James Stokes House (1830)

December 12th, 2008 Posted in Ansonia, Greek Revival, Houses

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The homestead of James Stokes is on Elm Street in Ansonia. The current house, completed around 1830, either replaced or incorporated an earlier one on the site, built in 1778. Stokes married Caroline Phelps, the daughter of Anson Greene Phelps, who founded Ansonia. Born in Simsbury, Phelps had become a successful businessman and manufacturer in New York. In the 1830s, Phelps joined with Sheldon Smith to found a manufacturing village in Derby called Birmingham (now the City of Derby). Facing obstacles in his attempts to expand Birmingham to the north in the 1840s, Phelps founded a new manufacturing settlement on the east bank of the Naugatuck River, in the older part of Derby which was named “Ansonia” after its founder. Phelps established a copper wire mill in 1845, which merged with Birmingham Copper Mills in 1854 and later became Ansonia Copper & Brass. Ansonia separated from Derby in 1889, later incorporating as a city in 1893. Anson G. Phelps was active in the Congregational Church and contributed to many philanthropic causes. His daughter, Caroline Phelps Stokes, and son-in-law, James Stokes, used their Ansonia house as a summer home and Anson Phelps often visited. Stokes’s son, Anson Phelps Stokes I, was a merchant, banker and multimillionaire; his grandson, Anson Phelps Stokes II, was a philanthropist; his great-grandson, Anson Phelps Stokes III, was an Episcopal Bishop. Another son of James Phelps was William Earl Dodge Stokes, a multimillionaire who developed much of New York’s Upper West Side and built a famous hotel called the Ansonia on Broadway. James Phelps’s daughter, Caroline Phelps Stokes, a philanthropist whose will established the Phelps-Stokes Fund, donated a library to the City of Ansonia.

  1. One Response to “James Stokes House (1830)”

  2. By Maureen Moran on Dec 12, 2008

    A horse watering trough outside the Ansonia Library was donated by Caroline Phelps Stokes in honor of the author of “Black Beauty”, one of her favorite books. The library, designed by George Keller, is interesting in and of itself.

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