A group of Fairfield Episcopalians met in 1853 to form what became St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. The church was built in 1855-1856 on what had been the previous site of two successive Fairfield County jails (the first was burnt by the British in 1779 and the second by a prisoner in 1852). The church expanded several times: in 1891 the parish built an addition for its Sunday school and Women’s Auxiliary and in 1928 started a project that produced a transept, expanded the chancel, added a chapel adjoining the chancel and built what is now the parish hall. A new wing, dedicated in 1959, was built on land where the Old Academy had stood (it was moved to its current location on the Green in 1958).
Known as “The Orchard,” the Gen. Gold Selleck Silliman House is located at 506 Jennings Road in Fairfield. A general in the Revolutionary War, Silliman took part in the Battle of Ridgefield in 1777. In May 1779, Silliman and his son were captured in their home by a party of tories who had crossed Long Island Sound in the night. U.S. Navy Captain David Hawley later captured Thomas Jones, a highly reputed loyalist, to exchange for Silliman a year after his capture. Gen. Silliman‘s house was also used as a place of refuge by citizens fleeing the British burning of Fairfield on July 8, 1779. Gen. Silliman’s son, Benjamin Silliman, became the first professor of science at Yale University and the first to distill petroleum.
Fairfield’s Old Academy was a school founded in 1802 by a group of prominent local citizens. The schoolhouse itself was erected on the Old Post Road in Fairfield and opened in 1804. The original academy was in existence until around 1884. The building then served several purposes over the years, being used by a nearby private school and as a library and place for meetings. In 1920, the Old Academy was faced with demolition but the Eunice Dennie Burr Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Fairfield Historical Society joined to save and restore the building, which was moved to the town green in 1958. Today the Old Academy is owned by the town and still used by the DAR. Opened to visitors several days a year, the building contains historical artifacts and the second floor is maintained as a replica of the old schoolroom.
Like the Justin Hobart House and the Isaac Tucker House, the Nathan Bulkley House, built in 1750, survived the burning of Fairfield by the British in 1779. According to The Old Burying Ground of Fairfield, Conn. (1882), by Kate E. Perry, Nathan Bulkley “was deacon in the Congregational Church; a prominent man in town affairs, and Town Clerk for 82 consecutive years. He married Sarah, daughter of Joseph Perry, I. At the burning of Fairfield Nathan Bulkley owned the ‘Colonial home’ which descending to the second wife of the late Dr. J. T. Denison, is yet standing and In good repair.”
Built in 1765 by a local cabinetmaker on Beach Road in Fairfield, the Justin Hobart House is one of the few structures to survive the burning of the town by the British in 1779. After the burning, church meetings and court sessions were held in the house until a new meeting house was completed in 1785. The house has had additions over the years, including the current entry portico. A new wing was added to the rear of the house in 1890 and a sun room extension around the mid-twentieth century. During World War One, the house served as the headquarters of the Fairfield Chapter of the American Red Cross.Happy Thanksgiving from Historic Buildings of Connecticut!
This Halloween, we look at one of the greatest and best documented examples of domestic Gothic Revival architecture in America. Like Roseland Cottage in Woodstock, Sturges Cottage, built on Mill Plain Green in Fairfield in 1840-1841, is an early architect-designed house reflecting the principles of Andrew Jackson Downing in his work on country houses. The Sturges Cottage is the first documented commission for Joseph Collins Wells, an English immigrant who became a New York-based architect. He would go on to design Roseland Cottage in 1846. The Sturges Cottage was built as a summer residence for the New York merchant Jonathan Sturges and his wife, Mary Pemberton Cady Sturges. Sturges was a grandson of Jonathan Sturges, member of the Continental Congress. He was a philanthropist and patron of the arts who started his career working for Luman Reed, a prominent New York merchant and art collector. Sturges was a member of the Sketch Club, a precursor to the National Academy of Design. The Sturges family continues to occupy and maintain the house, to which major additions were made in 1846, 1883 and 1895. Read the rest of this entry »
The Isaac Tucker House is one of only a few to have survived the burning of Fairfield by British forces on July 7, 1779. The house was built in 1766, two years after Tucker married Mary Wakeman in 1764. Tradition holds that a servant, hiding upstairs, put out the flames and saved the house from destruction. There are still burn marks inside from the attempted torching. The house was later owned by Edmund Hobart, who served as postmaster in Fairfield in the mid-nineteenth century.