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.