Archive for the ‘Old Saybrook’ Category

William Tully House (1750)

Monday, April 10th, 2017 Posted in Colonial, Houses, Old Saybrook | No Comments »

In 1745, William Tully of Saybrook divided his property among his heirs, with land at North Cove going to his son, also named William Tully. Soon after (c. 1750), the second William Tully built the house that still stands at 135/151 North Cove Road in Old Saybrook. Perhaps starting with just one room, the house has been much enlarged over the years. The house is also known as Heartsease, perhaps for the flower Viola tricolor that once grew in the yard. The name may also have originated during the period of time the building served as a summer house for female workers. At one time the house was known as the Whittlesey House for Captain John Whittlesey, who seems to have owned it at some point in the eighteenth century. During the Revolutionary War, on the night of August 8, 1779, a notable incident took place at the house. A group of Tories from Middletown had been caught having brought goods down the Connecticut River to sell to the British. Their confiscated merchandise was stored in the basement of the Tully House under the charge of the third William Tully, then 21 years old. As related by Mabel Cassine Holman in “Along the Connecticut River” (The Connecticut Magazine, Vol. XI, No. 4, 1907):

eight Tories came to the house and demanded entrance. Tully refused to open the door. Without further words it was broken in. Taking his old flint gun, Tully fired; the musket-ball passed through the first man, who still advanced, but the one directly back of him dropped dead. Tully turned upon the other six, wounding one with his bayonet; the remainder escaped by the windows. When the first man whom Tully shot discovered the ball had passed through him he dropped dead with one hand on the window and the other grasping a chest of tea.

The fourth William Tully was a noted doctor. Born in the house in 1785, he graduated from Yale in 1806 and then studied at Dartmouth Medical College, receiving his medical license in 1810. He practiced medicine in various places, including Middletown, CT and Albany, NY, before serving as professor of materia medica and therapeutics at the Medical Institution of Yale College from 1829 to 1842. As related in Biographical Sketches of the Graduates of Yale College, Vol. VI (1912):

For a time his relations with his colleagues were satisfactory; but eventually he was dissatisfied with his compensation, and imagined that there was a conspiracy to slander him, so that he ceased giving his lectures in the spring of 1841. His resignation of his professorship was not accepted until August, 1842. Subsequently he spent nearly a year in South Carolina, without his family. In the spring of 1851 he removed to Springfield, Massachusetts, where he died on February 28, 1859, in his 74th year. During his later years his professional occupation was mainly in consultation, and his circumstances were sadly straitened. He was buried in New Haven.

Dr. Tully was much respected during his lifetime as a particularly learned doctor and a research-oriented professor. As related in Sketches of the Old Inhabitants and Other Citizens of Old Springfield of the Present Century (1893), by Charles, Wells Chapin:

The late Noah Webster, D.D., in the preparation of his dictionary, acknowledged his indebtedness to Dr. Tully for important aid, in that he had the supervision of the department of the work relating to the subject of medicine. Dr. Tully died February 28, 1859, aged 73 years

In 2002, the Tully House was at the center of a preservation struggle between an owner who wanted to demolish it and preservationists.

Hollister-Day Cottage (1872)

Saturday, March 18th, 2017 Posted in Folk Victorian, Houses, Old Saybrook | No Comments »

One of the many lost homes of Hartford is the Barnabas Deane House, which once stood on Grove Street. Barnabas was the brother of Silas Deane of Wethersfield and he is said to built the house on instructions from his famous brother who ended up never returning from Europe to live in it. The house was later home to Nelson Hollister and then was occupied by The Open Hearth. While the Deane House was torn down in the 1920s to make room for a parking lot for the Hartford Club, another home owned by Mr. Hollister, who was a prominent businessman and the first treasurer of the Connecticut Valley Railroad, survives in the Borough of Fenwick in Old Saybrook. Located at 22 Fenwick Avenue, it was built by Hollister in 1872, making it one of the oldest cottages to be constructed in the Fenwick summer colony. In 1888, Hollister’s daughter sold the house to George H. Day of Hartford. Day made many additions to the house, but not always with a concern for aesthetic matters: he once built a second floor lavatory with exposed plumbing running down the house’s exterior! After c. 1917, the cottage served as an annex to the neighboring Riversea Inn. In 1949 it became a private residence again when it was sold to Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Jones, who were the first to make the cottage habitable year-round. You can read more about the cottage in Marion Hepburn Grant’s The Fenwick Story (Connecticut Historical Society, 1974), pages 76-78.

