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04/21/14 11:23:12 AM
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GAFFNEY PLACE REINCARNATION
CONTINUES AT BREAKNECK SPEED!
April 20, 2014 - HILLSIDE HISTORIAN
reincarnation of Gaffney Place, the vision-child of Tom
Cruess and his NWNH group is a project on steriods.
Groundbreaking, to great city fanfare, was last July.
No, they will never compete with Ty Pennington, but once
the buildings had been striped of lead, asbestos and
what seems to be most of the interiors, the external
work commenced early this Spring and has been charging
ahead ever since. One Victorian era dwelling,
structurally unsound, has been demolished and the
foundation being removed now. The other two houses
have been relieved of their Asphalt Shingled coverings,
revealing the original squared and fish scale shingling.
A third floor has been added to the "middle building"
(shown above) and a flat dormer added to one building on
Central Avenue, also part of this project. So far,
the great curved entry staircase in the "middle
building" has been conserved and looks like it may be
retained. The first building, closest to Park
Place has, to date, retained its original exterior
integrity with no new constructions. A new home will be
built on the site of the demolished home.
This is a project of owner occupied two family homes in
the urban center of the city.
Neighborhood residents and the Historic District
Neighborhood Association have embraced the project,
though not all agree with the plan to create a street
with no raised sidewalks. Walks are planned to be flat
with the street yet a different color and a "bump out"
to add aesthetics and slow traffic both of which are a
concern to some as related to snow plowing and snow
removal. The street now boasts recently installed
concrete walkways. Utility poles are in the
process of being moved to accommodate the new
Park Place and Gaffney Place handle a lot of traffic
from the Museum, Girls Club and YMCA.
For a short time, until they build the new home, you can
get a good look at the old barn of saloon keeper James
Hodson which actually sits behind 38 Central Avenue,
originally Hodson's home. It is one of the barns
included in the Hillside Historic District Barn Tour of
a dozen barns of the neighborhood, most still standing,
though hidden in plain site.
MAGNIFICENT MANSION 4 SALE
54 HILLSIDE AVENUE
April 20, 2014 - HILLSIDE HISTORIAN
One of Hillside's many hidden treasures is up for grabs
for some lucky buyer who loves history and grandeur.
Built for Mary Mitchell just before 1880, the landed
estate originally consisted of the mansion dwelling and
a large carriage house at the North end of the property
tickling the street side of Buckingham Street.
(article immediately below on carriage house)
The carriage house was demolished some 60+ years ago and
the North lot divided off.
This elaborate and comfortable home features a private
drive, huge kitchen area with the original fireplace and
wainscoting, delicious views to the South overlooking
Waterbury and goes relatively unnoticed by the average
passerby as it is shrouded in expansive landscaping and
mature trees. The above picture was taken in winter when
Mother Nature was intentionally a bit naked.
This has always been a private home with very few
You can live like a King ... or Queen ... or both in
this one of a kind family home with its historical
ambience for an asking price of $200M.
RECREATED & REVISITED.
SHEP WILD AND THOMPSON
CURTIS CHECK OUT THE JUST UNVEILED PRINT OF THE MARY
MITCHELL CARRIAGE HOUSE AT THE HILLSIDE NEIGHBORHOOD
Sept 15, 2013 - HILLSIDE HISTORIAN
The unveiling of the 12th in a series of illustrations,
by Joseph Reynolds, of Carriage Houses within the
Hillside Historic District was a surprise event at the
neighborhood picnic last Sunday which was held at the
ancestral home of Shep Wild.
In the midst of an idyllic day of fine wine, great food
and old friends in the beautiful Rose Garden Patio of 70
Hillside Avenue, came a surprise revelation of a the
print of an elaborate carriage house which was once
situated on the property immediately next door at 54
Hillside Avenue, also owned by Shep Wild.
The Carriage House was originally built in 1879 by Mary
Mitchell, whose father, Charles Benedict, lived right
next door in the Benedict-Miller Mansion at 32 Hillside.
The building was demolished in the late 1930’s and
replaced by a Brick Colonial Revival, built on the
original foundation of the Carriage House and currently
occupied by Thompson and Heidi Curtis.
The entire realm of illustrations in the Carriage House
portfolio by Reynolds covers an area from West Main
Street up to Columbia Blvd, and consists of 18 prints to
date, several recreated from the ashes, so to speak,
being Carriage Houses no longer existing for one reason
or another but re-developed from old photographs of
former family owner members. Six of the newest works
were on display Sunday.
The print was revealed at the picnic due to its
immediate relevance to the picnic site and both Shep
Wild and Thompson Curtis were in attendance to receive
the print. Both gentlemen are whimsically included in
Another exhibit at the picnic was a series of
photographs from “Fortune’s” funeral last Thursday, an
undertaking in recognition of Hillside member Maxine
Watts. She was commended at the event for her work on
the “Fortune” project.
With the beautiful Rose Gardens in full bloom, the party
continued with Dogs and Burgers from the grill and a
huge selection of sides and deserts supplied by
participating neighbors. Heidi Thompson and Brenda
Cipriano were tied for the best dishes, so it seemed -
one desert one salad.
THERE'S A NEW STREET A'COMIN'
Artists sketch of Gaffney Place ... revisited by restoration.
