Charles M. Gilman was a lawyer and an incorporator of the Southport Trust Company. His large house, located at 139 Main Street in Southport, was designed J. C. Cady. Gilman hired another New York architect, William H. Beers, to design the house’s library addition. Erected in 1900, the addition well matches the architectural style of the earlier section, which combines elements of the Italianate, Gothic and Stick styles of architecture. Original plans for both the house and addition are housed at the Fairfield Museum and History Center Library.
The Southport Savings Bank was chartered in 1854. The bank’s building at 226 Main Street in Southport (in the town of Fairfield) was erected in 1863-1865 across from the Southport National Bank. The bank became a branch of People’s Savings Bank, Bridgeport (later People’s United Bank) in 1955. The bank branch closed on May 6, 2016.
In 1832, Wakeman B. Meeker, Sr., a prosperous shipping merchant, acquired the old Bulkley residence at 824 Harbor Road in Southport. He formed the firm of Meeker & Sherwood with his partner, Simon Sherwood, in the 1830s and built a wharf and three warehouses across from his residence. They owned three schooners and seven sloops engaged in freight and passenger service. The firm later became W.B. Meeker & Son. Next to the Bulkley residence, Meeker erected a new house, 25 Westway Road, for his son c. 1850-1855. The front porch, decorated with highly ornamental sawed scrollwork, was added in 1891. After Meeker’s death in 1862, his son, Wakeman B. Meeker, Jr., carried on the business until his death in 1915.
The Pequot School is a former public elementary school building located at 214 Main Street in the Southport section of Fairfield. Designed by W. H. McLean and built in 1917-1918 (it opened for classes in January 1918), it replaced an earlier Pequot School building erected in 1854. The school closed in 1972 and the town’s Board of Education used the building until 1984. Local citizens, concerned about intrusive commercial development targeting the building, formed the Southport Conservany, which purchased the former school and has since leased it to the Eagle Hill School, a private school for children with learning disabilities.
The grand Greek Revival house at 750 Harbor Road in Southport was built c. 1843-1844 by Oliver H. Perry [Not to be confused with the famous Oliver Hazard Perry]. Oliver Henry Perry was the son of Walter Perry, a ship owner and merchant, and the brother of Austin Perry and Gurdon Perry, who built their own houses in Southport in 1830. Although he graduated from Yale Law School and was admitted to the bar in 1841, Oliver Perry did not practice law but instead was a shipping merchant and financier. He was elected Connecticut Secretary of State in 1854 and in the same year had a vital role in securing a charter for the Southport Savings Bank. He was was also a member of Connecticut General Assembly, serving as Speaker of the House in 1859-1860. The house, originally called “The Harborage,” has four Doric columns supporting a Greek Revival pediment. In 2007 its current owners were engaged in a legal conflict with the Historic District Commission over a large concrete sculpture on the property. The state Supreme Court sided with the Commission and the sculpture was removed.
The community of Southport in the town of Fairfield has two historic railroad stations (one eastbound and one westbound) on the New Haven Line of the Metro-North Railroad (originally a line of the the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad). The older of the two is the eastbound station, built in 1884 to replace an earlier railroad depot destroyed in a fire. It is typical of the brick stations that were built in Connecticut in the 1880s, but with more than usual attention to its decorative roof that reflects the High Victorian Gothic and Eastlake styles. No longer used as a station, the building is now home to Paci Restaurant. Read the rest of this entry »
The house at 418 Harbor Road in Southport was built in 1871 by W. W. Wakeman for Mrs. Zalmon Wakeman and her daughters Mary and Frances Wakeman. Zalmon Bradley Wakeman (1803-1865) was a prominent sea captain and ship-owner. He married Sarah Ann Fowler (1806-1873) on March 3, 1829. The Wakeman sisters lived in the house until 1913.