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Compiled by 




Bridgeporf, Connecticut 

Organized 1927 
for the purpose of 
promofing the Black 
Rock Section 




Copyright 1955 


Antoniak Printing Service, Inc. 

Bridgeport, Connecticut 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced 
in any form without the written permission of the copyright 
owners, except for brief passages included in a review appear- 
ing in a newspaper or magazine. 

The Black Rock Civic and Business Men's Club, Inc., 
as sponsors of this publication, "History of Black 
Rock", dedicate this book to the people in Black Rock 
who through pride in their community have over the 
years given freely of their time and effort in its behalf. 



fj n i> r ^ 

Miss Virginia Hall 

Dr. and Mrs. Henry Blank 

McCormack & Barry 

Mr. and Mrs. Harry Streck 

Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Banyas 

Mr. and Mrs. Richard F. Moore 

Mr. and Mrs. Zoltan Sabo 

Mr. and Mrs. Charles Clauberg 

Mr. and Mrs. Barnabas Toth 

Mr. Charles W. Church 

Mr. Ivor Johnson 

Investors Mortgage Company 

Mr. and Mrs. James E. Gale 

Dr. and Mrs. Harry Resnik 

Mr. and Mrs. Paul G. Belles 

Mr. and Mrs. George F. Antoniok 

Mr. and Mrs. Edgar Freese 

Mr. and Mrs. Harold C. Main 

Mr. and Mrs. John Dobey 

Mr. and Mrs. Vincent W. Clabby 

Mr. and Mrs. Frank J. Clark 

Mr. and Mrs. G. Webster Miller 

Mr. and Mrs. Gabriel Biro 

Supt. and Mrs. John A. Lyddy 

Mr. and Mrs. Fred R. Carstensen 

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas S. Ellsworth 

Mr. and Mrs. Geza M. Horvath, Jr. 

Mr. and Mrs. 

Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Jenner 
Mr. and Mrs. Louis Kaye 
Mr. and Mrs. Robert H. Walker 
Mr. and Mrs. Roy E. Watkins 
Mr. and Mrs. Edgar F. Webster 
Mr. Thomas Mortell 
Mr. and Mrs. Joseph R. Pekar 
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas E. Lattin 
Mr. and Mrs. Stephen P. Bodie 
Mr. and Mrs. John Lesko 
Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Hrivnock 
Dr. and Mrs. Jerome L. Antell and Son 
Mr. and Mrs. John Creel 
Mr. and Mrs. Clement F. DeSanti 
Mr. and Mrs. Gustave R. Erhardt 
Mr. and Mrs. Alexander J. Fekete 
Dr. and Mrs. Samuel Turetsky 
Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Kelly 
Mr. and Mrs. Charles S. Brody 
Mr. Robert H. Staines 
Mr. and Mrs. Hawley Meunier 
Judge and Mrs. John P. Flanagan 
Mr. and Mrs. Gunnard F. Wellner 
Mr. and Mrs. Steve Homo 
Mr. and Mrs. Louis T. Dobey 
Mrs. Mary Journey 
Mr. and Mrs. Sidney F. Brown 
Arthur March 




Bartram, Thomas 81-88 

Black Rock Belles 90-91 

Black Rock Civic and Business Men's Club, Inc 141-155 

Congregational Church, Black Rock 113-116 

Fairfield, Burning of 12 

Fancher, Charles H 92-96 

Fayerweather Lighthouse 43-49 

Fort, Old 10 

George Hotel 27-42 

Gil man, George 54-60 

Harbor, Black Rock 9, 13, 14 

Indians, Connecticut 1-6 

Indians, Unco way 2 

Library, Black Rock 121 

Moore, Kate 45-49 

Penfield Mill 8 

Records, Custom 14, 16, 17 

St. Ann's Church 118-120 

St. Mark's Lutheran Church 117 

St. Mary's By-the-Sea 97-98 

Schools, Black Rock 50-53 

Stillman, Capture of General 11 

Street Names, Origin of 71-72 

Train Wreck, Great Federal Express 104-111 

War of 1812 13 

Wells, George 29-41 

Wharves and Shipping 18, 20, 21, 23 

Wheeler, Thomas 6 

Wheeler's Journal, William , 22 



Page Page 

Allen House, Captain Charles 63 Dundon House 124 

Allen House, James E 66 ^ . ..,■,,• aj ix oq 

T, 1 oy Eicke, Knud William Adalf 98 

Anchorage, Ine ' ■" n » • u • i c • /- /*j \ -i a-t 

^ ^, _ ,. , . 1 /- A Electric Maintenance Service Co. (Adv.) lo/ 

Apex Tool Company Adv. 166 * ' 

. . n -.1 197 Ellsworth House 65 

Armitage Residence i ^' c • m . i /aj > ivi 

. ^° , ..,>,. TOO Esquire Motors, nc. (Adv.) I/I 

Ash Creek — Aerial Viev/ 1 ^v ^ - v / 

Ash Creek — Penfield Mill, 1772 ^ 8 Fairfield Avenue 112 

Ash Creek Bridge — Old and Nev/ Views 103 Fairfield Avenue — 1910 122 

Fairfield Avenue — 1918 122 

Fairfield Avenue — 1955 133-141 

(Photos taken at) 

Alfred Street 138 

Automotive Twins 139 

Bennett Street 136 

Brewster Street 137 

Courtland Avenue 134 

Davidson Street 134 

Ellsworth Street 139 

"Bark Traveler" 1 5 

Bartram, Miss Elizabeth 91 

Bartram Homestead, Joseph 25 

Bertram, Miss Sarah 90 

Bertram House, Thomas 81 

Old View of Residence 85 

Bertram, Miss Mary 90 

"Black Rock" 15 

Black Rock Bank and Trust Company (Adv.) 159 

Black Rock Business Men's Club — 1928 143 c . • di l d l t c • r u m 

_,.„,_ .. , ,-. . nc 1 1 -3 Entering Black Rock from Fairfield 133 

Black Rock Congregational Church 95, IIJ » 

_ ° , „ , iiy iir Fox Street 135 

Copy — Record Book 114, 115 

„,,',,,, * • 1 >/• iTo Oilman Street 135 

Black Rock Harbor — Aerial View IJ^ 

Black Rock Lighthouse — 1808 9 

Black Rock — Northwestern — Aerial View 129 

Black Rock School 50 

1st School 50 

2nd School 50 

Auxiliary School 50 

Present School 50 

Black Rock School District — Aerial View 131 

Black Rock Yacht Club 99 

Bonvini Residence, Roger 126 

,«o rayerweather Lighthouse 43 

Borqman Home, Arnold I^o ' -" 

