Connecticut Trust For Historic Preservation

Historic Properties Exchange

Shepard Carriage House, West Hartford

The Town of West Hartford and local preservationists are working to save this spacious carriage house, which must be moved as part of the plan for the town’s new public middle school. It was built to complement the Shepard House, which was designed by prestigious Hartford architect Edward T. Hapgood and built in 1900. The house was formerly the headquarters of the Kingswood-Oxford School and is being reused as an administration building for the new school. The carriage house was added in 1917 and was designed by Cortlandt F. Luce, a West Hartford resident, who designed 12 distinctive houses on West Hill Drive including his own. A structural engineer hired by the town has determined that the building can be moved. The town plans to demolish a porte cochere and the later additions that connect the carriage house to the main house. The carriage house will then become a freestanding building. The two-story carriage house has dimensions of 30 feet by 60 feet with 3,600 square feet of floor space. The building could be rehabilitated as a private home.The first floor of the carriage house contains a three-bay garage, as well as usable raw space, which could provide an area for a kitchen and bathroom. The second floor has dramatic Palladian windows on two sides with original leaded glass that illuminate an elegant ballroom. The ballroom has high ceilings, original woodwork, and a fireplace, along with built-in bookshelves. There are also a number of small rooms on the second floor.Moving costs are estimated at about $250,000 for a move to a nearby site. There are several empty lots on Prospect Avenue that could be potential locations. The building would have to be moved onto a new foundation. The town is planning to begin demolition of the old school buildings on the site in late winter or early spring and the carriage house would have to be moved at that time.Price: $1. Anyone with a serious interest in the building should contact Ron Van Winkle, Director Community Services Department, Town Of West Hartford, (860) 523-3284.  For historical information contact Mary Donohue, Chair, West Hartford Historic District Commission, (860) 523-5158.

Ernst House, Norwalk

This stately Neoclassical mansion was built in 1908 for George Ernst, an important collector of early American furniture. It is now owned by Norwalk Hospital. Located on Elmcrest Terrace overlooking South Norwalk and the harbor, the building is one of a row of three large houses built in the late nineteenth-century. Known locally as the “Three Sisters,” they are reminders of the grand architecture of a once wealthy and prestigious residential neighborhood. The other two buildings, which stand to the left of the Ernst House are excellent examples of the Queen Anne style and are now used as apartment and rooming houses. A parking lot for Norwalk Hospital is located to the right. The house is under imminent threat of demolition for more parking, but the hospital has allowed a short reprieve while preservationists seek a buyer for the house and lot. If the hospital can recoup its purchase costs by selling the house quickly, it will forgo using the site and will expand its parking capacity elsewhere.Constructed of brick on a granite base, the building was designed to provide a setting for Ernst’s extraordinary collection of early American furniture and decorative objects. The academic precision of the architectural details reflects his knowledge of history. An impressive two-story portico with four Doric columns lends grandeur to the facade. A second-story balcony rests above an elaborate front door, and dentils trim the pediment, which contains a semi-elliptical window. The main roof is tile, while slate is used on some of the additions. These were probably added by Ernst himself soon after the house was built and are in keeping with the original concept. The rearmost addition suggests a brick one-story kitchen ell of a type seen in the South. A freestanding low brick wall encloses a rectangular plot for a kitchen garden and remains as a landscape feature behind the house. Ernst was a pioneer in the appreciation of American decorative arts and amassed his collection before it became fashionable.The interior retains many interesting features including a mantel derived from the work of Christopher Wren and accurately referenced Federal style moldings. The building has been vacant for about a year. It was most recently used as doctors’ offices and could become an office complex again or a multi-family residence.  The building contains 6,000 square feet of floor space, which could be augmented by constructing an addition if needed. Price: $925,000. Contact: Norwalk Preservation Trust, 203-899-0480.

HPX Alert: 1740 Colonial, Westport

This beautiful c. 1740 Connecticut center chimney home is looking for new owners.  Original huge center chimney with two fireplaces, wide pine floorboards, dogleg staircase, and timber frame construction with exposed beams is waiting for you!  A beautiful house with original windows, woodwork, and many doors, and a fully finished second floor living space.  This house also includes two additional c. 1929 wings which bring the square footage to almost 2800 square feet of living space.This house must be relocated soon, so interested parties be ready to move quickly.  Preference will be given to State Historic Preservation Offices and museums; price negotiable for private use.  Dismantling, labeling, shipping, documenting, and reconstruction services available.For more information, please visit http://homelesshomes.com/westport.htm or contact Vikki Papesh at Homeless Homes / Historic Preservation LLC via email at historicpreservation@wideopenwest.com or phone at (586) 615-7733.December 2003 Update: This house will be vacated in mid to late March and will be demolished by the end of April if a relocation contract is not secured. This house has not been contemporized and retains so much historic material that it is definitely worthy of preservation.

Patrick Qualey House and Barns, Redding

This vernacular two-story house is linked to the history of Irish immigration. It was the home of Patrick and Kathryn Qualey, who sought a better life in Connecticut.  They built and tended a modest farmstead on seven acres and raised their family there. Members of the Qualey family occupied the house into the 1940s.  The adjacent Redding Country Club now owns the property and is offering to give away the house and two barns, if removed for restoration on another site. The buildings may be obtained and moved separately, however it would be desirable for them to retain their historical association with one another.The house is oriented with the gable end to the street. Brackets support a shallow pitched roof over the front door, which is centered on the facade. The house is of post and beam construction and has clapboard siding. The window sashes are one-over-one. Much of the original plaster remains on the interior walls, and the ceilings are seven feet high on both floors. The barns are also of post and beam construction.  The larger one has some roof damage.  The timeliness of proposals is important. The Country Club may contribute to moving costs for the right applicant. Contact: Michael Sautkulis, 203-938-2567.

