A number of mariners named Captain Charles Williams lived in Old Saybrook over the years. One of them (perhaps the Capt. Charles Williams who died on his birthday at the age of 75 on June 4, 1883?) built the Greek Revival House at 48 Cromwell Place on Saybrook Point in Old Saybrook in 1842.
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.