The house at 545 Amity Road in Bethany was built in 1762. It faces south, parallel to the road, and is built into a hillside. The earliest known conveyance of the property was in 1851 from Lysias Beecher to David Beecher and William M. Hull. It passed through other owners until Hubert W. Delano acquired it in 1946. It was conveyed to Edna L. Delano (1890-1982) in 1955. In 1996, her sons, Hubert and William Delano, gave a parcel of land south of the house, called the Delano Sanctuary, to the Bethany Land Trust in honor of their mother, Edna L. Delano.
Clover Nook Farm is an eighth generation family-owned farm at 50 Fairwood Road in Bethany. The farm started in 1765 when David French married Hannah Lines and the couple settled on the French family’s Bethany land. Their son, Harry French, built a farmhouse in 1823 that still stands at the center of the farm. The later generations to run the farm were Harry‘s daughter, Jane, and her husband, Justus Peck; their daughter Charlotte and her husband, Samuel Woodward; their son Sherman, followed by his son, Sherman, Jr.; and now Sherman, Jr.’s daughter Deborah and her husband and son, Eric and Lars Demander.
The house at 388 Amity Road in Bethany was built c. 1730. Its earliest known owner, c. 1780, is Ebenezer Dayton, a privateer of the Revolutionary War. A dramatic robbery took place in this house in 1780. The robbery was planned at the Turel Whittemore Tavern in Seymour. The incident is described by John Warner Barber in Connecticut Historical Collections (1836):
On the night following the 14th of March, 1780, the house of Capt. Ebenezer Dayton, then residing in this place, was broken into and robbed by seven men, who were tories, and headed by a British officer, from Long Island. Mr. Dayton’s house was situated nearly opposite where the first meeting house in Bethany was erected, about half a mile south of the present Congregational church, and about ten miles N. W. of New Haven.
The particulars of this robbery, were obtained from the Rev. Mr. Dayton, son of Capt. Dayton, mentioned above. Mr. Dayton, who belonged to Long Island, was on account of his attachment to the American cause, obliged to leave that island, and bring his effects with him to Bethany. A number of men, some of his neighbors, were obliged to leave the island for the same cause, and brought a considerable quantity of money with them, and for a while resided in Mr. Dayton’s house. With these facts, the robbers appear to have become acquainted. At the time of the robbery, Mr. Dayton was absent on business at Boston, and the men who had been staying in the house, had left the day before, so that there was no one in the house but his wife, Mrs. Phebe Dayton, three small children and two servant colored children. About midnight while they were all asleep, the window in the bedroom where Mrs. Dayton was sleeping, was burst in at once, seven armed men rushed in, passed through the room and immediately rushed into the chambers, expecting (it is supposed,) to find the men who had left the day before. While they were up stairs, Mrs. Dayton went to the front part of the house, raised the window and endeavored to alarm the neighbors. Mr. Hawley, the minister of the parish, and Dr. Hooker, the physician of the place, both lived within 20 rods distance; both had lights in their houses at the time, and both heard the alarm, but did not know from whence it proceeded. The robbers hearing Mrs. Dayton, came down, and tearing a sheet into strips tied her hands behind her, made her sit in a chair and placed her infant (about six months old,) in her lap, while one of the robbers placing the muzzle of his gun near her head, kept her in this position for about two hours, while the house was thoroughly ransacked from top to bottom. They found about 450 pounds in gold and silver, which belonged to Mr. Dayton, besides other valuable articles; what they could not conveniently carry off they wantonly destroyed, breaking in pieces all the crockery, furniture, &tc. The whole amount of property carried off and destroyed, including bonds, notes, &c. amounted to five thousand pounds.
The robbers left the house about 2 o’clock and went to a place in Middlebury, called Gunn town, where they were secreted in a cellar by a family who were friendly to the British cause. While they were on their way to Gunn town, they met a young man by the name of Chauncey Judd of Waterbury, on a bridge, who had been to see the young lady he afterwards married. Fearing he might discover them, they took him along with them. In the cellar kitchen where they were all secreted, there was a well. Into this well they talked of putting Mr. Judd; but the old lady of the house begged they would not think of it, as it would spoil the water. They stayed in this house a number of days: afterwards they went to Oxford, where they were secreted for several days longer in a barn; from thence they went to Stratford, took a whale boat and crossed over to Long Island. The people at Derby, having received information of their passing through that place two whale boats and crews, commanded by Capt. William Clarke and Capt. James Harvey, pursued them to the Island, and were fortunate enough to catch them all but one, just within the British lines. They were brought back, tried condemned and sent to Newgate; they however, broke prison and finally fled to Nova Scotia.
In the 1830s the house was owned by Colonel Elihu Sanford. In 1929 the house was moved 300 feet north of its original location to its current address.
At 254 Carrington Road, across from the Davidson House, 539 Litchfield Turnpike, in Bethany is the a historic carriage barn. It was erected c. 1885, a few years after S. G. Davidson built the farmhouse. According to local tradition, the barn was used for blacksmithing. It may also have housed equipment used by the Davidson Telephone Exchange System. This company, run by S. G. Davidson’s son, Tyler D. Davidson, installed five phone lines in Bethany between 1898 and 1903. Phone installation was free, but subscribers paid a $12 yearly rental fee. The Southern New England Telephone Company took over the system in 1907.
The older rear section of the house at 539 Litchfield Turnpike, intersection with Carrington Road, in Bethany was built by James Seymour Tuttle, a blacksmith and axe-maker. Tuttle’s grandson, Samuel Gilbert Davidson, hired joiner Thomas H. Brooks to built the front section, erected in 1882-1883. There are also historic barns attached to the rear of the house and a carriage barn across the road. The farm run by Davidson, also called Minnow Brook Farm, is described by an admirer in Bethany and its Hills (1905):
And now, concluded Mr. Sperry, we come to a model farm, one of the model farms of Connecticut, that of our friend S. G. Davidson, who is one of Bethany’s most honored and esteemed men. It is indeed a model of what thrift, good taste, enterprise, foresight and sagacity well employed can accomplish. With Mr. Davidson in charge, even a wilderness could be made to blossom like the rose.
There Davidson’s son, Tyler D. Davidson (d. 1952), a farmer like his father and a teacher, also served as First Selectman, Justice of the Peace and was a member of the Connecticut state House of Representatives. In the 1930s the house became the “Old Elm Tea Room,” named for a large Elm in front of the house planted by S. G. Davidson. An upstairs room was also used for singing classes held by some of the women of the family.
Tyler Davidson’s daughters sold the house out of the family in 1957.
The first meetinghouse of Bethany’s Congregational Church was erected between 1769 and 1773. It stood on Meetinghouse Hill on what is now Dayton Road. In 1831, the building was dismantled and material from it was used in the construction of the current Congregational Church, located at 511 Amity Road. The new church was designed by Ira Atwater and it is said that architect David Hoadley sat on the advisory committee. Among various alterations over the years, in 1866 the front portico was enclosed to enlarge the vestibule and in 1931 the church was moved back several feet to accommodate the widening of Amity Road.
Located at 275 Carrington Road in Bethany is a house erected by Beri Beecher (died 1886) as a weeding gift for his new bride in 1834. The house remained in the Beecher family until 1900. Wallace Saxton, who served as First Selectman of Bethany from 1945 to 1953, lived in the house from 1905 to 1950. The property has been known as “Hillside Acres” and more recently as “Pear Tree Farm.” The house has a large Georgian Colonial addition constructed in 1991.