At 170 Old Post Road in Old Saybrook is a gambrel-roofed house built c. 1790 (before 1803) by Phineas Bushnell (1718-1803), shortly after he married his second wife, Hepsibah Lewis of Killingworth, in 1789. The house passed to his son Samuel Bushnell (1748-1828), who had married Hepzibah Pratt in 1775. Their daughter, Hepzibah (1776-1818), married Samuel Dickinson (1774-1861) in 1796. The house was later owned by their son, John Seabury Dickinson (1807-1879) and then by his son, John S. Dickinson (1846-1922), who served as a Town Selectman, was president of the Saybrook Musical and Dramatic Club and was a founder and first president of a literary society known as the Crackers and Cheese Club. The house remained in the Dickinson family until 1934. Renovated in 1958, the house was recently listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Happy Halloween!!! The exterior of the vacant house at 220 Middlesex Turnpike in Old Saybrook was used as a location for the 1971 horror film, Let’s Scare Jessica to Death. Interior shots were filmed about a mile away at the E.E. Dickinson House in Essex. The house in Old Saybrook was owned, then as now, by the Piontkowski family. The house was built in the 1880s as a farm house. By the turn of the century an owner had added the elaborate tower and named it “Fairview Farm.” J.P. Newton, a Hartford market-owner, purchased it from the Denison family in 1889. He set up an extensive farming operation to supply his markets. By 1930 the property was acquired by Fred Pointkowski (1893-1968) and his wife Bertha Kruck Pointkowski (1903-1979). It was inherited by their son, Carl F. Piontkowski (1931-2013). Read the rest of this entry »
One of the five oldest houses in Connecticut is the Bushnell Farm house at 1445 Boston Post Road in Old Saybrook. It began as a two room, one story, thatch roofed post and beam house built by the Elder Joshua Bushnell. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as the Elisha Bushnell House and J. Frederick Kelly, in his classic Early Domestic Architecture of Connecticut (1924), calls it the Older Bushnell House. The house was expanded over the two centuries that the Bushnell family owned it. The property has a number of outbuildings, including an early eighteenth-century barn, a loom house (the Bushnells were both farmers and weavers) and a building referred to as the slave house. Maintained as a private residence in an excellent state of preservation, the property is often opened to schools, historical societies and the Connecticut River Museum Summer Camp.
The summer cottage at 21 Pettipaug Avenue in the Borough of Fenwick in Old Saybrook was built c. 1880 for Dr. Joseph Wright Alsop III (1838-1891). The Alsops were a prominent family in Middletown: His grandfather, Captain Joseph Wright Alsop I (1772-1844), and his father, Joseph Wright Alsop II (1804-1878), were wealthy merchants; his son, Joseph Wright Alsop IV (1876-1953), married a niece of Theodore Roosevelt and was a politician and farmer in Avon; and his grandson, Joseph Wright Alsop V (1910-1989), was a journalist and top insider in Washington, DC politics. In later life Dr. Joseph W. Alsop III, a democrat, served in the state Senate and was involved in the political deadlock over the gubernatorial election of 1891. After giving an impassioned speech he collapsed at the rostrum and died of a heart attack. The cottage passed from the Alsop estate in 1903 and was acquired by Morgan B. Brainard of Hartford, whose former Fenwick cottage had been destroyed in the Hurricane of 1938. It was acquired in 1959 by his niece, Lucy Brainard Smith. You can read more about the cottage in Marion Hepburn Grant’s The Fenwick Story (Connecticut Historical Society, 1974), pages 122-128. Read the rest of this entry »
The summer cottage at 26 Fenwick Avenue in the Borough of Fenwick in Old Saybrook was built in 1872 by William Patton of Springfield. One of the first three cottages to be constructed in the borough, it originally stood on the site of the Mary Brace Collins Cottage at 28 Fenwick Avenue. Patton moved his cottage across the street in 1887. In the 1890s the cottage was owned by Richard Crocker, known as “Boss Crocker,” who was a leader of New York City’s Tammany Hall. In 1899 the cottage was bought by Leonard D. Fisk of Hartford, who remodeled it extensively. Fisk married Genevieve (Jennie) B. Judd, daughter Henry C. Judd, wool merchant and partner in the firm of Judd & Root. Fisk was one of two inheritors of the business of his grandfather, Leonard Daniels, who had a successful flower mill on the Park River in Hartford and was one of the city’s prominent citizens. In 1912 the Fisk family sold their cottage to William Waldo Hyde, a lawyer. It was sold by his widow in 1923. You can read more about the cottage in Marion Hepburn Grant’s The Fenwick Story (Connecticut Historical Society, 1974), pages 80-83.