Capt. William Clark House (1790)

Saturday, February 11th, 2017 Posted in Greek Revival, Houses, Old Saybrook | No Comments »

The Captain William Clark House at 45 Old Boston Post Road in Old Saybrook is thought to have been built c. 1780/1790, with later alterations made in the Greek Revival style in the 1850s when it was acquired by Thomas C. Acton. The house would become known as Acton Place. T. C. Acton (1823-1898) was a politician and reformer in New York City and was the first person to be appointed president of the city’s Board of Police Commissioners. During the early stages of the New York City Draft Riots in 1863, after police superintendent John A. Kennedy had been incapacitated due to a beating by the angry mob, Acton took active charge of police forces in Manhattan. This tense experience placed a strain on his health and after the Riots Acton took a five year leave of absence from the NYPD. He later served as Assistant U. S. Treasurer, a position he eventually left to establish the Bank of New Amsterdam. In 1896 Acton moved to his summer home in Old Saybrook where he died on May 1, 1898. The house remained in the Acton family well into the twentieth century.

Rufus C. Shepard House (1847)

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017 Posted in Greek Revival, Houses, Old Saybrook | No Comments »

The Greek Revival house at 83 Old Boston Post Road in Old Saybrook was built in 1847 by Rufus C. Shepard, a deacon of the Congregational Church who served as County Commissioner and Representative in the state legislature.

Robert N. Jackson Cottage (1882)

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016 Posted in Houses, Old Saybrook, Shingle Style | No Comments »

Robert N. Jackson Cottage

The summer cottage at 29 Pettipaug Avenue in the Borough of Fenwick in Old Saybrook was built in 1882 by Robert N. Jackson of Middletown. The son of Ebenezer Jackson, Jr. (1796-1874) of Savannah, Georgia, and Middletown, Robert Nesmith Jackson (1845-1915) organized and served as president of the Middlesex Banking Company. The bank failed in 1913. In 1920 the cottage was acquired by Mitchell Little of Hartford and his wife, Elizabeth Hapgood, daughter of the architect Edward T. Hapgood. You can read more about the cottage in Marion Hepburn Grant’s The Fenwick Story (Connecticut Historical Society, 1974), pages 135-137.

Robert Bull House (1700)

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016 Posted in Colonial, Houses, Old Saybrook | No Comments »

55 North Cove Robert Bull c 1700

Located at 55 North Cove Road in Old Saybrook is the Robert Bull House, built c. 1700. Also known as “the House on the Bend,” it is the oldest house in the North Cove Historic District. It was probably remodeled and enlarged around 1740, as that is when the earliest gambrel roofs began to appear. After 1851 the house was the residence of David Phelps, a successful fisherman who made a living from the eels and clams found in the neighboring harbor.

William Chalker House (1803)

Monday, May 9th, 2016 Posted in Houses, Old Saybrook, Second Empire | No Comments »

Chalker House

The house at 1146 Boston Post Road in Old Saybrook was built c. 1800-1803 for William Chalker. It originally stood on the opposite side of the street but was moved and an addition built when the road was straightened later on in the nineteenth century. Around that time the house was acquired by Daniel C. Spencer.

A wealthy merchant, Daniel Chapman Spencer (1823-1906) started his business career as a store clerk and then was a traveling salesman with a stock of goods carried in a peddler’s wagon. He then worked for Moulton, Plympton, Williams & Co., one of the leading wholesale dry goods firms of New York. After that company went out of business he moved on to Claflin, Mellen & Co. in New York, at the time the second largest dry goods store in the United States and soon to become the largest. He ran the company‘s notion department for thirteen years, until he broke down from the strain and decided to retire on January 1, 1868. He chose to retire to his hometown of Old Saybrook. As described in the History of Middlesex County, Connecticut with Biographical Sketches of Its Prominent Men (1884):

Mr. Spencer had previously purchased a number of acres contiguous to the old homestead property in Saybrook, known as the Chalker farm. Here he retired to spend his days. The old place was enlarged and improved and soon made to “blossom like a rose.” The meadows were turned into cranberry patches on which he spent several thousand dollars in working and improving. He surrounded his residence with trees and flowers until it now has the appearance of fairy land. Amid these surroundings he soon recovered his health and then devoted his energies to making such public improvements in the town as should tend to attract others to this beautiful spot selected by Col. Fenwick as the “garden spot of the earth,” more than two hundred years ago.

Spencer owned greenhouses across the street from the Chalker House. He was also involved in the development of the Borough of Fenwick, including the building of the hotel known as Fenwick Hall.

The Chalker-Spencer House was altered around 1880 when the original roof was replaced by a Mansard roof. It was later used as a boarding house.