Wheeler’s Island House (2001)

March 7th, 2016 Posted in Branford, Houses, Postmodern

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.

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