The summer cottage at 10 Pettipaug Avenue in the Borough of Fenwick was built in 1886 by William H. Bulkeley and was originally located at the site of the cottage of the cottage at 9 Pettipaug Avenue. William H. Bulkeley, (1840-1902) the brother of Morgan G. Bulkeley, is described in the Illustrated Popular Biography of Connecticut (1891):
General Bulkeley was born in East Haddam, March 2, 1840. Seven years later, his father, the late Hon. Eliphalet A. Bulkeley, established his residence in Hartford, and remained here until his death a few years ago. The young man was educated in the district and high schools of Hartford, principal T. W. T. Curtis being one of his instructors. He left the high school before graduation, with an admirable record for scholarship and application, and entered an old and leading dry-goods establishment here as a clerk. In March, 1857, he went to Brooklyn, N. Y., and engaged in the same business with H. P. Morgan & Co. Afterwards he entered the dry-goods trade for himself, and conducted a successful business for six years on Fulton Street, Brooklyn. In 1868 he returned to Hartford and organized the Kellogg & Bulkeley Company, lithographers, of which he has since been the president. He was for several years vice-president of the Aetna Life Insurance Company, and is at present a member of its board of directors. He is also a director or otherwise officially connected with a number of the banking, insurance, and other corporations of Hartford. In 1878 he purchased the “Bee Hive,” a famous dry-goods establishment, which he has since managed with great success, it being the chief secular object of his attention.
[. . .] General Bulkeley was elected to the office of Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut on the ticket with Governor Bigelow, and served through 1881 and 1882 with credit. [. . .] General Bulkeley has a creditable war record, having been one of the first to respond to the call for troops after the attack on Fort Sumter. He was a member of the Brooklyn City Guard, G company, Thirteenth regiment, N. Y. N. G., and advanced to the front with his command, April 19, 1861. The organization was in service for four months. In 1862 he organized Company G, of the Fifty-sixth regiment, N. Y. N. G., and was elected captain. He was with his command through the Pennsylvania crisis of 1863, being in General “Baldy” Smith’s division. The regiment was ordered home during the New York draft riots, after which it was disbanded, its term of service having expired.
Before his death, William Bulkeley sold his cottage to his brother Morgan who sold it in 1905 to Lucius Barbour, who moved it to its current site to make way for his own larger cottage. You can read more about the cottage in Marion Hepburn Grant’s The Fenwick Story (Connecticut Historical Society, 1974), pages 156-159.
The summer cottage at 41 Agawam Avenue in the Borough of Fenwick in Old Saybrook was built c. 1885 for Rev. James Watson Bradin and his wife Eliza Ann Jackson Bradin. A graduate of Berkeley Divinity School, then located in his wife’s hometown of Middletown, Rev. Bradin become rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Hartford in 1882. At that time the church was located on Main Street, but in 1907 the church left its original home, which was demolished to make way for the Morgan Memorial of the Wadsworth Atheneum. The current St. John’s Episcopal Church, on Farmington Avenue in West Hartford, was consecrated on June 9, 1909. Rev. Bradin continued as rector of the church until 1918. He and his wife had seven children. They named their Fenwick cottage the Kennel. The cottage passed to the couple’s daughters. In 1951 the cottage was acquired by Henry S. Robinson, Jr., a lawyer with the firm of Robinson, Robinson and Cole of Hartford, and his wife Constance Brainard Robinson. She was the daughter of Morgan Bulkeley Brainard, president of Aetna Life Insurance, and granddaughter of Leverett Brainard and Morgan G. Bulkeley. You can read more about the cottage in Marion Hepburn Grant’s The Fenwick Story (Connecticut Historical Society, 1974), pages 148-150.