Connecticut Trust For Historic Preservation

Historic Properties Exchange

Hill House, Madison

This interesting nineteenth-century house has a Greek Revival door surround and a recessed front door.  The pyramidal roof (a variation on a hipped roof) is the only one found in Madison.  The house stands on a picturesque site behind a stone wall on a country road.  The exterior is sheathed in clapboard and the window sashes are six-over-six.  The floors and interior woodwork seem to be original.  The house has three bedrooms and two bathrooms.The building appears to be structurally sound, but needs complete rehabilitation and updating.  The scenic property includes pond, mature trees and plantings, and some meadow and woods.  The owner has not determined a price yet.  Lot size: 2.2 acres.  Contact: Warren Hartmann, 203-245-8111 (office) or 203-530-4077 (cell).

Henry Schieffer House, Cheshire

This center-chimney house is in danger of being torn down, because it sits on a desirable ten-acre parcel that has attracted the interest of developers.  Built in 1805, the house rests on a fieldstone foundation almost at grade.  It has a classic, symmetrical facade centered on a front door with side lights.  Unlike many historic houses, the exterior has not been overwhelmed in later foundation plantings.Inside the house retains four brick fireplaces and chestnut beams.  There are ten rooms with two full bathrooms.  The staircase to the attic still exists.  The owner would prefer to the see the house survive and the land remain undeveloped.  Price $1.7 million. Contact: 860-982-1215.

New Britain National Bank Building, New Britain

This seven story building with extraordinary interiors was completed in 1927 for the Commercial Trust Company.  Designed in the Romanesque Revival style with occasional Gothic flourishes, it is constructed of limestone and red brick.  A row of three tall, round-arched windows gives bold definition to the facade, while a wealth of ornamental detail enriches the surfaces on both the interior and exterior.  Known locally as the Anvil Bank, an anvil motif is incorporated into the intricate brickwork throughout.  Images related to the currency of the period, such as the Mercury dime and the Buffalo nickel, appear on the bronze doors.  Elegant brass quatrefoils enhance the entry.  An elaborate, pointed-arch window appears above.Inside the bank lobby a soaring 30-foot-high ceiling creates a magnificent space.  Marble adorns the floors and walls.  Bronze further embellishes the interior and is used in chandeliers, wall sconces, and the ornate elevator doors.The Commercial Trust Company, like many others, succembed to the hardships of the Depression.  It was bought out by the New Britain National Bank in the 1930s.  More recently, the property has been mostly vacant since Fleet Bank moved out in 1996.Deferred maintenance has resulted in a leaking roof and a flooded sub-basement.  The heat has been off for three years, and the elements are beginning to take an extreme toll.  Despite these setbacks, the building is entirely solid.  The repair work needed is extensive, but manageable.  It would involve installing new mechanical systems, a new roof, and abatement of hazardous materials.  A plan for egress from the upper floors would need to be worked out in order to comply with the building code.The former bank could be converted into restaurant space, nightclub or antiques marketplace.  The upper floors were historically used as offices, but could also become appealing upscale apartments or condominiums.  Downtown New Britain is experiencing many encouraging signs of economic revitalization and offers ample parking.  Size: 38, 500 total square feet; 32,000 square feet of office space.  Price: $450,000. Contact: Don Courtemanche, 860-229-0878.

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.

Kenyon Mill, Coventry

The Town of Coventry is seeking proposals for the adaptive use of the historic Kenyon Mill and four other interconnected buildings.  The long, two-and-a-half story building is located next to a mill pond in the South Coventry Historic District, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.  Built in 1859, the wood-frame building has a clapboard exterior and rests on a foundation of cut-granite blocks.  A vertical line of three loading doors forms a stricking feature directly below the hoisting timber located at the peak of the gable-end facade.C.H. Kenyon, a manufacturer of woolen pants, bought the mill in 1864 from another woolen maker.  Historical records show that in 1870 Kenyon’s mill was a mjor enterprise with more than 70 employees (40 men and 34 women) and extensive equipment, including two sets of carding machines, 52 looms, and 1,200 spindles.The town has invested $500,000 to stabilize the complex, including installing a new roof on the 1859 mill and repairing areas of water-damaged floors.  It has restored the north facade with cedar clapboard and twelve-over-twelve windows and paneled doors made of wood.  The bell tower seen in historical images is now missing, but its base has been repaired.  Some windows on the building are boarded up and others are covered with plexi-glass or plastic to secure the mill.  The town has conducted environmental remediation on all the soil that required off-site disposal.  Environmental and structural reports have been prepared, as well as drawings for documentation of the historic building.  All utilities will need to be replaced, as will access drives and parking surfaces.The Town of Coventry is looking for proposals that will preserve the unique characteristics of this piece of its nineteenth-century manufacturing history.  The new use must also be compatible with the primarily residential character of the surrounding neighborhood.  A pedestrian link with the village center is another priority.  Possible uses include professional offices for high-tech, research and design, or environmental firms.  The picturesque setting could make it a desirable location for a restaurant, conference center, or arts center.  A non-polluting, low-impact industrial use might also be considered.  Lot size: 10.1 acres. Usable square footage: 1859 mill - 14,140 sq. feet; all buildings combined - 32, 412 sq. feet.  Minimum offer: $65,000.  Deadline: 11 am, March 14, 2006. Contact: John Elsesser, Town Manager, 860-742-6324 or  For further information and maps see

