Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Butters House

Over the past week, I was visiting Stanstead, Quebec, with my husband to check out my son's prep school, Stanstead College. While visiting the school, we came upon the Alumni House or The Butters House as the locals call it. This amazing building is designed in an Italianate style and has been the Stanstead landmark for generations.

Most people refer to this type of building as a Victorian style design, however this is incorrect. Italianate architecture is an eclectic style derived from the palazzo of the Italian Renaissance and the subsequent European styles of Mannerism and Baroque. Italianate designed buildings were erected during the Victorian era which I think is where the confusion lies.

While Victorian architecture can refer to one of a number of architectural styles predominantly employed during the Victorian era. As with the latter, the period of building that it covers may slightly overlap the actual reign, 20 June 1837-22 January 1901, of Queen Victoria after whom it is named, in keeping with a British and French custom by which architectural styles were named after the reigning monarch.

A little history behind the Butters House...Built in 1866, the house was built to serve as the summer home of Isaac Butters and his wife Martha Pierce Butters. Martha was the daughter of Wilder Pierce, one ofd the original founders of the Stanstead Seminary, the precursor to Stanstead College. The house itself sits on a granite foundation which provides a strong foundation. It has panaromic views of the mountains to the west and views of Vermont to the south. In 2007, Stanstead College purchased the house and it now serves as an office and residences for several of the faculty.