The summer cottage at 21 Pettipaug Avenue in the Borough of Fenwick in Old Saybrook was built c. 1880 for Dr. Joseph Wright Alsop III (1838-1891). The Alsops were a prominent family in Middletown: His grandfather, Captain Joseph Wright Alsop I (1772-1844), and his father, Joseph Wright Alsop II (1804-1878), were wealthy merchants; his son, Joseph Wright Alsop IV (1876-1953), married a niece of Theodore Roosevelt and was a politician and farmer in Avon; and his grandson, Joseph Wright Alsop V (1910-1989), was a journalist and top insider in Washington, DC politics. In later life Dr. Joseph W. Alsop III, a democrat, served in the state Senate and was involved in the political deadlock over the gubernatorial election of 1891. After giving an impassioned speech he collapsed at the rostrum and died of a heart attack. The cottage passed from the Alsop estate in 1903 and was acquired by Morgan B. Brainard of Hartford, whose former Fenwick cottage had been destroyed in the Hurricane of 1938. It was acquired in 1959 by his niece, Lucy Brainard Smith. You can read more about the cottage in Marion Hepburn Grant’s The Fenwick Story (Connecticut Historical Society, 1974), pages 122-128. Read the rest of this entry »
The house at 60 Main Street South in Woodbury was built in 1829 for Dr. Frederick B. Woodward. The house’s front porch is a later addition. In 1842 it was purchased by Alexander Gordon, Sr. (1814-1893) who owned a tannery across the street. His son, Alexander Gordon, Jr. (1847-1914) befriended the famous wanderer called the Old Leatherman. Gordon provided scraps of leather to replace worn parts of the Leatherman‘s patchwork suit. In 1915 the house was purchased by George H. Benham as a Christmas present for his wife Antoinette Judson Benham.
In 1797 the Town of Willington granted permission for Gen./Dr. Miner Grant to build a store to the southeast of the town green. It was built as a one-and-a-half story cape with its gable end facing the street. The store was in operation until the period of the Civil War. It was then converted into a residence and significantly altered. The original store entrance was located in the center of the gable end, where there is now a chimney. By 1801, Dr. Miner Grant’s son, Miner Grant, Jr., was working as a store clerk for Dr. Samuel Willard of Stafford. An accidental explosion on December 23, 1801 led to a fire that destroyed the store. Willard and Grant escaped, but another clerk, Augustus Miller, was killed. The store was rebuilt the following year and the business was acquired by Miner Grant, Sr., who was setting his son up in business. In 1806, Miner Grant, Jr. took over the Stafford store, which was moved to Old Sturbridge Village in 1938. His father’s earlier store, now a house, remains in its original location at 242 Tolland Turnpike in Willington.
The Greek Revival house at the corner of East Main Street and Mill Plain Road in Branford (current address 270 E Main St; an earlier address was 254 E Main St.) was built by Timothy Palmer (1810-1885) c. 1838, just after his 1837 marriage to Louisa M. Beach. The house remained in the family into the early twentieth century. It is now used as offices.
Next to the North Congregational Church in Woodbury is the church parsonage. It was built circa 1828-1829 as a residence by Leman Sherman, who died in 1831. It passed through other owners until 1871, when it became the parsonage and has been a home to the ministers of North Church ever since. The parsonage, which was in danger of collapsing, was extensively restored and the interior modernized in 2012-2013.
William E. Weld was a carpenter and builder and ran a lumber business in Guilford for almost fifty years in the nineteenth century. He built many houses in town, including the Albert B Wildman House (1852), the Frederick A. Weld House (built for his brother in 1852) the Benjamin Bradley House (1860) and the Julia Labadie House (1872). Weld built his own house in 1850 at 45 Boston Street.