Morehouse Street 135 

Pacanow Street 133 

Poland Street 134 

Princeton Street 138 

Viaduct 141 

VV'aldorf Avenue 140 

VVhittier Street 140 

V/ilson Street 137 

Fancher House, Charles H 62 

Fancher's Dock 92 

Blinker 43 

Keeper's House 43 

Moore, Kate 45 

Moore Residence 49 

Fayerweather Yacht Club 101 

„ ., X ^ 1 . u . /- Tu /Aj 1 ^ Ao Federal Express Wreck 106, 107 

Bridgeport Casket Hardware Co., The (Adv.) 169 r ^ l. i -< ^ 

„ . , . ^, , , ^, , nn Fenn-Cone House 124 

Borgman House, Carl 68 

Bowling Team — Black Rock Business Men 145 

Brady House 64 

Brewster Street, 1930 62, 96 

Bridge, Old Fairfield 102 

Bridgeport Yacht Club 99 

Britton House 65 

Brody House, Attorney Charles 70 

Buckley House 78 

Fire, Sven Swanson Ill 

Fort, Indian 2 

Frassinelli Residence, Fred, Jr 79 

Frassinelli Residence, Fred, Sr 126 

Bullard Company, The (Adv.) 156 r u ti_ -vn 

D II J. J A u /- I A • 1 v/- 1-5-5 Frouge House, Thomas 78 

Bullard s and Ash Creek — Aerial View 132 

Bullard Machine Company — Aerial View 130 Garden Apartments 125 

Bullard's Bridge — 2 Views 102 George Hotel 

Burr, Miss Anna Jane 90 Beach, on the 30 

Burr Creek — Aerial Views 144, 148 Black Rock Pier 40 

Burr Creek Bill Presentation 146 Booklet, Souvenir 29 

Burr, Miss Frances Elizabeth 90 Cottages 

Burr-Knap House 68 Cedarlawn 38 

Burr House, Lewis 68 Hawthorne 38 

Burr Residence, Walter 127 Hillside 39, 70 

Burroughs House, David 64 Rose 39, 79 

Burrough's Home 66 Soundview 36 

Covered Courtyard 37 

Carlson's Grocery Store 1 12 

Casco Products (Adv.) 161 

Caserta, Joseph (Adv.) 163 

Cassidy House 65 

Census — 1801 123 

Champ's Farm — also see Oilman 124 

Chimney's, The 1 28 

Clarkson House 69 

Cone-Fenn House 1 24 

Floor Plan 42 

Grounds, Pleasure 33 

Harrel, George S 42 

High Tide 30 

Lawn Tennis 33 

Light and Harbor 30 

Moving 123 

Pagodas 33 

Piazza 33 

Drier Residence, David S 126 Present Site 123 

Duhigg's Store 112 Seawall, Private 32 


(Continued ) 

Page Page 

Sfgblgj 37 Nichols, Martha Penfield 91 

l^ji^g ' ' ' ' ' ' 37 Nilson Machine Co., The A. H. (Adv.) 168 

Timetable, Railroad and Ship 28 Norden, S. S 99 

Wells, George 29, 41 

Photograph 29 Panish Controls (Adv.) 160 

Residence 35 Pearsall House 73 

Oilman, George 54-60 Penfield Homestead, Benjamin 67 

Ballroom ^^ Penfield, Miss Cornelia 90 

Bowlina Alley ■5'* Penfield Homestead, David — Isaac Jarvis 24 

Carriages ^' 

Penfield Mi 


54 Perry Homestead 26 

Golden Inn 130 

Gould House 62 

Gould, Mrs. Viola Smith 91 

Green Lane Inn 130 

Grover's Hill — 1820 10 

Dining Room -57 

Greenhouses 57 Railroad, Ground Level Ill 

Kitchens -57 Raymond House 63 

Lounge— Club House 54 Resnik House, Dr. Harry 75 

Lounge— Manor House 54 Rew House 68 

Manor House— 3 Viev/s 54 Ronson House 66 

Roller Skating Rink 54 c. a • rk i, iio iti 

^ ,n St. Anns Church 1 I B, IJI 

Shop, Vi lage °'-' c. a • c u i iio 

Z, Y . <;7 St. Anns School 119 

Soarium -'' ci a • n -u i_i ix 

c, St. Ann s Parish House 66 

Sv/imming Pool -"^ ci »i i ■ i »u /-i, _ u iit 

, „ . i^T St. Marks Lutheran Church 11/ 

Turkish Baths J' c. »* ■ u »u c 07 

St. Marys by-the-5ea 9/ 

St. Mary's Boulevard — Aerial Vievir 131 

Samuels House, A. 73 

Seeley House 63 

Shipyard, Upper Wharf and — 1802 18 

Silliman Homestead, Joseph 61 

Hall, Miss Virginia 121 Smith House, Aaron 68 

Hamilton House 60, 77 Smith House, Arthur 65 

Hanson House 69 Smith House, David 66 

Harrel, George S 42 Smith, Mrs. David 91 

Horan Residence 80 Smith, Miss Ella 91 

Hull House, Dr. Calvin E 75 Smith House, Joseph 64 

Hutchinson House 70 Soundview Yacht Club 101 

Spalla's Barber Shop 112 

Jarvis, Isaac — David Penfield Homestead 24 Spencer House 63 

Jennings House 75 Stapleton Residence, Walter 126 

Joy House, James 80 Stearns Home, Robert S 127 

King Residence, Gilbert 127 Sturges, Mrs. David 91 

Knap-Burr House 68 Sturges, Gershon — Bsnjamin Penfield 67 

Swanson, Sigurd B 74, 166 

Lesko, John and Son (Adv.) 157 Swanson Fire, Sven Ill 

Library — Present 121 

First Library 121 Thorne House 73 

Hall, Miss Virginia 121 Train Wreck, Great 106, 107 

Lockwood, David — Apprenticeship Papers 76 Treat House 77 

Lockv/ood House, David 77 Trolley, Open Ill, 112 

Long Island Sound 150 Trubee Homestead, David 77 

Lucas & Son, Inc., J. L. (Adv.) 170 Turpentine Factory 62 

Lucas Home, Lewis 128 

Lyddy Home, John 128 United Tool Company (Adv.) 164 

Main, Harold C 142 Walker House 63 


Warner Residence 128 

Map — 1896 101 Watson House 73 

Map — 1867 100 Weising Auto Top Shop, George Ill 

/y\ap 1840 89 Wellner Insurance Agency, Inc. (Adv.) 165 

Map — 1812 19 Wells, George 29 

Map — 1649-1700 17 Residence 35 

Model Tool Co., The (Adv.) 162 VVheeler House, John 69 

Moore, Emmet K 126 Wheeler House, Thomas, Jr 65 

Moore Kate 45 Fortified Stone House — 1649 6 

Moore Residence, Kate 49 

Wheeler Homestead, William — 1790 21, 65 

Moore Special Tool (Adv.) 158 ^'°'^y — William Wheeler — 1780 22 

Whittles Residence, Ray 127 

Namian Residence, George 126 Wilson House, Captain James 64 

Narramore House, Robert 78 Wilson, Miss Catherine 90 


This Book was prepared for the Black Rock Civic Business Men's Club 
as a civic project to record for posterity the history of Black Rock through 
photographs, maps and interesting articles. 

