The small, high, mountain town of Dublin, New Hampshire was known as an artistic and literary retreat in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Its climate, unpretentious life style, and magnificent scenery attracted artists as diverse as Joseph Lindon Smith, George de Forest Brush, Abbott Thayer and his young protégés Frank Benson and Rockwell Kent. Mark Twain, who summered there twice, called it “the one place I have always longed for, but never knew existed in fact until now.”
Less well known, but equally fascinating, is Dublin’s claim as home to just about every architectural style and several major domestic architects of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. On its slopes, overlooking deep, spring-fed Dublin Lake and the looming Mount Monadnock, we find a virtual encyclopedia of building styles, ranging from the plain and unadorned to the most ornate and ambitious. A list of the architects who plied their trade in this small town reads like a list from Who’s Who: Charles A. Platt, Peabody & Stearns, Rotch & Tilden, Henry Vaughan, and Lois Lilley Howe.
In this immensely readable and enjoyable survey, veteran architectural historian William Morgan takes the reader on a verbally vivid and visually varied tour of the terrain, concentrating not only on the traditional and expected examples that crop up in Dublin as often as elsewhere, but also on the eccentric, unusual, and often unique extravaganzas that pepper its slopes. For Dublin was a great melting pot, a place which for a century had both the money and the taste to indulge architects of all stripes and styles, and to give them commissions to design among the most beautiful and original examples their talents could produce.
Profusely illustrated, comprehensive in its treatment, and written with verve, style, and a scholar’s eye, Monadnock Summer will be recognized as among the best books on New England architecture to have been published in the last 25 years.
William Morgan, among the pre-eminent chroniclers of New England’s built environment, has documented the patrimony of this rich region in numerous books and teaches at Princeton and Brown.
“Wanderlust for Dublin is exactly what this book inspired in me. In a compact but lively and readable volume, architectural historian William Morgan has traced the personal and architectural history of Dublin. Beginning in the Revolutionary era, when it was largely composed of simple Cape Cod-style cottages, Morgan chronicles the town’s growing popularity and gradual embrace of more ardent and affluent styles of building.”
—James McCown, Art New England
“Without question, William Morgan’s Monadnock Summer is an extraordinary achievement. Morgan’s generous footnotes provide a plethora of useful information. The book is a great resource for general readers and for those well versed in New Hampshire’s history and architecture. . . . Monadnock Summer is likely to inspire readers around the state to better appreciate the buildings in their own communities, public and private, which resulted from the summer house movement.”
—Historic New Hampshire, the journal of the New Hampshire Historical Society