Highgate Manor: A Stop on the Underground Railroad!

“Highgate Manor is a manor located on Vermont Route 207 in Highgate, Vermont.[1] It has been used as a home, as a bed and breakfast, and as a dance hall. Local legend says that the children of a doctor who once owned the house and performed experiments on them have remained in the house since they died.[2]


The manor was built in 1818 by Captain Steve Keyes.[3]

Baxter Acquisition:

Dr. Henry Baxter purchased the land and the building from the Keyes family sometime during the 1860s.[4] Dr. Baxter opened his practice in the manor, where there are still blood stains on the floor in what is now the library. It is believed that he performed experiments on his children, most of which did not live past the age of ten.[2]

Vacation Resort:

After the death of Dr. Henry Baxter in 1898, Philip Schmitt took over the manor. In 1917 it was converted into a vacation resort with great success. Many dignitaries, including Al Capone, frequented the manor and a speakeasy hidden underground.[2]

Underground Railroad:

The manor was one of the last stops for the Underground Railroad before entering into Canada. There are still tunnels under the manor that lead to the nearby river.[3] There have been reported sightings of an African American spirit near the manor.[5]”-https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highgate_Manor


“Dr. Henry Baxter, owner of Highgate Mills and of multiple area farms, built one of the state’s most remarkable Second Empire residences. Overlooking the Highgate Falls green, the two-and-a-half-story, mansard-roofed brick house with a lower kitchen wing stands in front of a Georgian-plan residence of 1818. Baxter remodeled the latter with deep eaves and segmental window caps to accord with the sculptural window details on the attached new building. Here, a central bellcast wall dormer, with a small balcony, is flanked by dormers with hoods on curvaceous brackets that proclaim the house’s ostentation. Similarly massive brackets wrap the eaves, the deep front veranda, and the central belvedere. The similarity of the brackets and the pilastered and arcaded form of the belvedere to the detailing of the nearly contemporary Union Methodist Church (FR8) suggests the same builder. In the 1920s, the house was converted into a hotel and later into a lounge, with a large single-story addition to the north. Each phase of the building’s construction is clearly readable, and the house that Baxter built continues to dominate this side of the green with some of Vermont’s showiest Second Empire design.”-https://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/VT-01-FR6

Highgate Manor is also known as Baxter House. The 1818 original homestead was completely redone in the 1870’s into this magnificent Second Empire architectural gem by Dr. Henry Baxter.

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