The Black Rock history covers three hundred years, the first hundred years 
from 1645-1744, spans a period of raw land pioneering, hunting, fishing, clear- 
ing land, farming. The usual Indian troubles, witch hanging and burning were 
also a part of this era. 

The second hundred years, 1745-1844, covers a period primarily featuring 
the sea, shipping, over sea trading and ship building. Old records show that in 
1820, of less than 100 people (including men, women and children) 28 were 
at sea, one-half of them were captains. The Revolutionary War and the War 
of 1812 left much effect on Black Rock. 

The third hundred years, 1845 to the present, is more difficult to align 
with any one outstanding occupation. Throughout some of the early years of 
the last century, the sea continued a strong influence upon the people's liveli- 
hood, but gradually, following the advent of the railroad through Fairfield and 
Bridgeport, and the emergence of Bridgeport as a dominating port, the towns- 
men swung to other pursuits largely connected with manufacturing and com- 
mercial activities of the nearby city. 

History is vague concerning the significance of different public meeting 
places which existed during the first two hundred years. There were no local 
churches. Frequent mention of taverns is made. Probably the village store or 
blacksmith shop wielded considerable influence. With the coming of the church 
in 1840, it became the religious center, as well as the social and political center 
of the area. The first World War brought the beginning of the present-day 
Black Rock, and building and industry have since filled Black Rock with homes 
and factories. The homes range from the mansion-type residences to small 
one-family dwellings. 

In gathering material for this book, I was fortunate in being able to obtain 
a great deal of information from the libraries of Black Rock, Bridgeport, 
Fairfield and Southport. Also, of great aid were the Historical Society of 
Bridgeport, (Bishop Room) and the Fairfield Historical Society. Some of the 
books that were helpful were: "Black Rock, Seaport of Old Fairfield" 
(Lathrop); "Old New England Town" (Childs); "Secret Road" (Lancaster). 

Many of the pictures and old maps were unearthed by native Black Rock 
residents from their family albums, trunks and attics. I was also able to reach 

old Black Rock residents who had moved from Black Rock forty or fifty years 
ago but still held fond memories of their birth-place and home. 

This step by step assembling of photographs and facts was conducted 
completely as a non-profit venture in civic interest over a period of five years. 

So many have been the sources and so generous the cooperation that it is 
difficult to make due acknowledgment to everyone who has assisted in the com- 
pilation of this book. I am particularly indebted to the following: 

Mrs. -Oni Anderson 

Mr. Albert Borgman 

Mr. Arnold Borgman 

Miss Sara Brady 

Attorney Charles Brody 

Mr. Stephen Barmore (Southport) 

Mr. Thomas Col\x^ell 

Miss Mary Duhigg 

Mrs. Edna H. Forsyth 

(Fairfield Historical ) 

Mr. Arthur Jenner 
Mrs. Clara Pierce 

(Bpt. Public Library) 
Mrs. Verna Priestly 
Mr. Nelson Harrison 
Mr. William St. George 
Mary Darlington Taylor 
Miss Virginia Hall 
Mr. Frank J. Clark 
Mr. George F. Antoniak 

It is sincerely hoped that the readers will enjoy this history through 
Black Rock as much as I did in preparing it for them. 

Black Rock 1955 

Dr. Ivan O. Justinius 

Indian Trails, Villages, Sachemdoms of Connecticut 

Circa 1625 


We cannot know what transpired among the Indians here in Connecticut 
in prehistoric times. Old records, notes, letters, early manuscripts and books 
written many years ago by men and women who lived in Connecticut have 
brought some historic facts to light. 

At the time of the first white settlement of the east coast this territory 
was occupied by a branch of the Algonquin tribe, known generally by the name 
of Mohicans (Mohawk) and particularly in the southeastern part of Connecti- 
cut as Mohegans. The shore of Long Island Sound was their habitat; here 
they lived for countless generations, hunted, fought and lived in their own 
way until the white man came and dispossessed them of their native soil. 

The Algonquins were a tribe of North American Indians dwelling princi- 
pally in the valley of the Ottawa River and around the tributaries of the St. 
Lawrence. The chief tribes composing this nation of Indians were the Algon- 
quin, Malecite, Micmac, Nescapi, Pennacook, Fox, Kickapoo, Delaware, 
Cheyenne, Conoy, Cree, Mohican (Mohawk), Massachusetts, Menominee, 
Miami, Misisaga, Mohegan, Nanticoke, Narragansett, Nipmuc, Ojibway, 
Ottawa, Pequot, Potawatomi, Sac, Shawnee, and Wampanoag. The Algonquin 
was one of the strongest of the Indian nations and it was with members of this 
tribe that the early settlers of Connecticut had most to do. 

We can rightfully assume that the Indian Territories in Connecticut 
changed, and the boundry lines were altered after the Mohawks of New York 
practically conquered the Connecticut Indians as far eastward as the Connecticut 
River. The Pequots, originally part of the Mohawk tribe, made this conquest 
only a few years before the first white men came. 

The Paugusetts were one of the largest tribes in Connecticut, the early 
records of Stratford and Milford prove that all the clans that inhabited what 
are now the towns of Bridgewater, Roxbury, Woodbury, Middlebury, Water- 
bury, southward to the coast were members of this tribe. The clans appear in 
the later records under such names as Wepawaug, Unkawas, Potatucks, 
Pomerang, Naugatuck, Pequonnock, and others. It is plainly evident that these 
people called themselves Paugusetts until the white settlers began to call them 
by local names. 

Their territory had no exact northern boundry as none of the Connecticut 
Indians would venture to live as far north as what is now Litchfield. The 
New York Mohawks claimed it as part of their hunting territory and the 
Mohawks were their deadly enemies. 

Paugusetts — seems to be derived from Pog-Kussit — which denotes a 
swift current in a river, where the channel is descending a rapid. Pequonnocks 
means cleared iield or opened ground. 


They occupied all the land from the cove of Burr Creek, near State Street 
and Fairfield Ave., junction, to Fairfield, including all of Black Rock and Ash 
Creek (Uncoway River) . The land was old Indian planting fields, one field 
north of the cove in Black Rock Harbor covered all the flat land east of Ash 
Creek. A large part of their settlement of tepees and wigwams was where 
Ellsworth and Fairfield Ave. meet. Later the Indians built a fort at this spot 
which was present even in the time of Thomas Wheeler 1644. 

