Archive for the ‘Branford’ Category

Jonathan Foot House (1810)

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016 Posted in Branford, Houses, Vernacular | No Comments »

Jonathan Foote House, Branford

Built c. 1809-1810, the house at 81-83 East Main Street in Branford was originally the home of Jonathan Foot (1772-1851), a cabinetmaker and undertaker. The house descended to his daughter, Clarissa, who had married Dr. Isaac Palmer Leete. The house has an addition that was probably built by Dr. Leete to use as his office. In 1885 the east part of the house was sold to Eliza Robbins and it may be at that time the house was converted to its current configuration as a duplex.

St. Mary Church, Branford (1974)

Sunday, May 15th, 2016 Posted in Branford, Churches, Colonial Revival | No Comments »

St. Mary Church, Branford

St. Mary’s Catholic Parish in Branford traces its origins to 1855. The original church, located on Montowese Street, was built in 1854. The next church building, on Main Street across from the Blackstone Memorial Library, was completed in 1904 and burned later that same year. It was restored and rededicated on October 19, 1906. A Renaissance Revival structure, it had a 10-story bell tower. On June 18, 1972, the church was destroyed in a fire and replaced by the current church in 1974. For many years the church’s 1917 two-ton cast bronze bell, which survived the fire, sat on a concrete slab on the church grounds. In 2009 the bell was restored and placed in a new exterior bell tower. That same year the church dedicated a new 2,500 square-foot social hall.

Lester Nichols House (1893)

Wednesday, April 6th, 2016 Posted in Branford, Colonial Revival, Houses | No Comments »

Lester Nichols House, Branford

Before the Blackstone Memorial Library in Branford was erected in 1893, a house on the site that belonged to Lester J. Nichols was torn down to make way for the new building. Nichols, who was a director of the Malleable Iron Fittings Company, then built his new Georgian Revival house, designed by William H. Allen, at 730 Main Street. Lester Nichols was born in Middlebury in 1849. He is described in the second volume of A Modern History of New Haven and Eastern New Haven County (1918):

Reared in New Haven, Lester J. Nichols was educated in the city schools until the age of seventeen years, when he went to Branford and secured employment with the Malleable Iron Fittings Company as shipping clerk. Later he became accountant and subsequently he represented the company on the road as traveling salesman, and in 1902 was chosen secretary, in which office he has since served. On joining the company in 1866 there were only sixty employes [sic], but at the present time there are over thirteen hundred. The business has steadily grown until it has now assumed extensive proportions and it ranks among the leading industrial concerns of New Haven county. Mr. Nichols is one of the five directors of the company and all of the men at its head are good reliable business men who command the confidence of those with whom they have dealings.

On the 8th of December, 1870, Mr. Nichols was married in Branford to Miss Alice E. Cook, a native of Branford [. . . .] Since starting out upon his business career he has been identified with but one concern and has labored untiringly for its interests with most excellent results. As the years have passed prosperity has come to him and he is now one of the substantial as well as one of the most highly esteemed citizens of Branford.

A less respectful lens on Nichols’ private life can be found in a piece entitled “Nichols ‘Niece’ Talk of Branford,” that appeared in the Bridgeport Herald of December 1, 1907.

Jonathan Collins House (1865)

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016 Posted in Branford, Houses, Italianate | No Comments »

Jonathan Collins House

The house at 101 East Main Street in Branford was built c. 1865. By 1868 it was owned by Jonathan Collins, who is listed in 1868 the Beers, Ellis & Soule map of Branford as a shoe manufacturer. In 1872 the house was sold to William Regan, who worked at the Branford Lock Works. In 1877 Regan filed a patent for an improvement in attaching knobs to spindles.

Wheeler’s Island House (2001)

Monday, March 7th, 2016 Posted in Branford, Houses, Postmodern | No Comments »

Wheeler Island

Wheeler’s Island is one of the Thimble Islands, which are located in and around the harbor of Stony Creek in the southeast corner of Branford. Vacation homes, displaying a variety of architectural styles, are located throughout the archipelago. Not far off shore is Wheelers Island, first known as Page’s Island. In 1865 Henry B. Frisbie purchased the island from Alonson Hall and built a Victorian cottage with an Italianate cupola. Frank Wheeler of Meriden, an avid yachtsman, acquired the island in 1885 and the Wheeler family owned it until 1998. It was acquired by Christine Svenningsen, a wealthy widow. The old house on Wheeler’s Island was torn down in 1999, but soon replaced with a recreation. Svenningsen began purchasing more of the Thimble Islands from 2003 to 2007, spending $33 million and eventually owning ten. In 2010 she married John G. Chiarella, Jr., a landscaping entrepreneur whose company managed the island properties. The couple divorced three years later and a $250 million legal battle followed. Wheeler’s Island is also known as Ghost Island because it is reputed to be haunted.

Charles Pomeroy Ives House (1875)

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016 Posted in Branford, Houses, Italianate | No Comments »

18 Totoket Rd., Branford

The house at 18 Totoket Road in Branford was built c. 1860-1875 for Charles Pomeroy Ives (1847-1933). An 1872 graduate of Yale Law School, Ives was a lawyer and farmer (also described as a “farmer-philosopher”) who was the first in Connecticut to market milk bottles. He had a 200-acre dairy farm in Branford called Fellsmere Farm. In 1933, at the age of 87, Ives went missing from his farm. His body was found three days later a mile-and-a-half from his home. He had died from exhaustion and exposure. Starting in 1983 the house was substantially altered: the windows, siding and other exterior features were replaced and the interior was gutted.

Zaccheus Baldwin House (1775)

Saturday, January 9th, 2016 Posted in Branford, Colonial, Houses | No Comments »

Zaccheus Baldwin House

The house at 154 Damascus Road in Branford was built sometime in the last quarter of the eighteenth century. It was the home of Zaccheus Baldwin (1754-1831)