The Building Design and Its Craftsmen
In 1909, Everett purchased the first 500 acres of the former John Griswold Farm on a flank of Bennington’s Mount Anthony for $50,000 from John S. Holden of Troy, N.Y. He later added another 700 acres to his estate, which would be home to his orchards.
George Oakley Totten, Jr., once chief architect for the U.S. Treasury, was brought in as designer of Everett’s mansions in Bennington and in Washington, D.C. The internationally-recognized Totten designed the Bennington home in the style of a 14th century English-Roman feudal mansion. The Washington, D.C., mansion, built at approximately the same time, was fashioned in the Roman Renaissance style and today is home to the Turkish ambassador. During the construction of both residences, Everett and his family lived at Chateau de‘Aire, near Lake Geneva in Switzerland.
Work on the 27-room Bennington mansion commenced in April, 1911. Thirty-two trained stone-masons from Italy, led by foreman Carlo Del Tatto worked seven days a week, ten hours a day completing the exterior and roof in early December–a remarkably short period for such a grand building.
Built with granite quarried on the property and in nearby Pownal, the masons individually hand cut and fitted the stones in place. Tiles from Italy were imported for the roof. The workers also were responsible for additional estate buildings, including two greenhouses, carriage house, gate house and barns.
It took another four years to complete the interior and furnish the Mansion. The family took up residence in the summer of 1915. At first, it was their summer home and later would become their year-round residence.
Following the style of the times, the three floors of living space in the mansion were decorated in high Victorian splendor. Some walls were covered with tapestries and the floors were parquet. The arched windows display the hand-stenciled, signature “E” border design. Italian marble was used to face the fireplaces, and English silver was imported for the door handles, chandeliers and wall lamps. On the lower level, there was a wine cellar, wood storage and cold-storage rooms for food.