The Uncoway were a friendly tribe, maybe because of their abundant food 
supply, good fields, plenty of fish and a good natural protection in land and 
water. The clan never became strong because the law of the Paugusetts of 
which they were part, forbade the intermarriage with the clan — but allowed 
marriage within the tribe. This was no doubt a foresight by the Paugusetts 
tribe to keep the clans from becoming strong and breaking away as was evident 
in the Pequots coming from the Mohawks. _ , 

The Indian fort was garrisoned by about 200, and had been built for their 
defense against some of the interior tribes with whom they were perpetually at 

The fort was about an acre in size and was composed of 
palisades joined together. At each corner a room was built out 
with portholes like the following figure. 

Some of the young Indians were war-like and often solicted the old 
Indians for permission to destroy the English. Once it was obtained on one 
condition that they pull up a large white oak tree. The young Indians went 
to work, stripped oi¥ its branches, but the trunk baffled their utmost endeavors. 
"Thus" says the Old Sachem, "will be the end of your war — you may kill 
some of their papooses, but the Old Plagney Stump t'other side of the great 
water will remain and send out more branches." 

In 1681 the Indians sold their fields to the town of Fairfield thus ending 
the Indian occupation of Black Rock. The last Chief who claimed sachemship 
over the whole tribe was Konkapatanank who died at his home in Derby 1731. 

In spring of 1636 the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony 
commissioned Roger Ludlow and seven others "to govern the Colony of Con- 
necticut for the space of one year." Toward the close of that year, Mr. Ludlow 
called a General Court to meet at Hartford "to consider the necessary steps to 
be taken for the protection of the infant settlement on the Connecticut River." 
For some time the Pequot Indians had maintained a threatening attitude toward 
the white invaders of their domain and the court called by Ludlow declared 
war against that tribe. A levy of troops was also made upon Hartford to fur- 
nish forty-men, Windsor, thirty, and Wetherslield, eighteen. The whole force 
of eighty-eight men was placed under the command of Capt. John Mason. 

The first meeting between these Indians and the white men occurred 
during the summer of 1637 when Captain Mason and Lieutenant Davenport 
surrounded the Sasco Swamp in Fairfield and killed or captured a portion of 
the Pequot tribe which had sought refuge there. Also it is said that the Indians 
then living in the vicinity were lined for harboring the Pequots. 

Mr. Ludlow accompanied the expedition into the Indian country and was 
so favorable impressed with the region now included within the Town of 
Fairfield that he determined to found a settlement there. Accordingly he 
made application to the General Court, which in the spring of 1639 gave him 
and four others a commission "to begin a plantation at Pequonnock," as the 
place was then called. On May 11, 1639, a treaty was made with the Pequon- 
nock Indians, supplemented by another treaty on the 24th of June following, 
by which Ludlow and his associates were granted permission to settle on "a 
strip six miles wide along the coast from the southwest line of Stratford to 
Sasco Fields." 

One account of the early settlement of Fairfield says that the first thing 
Ludlow did was to call a council of the sachems and head men of the Indians 
"purchased all the lands lying west of Stratford to the Sasqua or Mill River, 
and from the Mill River southwestward to the east bounds of the Maxumux 
Indian lands, and from the Sound seven or eight miles into the wilderness." 

Many writers have claimed that in almost every case the land around 
Stratford and Fairfield was purchased from the Indians by the white men, but 
there is little to substantiate this belief. On the other hand, valuable authorities 
and records give the information that the land was not at first purchased, but 
for twenty years or more was considered conquered and deeded territory, and 
so declared by the General Courts. Afterwards, through friendliness, the land 
was acquired from the Indians by agreements and deeds with the ultimate 
object of ousting the red man. 

The settlements at Stratford and Fairfield were under the supervision of 
Connecticut and were separate from the New Haven Colony. The land was 
granted to the settlers by the General Court, to which body the Indians had 
given it in 1638. As to the purchase of the land by the whites every record 
shows that no deeds were made until 1656. There is nothing said upon either 
of the town records and in 1681 when the final sale was made no deeds prior 
to 1656 are mentioned. ^ 

In 1656 the General Court at Hartford made the following record: "This 
Court at the request of Stratford, do grant that their bounds shall be twelve 
miles northward, by Paugusett River, if it be at the disposal, by right, of this 
jurisdiction." The Pequonnock Indians opposed the right of Stratford to this 
land. Tlie Stratford settlers were anxious at this time to have their boundaries 
fixed by the court as a tract of land had been sold by the Indians in the 
western part of Fairfield and trouble had arisen between them and the white 
men, due to the fact that settlers' cattle and hogs destroyed the Indians' 
corn. Another factor which contributed to the Stratford settlers' desire to have 
a definite understanding was the number of Indians in Fairfield, who were 
constantly being crowded into Stratford territory by the Fairfield residents. 
Prior to this time the General Court had attempted to settle the boundary 
question between Fairfield, Stratford and the Pequonnocks; also to compel the 
Indians to pay tribute to the Connecticut Court as conquered and protected 
subjects, which duty they had shirked at every opportunity. 

In addition to this failure to pay proper tribute the Indians exhibited 
signs of hostility in many ways and committed depredations many times. From 
1643 to 1655 their warlike attitude became so threatening that the settlers 
kept troopers on guard at night and on Sundays, also called out the militia 
several times. The Indians demanded money in turn for their lands and the 
Indians at Milford claimed a portion of the Stratford land. However, the 
claim of Ansantaway, the chief then at Milford, proved to be of little strength 
for he gave a deed for all the land his people claimed on the west side of the 
Housatonic and agreed to accept in return whatever the English desired to 
give. The following order will show the effort made by the Connecticut 
Colony to settle the differences between the whites and reds: 

"Hartford, March 7, 1658-59. By the Court of Magistrates. This Court 
having taken into consideration the business respecting the Indians, pertaining 
to the plantations of Stratford and Fairfield, and finding in the last agreement 
made with the Indians while Mr. "Willis and Mr. Allen were down there, that 
those two plantations aforementioned are engaged to assure and allow unto 


those respective Indians pertaining to each town sufficient land to plant on 
for their subsistence and so to their heirs and successors: 

"It is therefore ordered by this Court, and required that each plantation 
forementioned exercise due care that the agreement made by the magistrates 
be fully attended without unnecessary delay, so that the Indians may have no 
just cause to complain against the English, but rather may be encouraged to 
attend and observe the agreement on their parts, that peace may be continued 
on both sides; and further it is desired that the Indians may be allowed to 
improve their ancient fishing place which they desire. 

"To the constables of Stratford to be forthwith published and sent to 
Fairfield to be published and recorded by the register." 

Three days later the Court took further action in substantiating the claims 
of the Indians in Fairfield and allowed them planting land for the future. 
The settlers of Fairfield were also ordered to consider them as legal residents 
of the "plantation." 

