This Georgian home in Brookfield, CT was built around 1779 for Isaac Merwin (1742-1810), his wife, and their thirteen children. The symmetrical two-story saltbox home showcases that high-style residences were built in even remote towns all over New England, especially after the Revolution. After Isaac’s death in 1810, the property went to his son Erastus who resided there until his death in 1869. The home changed hands a couple more times until the 20th century when it was occupied by Mabel Wood Hill of New York, as her country retreat. Ms. Hill, who gave the country house the name “Wood Hill Farm”, was a Brooklyn-born composer, who wrote music scores for Leopold Stokowski, who apparently visited this home often. Mabel also was a founder of the Brooklyn Music School, the New York Music School Settlement, and the Hudson River Music School. Her Irish-Scottish ancestry helped her become an authority in the bagpipe, which she also taught.
Located in Brookfield, Connecticut, the John Peck House (1812) is one of many examples of Colonial farmhouses you can find in small New England towns. The home was built for John Peck (1759-1839), the son of Deacon Henry Peck, a pioneer settler of the town. The home has long held ties to the Congregational church in town, and for some years, was the parsonage of the church. The stunning barn was constructed around 1881 for the property, and is very well preserved to this day with its cross gambrel roof and hay door. The Federal style home appears to have been modernized in the early 20th century with a Colonial Revival entry porch roof and new windows on the facade.
Architecturally and historically significant as one of the oldest extant houses in Brookfield, Connecticut, the Jeremiah Northrup Homestead shows how many First Period and Georgian homes are adapted over time. The home was built for Jeremiah Northrup (1668-1771), a pioneer settler to the town of Brookfield. Brookfield was colonized in 1710 by a group of men from nearby towns. They bartered for the land from the Wyantenuck Nation and the Potatuck Nation. The purchase of the southern portion of town included the center of town, and the important Still River. Eventually, when the town was settled, it was first established as the Parish of Newbury, which incorporated parts of neighboring Newtown and Danbury (likely taking parts of each town’s name to make its own). The Northrup Homestead was built shortly after the town was settled and was likely originally a one-story Cape. By the end of the 18th century, the home’s roof was raised to get a half floor inside, where we see the smaller second story windows. Later additions and modifications show how these early period homesteads were updated to meet growing families and wealth.
John Hoyt Perry was born in Southport in 1848, and graduated at Yale in 1870. He received his professional education at Columbia Law School and was admitted to the bar in Bridgeport, CT in 1872. He had an active law career in Connecticut, later working as a judge. He served Southport in the House of Representatives throughout much of the end of the 19th century. In 1913 he was elected to the Connecticut Senate and served as the minority leader. He served as counsel for the United States in arbitration proceedings with Chile in 1902, and as counsel for the town of Fairfield. This home in Southport was constructed for him, likely around 1875 after he accepted his position as a head attorney at a major firm nearby. The home can be classified as a blending of Stick style and Queen Anne Victorian design with the asymmetrical form, tower, large porch with projecting porte-cochere, shingle siding, and bargeboards.
Constructed in 1861, this Victorian Gothic mansion in Southport, Connecticut, stands out amongst the many Classically inspired homes nearby. Designed by Bridgeport architects Lambert & Bunnell for Moses Bulkley (1796-1868), the house is designed on a cruciform plan, synonymous with the Gothic style. Expansive pointed gables trimmed with a gingerbread bargeboards, pointed arched windows, ogee arches trimmed with jigsaw tracery on the verandah, and a tall square tower topped with a steeply-pitched pyramidal roof are all seen in this beauty. If only it had a historically appropriate paint scheme to really make those details pop!
Charles C. Perry (1795-1870) was a wealthy nineteenth-century shipowner and sea captain and a prominent figure within Southport’s community. After his father’s death in 1814, when Charles was just 25, he inherited a large sum of money from his father’s will and followed his footsteps as a career. Miah Perry’s will stipulated that in order to keep the family together, members were to reside at the family home for five years from his death if neither of the daughters married; “but in case they remain unmarried at the expiration of five years…my estate shall not be divided until eight years from my decease unless one of the said daughters should marry…partition may be immediately thereafter made.” Talk about pressure to get married!
It is unclear if any daughters got married before, (Julia, one daughter died in 1821 at 22 years old). That same year, Charles Perry seemingly got his part of the inheritance and acquired the land upon which this house stands. He was then twenty-six years old and unmarried. He appears to have built it later as a blending of the Federal and Greek Revival styles, perfectly complimenting each other.
One of the nicest examples of residential Greek Revival architecture I have ever seen is the Austin Perry House (c.1830) in the Southport area of Fairfield, CT. Austin Perry (1798-1864) was a member of a prominent merchant family, holding businesses in Fredericksburg, Virginia, before returning to Southport to manage a general store. He retired in his forties and resided at this home until his death. His home is a balanced, symmetrical design with massive Corinthian columns surmounted by a carved anthemion motif ornamenting the gable pediment.
The William Bulkley house was built circa 1767 and is one of the few extant pre-Revolution houses in Southport. In 1779, during the Revolutionary War, Fairfield and vicinity were burned and ravaged by Tory Loyalists. Only eleven houses throughout the region survived the burning; one of four in Southport was the Bulkley residence.
This Greek Revival home built c.1826, is perfectly articulated in the classical temple form. It was built for Paschal Sheffield, a well-respected member of the Southport community throughout the nineteenth century. His father was a privateer during the Revolutionary War, and moved to Southport to settle and enter in the mercantile trade business. Paschal appears to have been involved in business and local politics until his death. After his death, the home was marketed as a tear down for a new summer resort, but it was retained by future owners.
Warren Demman Gookin (1810-1874) was born in Haverhill, New Hampshire. He was educated at Haverhill Academy and Dartmouth College, graduating from the latter institution in 1830. In 1835 he went to Cuba where he remained for ten years as a sugar planter. Later, he was engaged in a mercantile business in Oregon, finally settling in Brooklyn, NY and working as a shipping merchant in New York City until his death in 1874. After his death, his widow Hetty moved back to her hometown of Southport, CT and built this large home. Later this was the home of Mrs Gookin’s stepdaughter, Mrs Edwin Waterman.