In 1762, Martin Kellogg, 22, whose his great-grandfather was one of the first settlers of Norwalk, bought a 110-acre apple farm for himself and his wife, Mercy Benedict of Danbury. It is likely he built his home at that time. By 1812, Kellogg owned 500 acres in New Fairfield, land that would be annexed into Brookfield in the 1960s. The couple had five children in the home – Ira, Hanford, Polly, Rachel, Abigail and Mercy Maria. Five generations of Kelloggs would eventually live in their colonial house. When Martin died in 1824, the home was willed to his eldest surviving son, Ira. It is probable that when Ira inherited the home, he modernized it with the federal fanlight above the front door. The present owner purchased the home in 1970 and has preserved the home in all of its Colonial glory!
The Curtis School for Boys was founded in 1875 in Bethlehem, Connecticut by Frederick S. Curtis as a private school for young men aged 9-13. Curtis moved the school to Brookfield Center in 1883 and began constructing a campus. Buildings for the 30 pupils and five instructors included a dormitory, President’s residence, schoolhouse, caretaker’s cottage, and gymnasium on 50 acres. The school never expanded beyond a few dozen students, likely under Frederick Curtis’ supervision. The school closed in 1943, at the onset of America’s involvement in WWII, and it never re-opened. The campus sat in the village center for over a decade, with many of the buildings falling to the wrecking ball for safety reasons. Possibly the only building remaining is the 1907 gymnasium, constructed of rubblestone. The building was purchased by the Brookfield Country Players in 1959 and remodeled as a community theater. The theater group was founded two years prior, and it required its own theater space after a school complained about an actor appearing on stage without a shirt, the horror! The group remains a regional institution in the arts and is a great caretaker of their historic Arts and Crafts style building.
In 1832, William D. Meeker of Brookfield purchased a c.1780 gristmill on the banks of the Still River, which ran through the agricultural town. He immediately invested in it, rebuilding the structure upon the original foundations, but as a four-story building. Meeker must have hired engineers to create a system to transfer water power from the basement water wheel up four stories. The mill was later sold to a Gregory Knapp in town. Knapp died in 1868 and his properties (including the mill) went to his widow Angeline, who became a very wealthy, and eligible, bachelorette. She remarried not long after. Fast-forward to 1952, the grist mill was occupied by the Brookfield Craft Center, which is recognized as one of the finest professional schools for creative study in America, dedicated to teaching traditional and contemporary craft skills, and fostering the appreciation of fine craftsmanship. Gotta love adaptive reuse cases like this!
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.
Historically significant as the third home of the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Brookfield, Connecticut, this building is also architecturally important as an exceptional Gothic Revival place of worship. The second church of St. Paul’s burned on Valentine’s Day 1936, and the church soon after sought to rebuilt, but with fireproof construction. Members of the church were said to have gathered stones from stone walls nearby, as the town developed, with farmland making way for suburban housing. Bridgeport architect Frederick H. Beckwith furnished plans for the Gothic Revival edifice, which apparently took inspiration from a church in Dorset, England.
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.
The Southport Savings Bank obtained a charter from the Connecticut General Assembly in May 1854, and was organized on September 25 of that year. Original incorporators included Paschal Sheffield, Austin Perry, Wakeman B. Meeker, Charles Perry, Prancis D. Perry, E.D. Sherwood, John Meeker, Frederick Marquand, and Andrew Bulkley. A new building, located at the foot of Main Street, was constructed to be accessible to shipowners, shop keepers, the farmer patronage, and commercial traders. This bank building was occupied in 1865, eventually merging with Bridgeport People’s Savings Bank on July 1, 1955, becoming the Southport Branch of the People’s Savings Bank – Bridgeport. It ceased to be a bank in the 2010s and is now occupied by the Southport School.
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!