On the market: Updated farmhouse has roots in Fairfield history
FAIRFIELD — The name Wakeman is a familiar one in the town of Fairfield. According to documents at the Fairfield Museum and History Center, the Wakeman family was “early land holders in Fairfield and later in Ohio. Members were involved in the military, ministry, shipping, storekeeping and farming.”
One of the family’s farmers, Alanson Wakeman, identified in those records as being from “Greenfield,” married a woman named Angeline, “of Fairfield,” on Aug. 23, 1841. Nine years later they built a colonial farmhouse at 3590 Congress St. in the Greenfield Hill section of town. Although Wakeman sold the house 15 years later it is still referred to as the Alanson Wakeman House, and a plaque at the rear entrance indicates the house is listed in the Historical and Architectural Survey of Fairfield, as of July 1985, per the Fairfield Historical Society and Connecticut Historical Commission.
The 3,573-square-foot antique farmhouse is on the market, and one of the current owners said she “feels like a caretaker, taking care of history, passing on the past to the future.”
It sits on a 1.6-acre largely level lot at the corner of Hillside Road only steps from the Greenfield Hill Grange Hall and Greenfield Farm, site of the annual Pumpkin Festival. Also close by, in opposite directions, is the Connecticut Audubon Society’s Larsen Sanctuary and Greenfield Hill Congregational Church, which hosts the annual Dogwood Festival.
Generally, houses of this era are thought to have smaller, compartmentalized rooms and low ceilings. This house has 9-foot-plus ceilings and larger rooms, an indication of wealth in the 19th Century. Each room on the first floor also has many decorative details, from leaded glass sidelights and transoms of the front door, which also has a brass fox head door knocker, to the ornate alabaster mantel of the elegant formal living room’s fireplace, to the stained- and leaded-glass panes on the door between the breakfast room and butler’s pantry.
Throughout the first floor there is attractive architectural ornamentation, including decorative finials, raised wood flourishes on the outer edge of each step to the second floor and ornate modillions.
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The white clapboard house with sage green shutters has a fieldstone foundation, cedar wood roof and cornices above each window. The house has been updated for today’s living — even the painting technique on the walls is forward-thinking. Some walls have a matte finish and others have a high gloss.
In the living room are two sets of almost floor-to-ceiling decorative leaded-glass doors to the side covered porch. Rumor has it the fireplace, which has a limestone tile firebox, came from a “castle in Connecticut.”
The large den, which has built-in bookshelves and functions as an office, also has a set of the same French doors to the same porch. It also has a custom-built desk area and the shelves are covered in authentic chicken wire. The back door has a decorative patterned frosted glass pane and the original doorbell. In the breakfast room, which is open to the kitchen, there is a fireplace with two tile inserts with painted designs.
On one wall of the formal dining room is a mural that depicts the house house and Greenfield Hill Congregational Church, although the artist clearly took creative license as the church appears closer to the house than it actually is and there are mountains in the background that don’t exist in Fairfield. The room also has a fireplace, which was originally fueled by coal, flanked by open china cabinets.
House of the Week
STYLE: Antique farmhouse
ADDRESS: 3590 Congress St.
FEATURES: corner lot, heated Gunite in-ground swimming pool, pool/guest house, 1.6-acre mostly level property, apple trees, proximity to the Connecticut Audubon Society’s Larsen Sanctuary, walking distance to Greenfield Hill Congregational Church and Greenfield Hill Grange, 9-foot-plus ceilings, four fireplaces, leaded-glass French doors, side and rear porches, front and rear staircases, formal flower garden, stone wall, zoned central air conditioning, zoned gas radiator heat, skylight, some window treatments, exterior lighting, shed, unfinished walk-out basement, four bedrooms, four full and one half baths
SCHOOLS: Dwight Elementary, Roger Ludlowe Middle, Fairfield Ludlowe High
MILL RATE: 24.79 mills
In the kitchen features include a center island, white Corian counters with beveled edges, glass-front cabinets, built-in wine rack and shelves for cookbooks, and a built-in desk area with wood counter. Appliances include the Dacor five-burner range.
On the second floor are three bedrooms. The master suite has reproduction toile wallpaper made to resemble that of the 19th Century. The fireplace was originally wood-burning, but has been converted to gas. A purist could restore it to its original state. The master bath is quite large, especially given the age of the house.
A hall bath has a limestone tile floor, double vanity, shower and laundry closet. The Jack-and-Jill bath between the other two bedrooms has a black and white marble basket weave-patterned floor. On the third floor there is a fourth bedroom and full bath with tumbled marble flooring.
The park-like grounds are as lovely as the home’s interior with a large open lawn and formal garden. The cottage, built in 2009, serves as a guest or pool house for the heated Gunite in-ground swimming pool. There is a studio above the detached two-car garage.
For more information or to set up an appointment to see the house, contact Mary-jo McAvey of Al Filippone Associates, an affiliate of William Raveis Real Estate at 203-767-6427 or email@example.com.