I often drive by what remains of the Fogg House, the old decaying property that sits at the corner of Windham Center Road and Route 202.

What we see today is just a shell of a house. The decorative bric-a-brac that adorned the front and side of the building is badly deteriorated. In place of the white lace curtains that once hung from the upstairs windows, ripped and ragged blue tarp is all that remains, poor protection from the ravages of time and harsh New England weather. In the spring and early summer, I often admire the remnants of what looks to be a lovely, old-fashioned garden, now overgrown and filled with weeds.

This goes to show that old houses, just like people, need tender, loving care in order to survive. This beaten and battered old structure was once a beautiful home and, thanks to Windham Historical Society president Susan Simonson, I can share some memories of it with you. Sue has been doing research on the structure and these are some interesting findings she has uncovered.

The Fogg house as it appears today, above, and in its heyday. Contributed / Windham Historical Society

According to the late Windham town historian Kay Soldier, the house was built around 1808. At that time, it would have been a simple, single-story, Cape Cod-style home. During the Greek Revival period that was in vogue in the mid-19th century, it became a story and a half and a pretty picket fence was added to the property. An ell was also built at the back of the house.

By the 1890s, the Victorian style of architecture was becoming popular. Around that time, the Fogg House had wide verandas added to the front and Windham Center side of the house and formal porticoes were put in place. Friends and neighbors would often stop by and visit at these welcoming outdoor spaces to enjoy some lemonade and good conversation. At this time, the house was called The Cottage by family and friends.

Shortly thereafter, unique double gables were installed to the second story and these helped to enlarge rooms on that floor. The homestead was a small farm, and it is said the family had a fondness for the horses they rode for pleasure and also utilized to assist with chores on the farm.

Edith Fogg lived in the house for many years. Her father bought the property in the 1920s. In an interview she did in the mid-1980s, she recalled that when she was a child, she and her friends collected browntail caterpillars that they would take across the street to give to their neighbor, John Swett. He would count the caterpillars and then throw them into the fire and give the children a small reward for helping to eliminate those nasty pests. Swett was the town clerk and treasurer of Windham at the time.

Through most of the last century, the house was still maintained and cared for, but sadly in this century, all we see is a property in disrepair. It is a painful reminder of what can happen to our treasured historic properties if they are simply left to the elements.

Haley Pal can be contacted at [email protected]

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