On the Market / Fairfield colonial steeped in history
FAIRFIELD — The white, antique colonial house at 249 Beach Road is as old at the United States itself, having been built in 1766, just a decade before the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
Despite being centuries old, the current owners say they have no ghost stories or scary occurrences to share. To them, it is simply a home full of love and good memories; although it is a house full of history as well.
This is the Isaac Tucker House, one of the oldest structures standing in Fairfield, and it can be tied directly to Patriots’ fight for independence from Great Britain. On July 7-8, 1779, the Red Coats marched through Fairfield torching houses to punished the local Colonials for seeking that independence.
Three times they attempted to burn this house and three times they failed because, as legend has it, each time a servant — possibly a slave — descended from the third floor to extinguish the flames. The age of the house and the attempted burning was confirmed by an official from the Fairfield Museum and History Center.
This house is included in the museum’s walking tours, often hosted by Walter D. Matis, the museum’s program and volunteer coordinator. During a tour several years ago, Matis told the crowd almost a dozen locals were murdered and only six houses remained — five on Beach Road and one on Old Post Road when the smoke cleared after the British troops withdrew.
“Realizing that the house just didn’t seem to want to burn, the British used the house as a cook house, utilizing the large (walk-in wood-burning) fireplace with its oven in the dining room,” said Kate Gausepohl, one of the owners. During a recent walk-through, Gausepohl pointed out three scorch marks including in what is now the study and in the dining room.
The 3,534-square-foot house sits in the Beach neighborhood, equidistant from Penfield Beach and from downtown and the Metro-North train station.
It is only a half mile to these locations, meaning this home’s residents can enjoy car-free and carefree summers — walk to the beach and walk to town gazebo for concerts and dinner. Walk to the local elementary school, YMCA, Town Hall, and public library. Just step out the front door and cross the street to attend events held on the grounds in front of the old Town Hall.
Its owners can also sit in front of the house to watch the annual Memorial Day parade pass by or observe the lighting of the town’s Christmas tree.
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After enjoying a long walk in the neighborhood or swimming in Long Island Sound, the owners and their guests can freshen up in the outdoor shower rather than tracking beach sand into the main house or into the detached carriage house and its 2,293-square-foot two-bedroom apartment, which is a legal rental.
The yard also has a good-sized patio and a fire pit, where the family has hosted many a marshmallow toasting, “the best part of camping with all the comforts of home,” Gausepohl said.
Inside, the main house offers generous living space and a few features that Patriots would not have experienced, including ample storage space and heated toilet seats.
“I love the closet space, which is so rare for such an old house and I love the heated toilet seats. ... Every bathroom (the carriage house included) has heated toilet seats,” Gausepohl said.
ABOUT THIS HOUSE
TYPE: Antique Colonial
ADDRESS: 249 Beach Road
NUMBER OF ROOMS: 14
FEATURES: historic house, located in a historic district, carriage house, legal apartment, water community, not in a flood zone, easy walk to local beaches and South Benson Marina, walk to downtown Fairfield and train station, easy walk to the Fairfield Museum and History Center and Town Hall, blocks from Roger Sherman School, 0.79-acre level property, gated entrance, fenced yard, detached two-car garage, screened porch, outdoor shower, fire pit, five fireplaces in main house, one fireplace in apartment, shed, paving stone patio, natural gas heat, 50-gallon hot water heater tank, crushed seashell driveway with ample parking, attic, cedar closet, full unfinished basement, six bedrooms, five full and one half updated baths
SCHOOLS: Roger Sherman Elementary, Roger Ludlowe Middle, Fairfield Ludlowe High
TAX RATE: 26.36 mills
Many rooms feature wide-planked hardwood floors and five rooms feature fireplaces, some of them original to the house. The apartment also has a fireplace.
Although the formal dining room is not quite banquet size, it is large enough to accommodate many guests. The current owners have hosted 15 people at the table and more than 30 when additional tables are set up. The home is optimal for entertaining with its spacious rooms and easy flow.
“We have had many summer parties with more than 100 guests in the backyard,” Gausepohl said.
The gourmet kitchen and the updated baths offer the comfort and convenience of modern living, according to the listing agent. In the kitchen, the many features include a large two-tiered center island/breakfast bar, granite counters, and high-end appliances. It is open to the family room, where there are French doors to the patio and yard.
The carriage house apartment has its own patio. It also has a separate recreation or office space with 36-inch wide doors, a gas fireplace and loft. The apartment has handicap accessibility.
Back in the main house, there are four bedrooms on the second floor, two of them have a fireplace. The master suite features a walk-in closet and private bath.
For more information or to set up an appointment to see the house, contact Pam Toner of Houlihan Lawrence Real Estate at 917-319-1580 or PToner@HoulihanLawrence.com.