Built circa 1720, the Captain David Sage House, at 1276 Worthington Ridge in Berlin, remained in the same family until the 1970s. The Sage family donated the land for Sage Park in Berlin. In her History of Berlin (1916), Catharine Melinda North gives the text of a letter, dated January 29, 1906, from Mr. George Sage:
My dear Miss North: It is a pleasure to reply to your request for a history of our farm house. The Sage house was built about the year 1720 by Captain David Sage, (son of John and grandson of David who settled in Middletown in 1652,) who, with his twin brother Benjamin, came to Berlin from Middletown. It might be well to add here that Benjamin’s house built at the same time, stood below David’s and just south of the Clark place. Benjamin Sage married Mary Allen of Berlin, and died in 1734; his house has long since disappeared.
Captain David married Bathsheba Judd of Berlin and they had four sons and four daughters. One son, Deacon Jedediah, married Sarah Marcy of Berlin and remained on the present Sage farm. Another son, Zadoch, lived almost directly across the road from Benjamin, and the old well is now near the site of the house, a few rods north of where the brick schoolhouse stood. As time went by the Sage house was filled with the deacon’s four sons and three daughters, so Captain David moved into the house built by his brother Benjamin and was ninety-three years old when the road was built west toward Mr. Welden’s. I believe Jedediah was deacon of the Second Congregational church for twenty-seven years. He died in 1826 aged eighty-nine years.
Colonel Erastus, his son, married Elinor Dickenson of Berlin and succeeded to the farm where ten children were born to them, my father, Henry, being the one who stayed at home. I have my grandfather’s papers among which is his appointment by the General Assembly to be Colonel of the 4th Regiment of cavalry in the militia and signed by Oliver Wolcott Esq., as governor, and dated the 31st day of May 1819.
The property has been in the family about 186 years, and for five generations. The house has been added to from time to time, but the original has been well preserved with its huge stone chimney, four fireplaces, brick ovens, and the hewn white oak timbers forming the framework are as solid today as when they were raised almost two hundred years ago. Yours sincerely, Geo. H. Sage.
The house at 1062 Worthington Ridge in Berlin is known as the David Sage House in the nomination for the Worthington Ridge Historic District. It is also known as the George Porter House. Built c. 1770, it has elaborate Georgian detailing on its front facade. Among its residents were Dr. Josiah Meigs Ward. In 1825, Berlin suffered an epidemic of the Spotted Fever. As related in Catharine M. North’s History of Berlin (1916):
Dr. Josiah M. Ward was then in his prime, and he had sixty cases of the typhoid on his hands. Day and night he rode and visited his patients until he was so exhausted that he would sleep anywhere, even on horseback. Parson Graves and his family in Westfield were all down with the fever, and it was while in attendance there that Dr. Ward fell asleep on the steps of the church opposite the house. He awoke in a chill—the precursor of the fever, from which in his worn condition he could not rally. He died August 25, 1823, at the age of forty-three. Mrs. Ward and three of their children took the fever. One morning the clock struck eight and the children did not come down to breakfast. Diadema, a half sister, went to the chamber and said, “It is late, you must get up.” She lifted the little Samuel, four years old, and carried him down the stairs, in her arms. On the way he spat on the floor, and Diadema reproved him. The children were never allowed to do such a thing as that in the house.
In was the beginning of the sickness. In twenty-four hours the child was dead. Mary was sick two days and died. Laura’s fever ran two or three weeks and she recovered. The mother was restored to health after a second attack of the disease.
In the late nineteenth century, the house was owned by Burr Kellog Fields (1856-1898), a civil engineer who graduated from the Sheffield Scientific School of Yale University in 1877. According to his obituary in the Proceedings of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Vol. XXIV, No. 8 (October 1898):
in 1886 Mr. Field accepted an appointment as Assistant Engineer of the Berlin Iron Bridge Company, of East Berlin, Conn. His advancement with this company was very rapid, and at the time of his death he occupied the important position of Vice-President, having full charge of the making of all contracts. During Mr. Field’s connection with this company its business was much extended, and its product introduced into all parts of the world. In achieving this Mr. Field had no small part, and his death has been a severe loss, not only to the company, but also to his associates.
The house at 1035 Worthington Ridge in Berlin was built circa 1895. With its varied form, combination of clapboards and several types of shingles and ornamental woodwork, the house is an excellent example of the Queen Anne style. It was the home of Charles A Gillin, who was a surgeon. Read the rest of this entry »
The house at 914 Worthington Ridge in Berlin was built around 1790 for Deacon Daniel Galpin (1754-1744), a veteran of the Revolutionary War. In her History of Berlin (1916), Catherine M. North quotes a letter of Mrs. Margaret Dunbar Stuart describing the Deacon:
Deacon Daniel Galpin was brother to Col. Joseph Galpin and lived next door to Parson Goodrich, my grandfather. He was of a more ardent temperament than Col. Galpin. He spoke in prayer meetings, and was a warm abolitionist.
In a wing of his house was a shop where he whittled logs into pumps. Also his daughter Mary utilized this shop for her dame school.
One day there was a sudden noise and my brother, a little boy saying his letters, was greatly pleased to find the Deacon had fallen over his pump log.
At one time Deacon Galpin put up a sign on his pump shop, “Anti-Slavery Books for sale here.”
This subjected him to some persecution and it was torn down by the roughs of the village.
The house was moved to its current address in the late 1840s to make way for the building of the Congregational Church.
The house at 1015 Worthington Ridge in Berlin was built circa 1895. It was the home of Leland Gwatkin, whose father Walter Gwatkin resided in the house at 1006/1008 Worthington Ridge. Leland W Gwatkin (1882-1949) was secretary and manager of the White Adding Machine Company of New Haven.
There is some uncertainty about the date and exact address of the Walter Gwatkin House on Worthington Ridge in Berlin. The nomination form for the Worthington Ridge Historic District lists it as no. 1008 and gives the date as c. 1905. A walking tour booklet (doc) for the District gives the address as 1006 and the date as c. 1861, noting that the porch dates to the early 1900s. Walter Gwatkin (1856-1921) was a prosperous butcher, farmer and landowner. Catharine M. North, in her History of Berlin (1915), makes note of the house that existed before the current one:
In 1817 Horace Steele, Elishama Brandegee’s next door neighbor on the south, was engaged in the business of bookbinding. Afterwards he made bandboxes, which he carried to Hartford to sell to the milliners.
Mr. Steele’s children were Eliza (mother of the Rev. Andrew T. Pratt, missionary in Turkey), Caroline (Mrs. Joseph Booth), Mary, Jane, Lucy Ann (Mrs. Lorenzo Lamb), and William.
Their home, a large colonial house set well back from the street, was, in its day, socially a center of attraction, filled as it was with bright, merry young people. The old house was torn down by William Steele and the house which he built on its site is now owned by Walter Gwatkin.
Brandegee Hall, at 983 Worthington Ridge in Berlin, was built in 1884 by William Brandegee to be used for concerts, plays and other entertainments such as roller-skating. In 1907, the building was acquired by the town of Berlin and used as a Town Hall until 1974. Over the years it also housed a post office, the Berlin Grange and the Berlin Playhouse, a local theater group. With the erection of a new Town Hall, the old building was sold to a private owner and used for storage. Having fallen into disrepair, the Hall was renovated in the early 2000s in response to the town’s new blighted property ordinance.