white pine trees afforded Jonathan's master craftsman the supplies necessary to produce wide boards, free of knots. These were used for the beautiful paneling in the drawing room which includes a fireplace mantel framed by modified ionic columns. The dining room and the two large upstairs bedrooms contain the same elaborate paneling. 

The kitchen is large and spans the back of the house. Its interior wall has an enormous brick fireplace and a baking oven. A small room, partitioned off the kitchen was, according to Moseley, probably used as a "birthing room." In the 1700s women were confined to bed for two weeks after childbirth and a "birthing room" allowed them to oversee daily household activity from a warm bed. 

The Governor Hunt House today has experienced changes and additions throughout the years but the original structure, with the impressive paneling and many other features, have been maintained.