At This Place in History with the Vermont Historical Society. Executive director Steve Perkins takes us to President Chester A. Arthur’s birthplace in Fairfield, VT.
“There was a lot of debate about where he was born.” said Perkins. “People said, oh he was born in Canada. So could he really be president if he was born in Canada?”
“His father was a minister and so was somewhat itinerant.” Perkins continued. “Moved around the North Country a lot. But it’s now proven he was born right here in Fairfield. We’re not sure exactly where in Fairfield he was born but right here in Fairfield.”
After birth, the family moved about 6 miles from where the historical marker now sits and that site is now a state historic site, The Chester A. Arthur homestead.
Arthur succeeded James Garfield after Garfield was assassinated which means both Vermont-born Presidents were sworn in after the sitting President died.
“Other big thing he’s known for is he redecorated the White House.” Perkins said. “He went to go move into the White House and he said this thing…this is horrible. The decoration in here, it looks like an Army barracks. So, he hired Louis Comfort Tiffany to decorate the White House. And so he had the White House completely redecorated by Tiffany and this thing was just a gilded age explosion at the time. There’s actually a stained glass window right here in this room came from that time period of him in the White House.”
To see all of our This Place in History stories with the Vermont Historical Society, click here.
Click here for a map of all of the Vermont’s roadside historic markers.