Heritage House, Redding

Built around 1795, this two-story house is located to the west of Redding Green in the Redding Center Historic District, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Standing on a small rise, Heritage House faces another eighteenth-century dwelling across the street with protected rolling fields stretching to the horizon behind it. Heritage House abuts a historic cemetery on one side and the police station to the rear. A twenty-foot buffer separates the lot from municipal property and is protected with a conservation easement.

The house rests on a stone foundation and has a wood shingle exterior, painted white. A one-story, entry porch with a gable roof forms the focal point of the symmetrical facade. Thin columns support the arched entryway. The windows have six-over-six sashes with simple surrounds.

 Some alteration took place in the mid-nineteenth century. An Italianate-style bay window projects from the west side of the house, and a two-story addition with a flat roof stands to the rear. A historic barn with board and batten siding is located behind the house.

 Used for many years as a senior center, the Town of Redding is now offering Heritage House for sale in a sealed bid process. Bid packages are available from the First Selectman’s office. A structural engineer has conducted an analysis of the building, which was funded by a grant from the Connecticut Trust. His report is part of the bid package. The house must be used as a single-family residence. It is structurally sound, but needs updating and repairs recommended by the engineer.

The house is being sold with preservation easements, which will protect its historic integrity. The town will hold an open house for potential buyers on Friday, September 8, 2006. The engineer will be available to answer questions. Contact: Office of the First Selectman, 203-938-2002. Minimum bid: $430,000.

60 Crescent Street, Middletown

This masonry Victorian house, built around 1880, will face demolition unless it is moved to another location.  It must be relocated to allow expansion of the hospital.  It is currently used to house hospital programs.The building is in good condition.  The house needs to be moved on a tight deadline, and Middlesex Hospital is willing to contribute to the cost of relocation.  Contact:  Randy Cole at Stratton Brook Associates, 860-651-6751.

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.

St. John’s Rectory, Bridgeport

The large, stone rectory of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Bridgeport is in need of extensive repairs. The church has applied for a demolition permit, because it is unable to spend the money to do the necessary work and the building is not essential to its needs. However, the church would prefer to find a way to keep the building standing. As yet, the right solution has not emerged and the 90-day demolition delay for historic structures has expired. Finding an organization or individual that would agree to rehabilitate the building in return for a lease at a nominal fee would be the preferred solution, as long as the proposed use of the building is compatible with the church’s mission. Time is of the essence.

The rectory is part of an important religious complex, which is located in a key position just on the edge of Bridgeport’s downtown commercial core. Along with St. John’s Church and the other buildings in the complex, the rectory is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. James Renwick, Jr., architect of the renowned St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, designed St. John’s Church in the Gothic Revival style. Renwick was one of the country’s leading architects in the nineteenth-century. The church was completed in 1875.

In 1900 the widow of a former rector left the church a bequest to build a stone rectory in the same style as the church. Local architect Guy C. Hunt designed the substantial Gothic Revival building, which was finished in 1903. The two-and-a-half-story rectory is located on the northeast corner of the church property and oriented toward Park Avenue. A gabled pavilion projects from the front façade, and a crenellated parapet tops a stone porch. The interior was most recently used as offices. A large central hall is finished in Flemish quarter-sawn oak with a beamed ceiling. Fine detailing exists throughout.

Urgent repairs, including fixing the leaking roof, are estimated at $210,000. A second phase of necessary work is estimated at about $900,000. A third phase could bring the total project to $1.5 million depending on the amenities required. The church will consider a 99 year lease at $1 a year for the right applicant. Contact: St. John’s Episcopal Church, 203-335-2528.