Connecticut Trust For Historic Preservation

Historic Properties Exchange

Daniel Chapman House, Redding

This eighteenth-century house of a Revolutionary War patriot needs to be moved or it will face demolition. Daniel Chapman, a soldier in the American Revolution, built the house in 1773, the year he got married. Four years later, British troops under the command of General Tryon captured him as they marched through Redding during the 1777 Raid on Danbury. He died in prison in New York City in the Sugar House, where many patriots lost their lives to disease and exposure to cold. Chapman left a young widow and an infant son behind in this house in Redding.

Chapman was from a family of early settlers of Connecticut in the seventeenth century. He had the same name as his grandfather, who was the founding minister of the Congregational Church in the Greens Farms section of what is now Westport.

The one-and-a-half story house is of post and beam construction with a hand-hewn timber frame. It has a fieldstone foundation and a center chimney of brick. Painted wood shingles sheath the exterior. The original windows have been replaced.

The present owner of the house may make a contribution to moving costs. Contact: Raymond D’Angelo, chairman Redding Preservation Society, 203-938-0240.

Historic Prison Cells, Coventry/Wethersfield

Now in the custody of the Coventry Police Department, these two cells survive from the Wethersfield state prison. The facility opened in 1827 when 81 prisoners were transferred from Newgate Prison, which still exists as a state-owned museum. The Wethersfield prison closed in 1963 and was demolished two years later. A concerned citizen arranged for the cells to be rescued. The date 1827 appears above the cell door, which may denote the date of construction. However, at least one local historian contends that the cells are made of steel, which did not exist in 1827. They may have been installed when the prison was upgraded around the turn of the twentieth century. In any event, they are more than 100 years old.

As would be expected in a jail cell, the dimensions are cramped (eight feet by five-and-a-half feet). A thick sheet of metal pierced with rows of eight point stars form the stationary part of the front wall. A sliding door made of bars allows entry. The cells are outfitted with iron bunks hanging from chains. Historically, they would have contained folding cots.

Amy Archer-Gilligan served time in one such cell in Wethersfield. She was convicted of one murder, but was widely believed to have poisoned several residents of her Windsor old-age home with arsenic. Her story, reportedly, inspired Joseph Kesselring’s well-known play "Arsenic and Old Lace." The Coventry Police are scheduled to move to a new police station. Chief of Police Beau Thurnauer would like to see the prison cells preserved in a location where their historical value could be showcased. Whoever takes the cells would be responsible for their removal and transportation. Contact: Chief Beau Thurnauer, Coventry Police Department, or 860-742-7331.

HPX July/Aug 2010 - 200 Litchfield Street, Torrington

200 Litchfield Street, Torrington 

Circa 1900 mill style buildings are situated on approximately 3.20 acres in a central downtown Torrington location. The property consists of three facilities with nearly 79,000 interior SF available.  Features include steel and masonry construction with soaring ceiling heights, drive-in doors & loading docks.  Property is zoned general business and is part of the newly formed “Enterprise Zone”. Offered for $1,300,000.

Contact: Sullivan Real Estate, 860-738-1902,

HPX July/Aug 2010 - 30 Lawton Road, Canton

30 Lawton Road, Canton  

Jane’s favorite! Situated on 2.1 acres just off Rt. 44, this landmark 1786 stone house contains many original details throughout.  Wide chestnut flooring, eight fireplaces, wainscoting, five bedrooms, third floor ballroom, greenhouse, stonewalls, five car garage, and more. A real beauty!  To view photos online, search MLS#G535276.  Offered for $599,900.

 Contact: Pia Ciccone, 860-675-0646 (Home Office) or 860-573-4026 (Mobile

Roxbury Station, Roxbury

Commercial zoning and high property values are endangering a group of historic buildings on the scenic Shepaug River in the rural Town of Roxbury. As the only commercially-zoned area in the community, the complex known as Roxbury Station has attracted the interest of developers who want to tear down the buildings. However, reuse of the structures would result in an appealing retail complex taht would fit into the picturesque surroundings along Route 67, a state-designated Scenic Road.

Roxbury Station was a stop on the Shepaug Railroad, which was completed in 1872. The line ran from the Hawleyville section of Newtown to Litchfield. In the book Country Depots in the Connecticut Hills, Robert F. Lord and his co-authors say, "The Shepaug Railroad made a host of friends and very little money as it wound its way through the beautiful Litchfield hills." After struggling to maintain its autonomy through two foreclosures and reorganizations, the railroad became part of the New York, New Haven & Hartford system in 1898. It then ran for 50 more years. Although the Shepaug Railroad wrestled with its own finances in the nineteenth century, it was a boon to a number of industries in Roxbury including quarrying, dairy, and beef.

Today, the depot appears to be in good condition and retains quite a bit of authenticity. It has lost its platform, but retains original six-over-six windows, as well as loading doors. It has vertical-board siding. One end of the building was used for freight and the other for passenger service. Where the present monochrome beige color scheme has chipped slightly, the building shows evidence of red paint with white trim from its days as a working railroad stations.

Behind the depot, built into a rise in the land, stands a large nineteenth-century warehouse. It has vertical board siding on the front and clapboard on the side. An elevated porch with a second floor entry, which appears in historic photos, is located at the northeast end of the front facade. The building has two main floors and an attic. Tracks used to run between this building and the depot.

Across a small road that runs perpendicular to Route 67 (Mine Hill), there is a nineteenth-century general store, now adapted as a residence, which is also for sale as part of the complex. This building predates the railroad. In addition, the three-and-a-half acre parcel includes a large, long lumber shed and a barn. The Shepaug River borders the property and flows over a low dam, creating a scenic waterfall.

The listing agent, Bonnie Bevans, has a love for her childhood hometown of Roxbury and hopes to find a buyer who will preserve the buildings. She is also willing to organize a consortium of interested people to buy the property and adapt the buildings for appropriate commercial uses. She would contribut $10,000 of her own money to the effort, if others would join her.

Price: $2,200,000. Contact: Bonnie Bevans, William Raveis International, 860-488-3624.

HPX -  March/April 2009- Jonathan Wilcox House, 370 Boston Post Road, Madison

This 1770 Saltbox sits directly on the 14th fairway of theMadison Country Club. The building has been vacant for more than four years andhas a leaky roof. The house has recently been put on the market and the fear isthe cost of renovations will outweigh the character of the building in favor ofa demolition.


Contact: ToddGould, William Pitt Sotheby's International Realty, 203.738.0237 or

HPX: January/February 2007, 18 Old Farm Road, Darien

This 18th century farmhouse in Tokeneke (Darien) on 1.76 acres of prime land. It is one of the original four homes built in Tokeneke. The property is bordered by stone walls. The interior boasts exposed beams and original wide plank floors. It has an exquisite new master bath and a playroom above the garage/barn.

Contact: Leslie Caruso at

Listed: $2,175,000

HPX - September/October 2008 - 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 or Mike DeLorenzo, GRI, CRS (203) 218-2719 atMunson Real Estate or