Connecticut Trust For Historic Preservation

Shepard Carriage House, West Hartford

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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.