Ground breaking for this event, which has been in the works by
NeighborWorks of New Haven for over a year is Tuesday, July 23, 2013 at
11:30am on site.
Tom Cruess, whose family is from Hillside, has been our contact for this
project over the past year and we wish him well.
MATTATUCK ... LOUD & PROUD
AS THEY GIVE OUTDOOR
PERFORMANCE OUTSIDE THE
July 9, 2013
At 6pm, the vibrations
of those oversized ancient drums could be heard in the distance, north
of the church, as the members of the Mattatuck Band assembled, marched
down Holmes Avenue and turned onto West Main before entering the church
yard of the Congregational Church on West Main Street in Downtown
After a short marching and assembly routine in the driveway area, they
achieved final formation, fifes up front and center - drums lined up
behind - and the base drum orphaned to the rear. The entry march and
music ended in thunderous unison. The hour and a half that followed was
filled with rousing patriotism, life long memories and those ever
tapping feet. Rev Maynard Tyson, sponsor of the concert and
cookout overlooked the assembled flock with pride and joy ... and a
little foot tappin' too.
SHOW FULL OF BIG
indeed an Experience ...
For those who
attended the Middle School (PAL) performance of the histories of
Hillside and Brooklyn sections of Waterbury, it was great fun and full
YOUNG MAN PLAYING
HIRAM HAYDEN, HILLSIDE INVENTOR ... AND YOUNG LADY PLAYING HIS DAUGHTER
FLORENTINE HAYDEN IN THE LATE 1800'S. (LIBRARY PARK PERFORMANCE)
June 30, 2013
As a new
project for Shakespearience, the telling of the neighborhoods
stories is a new venture with PAL and the kids from Reid School (for the
most part). The project is as much a lesson in community for the
kids and a history lesson for them as well. A little appreciation
for the City and its neighborhoods never hurts!
There were three performances of the first years play featuring the
first two neighborhoods Hillside and Brooklyn. Each year, the play
will be rewritten to add two new neighborhoods each year.
We have to say, the Driggs school presentation for Hillside residents
lacked a tad with bad acoustics, but the spirit and dedication of the
kids made it all worth while.
One area resident, Thompson Curtis, received a standing ovation (well
almost) for his unrehearsed reading and rendition of a strike leader
from Brooklyn. The irony of Thompson's performance is that his
ancestors were factory owners, not laborers. They were at that
time on the other side of the strikes.
The performance suffered everywhere from absenteeism of kids who had
done all the rehearsals then were no-shows for the weekend performances.
30+ kids rehearsed ... 7 showed up for Driggs and only 4 for the
performance in Library Park on June 30th.
What this writer was most impressed with was the show adjustments made
with the kids who did show up before every show. Rebecca (from
Shakespearience) had intense rehearsals with the kids before each show,
rearranging parts and covering for the missing cast members. We
give Kudos to Rebecca, but give super kudos to these kiddos who handled
the extensive changes with such ease and success. That is real
The Library Park performance at noon was a masterpiece. Neighbors,
you need to get off your butts and support these endeavors.
The Hillside portion of the play centered on the Kingsburys who built a
grand home halfway up Prospect street in the middle of the 1800's and
were thought to be a little eccentric for building so far out of town.
Imagine that! Right across the street Rose Hill was built by their
daughter and son-in-law Mr. Scovill.
The other featured historical person of the play was Hiram Hayden and
the park which is located today on the site of his former
Mr. Hayden was an inventor and entrepreneur who invented process of
spinning brass and making seamless pails, breech loaded rifles, and
amongst other things was a leader in photographic development, creating
direct paper prints in the late 1800's.
One of the scenes in the play (shown above) is between Hiram Hayden and
his daughter Florentine (an artist) regarding those paper prints.
The kids did their own backgrounds, costumes and program booklet.
On stage are also seen brass pots and teapot which are Hayden originals
from 1851 and loaned by a Hillside member for the production.
GO TO RESIDENTS NEWS PAGE
NOT FOR ALL HILLSIDE
Jim Sequin, City
Planner for Waterbury, discussed at length the pro's and con's of
establishing a Village District as a zoning overlay within the City of
Waterbury limits. Neighborhood said Thanks, but No Thanks for most
of the Hillside Historic District.
Complete story below.
CLICK HERE FOR VD
BACK TO LIFE
145 Buckingham Street in the midst of
renovations by ProMaster Painters.
Hillside artist's rendering of a restored
15-17 Hillside Avenue duplex listen on the National register of Historic
Places. Property recently purchased in foreclosure for $25,000 by Tasha
& Justin Brown of Bridgeport.
53 Hillside Avenue (left) and 49 Hillside
Avenue (right) in completed states. Paul Devino's crews of Wolcott
painted 53 and a company from Milford restored 49.
OF VICTORIAN ERA ELEGANCE
173 HILLSIDE RESTORATION AN
INSPIRATION TO ALL
Conrad Tarte has slowly been bringing two of Hillside's beautiful
Victorian Ladies back to life, and this summer his residence at 173
Hillside Avenue. Five or Six colours are not uncommon for
Victorian Era homes, and certainly highlight the intricate detail of
On a neutral canvas, Conrad has elected the strength of these dusty,
earthy colours as architectural highlights.
Be sure to drive by and check progress of this masterpiece throughout
PHOTO PAGE OF RESTORATION PROGRESS