Not immediately did the three-sided problem come to solution. A cleared 
space of ground to the east of the Uncoway River (Ash Creek) became a 
much disputed point. The land in this space had been cleared by the Indians 
for planting and in all was a very desirable piece of ground. The possession of 
this land was one of the principal reasons the Fairfield settlers wished the 
Indians crowded over into the Stratford territory. The old line was retained, 
however, while a reservation was set aside on Golden Hill for the Indians. 
The latter retained their old planting field at the head of Black Rock Cove 
until 1681, when they sold it to Fairfield. 

In the spring of the year 1659 the land question before Stratford and 
Fairfield was brought to the General Court at Hartford and decided. The 
Indians agreed to the following: that if the English settlers could prove that 
they had received the land by purchase, gift or conquest, it should be theirs. A 
number of witnesses gave testimony and the Court decided in favor of the 
plantations. The affidavits given by the witnesses are recorded in the town 
book under the caption, "a record of several letters presented to the Court at 
Hartford, whereby together with other evidences the Town of Stratford, 
proved, and the Court granted a clear right to their land in preference to 
Pequonnock Indians with whom they had to do." 

The colonists lived in constant fear of attack and many times, even at 
late as 1724, the General Court dispatched troops to Fairfield County for 
protection gainst possible outbreaks. In the plantations of Fairfield and 
Stratford, also in Norwalk, Stamford and Greenwich, the white settlers were 

outnumbered fully five to one by the Indians. Not only this, but the English 
were poorly prepared to resist a combined attack. Their lives were undoubtedly 
in severe danger, augmented by the trouble between the Dutch and Indians at 
New York. Doctor Trumbull wrote of an incident occurring near Fairfield 
as follows: 

"In the year of 1644 the Indians were no more peaceable than they were 
the year before. Those in the western part of Connecticut still conducted them- 
selves in a hostile manner. In the spring they murdered a man, belonging to 
Massachusetts, between Fairfield and Stamford. About six or eight weeks 
after the murder was discovered, the Indians promised to deliver the murderer 
at Uncoway (Black Rock), if Mr. Ludlow would appoint men to receive him. 
Mr. Ludlow sent ten men for that purpose; but as soon as the Indians came 
within sight of the town, they, by general consent, unbound the prisoner and 
suffered him to escape. The English were so exasperated at this insult that 
they immediately seized eight or ten of the Indians and committed them to 
prison. There was among them not less than one or two sachems. Upon this 
the Indians arose in great numbers about the town exceedingly alarming the 
people both at Fairfield and Stamford. The Indians were held in custody until 
four sachems in those parts appeared and interceded for them, promising that 
if the English would release them within a month they would deliver the 
murderer to justice." 


THOMAS WHEELER, first settler of Black Rock — 1644 

Thomas Wheeler, the elder, came from Concord, Mass. with a company of 
other pioneers in 1644. His companions settled in Stratfield and in Greenlea 
— as the section near Seaside Park in Bridgeport was then known. Thomas 
Wheeler separated from and established his home at the head of Black Rock 
harbor. Here he was a short distance across the waters of "shipharbour creeke" 
from his relatives and friends at Greenlea, and not too far from Fairfield. The 
earliest recorded settlers at Greenlea and Black Rock are: Ephraim Wheeler; 
Thomas Wheeler; Thomas Wheeler, Jr.; William Odell; John Evarts; Joseph 
Middlebrook; James Bennet; Peter Johnson and Benjamin Turney. 

The first Wheeler homestead was surrounded on three sides by water and 
stood on a rise of ground overlooking the level plain to the west. Thomas 

built his house of stone with a strong plank roof, and upon this roof, to 
supplement the natural advantages of his location, he placed two small cannon. 
One pointed out down the harbor against possible Dutch invasion by sea: the 
other was directed toward the Indian fort that stood north of the little hill. 
The Indians were friendly and the Dutch were invisible, but Thomas Wheeler 
was a cautious man. 

This Wheeler "homelot" at the "head of shipharbour" was the nucleus of 
Black Rock village. The village was for many years inhabited by Thomas 
Wheeler's grandchildren and their children almost exclusively. There were 
enough of them to occupy the acres between the old homelot and Grover's 
Hill with their houses and pasturage, and to divide other lands with nonresident 
proprietors whose homesteads stood in Fairheld or Stratiield 

From the Thomas Wheeler homestead a road led northwest, meeting the 
Fairfield road at the present intersection of Brewster Street and Fairfield 
Avenue. The old Fairfield road coincided with the modern Post Road only 
between Ash Creek and Ellsworth Street. At the latter point (near the Indian 
fort) the old road turned northeast (along the present line of North Ellsworth 
Street) to the upper creek. Here were two forks, one road led northwest across 
the upper creek to King's Highway and the Holland Heights Road. The other 
fork led to the Indian Fields and thence to Stratfield. 

The early surveyors followed the trail that avoided the old Indian fort 
as the cautious pioneer always gave his Indian neighbors as much room as 

This fort, garrisoned by two hundred Indians, had been palisaded against 
the tribes of the interior. North and east extended the Old Indian Field as it 
became known in early deeds. All of this land was sold by the Indians to the 
town of Fairfield in 1681. 

The purchase of the Indian Field ended Indian occupation in Black Rock. 
The Indians moved north and the new owners divided the field, as was cus- 
tomary, by a lottery. 

John Wheeler, son of Thomas the pioneer, married first Judith Turney, 
and second Elizabeth Rowland, succeeding to the Wheeler property in Black 
Rock and adding more lands by purchase from non-resident dividend holders. 
Five of his sons settled in Black Rock. He served the town as representative for 
four terms, died in 1681, leaving twelve children, eight of them under age. 
John, the oldest son, assumed the family cares, and undeterred — or perhaps 

fortified — by experience, married Abigail Burr, and reared thirteen children 
of his own. Of these only three sons, Obediah, Jabez and Ichobod, continued 
the saga of the Wheeler family of Black Rock. 

Other families came to share with the Wheelers the homesites by the 
harbor. The colonial names of Squire, Burr, Penfield, Bartram, Wilson, 
Chauncy, Osborn, Jennings, Silliman, Sherwood and Sturges became promi- 
nently identified with the port. 

The sea which played so dramatic a role in the story of the earliest settlers 
in Black Rock continued to influence the development of the village. The num- 
ber of ships that plied in and out of the harbor increased yearly. In 1753 a new 

bridge and new roads were 
planned to shorten the distance 
between Fairfield center and the 

ASM O..CK , Pcnr.KuD ^.uu. -. n.^ ^^ip harbor. 

