John Hamilton arrived in the Southern Tier town of Campbell, N.Y., in 1843 as a shoemaker. But by 1870, Hamilton was the owner of tanneries, a leading figure in his community and proud possessor of a grand new house.
Hamilton's towering mansion displays the full flowering of the Victorian Italianate style. The L-shaped structure, its flat, pitched roof and eaves projecting outward on console-like brackets, its tall chimneys with corbelled brick moldings, the verandas and the bay windows all fit the Italianate formula and the all-important tower, its base embracing the paired entrance doors and its middle stories containing stairway access to the upper level, is appropriately crowned with a mansard roof.
From its dressed-stone foundation walls to the iron cresting upon the tower, Hamilton's house is every inch a fulfillment of the dictum of the influential Victorian architect, Samuel Sloan — that a man's dwelling was not only an index of his wealth, but also of his character.
An early photograph of the Hamilton House made it possible to reproduce the landscape in the front of the residence, with minor adjustments for the difference in setback from the road. The iron fence came with the house, having been dismantled some years ago and stored in the basement.
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