Replica birthplace house and monument.

Somewhere Near the Birthplace of Chester A. Arthur

Field review by the editors.

East Fairfield, Vermont

America's mostly forgotten 21st President, Chester Arthur, has mysterious origins. No one is sure where exactly he was born or when. Family bibles and a U.S. Census fix Chester Alan Arthur's birthdate as October 5, 1829, while a political biography and his tomb inscription place the date at October 5, 1830.

Chester A. Arthur birthplace monument.

And where was Arthur born?

In East Fairfield, a big granite block on the ground next to a two-room yellow cottage declares that "on this spot" was the birthplace of Chester A. Arthur.

A nearby plaque admits that it wasn't.

The rock was set in place in 1903 and the cottage -- a replica of the tiny home where the Arthur family lived -- was built 50 years later. Subsequent research indicates that Arthur was probably born in a primitive cabin several miles away in the village of Fairfield.

That cabin is long gone, and Vermonters seem content to leave things as they are -- as long as the rock isn't moved across the border into Canada, which is where some claimed that Arthur really was born. During Arthur's bid for the presidency, political rivals promoted claims that he was a foreign national, either from north across the border, or even Ireland. The now obscure dispute is explained in displays inside the inaccurate replica of the birthplace house located at the spot where Chester A. Arthur wasn't born.

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Somewhere Near the Birthplace of Chester A. Arthur

President Chester A. Arthur State Historic Site

Address:
455 Chester Arthur Rd, East Fairfield, VT
Directions:
From Fairfield drive north on N Rd. Bear right after about one mile onto Chester Arthur Rd and continue five miles to the site. The road will turn to gravel. The rock and yellow cottage will be on the right, the parking lot will be on the left. You can visit any time, even when the cottage is closed, and peek through the widows to see all the exhibits in the tiny building.
Hours:
July-early Oct. Sa-Su 11-5 (Call to verify)
Phone:
802-828-3051
Admission:
Donation to visit home, otherwise free.
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Nearby Offbeat Places

Chester A. Arthur, Born Around Here SomewhereChester A. Arthur, Born Around Here Somewhere, Fairfield, VT - 5 mi.
Smugglers NotchSmugglers Notch, Jeffersonville, VT - 20 mi.
Royal Swans of SwantonRoyal Swans of Swanton, Swanton, VT - 14 mi.
In the region:
Shelburne Museum: Landlocked Ship, Shelburne, VT - 37 mi.

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November 15, 2019

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