The summer cottage at 16 Fenwick Avenue in the Borough of Fenwick in Old Saybrook was built in 1880 by Ebenezer Roberts of Hartford for his daughter Florence Clarissa and her new husband, Colonel William Converse Skinner. Ebenezer Roberts was a partner with the Keney Brothers of Hartford in in their wholesale grocery business. As described in American Biography: A New Cyclopedia, Volume 9 (1921), Roberts’ son-in-law, Col. William C. Skinner, was “A man of pleasing personality, kindly, considerate and courteous to all, a levelheaded, finely poised man of affairs, quick and decisive of action, conservative but determined.” As that book further describes,
Colonel William Converse Skinner, son of Dr. Calvin and Jane (Blodgett) Skinner, was born in Malone, New York, January 26, 1855, and there completed courses of grade and high school study, graduating with the high school class of 1872. He then entered Trinity College whence he was graduated A. B., class of 1876, later receiving from alma mater the degree M. A. During the next session of the New York Legislature he was appointed clerk to the Judiciary Committee of the House, and while in Albany attended lectures at Albany Law School. He was deterred from further progress in legal study by a serious throat trouble, and spent a year in Colorado to effect its cure. After his return he located in Hartford, Connecticut, there forming in 1882 a partnership with General Henry C. Dwight which continued for eighteen years, Dwight, Skinner & Company becoming one of the best known firms in the State in the wool trade. In May, 1899, Colonel Skinner withdrew from the firm and has since been connected with the Colt’s Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Company in official capacity. He was elected a director and vice-president of the company, July 2, 1901. and on January 5, 1909, was elected president of the company to fill the vacancy caused by the death of President Grover. President Skinner resigned the office of president, January 1. 1911, becoming chairman of the board of directors, holding that position until the death of President Charles L. F. Robinson, when he was again elected president of the company, July 13, 1916, whose position and importance in the industrial and business world is so well known.
Col. Skinner died in 1922, but around 1885 he had already sold his Fenwick home to Colonel Jacob Greene of Hartford, president of the Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Company. Jacob Lyman Greene grew up in Maine, but later went to the University of Michigan and became a lawyer. He later served in the Civil War, eventually becoming a Colonel and the Adjutant-General of General George Armstrong Custer. He and Custer became best friends and Greene was best man at Custer’s wedding in 1864 to Libbie Bacon, who was friends with Greene’s wife, Nettie Humphrey. After the War, Col. Greene went to work for the Berkshire Life Insurance Company. In 1870 he moved to Hartford to work for Connecticut Mutual, eventually becoming the company’s president. When President Theodore Roosevelt visited Hartford in 1902 and became the first president to ride in an automobile in public, it was Col. Greene was sat next to him as chairman of Hartford Citizen’s Committee.
The cottage in Fenwick later passed through other owners. You can read more about the cottage in Marion Hepburn Grant’s The Fenwick Story (Connecticut Historical Society, 1974), pages 64-67. By the time that book was published the cottage was owned by the Dickinson family and is referred to as the Dickinson Cottage. The illustration of the cottage on page 64 of the book reveals that it has been much altered in the last forty years. A number of dormer windows, a balcony, a front porch and sun room have been added and the house house has been given shingled siding to match the many other shingle style houses in Fenwick. I do not know if these are restorations to an earlier appearance the house may have had or new innovations.
The summer cottage at 9 Pettipaug Avenue in the Borough of Fenwick in Old Saybrook has been described as a gem that is “particularly illustrative of shingle style architecture” (by Christopher Little in “A Summer Place,” Places, Vol. 1, No. 3, 1984). It was built in 1905 by Lucius B. Barbour (1878-1934) of Hartford (whose 1865 house on Washington Street still survives). Their daughter Alice was a childhood friend of Katharine Hepburn. In 1953, after the death of Barbour’s widow Charlotte Cordelia Hilliard Barbour, the cottage was sold to Richard F. Cooper and in 1961 it was sold again to Oliver Jensen (1914-2005), a co-founder of American Heritage Magazine. He was also one of the founders and the chief visionary for the 1971 revival of the Connecticut Valley Railroad (today part of the Essex Steam Train and Riverboat attraction). You can read more about the cottage in Marion Hepburn Grant’s The Fenwick Story (Connecticut Historical Society, 1974), pages 110-114.
