A Land-Grant Visionary's Notion of Home

A Land-Grant Visionary's Notion of Home 2

Chronicle Photographs by Lawrence Biemiller

More than a decade before he wrote the first of two laws that created land-grant colleges, Justin Smith Morrill designed this house for himself, with help from one of the popular pattern books of the day.

In rural Vermont, sobriety tends to be the rule in domestic design. So the pink 19th-century cottage with exuberant Gothic features that sits on a hillside here would be remarkable in any caseā€”even if it hadn't been designed by a local merchant who later served in Congress for 43 years and wrote the legislation that created America's astonishingly successful system of land-grant colleges.

That merchant was Justin Smith Morrill, remembered on campuses from coast to coast as the