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Documenting history of S. Portage St.’s Harriet Campbell Taylor House

November 26, 2015
By Marybelle Beigh - Westfield Historian , Westfield Republican

The wonderfully exciting WWO Holly Tour having just been experienced, it was a surprise to see what appears to be a typo of the date given of 1802 for the earliest building of the Harriet Campbell Taylor House which was actually in 1851; or perhaps that date that was accidentally transferred from another historic home write-up which correctly identifies the original "Crossroads" settlement of 1802. The same error appears in both the Holly Tour ticket, and the Nov. 19, 2015 Westfield Republican article on page one "Four Historic Westfield homes featured on this year's Holly Tour." In any case, your Westfield Historian has reviewed her history resources to find previously validated information about this beloved historic home.

The first source of information comes from "The History of Chautauqua County, New York," by Andrew Young, published in 1875, when Judge Thomas Campbell was still alive and alert, as he was until his death a few years later, and provided the historical information for Young. According to Young, Thomas B. Campbell first purchased land in Westfield in 1824. In the biographical sketch of Campbell, Young writes, "In 1817, he [Thomas B. Campbell] came to Westfield (then Portland) and built a sawmill and a grist mill where now [1875] the paper-mill is, and where he continued the milling and flouring business until about 1864. He also bought farm lands, of which he sold, in 1860, 60 acres, for fair grounds, in the south part of the village." Young also lists the children of Campbell, including Harriet, wife of David H. Taylor, and describes the political career of Campbell, culminating with him becoming a judge in 1845. Other sources tell more about the home of Judge Campbell, located on the corner of Campbell and South Portage streets, which he built shortly after arriving in Westfield. The Judge Campbell house is across South Portage and south from the Harriet Campbell house. Please note that it is not the house directly across South Portage which is home of David and Sandra Brown.

The earliest portion of the Harriet Campbell Taylor house was built in 1851 by Judge Campbell, as a wedding gift for his daughter. The house appears on the 1854 Chautauqua County map. According to the Architecture in Westfield booklet published by the Westfield Republican, December 3, 1975, this house is an early example of Italianate influence in Westfield architecture, with a number of features that are actually Greek Revival.

Article Photos

Submitted photo
The Harriet Campbell Taylor House is pictured in 1975.

As noted in the recent Republican article and the Holly Tour Ticket description, the house is listed on the National Register of Historic Homes. Other sources that have described this house, as well as the Holly Tour info, note that the house took about four years to complete. Various sources confirm the original layout of the rooms was quite unusual, likely because of the terrain on which the house is built, in particular the location of the kitchen and dining room on a downstairs ground level at the rear that now could be considered a "daylight basement" area. Behind the house, the current garage was built over an 1851 stone foundation where the carriage house was originally constructed.



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