Hidden in Plain Sight
By David Wright
Walking around town, you’ll find a marker or two on a home indicating that the home is on the National, or State, Register of Historic Places. It seems a bit sad that these plaques afford little information beyond the designation of the home as “historic”. Further, there are many “historic” homes that have never been awarded this designation. As I wander our town, I’m constantly making mental notes of homes I should know more about.
Two of those homes are oddly situated on Huntington Road. When you pass 47 and 477 Huntington Road, it’s very easy to miss the position of these two homes. They both face south. In other words, the homes are not placed so they face Huntington Road, but, rather, they are situated perpendicularly to Huntington. You are viewing the side of the home rather than the face of the home when you pass these structures on Huntington.
Once you’ve seen the face of either of these homes, it’s impossible to “unsee” the home’s strange positioning. The house at 47 Huntington Road was built in 1743, and 477 Huntington Road was built in 1759. At the time these homes were built, all homes in Stratford were built facing south as that was considered the “right” thing to do. Why it was the right thing to do seems to be lost to history. However, at the time the homes were built, the Paradise Green area was all farm land. Both homes had unobscured views looking south towards Ferry Boulevard. Huntington Road was a dirt trail with precious little traffic on it.
47 Huntington Road 1930
47 Huntington Road today
Number 47 Huntington Road was built by Stephen Curtiss’ father, Abraham, in 1743. Abraham married Elizabeth Welles in 1724. Abraham died in 1747, leaving this home to his son, Stephen. Stephen died in 1806.
Cornelia and Celia Curtis lived at 47 Huntington Road until they moved to the David Judson home in 1892, in order to preserve the home for history. (They donated the David Judson home to the Stratford Historical Society in 1925.) The sisters sold 47 Huntington to William H. Beers. David Spooner lived in the home after William Beers, and Laura Kee purchased the home in 1955.
As the Revolutionary War began, the Huntington Road area was the designated detention area for British Loyalists. At the time the area was known as “Tory Hill.” Those living on Huntington Road would generally have been avoided and disdained due to their allegiance to England. That may be one of the reasons both Stephen Curtiss (47 Huntington) and Eli W. Lewis (477 Huntington) enlisted as soldiers in the Revolutionary War in 1775. Both of these men were also members of Christ Episcopal Church, which would have raised additional suspicion from Stratford Patriots. Both men, by enlisting for service, were, obviously, marked as Patriots. Their homes would have been safeguarded from town Patriots looking to punish town Loyalists (Tories).
Number 477 Huntington Road was built in 1759 by Eli Lewis. Eli Lewis was born in 1729 and died in 1818. He married Naome Walker in 1765.
477 Huntington Road in 1930
477 Huntington Road Today
There’s much to be learned walking our nearly 400 year old town. We invite you discover what else in town is “hidden in plain sight.”
- 47 Huntington Road c 1930. Photo from the Connecticut State Library.
- 477 Huntington Road c 1930. Photo from the Connecticut State Library.
- 47 Huntington Road, today, as seen from the side facing Huntington. Photo from Google Maps.
- 477 Huntington Road, today, as seen from the side facing Huntington. Photo from Google Maps.