FAIRFIELD — The red brick colonial contemporary house at 53 Toilsome Hill Lane has a natural gas heating system. That should come as no surprise as many people today are converting to natural gas and more people are concerned about the environmental footprint they are leaving on the earth and conservation of natural resources. But that system would be especially pleasing to the late George S. Hawley, for whom this house was built in 1938.
A year later Hawley was urging people to consume less gas. From 1928 to 1954 Hawley served as president of the Bridgeport Gas Light Company - which later became the Bridgeport Gas Company and later still the Southern Connecticut Gas Company. According to a historic document issued by the gas company and found on the www.scipophily.net website, Hawley asked its customers in 1939 “to use less gas…to help those who are fighting this gigantic and terrible war (World War II) on all fronts. They must have guns and ammunition, airplanes and parachutes, all of which are made right here by our Bridgeport workers. In order to manufacture them, they must have gas in great quantities for fuel. The government has declared gas to be a vital war necessity. Without it war industries would be paralyzed.”
Hawley built his eight-room, 3,300-square-foot house on a mini-estate of 2.29 acres at the end of a cul-de-sac in the Stratfield neighborhood. Hawley’s widow, Edith G. Hawley, died in June 1960, and she bequeathed the house to the First Methodist Church in Bridgeport. “The will specified that the house is to be used as a parsonage for the church’s ministers. In the event, however, that the house is not so used, the dwelling must be sold,” said a June 17, 1960 article in the Bridgeport Post, now the Connecticut Post.
This house has only had one other owner. Now that owner, “after 56 years of glorious memories is ready to sell this secret little patch of paradise,” the listing agent said.
This patch of paradise is found down a long crushed stone and paved driveway marked by stone pillars. A slate path leads to the covered front entrance featuring decorative wrought iron columns painted white. The front door is flanked by ribbed or reeded privacy glass sidelights. In the foyer, there is glass flooring that is illuminated from underneath. Step down into the main living level where the walls of the living and dining rooms are plaster. The living room has a marble fireplace, and both rooms feature several picture windows from which to enjoy views of the wooded property and a water feature. Horse Tavern Brook cuts through the back of the sloping backyard.
“It’s a lovely setting,” one woman said during a recent public open house.
Throughout the first floor the hardwood floors are pickled or cerused, a modern bleaching technique that lightens the wood and gives it a modern look. Despite the era in which this house was built it also has a modern flow from room to room. The living room is open to the dining room and the kitchen is open to the den, which the current owners use as a family room. What was intended as the family room is used by the owners as a banquet-sized dining room. In other words, this house is suited to the modern day family because its rooms have flexible use. The dining room has a door to a small stone patio.
In the kitchen there is a butler’s pantry, marble counters, a good-sized center island with a breakfast bar for five, and double ovens. Off the kitchen there is a tumbled marble full bath. The den has a white washed brick wall with a fireplace.
In the family room/dining room there is also a white washed brick wall, a wood stove, a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows and two sets of sliding doors to the large deck. Another door on the opposite wall leads to the front yard near the attached two-car garage.
On the second floor, there are three bedrooms, all with wall-to-wall carpeting. The master suite has a recessed area with shelving and its own full bath. There is also a large walk-in linen closet in the hallway. One of the bedrooms has decorative interior shutters.
For more information or to set up an appointment to see the house contact Kelly Higgins of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage at 203-650-3483 or Kelly.Higgins@coldwellbankermoves.com.