At 2 Riverside Place at Gales Ferry on the Thames River in Ledyard is a gambrel-roofed house built c. 1796 that is now connected to a much larger addition. The building is owned and operated by the Yale heavyweight crew team and is used to prepare for the nation’s oldest intercollegiate sporting event, the Harvard-Yale Regatta, known as The Race. Yale’s complex at Gales Ferry includes a boathouse. The 1796 house was built by Thomas Geer, who sold it to Capt. Alexander Allyn in 1799. It passed to his daughter Sarah, who married Norman B. Brown, Gales Ferry postmaster. It remained in the family until 1904. It was then acquired by George St. John Sheffield, a great benefactor of Yale rowing (and the son of Joseph Earl Sheffield), and the University purchased the property in 1907.
The house at 51 Main Street in Essex was built in 1803 by Thomas Millard, a shipcarver and housewright, and was the home of Felix Starkey from 1805 to 1856. Felix Starkey (1777-1856) was a merchant and the brother of Timothy Starkey. He married Esther Hayden. (The sign on the house reads “Timothy Starkey 1720″).
At 3171 Bronson Road in the Greenfield Hill section of Fairfield is a gambrel-roofed house built in 1757 by Rev. Seth Pomeroy. The son of Seth Pomeroy, a gunsmith and soldier from Northampton, Mass., who would serve in the Revolutionary War, Rev. Pomeroy, a graduate of Yale, served as the minister of the Greenfield Hill Congregational Church from 1757 until his death at the age of 37 in 1770. After Rev. Pomeroy died, the house was owned by Captain David Hubbell who used it as a store until it was purchased by Reverend William Belden, who served as pastor of the Greenfield Hill Church from 1812 to 1821. At one point the house served as an insurance office.
Dating to around 1800, the building at the corner of Bank and Pearl Streets in New London was part of the business operations of Jonathan Starr‘s family. Starr, who lived across the street, operated the Chester & Starr lumberyard and a grocery store at the site. According to the New London Heritage Trail plaque at the site: “Coffins and groceries both sold here.” The building now houses a restaurant and bar.
The house at 895 Saybrook Road in Haddam was built by the brothers Nehemiah and John Brainerd to serve as a social hall called Brainerd Hall. The brothers owned a granite quarry that they opened in 1792. Brainerd Hall was constructed soon after the brothers’ uncle Hezekiah Brainerd and his wife Elizabeth acquired the land from Elizabeth’s father, John Wells, in 1794. After John Brainerd’s death in 1841, the hall housed students at the nearby Brainerd Academy, a school established by the Brainerd brothers.. After 1857, Erastus G. Dickinson operated the Golden Bull Tavern in the building. It remained in the Dickinson family until 1964.
The summer cottage at 25 Pettipaug Avenue in the Borough of Fenwick in Old Saybrook was built circa 1871 on land sold that year to Mrs. Cyrus Knight. Her husband, Rev. Cyrus Frederick Wright was rector of the Church of the Incarnation (later renamed St. James’ Episcopal Church) in Hartford from 1870 to 1877. He resigned after an incident in which church funds were stolen by the parish treasurer. Rev. Knight then served as rector of St. James Church in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, from 1877 to 1889, but continued to summer in Fenwick. When he became Bishop of Milwaukee in 1889, he and his wife could no longer make the long trip to Fenwick and therefore rented the cottage for the summer. Rev. Knight died in 1891 and his wife, Elizabeth P. Pickering Knight, in 1912. The cottage was then owned for a time by Heywood Whaples. It was purchased in 1952 by Ellsworth Grant (1917-2013) and his wife, Marion Hepburn Grant (1918-1986), the sister of Katharine Hepburn. The cottage has later rear additions. You can read more about the cottage in Marion Hepburn Grant’s The Fenwick Story (Connecticut Historical Society, 1974), pages 128-131.
In 1759 Jonathan Hale, Jr. (1696-1772) of Glastonbury deeded one half of a brick house to his son, Theodore Hale (1735-1807), who acquired the other half in 1762. Built around 1745, the gambrel-roofed Hale House (1715 Main Street in Glastonbury) remained in the Hale family until 1810. It was owned for a time by Rev. Prince Hawes, pastor of the First Church of Christ. William H. Turner (1788-1872) bought the house in 1828 and it remained in his family until 1912. Turner, who served in the War of 1812, owned a coasting vessel, which operated from the Connecticut river to various Atlantic ports. He was also involved in shipbuilding and politics, serving in the state legislature and as town selectman.