Located at the corner of Worthington Ride and Sunset Lane in Berlin is a Tudor Revival/Shingle style house built c. 1905-1907 by Charles M. Jarvis, head of the Berlin Iron Bridge Company and a founder of the Berlin Construction Company. The property once included a bowling alley.
At 3015 Bronson Road in Fairfield is a windmill erected in 1893-1894 by Frederic Bronson on his estate, called Verna Farm. Standing 105 feet high, the Bronson Windmill pumped water from a well 75 feet below ground into a 7,500-gallon wooden storage tank 70 feet up inside the windmill. Note: the wheel on top of the windmill was not installed at time the photo above was taken. It remained in operation into the 1930s. The estate became the property of the Fairfield Country Day School, which gave the windmill to the Town of Fairfield in 1971. The windmill was restored around 1980. Damaged after a storm in 1996, the Bronson Windmill was restored under the management of the Fairfield Historical Society. Today it also serves as a cell phone tower: Sprint restored and rebuilt part of the structure as part of its leasing agreement.
The Shingle-style summer cottage at 27 Pettipaug Avenue in the Borough of Fenwick in Old Saybrook was built in 1881 by Charles Eben Jackson (1849-1923) of Middletown. As related in the Illustrated Popular Biography of Connecticut (1891):
Charles Eben Jackson was born in Middletown, January 25, 1849. He was educated at St. Paul’s School, Concord, N. H., receiving a thorough preparation for the business activities of life. After leaving school he engaged as a clerk in a mercantile establishment, and later in a banking office in New York city. In 1872 he made the acquaintance of Miss Evelyn Quintard, daughter of E. A. Quintard of New York city, whom he married in 1873, and by whom he has had eight children, seven of them now living. Mr. Jackson has for a number of years been at the head of the Middletown banking house of C. E. Jackson & Co., well known among the reputable financial institutions of the state. He is also vice-president of the Middlesex Banking Company, treasurer of the Berkeley Divinity School, and of the Russell Library Company, and has minor official connection with other institutions of Middletown. He is by religious faith and profession an Episcopalian, being a member and senior warden of Holy Trinity parish.
The cottage later sold to Margaret Cutter Goodrich, wife of Dr. Charles Goodrich, a Hartford obstetrician. The cottage then passed through other owners, being purchased by the Brainard family in 1949. You can read more about the cottage in Marion Hepburn Grant’s The Fenwick Story (Connecticut Historical Society, 1974), pages 131-134.
In 1881 a summer cottage in the Borough of Fenwick in Old Saybrook was built by Hariette Fenwick Jackson Giraud (1830-1923) of Middletown. In 1899, the cottage was moved back from Long Island Sound to Pettipaug Avenue by Morgan G. Bulkeley to make way for his new and impressive cottage. The former Giraud Cottage was moved again, this time one lot west, in 1913 to make way for the Davis Cottage. Bulkeley gave the Giraud Cottage, now 12 Pettipaug Avenue, to his son, Morgan Jr. (1885-1926), in 1919 and it was then passed to his widow, Ruth Collins Bulkeley (1887-1973). You can read more about the cottage in Marion Hepburn Grant’s The Fenwick Story (Connecticut Historical Society, 1974), pages 155-156.
The Second Congregational Church of Manchester was formed and its first house of worship was built in the northern section of town in 1851. A new church was built on the same site, 385 North Main Street, in 1889. It is a Shingle style edifice on a high rusticated brownstone foundation. Read the rest of this entry »