David Hotchkiss House

Southside of David Hotchkiss House, view northeast; Source - NRIS 81000617
Historic/Common Name:
None
Address:
61 Waterbury Rd
Town:
Prospect »
Year:
1820
Historic Designation:
LHP, NR, SR
Property Authority:
Historic Properties Commission
Nature of Authority:
Regulatory
Eligible for Historic Home tax credits:
Yes
General description:

The David Hotchkiss House was built in 1820 and is of post-and-beam construction, two and one half stories high. It presently has a two and one half story wing the width of which is equal to the entire length of the front part. The wing extends back with its ridgeline set at right angles to, and slightly below, the roof of the main part. An old one-story shed built of both hewn and sawn members is attached to the back of the wing, and a modern garage extends from its western corner. The house has a symmetrical five-bay facade, with a central entrance lighted by both sidelights and a transom, the latter glazed in a geometric pattern. Paneled pilasters between the doorway and the sidelights and flanking the entire entrance, four in all, support a paneled frieze, above which is a band of receding and a projecting cornice with breaks above the sidelights. The reed motif is repeated in the main cornice, where receded strips separate the panels in the frieze; the cornice has partial returns across the gable ends. The exterior of the house is covered with clapboards painted white (some original), and the whole fabric, both structural and exterior, appears in very good condition. The house rests on a foundation of fieldstone blocks, with rubble masonry below grade. The original large central chimney was removed in the 1870s and a smaller one now takes its place. The original nine-over-six sash were replaced in the 1870s, as was the front door. The door, however, was re-used in the ell: it is of the flush-panel type with old strap hinges and Suffolk-style latch. The plan of the house is unusual but found in other houses nearby. The center back room, the original kitchen, extends about eight feet into the back wing. The extent of excavation in the cellar suggests that this arrangement was original to the house, giving it a T-shaped plan. The original back room, probably a story or story and a half high, is now entirely encased in more modern additions, including an enclosed veranda to the southeast, the extension of the northwest wall flush with the wall of the main house, and the addition of a second story over the entire width of the ell. In 1878, a small rectangular bay was added to the southeast side of the main house. [NR]

Significance of the property:

Architecture: The Hotchkiss House, standing in a still rural landscape among meadows and woodland, is a fine example of the better class of farmhouse, at least in this country area, of the early 19th century (Criterion C). Before World War II it was one of many such houses on working farms in this part of New Haven County. Now, as the landscape has changed so radically and so fast, it is a rare survivor, and therefore has become of the greatest significance to the citizens of Prospect. Its importance is heightened by its association with a family which played a large role in the early history of the town (Criterion A). In style it is country-Federal; its entranceway and embellished cornice are representative of the work of rural builders of the period. With the exception of the removal of the central stack, the house is substantially intact. [NR]

Relationship with the Surroundings:

The David Hotchkiss House faces northeast on Waterbury Road, Route 69, about three quarters of a mile northwest of the center of Prospect. It is now set back about five yards from the two-lane highway, which has been widened over the yearsat the expense of the front yard. In addition to the house, the property includes a small twentieth-century shed to the rear of the house and a small barn, built about 1900, which was formerly attached to a larger, older barn. All that canbe seen of the latter is the rubble-stone foundation and one or two hewn timbers lying nearby. There are nearly two acres which, along with the house and other buildings, are under a long-term lease to the Prospect Historical Society. Although there are another 40 acres associated with the house, the owner, the Town of Prospect, has reserved these for possible future development and is already using part of the field for recreational purposes. The designated property includes only the two acres immediately around the house leased to the historical society. This is sufficient to include the barn and some of the field and represents the acreage that is under lease to the Prospect Historical Society for use as a museum. [NR]

Features:
Buildings, Open spaces, Others- stone foundation
Historic Use:
Residential
Present Use:
Museum
Architectural Style:
Country- Federal farmhouse
Era:
19th Century
Ownership:
Private
Owner:
Prospect Historical Society
Sources:

[1] Historic property information retrieved from the town website http://www.prospectct.com/.
[NR] Richardson Herbert and Clouette Bruce, David Hotchkiss House, Prospect, National Register Nomination Number- 81000617 NRIS, National Park Service, 1981. http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NRHP/Text/81000617.pdf; http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NRHP/photos/81000617.pdf.

Map:

Floor plan of David Hotchkiss House; Source - NRIS 81000617

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