At 1135 West Broad Street in Stratford is an impressive Italianate villa, considered to be one of Connecticut’s best examples of the style. It was built in 1854 on the site of the old Benjamin Tavern where Washington and Lafayette are said to have dined on September 19, 1780. They were served potatoes, which were then a rare delicacy. Col. Aaron Benjamin served in most of the major battles of the Revolutionary War. His son, Frederick A. Benjamin, became a successful New York merchant. In 1852, Frederick A. Benjamin retired and returned to the old homestead in Stratford, which he soon replaced with a new mansion, designed by architect Frederick Schmidt. Benjamin’s son, Arthur Bedell Benjamin (d. 1914), was a prolific photographer and a yachtsman who owned the steam yacht Continental.
Around 1745, Edward Curtis began to build a house at what is now the southeast corner of Elm and Broad Streets in Stratford. It was completed by his nephew, Henry Curtis and remained in the Curtis family until 1981. The house has a tilt, believed to have been caused by two earthquakes, in 1747 and 1813.
Built in 1857-1858, the current Christ Episcopal Church in Stratford was preceded by two earlier church buildings. The first was built in 1724 and was replaced by the second, built in 1743, which stood just to the north of the current church, which was designed by architect Henry Dudley. Christ Church is the oldest parish of the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut, tracing its origins to 1707. In 1972, the interior of the church was reconfigured to its present arrangement.
Capt. David Judson built a Georgian-style house in Stratford around 1750 (or as early as 1723), on the foundation of his great-grandfather William‘s stone house of 1639. Nine generations of the family lived in the house until 1888, when the house was sold to John Wheeler. In 1891, it was sold to Celia and Cornelia Curtis, who willed it to the Stratford Historical Society in 1925. The Judson House, which is now a museum, is known for its particularly fine broken scroll pediment door surround.
In 1822, an octagonal wooden lighthouse tower and 1 1/2 story keeper’s quarters were erected at Stratford Point, in the section of Stratford called Lordship, located at the mouth of the Housatonic River. It was only the third light station to be built on Long Island Sound. The current brick-lined, cast-iron tower and adjacent keeper’s dwelling were built in 1881. The tower was originally all white, but was later painted red around the middle. Stratford Point Light was automated in 1969 and the lantern room was removed to be displayed at Boothe Memorial Park in Stratford. In 1990, the restored lantern room was returned to its place atop the tower. A Coast Guard family currently lives at the lighthouse.