Bradley Edge Tool Company Historic District

View of Gershom W. Bradley House at 115 Lyons Plain Road; Source- NRIS 95001347.
Historic/Common Name:
Bradley Edge Historic District
Town:
Weston »
Year of Establishment:
1980
Notes on Establishment:
Corrective notice issued in 1982
Historic Designation:
LHD, NRHD, SR
District Authority:
Historic District Commission
Nature of Authority:
Regulatory
District Character:
Rural neighborhood
Eligible for Historic Home tax credits:
Yes
General description:

The Bradley Edge Tool Company Historic District is located in the Saugatuck River Valley in the Town of Weston. A narrow linear residential district, it extends along both sides of Lyons Plains Road, which lies about 50 feet above the Saugatuck River that borders the district on the west. The residential appearance of the Bradley Edge Tool Company Historic District has changed very little over time. Existing outbuildings have been converted to residential use and a few new houses have been constructed but historic scale is maintained. Historic and modern setbacks are similar because of the terrain. Since the lots on the west side of the district slope steeply at the rear, houses here are sited on the level ground quite close to the road. On the east side, where the slope is more gradual, houses are set into the hillside and somewhat farther back from the road. Some of the historic properties are bordered with low fencing and/or stone walls but more recently, higher privacy fencing has been installed along the roadway, generally on the west side. The majority of houses date from the nineteenth century and were generally built within a relatively narrow time frame the antebellum period associated with industrial development here just before the Civil War. The Gershom W. Bradley House on the east side of the street (115 Lyons Plains Road) has been dated at 1832, but it may have been constructed earlier. The Bradley Edge Tool Company buildings burned down in 1911. According to the historic map of 1867 and several later historic photographs, the factory complex, consisting of at least four separate buildings, was then situated below the dam, bordered on the west by the river itself, and on the east by a long open stone-walled race. Evidence of this race, as well as stone building foundations, is still visible on the site. [NR]

Significance of the district:

Architecture, Social History:The Bradley Edge Tool Company Historic District encompasses a significant representative residential community that developed in association with rural industry in Weston's Saugatuck River Valley. Historically associated with the town's largest producer of metal products, the Bradley Edge Tool Company, it contains a high concentration of well-preserved mid-nineteenth-century residences, including a number of local examples of rural workers' housing. Of particular architectural significance are the well-preserved vernacular expressions of Greek Revival and Italianate domestic architecture associated with factory owners and farmers in the Bradley Edge Tool Company Historic District. The industrial district on Lyons Plains Road developed between 1834 and 1870. In 1834 Gershom W. Bradley (b.1804) established the business in an abandoned comb factory. (An earlier axe factory run by his father was located farther north on the river at Valley Forge.) Bradley either built his house across the road from the factory at that time or remodeled an existing structure (115 Lyons Plains Road). Following a disastrous flood in 1854, the factory was rebuilt by his son, Miles Bradley, who assumed control of the business and probably enlarged the dam. His imposing 1859 villa was built on a site overlooking the company (110 Lyons Plains Road). The Bradley Edge Tool Historic District is a significant architectural entity that still conveys its historic period and function. Despite the overlay of twentieth-century remodeling, the essential architectural integrity of this industrial village has been preserved. [NR]

District Boundary:

The district includes the following lots as described in the ordinance: 31, 32, 33, 66, 6, 7, 14, 8, 16, 9.

Features:

Buildings, Open spaces

Use:

Residential

Architectural Style:

Mid 19th Century/ Greek Revival/ Italianate Villa; 20th Century Revivals/ Colonial Revival

Era:
19th Century, 20th Century [Period of significance: c. 1820 - c. 1930]
Sources:

[1] District information retrieved from the town website http://www.westonct.gov/.
[2] Bradley Edge Tool Historic District, Report of the Historic District Study Committee, 1980, and Corrective Notice issued in 1982, SHPO Library, Hartford.
[3] Assessors information and Parcel IDs retrieved from the website www.visionappraisal.com.
[NR] Cunningham Jan, Bradley Edge Tool Company Historic District, National Register Nomination Number- 95001347 NRIS, National Park Service, 1995 - http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NRHP/Text/95001347.pdf; http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NRHP/Photos/95001347.pdf.

Notes:

The Bradley Edge Tool Company National Register Historic District generally encompasses and expands upon two existing local historic districts established in 1980. Although most of the historic properties are components of the local Bradley Edge Tool District, three historic architecturally compatible properties at the north end that comprise the local Lyons Plain District are also included. [NR]

Links:
Map:

Due to a series of legal battles, the boundary of the originally proposed historic district has been altered to its present form. The map of the historic district has been retrieved from the 'Corrective Notice' issued by the Weston Historic District Commission, 1982, SHPO Library.

View photo
Disclaimer:

The street addresses of the designated properties have been obtained by comparison of the historic district map attached with 1982 corrective notice and the National Register Nomination Form, NRIS 95001347. For further information on the district, the user is urged to contact the respective Historic District Commission.

Date of Compilation:
12/31/11
Compiler:
Manjusha Patnaik, CT Trust for Historic Preservation