Connecticut Trust For Historic Preservation

Historic Properties Exchange

HPX -September/October 2009-Osborn House, 909 King’s Highway West, Southport

Individually listed on the National Register ofHistoric Places, the Captain John Osborn House sits among other historic houseson rural King's Highway West, a section of the road between New York and Bostonthat was used for monthly mail service as early as 1672.  The originalcore of the house, dating from the late 1680s, is two-over-two rooms, witha central chimney on the ground floor.  Built in compatible style, twonewer wings with a modern kitchen and bedrooms, date from the 1950s. Historic homes like this are always in danger of demolition due to the desirabilityof the lot, especially in FairfieldCounty.

Contact:  HopeR. Kern, GRI (203) 259-5048 atMunson Real Estate or

Thomas Hawley House, Monroe

The “little red saltbox on Purdy Hill Road” is set on 1.3 acres and was built c1755 as the centerpiece of a large working farm. It boasts an efficient kitchen, 2 cooking fireplaces, two or three bedrooms, original paneling, cedar closets, and a separate barn and workshop, plus a large two car garage. Even though the site is presently zoned for residential use only, the fear is that if the building falls into the wrong hands, a future zoning change could threaten the house.

Contact: Tom Nissley, Prudential Realty, 203-322-1400

Listed: $649,000.00

Roxbury Station, Roxbury

This 3.93 acre complex located at 6 Mine Hill Road has four buildings on it, including: a circa 1830 Railroad Depot, a circa 1830 Tobacco Processing Barn, a large wood shed (24 x 100), a a three bay Garage.

The site is bordered by the Roxbury Land Trust and the Shepaug River, including a waterfall (which is a part of the property).  The station has been closed since 1948. 

This is a great opportunity to incorporate a historically significant site with a viable commercial venture.

Contact: Bonnie Bevans 860-927-1819 office,  Listed at $1,500,000. 



HPX -  January/February 2009 - Masonic Hall, 245 Main Street, Wethersfield

Located on the corner of Church and Mainstreets in Old Wethersfield, this former Masonic hall from the 1920s offers agreat opportunity for re-use. Although the interior is gutted and ready for building,the exterior is in very good condition and retains the many of the originaldetails that represented freemasons and defined Masonic halls.

Contact: SharonCarducci, William Raveis Real Estate, 860-563-2881 or

HPX: November/December 2006, Seth Wetmore House, Middletown

This elegant and imposing mansion was built in 1746 on a hillside site with views to Middletown and the Connecticut River. Wetmore was a successful merchant, judge and landowner, and his house boasts decorative details found in the homes of many of the Connecticut Valley elite known as the “River Gods.” On the outside, an impressive scroll-pedimented doorway dominates the facade. Indoors, the painted parlor, one of the great treasures of American decorative art, was removed to the Wadsworth Atheneum in 1988 and replaced with a replica, but other historic interiors remain, boasting wide-planked floors, fine paneling, an ornate stair and 8 fireplaces. The house is individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places, making it potentially eligible for federal rehabilitation tax credits.

The Wetmore house offers over 7,000 square feet, with 10 bedrooms, 3 full baths and 2 kitchens. Its generous size and proximity to Wesleyan University, make a bed-and-breakfast a possible reuse option. Though livable, the house needs extensive repairs, and the Connecticut Trust listed it in 2003 as one of the Most Important Threatened Historic Places in Connecticut.

With its exceptional architectural quality, the Wetmore house has the potential to be one of Connecticut's historic showplaces.

Contact: Betsy Purtell 203-640-4440 or

Listed: $335,900

HPX: November/December 2006, English Bank Barn, Farmington

This c1780 English bank barn located at 37 Mountain Spring Road needs a new home. It has 11 inch posts with scribe rule marriage marks. The barn is in very good condition. An attached barn is dated c1820. The c1820 barn is probably past rehabilitation, but can be used for parts, particularly the clapboard. The owner suggests an $8,000.00 landscaping fee after the potential buyer demonstrates the ability to remove the structure from the site and reconstruct it on their own lot.

Contact: Chris Raferty at 973-214-1506 or

Listed: $1.00 plus landscaping fee


The Music Box, Morris

Built in the 1920s as a dance hall overlooking Bantam Lake, this large structure has stood emply and unused since 1989. At present, the waterfront property contains a marina, which is a going concern. However, the marina does not make use of the Jazz Age building, which was known historically as the Music Box. In its heyday in the 1930s and 40s, the Music box was a fashionable night spot where legendary performers of the big-band era appeared, such as Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey and their orchestra.

In the 1950s the large dance floor was converted to a roller-skating rink. Patrons could arrive by boat and tie up at the marina, while they went inside to roller skate, a popular activity at the time.

A new owner took the building back to its dance hall roots in 1961. This time around, patrons danced to the beat of rock and roll. The building was renamed Beverly’s in the 1970s and became a major venue for rock bands in the Northeast. Beverly’s included a restaurant and bar, as well as live music, until it closed in 1989.

The two-story building is in good condition. The exterior is covered in wood vertical-board siding, painted barn red. A spacious deck at the second floor level overlooks the lake and is supported by stury posts. The property aslo has parking for almost 400 cars and a marina with 112 boat slips plus two apartments. The former dance hall seems perfectly suited to becoming a restuarant with scenic water views.

 Lot Size: 2.82 acres.

Contact McNamara Real Estate, 860-567-8255.

 Price: $3.8 million.

Book Barns, Bethany

The owners of this unique book business, with roots that reach back through four generations of booksellers, are retiring and offering the bucolic land, its barns, and the enterprise for sale. The property contains three acres of open meadows and three barns. Two are long and low turkey barns and the third is a two-story sheep barn. There is no house on the property. In an unusual adaptive use, these farm buildings have housed a vast collection of books of all types-from popular fiction to rare editions-for more than half a century. The second floor of the sheep barn also houses an impressive collection of antique maps and prints.

The business is grandfathered into a residential zone. It is hoped that someone will buy the book business on site and continue to make the property a beautiful and rewarding destination for book lovers. The business is also offered for sale without the property. If it were sold and relocated elsewhere, the fate of the barns would be uncertain.

The barns are equipped with heat and electricity. The main turkey barn also has a well and septic system.

Price: $550,000 for the property, book business, and inventory.

 Contact: Carol Cangiano, William Orange Realty, 203-397-7900.

HPX - May/June 2009 - Comstock Ferre Complex, 243-263 Main Street, Wethersfield

Comstock Ferre is possibly the oldest continuously operatingseed company in the nation. In addition to its main building, fronting on Wethersfield's Main Street, theproperty includes a large barn, the oldest section of which was probably builtsometime between the 1840s and the 1880s. The property is located in theWethersfield National Register district and the Wethersfield local historic district. Thebarns on the property recently faced demolition, but the local historicdistrict commission changed their initial ruling to deny the razing and savethe barns.

Contact: JamesNeckermann @ 860-883-6312 or