As the map shows, the early roads were almost circuitous as their descrip- 
tions in the records. The new thoroughfare was surveyed more directly, — 
almost due east from lower Benson Road, across an inlet by Penfield mills, 
and along the shore of the creek to the new bridge. The stone foundations 
of this road are still plainly visible, as are the foundation piers of the bridge 
over which the road led to what is now Balm forth Street in Black Rock, — 
the short road that curves over the shoulder of Grovers Hill and joins Grovers 
Avenue now just as it did in 1753. Grovers Avenue had existed long before 
the building of the new road, but merely as a farm road from the harbor to 
the hill pastures. There had originally been a field gate across it halfway 
between the turnpike and the hill. 

The opening of the shorter route immediately affected the pasture lands 
along GnDvers Avenue. David Wheeler, III, was first to profit thereby taking 
over from his father ten acres of meadow. The progressive David deeded to 
the town two streets, to lead from Grovers Avenue to the harbor, and dividing 
the land into lots, he pointed their advantages to seafarers whose homes lay 
inconveniently far from shore. The first purchasers were Captain Joseph 
Silliman and Captain Thomas Holburton, and both immediately built where 
their families might overlook the Sound and sight their incoming ships. 

Next to buy was a company of thirteen prominent citizens of Fairfield 
who acquired land for a wharf at the end of one of David Wheeler's new 
roads. Adjacent lots were soon sold for homebuilding or investment and the 
first real estate development in Black Rock proved successful. 


Meanwhile David's cousin, Captain Ichabod Wheeler, had busied himself 
near the old family homestead at the head of the harbor. He had been given 
liberty by the town to build a new wharf there, but after embarking on the 
venture, decided that it might be more profitable to sell shares. He therefore 
reserved a one-sixth interest in the wharf, the timber, and the "well already 
Dugg"; and sold the other five-sixths to James Smedley, Samuel Bradley, Jr., 
Ebenezer Bartram, Jr., Robert Wilson, and Nathaniel Wilson. Captain Ichabod 
Wheeler was a shipbuilder and his son, the observant and note-taking William, 
tells that he built at the Upper Wharf six vessels, all above ninety tons; one, 
sold to Thomas Allen of New London, who went bankrupt, occasioned a loss 
of two hundred and sixty-five pounds — to the builder. With the others he 
was more fortunate. 

The list of investors in the wharves and warehouses of Black Rock about 
that time included all of the merchant-residents of Fairfield. Three wharves 
were built, including the upper wharf, near the old shipyard. The Middle 
Wharf, already mentioned, lay midway between these and the wharf projected 
by Captain Samuel Squire at "Money Beach." Each of these wharves had its 
store or warehouse, with sheds, chandlery, and tackle for loading and unloading. 

SLACK fCjOCK. MCMTrtouaC- iao8 

In 1819, of less than one hundred inhabitants of the village, men, women, 
and children, it is recorded that twenty-eight men were gone as sailors, one- 
half of them Captains. 

Down by the shore, next to the old Middle Wharf, stood a tiny house, 
occupied by Wolcott Chauncey, his wife, and their nine children. Three of the 
boys who splashed about the piers of the old wharf were to account heroically 
for themselves in history. 

Issac Chauncey, born in Black Rock in 1772, went to sea at thirteen, and 
when nineteen was given command of his first ship. He rose in rank rapidly, 
served in the navy as Captain during the war with Tripoli, afterward command- 
ing the Brooklyn Navy Yard in peace time and the Great Lakes from 1812 to 
1816. He was awarded a sword for gallantry in action and is one of the heroes 
buried in the National Cemetery at Arlington. His brothers. Captain Ichobod 
Wolcott Chauncey and Robert Chauncey, also served loyally in the Navy dur- 
ing the early years of the republic. 

The Revolution and War of 1812 are covered in detail, so is the history of 
Black Rock shipping era; 

For some 200 years Black Rock was a great port being able to handle 
many ships at one time. With her wharves and ship yards, it was ideal, for 
the sailing trade. With the coming of steamboats, which were able to go into 
the smaller harbor and not dependent on wind, Bridgeport which was shallower, 
and wind-locked became the bigger Port. 

The Railroad also cut into the coastal trade of the sailing ship. There was 
no railroad station in Black Rock, so all the trade that formerly came through 
here, went to Bridgeport. 

Manufacturing developments swung Bridgeport into ever-increasing pro- 
duction and swept prosperity from Black Rock harbor. When in 1870 an act 
of legislature extended the Bridgeport boundary to Ash Creek, only a few 
protesting voices were raised in Fairfield town meeting. 

Upon the old lot where once Thomas Wheeler settled, a turpentine factory 
reared its tall chimney. Near the site of the old fort on Grovers Hill, a summer 
hotel was built. These in their turn have passed. Grovers Hill, is a "residential 
development,". Black Rock is no longer a quiet village, no longer a seaport — 
it is now the 3rd district of Bridgeport. It still has its beautiful harbor and 
scenic boulevard where one can view the Long Island Sound, Long Island, 
Fairfield, Bridgeport and Lordship. Black Rock is about 90% residential having 
some of the most beautiful homes in New England — there is no slum in 
Black Rock. The industry in Black Rock is varied, but the residences are of 
the most modern architecture. 

<3ROVEK."a H11.U - i6£o 

FORT BLACK ROCK, — Top of Grover's Hill 

Febuary 16, 1776 "Fort Black Rock" was built on Grover's Hill command- 
ing the mouth of the harbor. It guarded the entrance to the harbor and the 
Penfield Mills near the mouth of the Unquowa river, then operated by James 
Penfield, who daily used several barrels of flour in making bread for the 

Authorized by vote of Assembly: 

"twenty-five able-bodied men be raised by volunteer enlistment 
... under the command of a lieutenant and two sergeants, be 
employed in erecting works of defense ... to have the same 


pay and wages as the army near Boston, and be allowed eight- 
pence per day for their provision and support during said term." 

In July, Lieut. John Mill, commander at the fort, was "to receive 
two hundred pounds on account of billeting, premium for guns 
and blankets, and iirst month's pay and wages for his men." 

On the Ninth of August, it was voted that: 

"The selectmen of the town of Fairfield take two of the colony's 
cannon now at the furnace at Salisbury for use of the fort at 
Fairfield — one twelve-pounder and one eighteen-pounder, if 
such may be had, if not, then two twelve-pounders, and also 
one ton of shot suitable for the cannon in said fort." 

Apparently the eighteen-pounder was not to be had, for we find no further 
mention of it. 

The next appearance of the fort in the assembly records is dated two years 
later when an order of the colony treasurer was granted to David Squire in 
response to his memorial that: 

"On or about 21 March 1778, he being sergeant of the company 
stationed at Battery Point, and in actual discharge of his duty 
in ramming a shot into one of the guns by the batter, the cart- 
ridge took fire, by means whereof he lost both his hands and 
was otherwise so greatly wounded and hurt as to lose one of 
his eyes." 

Note: David Squire's life was saved by Dr. Francis Forgue, a French- 
man who was taken in Canada in the War of 1756. He settled 
in Black Rock. Dr. Forgue was an excellent surgeon. Surgeons 
were rare in those days. Dr. Forgue's son, Francis, established 
the first Printing Press and newspaper in Fairfield about 1796. 