Rollwood Carriage House, Guilford

This 26 by 50 foot outbuilding was constructed about 1920 as part of a picturesque gentleman’s farm called Rollwood. The name of the farm was a descriptive contraction of the name of the owner, Rollin Woodruff, a former governor of Connecticut. The main house, which was built in the style of an Adirondack hunting lodge, burned down a few years ago. The property is now owned by the Town of Guilford. The town is offering the building for $1.00 if removed from the site and reconstructed elsewhere. Terms of the sale would include leaving the site clean and obtaining an insurance certificate. Although unusual for the period, the carriage house is of post and beam construction. Shingles clad the exterior. According to an oral history account, it housed the former governor’s car at some point, which would indicate a typical evolution from carriage house to garage. The ground floor is divided into two sections, and one side was probably used as a horse stable for a period of time. Parts of the interior contain bead-board walls and ceilings. Built into a slope, the carriage house has a fieldstone foundation on the side facing the street. Cement was used elsewhere. An attached one-story shed no longer stands, but its outline and roofline can be seen on the east wall where vertical boards appear instead of shingles.If restored to its original appearance, the carriage house would be a handsome asset, but it needs extensive work. A hole in the south side is estimated at fifteen-feet across. The ridge beam is broken and would need to be replaced during reconstruction of the building. Most of the windows are damaged. Some parts of the building are overgrown with vines. If a buyer is not found by November 15, 2003, the town’s public works department will take down the building. Contact: Jim Portley, Town Engineer, 203-453-8037. Further historical information may be obtained from the Henry Whitfield State Museum, 203-453-2467.

HPX Update: Elias Bradley House, New Haven

With an excellent location for its future home, this two story Greek Revival House will be shepherded to a new location by Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven. The house was listed as an emergency alert on the Connecticut Trust web site in September of this year after publication of the last Exchange. At that time it was under immediate threat of demolition, because new development was planned for its site and adjacent property in the Westville section of New Haven. Site preparation was scheduled to begin right away. The owner agreed to allow the house to be moved to another property in order to save it from destruction.The move is planned for December 1. The Bradley House will then stand on a lot between two other historic houses in a very appropriate setting just below West Rock. At press time a contract is expected to be signed within the week. Neighborhood Housing Services will serve as the intermediate owner and has facilitated and organized the move. Elias Bradley built the house in 1835. It has pleasing proportions and a number of characteristic Greek Revival features. The gable end faces the street with a full triangular pediment. A one-story portico creates a focal point and shelters the entrance. Two fluted Doric columns rest on brick steps. The first- and second-story windows retain the original six-over-six sash, and a typical rectangular window appears in the pediment. Clapboard sheathes the exterior and the foundation is made of cut stone block. The building will retain its original use as a single family residence.

Shepard Carriage House, West Hartford

The Town of West Hartford and local preservationists are working to save this spacious carriage house, which must be moved as part of the plan for the town’s new public middle school. It was built to complement the Shepard House, which was designed by prestigious Hartford architect Edward T. Hapgood and built in 1900. The house was formerly the headquarters of the Kingswood-Oxford School and is being reused as an administration building for the new school. The carriage house was added in 1917 and was designed by Cortlandt F. Luce, a West Hartford resident, who designed 12 distinctive houses on West Hill Drive including his own. A structural engineer hired by the town has determined that the building can be moved. The town plans to demolish a porte cochere and the later additions that connect the carriage house to the main house. The carriage house will then become a freestanding building. The two-story carriage house has dimensions of 30 feet by 60 feet with 3,600 square feet of floor space. The building could be rehabilitated as a private home.The first floor of the carriage house contains a three-bay garage, as well as usable raw space, which could provide an area for a kitchen and bathroom. The second floor has dramatic Palladian windows on two sides with original leaded glass that illuminate an elegant ballroom. The ballroom has high ceilings, original woodwork, and a fireplace, along with built-in bookshelves. There are also a number of small rooms on the second floor.Moving costs are estimated at about $250,000 for a move to a nearby site. There are several empty lots on Prospect Avenue that could be potential locations. The building would have to be moved onto a new foundation. The town is planning to begin demolition of the old school buildings on the site in late winter or early spring and the carriage house would have to be moved at that time.Price: $1. Anyone with a serious interest in the building should contact Ron Van Winkle, Director Community Services Department, Town Of West Hartford, (860) 523-3284.  For historical information contact Mary Donohue, Chair, West Hartford Historic District Commission, (860) 523-5158.

HPX Alert: Elias Bradley House, New Haven

This two story Greek Revival House is under immediate threat of demolition.  New development is planned for the site in the Westville section of New Haven and site preparation will begin shortly.  The owner has agreed to allow the house to be moved to another property in order to save it from destruction, but the time frame is very tight.  The deadline is October 22, 2003.Elias Bradley was part owner of a nineteenth-century milling operation that was located nearby.  He built this house in 1835.  It has pleasing proportions and a number of characteristic Greek Revival features.  The gable end faces the street with a full triangular pediment.  A one-story portico creates a focal point and shelters the entrance.  Two fluted Doric columns rest on brick steps.  The first- and second-story windows retain the original six-over-six sash, while a typical rectangular window appears in the pediment.  Clapboard sheathes the exterior and the foundation is made of cut stone block.  Price: $1.00.Contact: Luda at Matthews Ventures 203-562-1000.