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The Col. Charles H. Northam House (1875)

Friday, October 5th, 2007 Posted in Hartford, Houses, Queen Anne, Stick Style | No Comments »


Built in 1875, on Charter Oak Place in Hartford, for Colonel Charles Harvey Northam, a merchant and banker, just six years before he died. Northam was a philanthropist, who donated the Northam Memorial Chapel at Hartford’s Cedar Hill Cemetery and Northam Towers at Trinity College. The Northam House, with variety of its detailing, is an exemplar of the Queen Anne style of architecture. It has also been described as representative of the “stick style.” With its striking, historically accurate colors, the house is known locally as “The Painted Lady.”

The Mark Twain House (1874)

Friday, June 15th, 2007 Posted in Gothic, Hartford, Houses, Stick Style | 1 Comment »


Built in 1874 on Farmington Avenue in Hartford’s Nook Farm neighborhood for Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain) and designed in the High Victorian Gothic style by Edward Tuckerman Potter (who was known for his churches, including the Church of the Good Shepherd). Mark Twain lived here from 1874-1891 with his wife, Olivia Langdon Clemens, and their three daughters: Suzy, Clara and Jean. His wife was the one primarily involved in planning with the architect–apparently all Sam Clemens asked for was a red brick house! He also had a servant’s wing and a carriage house and employed about seven or so servants, including his butler, George Griffin, maid Katy Leary and coachman Patrick McAleer. It was while living here that Mark Twain wrote such classic works as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. Bad financial decisions, including his investment in the Paige Compositor typesetting machine, led to near bankruptcy, and forced the Clemens family to move to Europe in 1891. After a round-the-world lecture tour, Clemens was able to pay off his debt, but as his eldest daughter Suzy had died in the Hartford house during a return visit there in 1896, the family never returned there and he sold the house in 1904. Over the years, the house was used as a school, a library and an apartment building. It was restored in the 1960s and 1970s and is open as part of The Mark Twain House and Museum.