April 25, 1779 — The British captured General Silliman 

The British sent a boatload of 8-10 men, passed the old fort, in the dead 
of night and up through Ash Creek, where they were guided by Tories to the 
home of General Silliman on Toilsome Hill where they captured the General 
and his four sons. As the boat left, the fort fired three shots from its 12 
pounder but the British made their escape. The Tories, who helped in guiding 
the British, were caught and their land was confiscated. 



July 15, 1779, about four o'clock in the morning the approach of the fleet 
was announced by the firing of a gun from Fort Black Rock. The fleet how- 
ever seemed to be passing by and about seven o'clock all were pleased because 
the fleet was passing westward and steering, all thought, for New York. A very 
thick fog came on, which entirely hid the fleet. At about 10:00 the fog lifted, 
the whole fleet was along the western shore, and some of them close into shore 
at Kensie's Point. They laid at anchor until 4:00 p.m. when they began to 
land their troops. During the landing the Fort kept firing its cannon and did 
some damage to the landing parties, which included Hessians. Our troops sta- 
tioned in Fairfield, although very few in number as compared to the invaders, 
did give battle and were of annoyance to the invaders in their landing. They 
later fell back to the Court House where they had a field piece. They shot both 
round and grape shots, had many muskets but were able to hold the invaders 
only a short time, when our townspeople retreated to the heights back of 

The Hessians were first to let loose for rapine and plunder, they entered 
houses, attacked the persons of Whig indiscriminately, broke open desks, 
trunks, and closets, taking away everything of value. They robbed women of 
buckles, rings, bonnets, aprons and handkerchiefs and dashed to pieces glass, 
china and all kinds of furniture. 

General Tryon was in charge of the British. He gave orders to burn the 
town of Fairfield and all but 5 houses were destroyed. 

In the meantime a considerable force of militia had rushed to the scene 
and followed the British to their ships, firing from behind trees and fences 
and otherwise harassing the retreat. 

The burning of Fairfield was in a measure an act of retaliation for the 
activity of the authorities of the town in helping to suppress the British. 

Capt. Isacc Jarvis John Meeker 

Col. Elijah Hill Samuel Patchen 

Capt. David Jarvis Abraham Parritt 

Daniel Burr Benjamin Meeker 

Neheniah Burr John Lyon 

Jessie Burr Nehemiah Rose 

Fairweather Brothwell David Sherwood 

Chauncey Downs William Sturges 

Joseph Gold Ezra Wheeler 

Silas Hawley Robert Waich 


"William Hawley John Wilson 

Nathan Jennings David "Wilson 

James McNay " Nathaniel "Wilson 
Huldah Mason 

This little band of patriots kept their one gun busy as long as the enemy 
was within range. 

One boat loaded with British soldiers rowed into the mouth of the Creek, 
under cover of a dense fog, and burned the Mill, Bakerhouse and the Penfield 
Homestead located there. The little fort raked them with fire, when the fog 
lifted, and drove them away. The next morning an attack was launched against 
the fort but it failed and the British invaders sailed away. 

George Penfield (1811-1880) born in Black Rock. He married Charlotte 
Golding, whose father operated the Mill at Ash Creek. His daughter "Virginia 
and her husband Captain Solly — • built the house presently owned by attorney 
Brody. His ship carried on an extensive trade and Black Rock was its home 

The Sarah Jane built m the Black Rock ship yards of Rew and "Wathen 
1853 — • it was owned by R. "W. Bartram. 

WAR OF 1812 

A second fort was built during the "^-^ar of 1812 called Fort Union (Fort 
Green) . The location was the present site of Superintendent Lyddy's home 
on top of Grover's Hill but the fort saw no action during the "War. 

The end of this war was celebrated February 25, 1815 by firing the artillery 
at the Fort and a parade to the Green in Fairfield. 

Eight vessels lay idle in Brewster's Cove because of the "War. There was 
an embargo on every vessel unless a bond was given for double the value of the 
vessel and cargo that she would not go to any port but the one she was cleared 


Two harbors have served the commercial interests of Fairfield — Black 
Rock on the southeastern edge of the town and Southport on the southwestern. 
Black Rock is now included within the corporation of Bridgeport. During a 
period of more than two hundred years, however, it v/as a part of Fairfield. 
Here trade flourished and was defiance blazed. The little fort on Grover's 
Hill afforded an uncertain sense of security on various occasions. The quiet 


waters behind Fayerweather's Island invited siiips to safe anchorage. The 
collector of the Port of Fairfield here exercised authority. Captains of com- 
merce made their homes in this neighborhood. Fishermen, warriors, mariners, 
pleasure-seekers, builders and maritime industry have shared the life of the 

During the American Revolution this harbor was the scene of noteworthy 
activity. Colonel Parsons sailed from Black Rock on the evening of August 
l4th, 1777, with a sloop and six sailboats, one hundred and fifty men and a 
brass six-pounder in order to dislodge Colonel Hewlett who had fortified 
Brookhaven on Long Island. 

Black Rock was a convenient place for the men engaged in whale boat 
warfare. Captain Caleb Brewster, one of the heroes who won enviable fame 
by his victories over British craft along these shores, made Black Rock his 
home. Many an expedition against the enemy he organized among his sailor 
friends. In 1781 he brought into the harbor a British armed boat and all her 
crew. It was December 7th, 1782, that his most desperate encounter with the 
enemy occurred. This is known as the "boat fight." On this particular morning 
several of the enemy's boats came down the Sound and Captain Brewster with 
his brave comrades intercepted them. It was a savage fight — a hand to hand 
conflict — for in twenty minutes nearly all the men engaged were either killed 
or wounded. Two boats were captured. Captain Brewster was among the 
injured. He was able, however, to continue his work a few months later. On 
March 9th, 1783, he captured the Fox, one of the enemy's vessels. The Fair- 
field Historical Society has among its treasures an elegant silver loving cup 
presented to Captain Brewster by admiring friends as an expression of their 

These are the official shipping records of the ships that entered Black 
Rock Harbor. They were copied from Custom Records at the Historical Society. 



W. Gould 

W. Gould & Co. 





E. Buikley 

E. Buikley 





A. Sherwood 

A. Sherwood 





S. Sturges 

S. Sturges 

■ — 



I. Buikley 

D. Perry 


■ — 



E. Wood 

E. Wood 





D. Osborn 

D. Osborn 





E. Buikley 

E. Buikley 






S. Ketchum 

S. Ketchum 






I. Baker 

I. Hulburt 






A. Sherwood 

A. Sherwood 






B. Thorp 

S. Thorp 






D. Beers 

D. Beers 






W. L. Dimon 

N. Peery 






D. Osborn 

D. Osborn 






A. Sherwood 

A. Sherwood 






J. Watson 

J. Watson 




Sattt tlt^VSttSHt 0$d. U, t$ntUUi 0(>mm^ni^t* 

B-cjn-T AT ■nATTTTuTo-pT- i^ri.. issa- 

Typical of the ships that sailed into Black Rock during the shipping era. 




G. Allen 

G. Allen 





Sea Flower 

J. Young 

T. S. Pearsall 






S. Woods 

b. Coley 






S. Ketch um 

S. Ketchum 





D. Beers, Jr. 

D. Beers 






S. Sturges 

S. Sturges 






S. Wheeler 

M. Perry 






J. Bulkley 

J. Wakeman 





J. Sherwood 

J. Wakeman 






W. Thorp 

W. Thorp 






W. B. Dmion 

W. Thorp 






S. Pearsall 

W. B. Dimon 






P. K. Sheffield 

S. Pearsall 






G. Allen 

P. K. Sheffield 






E. Bulkley 

G. Allen 






J. Burr 

E. Bulkley 






W. Perry 

J. Burr 






A. Nichols 

W. Perry 






N. Squires 

A. Nicklos 






A. Hubbell 

D. Wilson 






S. Ketch um 

R. Hubbell 






D. Osborn 

S. Ketchum 






S. Sturges 

D. Osborn 






W. Burr 

S. Sturges 





J. Young 

W. Burr 






J. Hull 

A. Andrews 






E. Hubbell 

J. Hull 






D. Wilson 

E. Hubbell 






E. Hawley 

D. Wilson 





B. Thorp 

E. Hawley 





C. Wilson 

S. Thorp 





S. Davis 

D. Wilson 





D. Wilson 

S. Davis 





S. Pearsall 

D. Wilson 





G. Sturges 

S. Pearsall 





M. Perry 

J. Wakeman 





E. Bulkley 

M. Perry 





A. Nichols 

E. Bulkley 





J. S. Sherwood 

O. S. Sturges 




Two Friends 

N. Thorp 

J. Sherwood 




Fair Trader 

J. Osborn 

N. Thorp 





B. Sturges 

J. Osborn 





E. Bulkley 

B. Sturges 

. 41 




John Maltbie 

E. Bulkley 





E. Bulkley 

J. Maltbie 





Paul Sheffield 

E. Bulkley 





W. Thorp 

S. Sheffield 





E. Bulkley 

D. Coley, Jr. 





A. Hubbell 

E. Bulkley 





A. Hubbell 

A. Hubbell 





S. Sturges 

S. Sturges 





J. Hull 

J. Hull 





A. Nichols 

A. Nichols 





M. Gould 

T. Hull 





W. Robinson 

W. Robinson 





S. Davis 

S. Davis 





S. Sturges 

S. Sturges 





J. Burrett 

J. Burrett 





S. Morehouse 

S. Morehouse 




May Flower 

D. Osborn 

D. Osborn 





J. Bulkley 

J. Bulkley 





J. Hull 

J. Hull 





A. Hubbell 

A. Hubbell 





W. Thorp 

A. Hubbell 





R. Bangs 

N. Perry 





D. Wilson 

N. Perry 





S. Reynolds 

N. Perry 





W. Robinson 

N. Perry 





S. Wood 

S. Davis 






E. Wood 

S. Davis 





A. Bulkley 

J. Bulkley 





A. Burr 

L. T. Downs 




Sally Ann 

E. Burr 

E. Jesup 





G. Burr 

D. Minot 





S. Burr 

E. Jesup 





W. Daskam 

H. Nichols 



D. Davis 

Perry, Jr. — J. Sturges 




So. Carolina 

E. Dimon, Jr. 

Wakeman — Dimon, Jr. 





S. Disbrow 

H. Allen 





J. W. Hanford 

Pearsall — Hanford 




So. Carolina 

S. Jackson 

W. Jesup 




Mary Ann 

W. Jesup 

P. Wynkeep 





P. Johnson 

Johnson — L. Turney 





I. Odell 

I. Odell 



1815 . 


D. Penfield 

S. Mallett 





M.' Anthony 

M. Anthony 





J. Baker 

J. Baker 





C. W. Barker 

W. Thorp 





T. Bartram 

Bartram — S. Perry 




Two Sisters 

A. Beardsley 

A. Ufford 





J. Beaty 

Beaty — L. Nash 





S. Beers, Jr. 

H. Nichols 




Morning Star 

T. W. Bennett 





Lion Oat 

A. Benson 

Benson — N. Burr 





B. Belts 

J. Warren, Jr. 





D. Bradley 

Bradley— J. Bulkley 





J. Brewster 

J. Mitchell 





A. Bulkley 

D. Penfield 





A. Bulkley 

J. Bulkley 



Copied by Edna H. Forsyth, Curator, from typed copy. 

— File of Fairfield Historical Society, Fairfield, Conn. 


.iWfeuidu) aiX vuLCies 



From the pioneer days, Black Rock Harbor, sheltered by the long reach 
of Fayerweather Island and the quiet water behind it, invited ships to safe 

The collector of customs of the Port of Fairfield met all incoming ships. 

The captains of commerce, fishermen, 
warriors, mariners, pleasure-seekers, 
and ship builders made their home in 
Black Rock and shared the life of the 

The little fort on Grover's Hill gave an added sense of security to the 
harbor which rated as one of the principal ports along the Connecticut shore. 
It was sought as a haven by yachtmen and mariners consistency because of its 
reputation as having the best harbor west of New London, center of extensive 
shipping operations. The annual volume probably exceeded those of the whole 
city of Bridgeport at present and was chosen as the location of the landed 
estates of numbers of persons of leisure and affluence. Black Rock won a 
distinction in its own name which has never been entirely extinguished even 
by its association with Bridgeport. _ ■ . 

In Lloyd's Register and in other documents consulted by the men of the 
sea, you will see "Black Rock" standing on its own responsibility, and without 
reference to its foster parent and conservator, the city of Bridgeport. So it 
was in the old days, when it had a diverse allegiance, first to the town of Fair- 
field for 200 years, and later, within the city of Bridgeport. 

Black Rock is one of the few sections of Bridgeport which has a distinct 
indentity as a village or community. One speaks of the "East Side," or the 
"East End," which is indefinite, or of the "South End" or "West End," which 
are (equally vague except to those well acquainted with Bridgeport and the 
way in which it is constituted. But Black Rock stands upon its own feet, 
and everyone knows just where it begins and just where it ends, and of what it 
consists. This is due, not to the community consciousness which recent resi- 
dents have developed but to the renown which was won in former days. 

The earliest wharves in the late sixteen hundreds were at about the site of 
the present Fayerweather Yacht Club. The early ship and boat building was 
located at this site but the full development of the harbor was slow. Between 
1750-1850 the harbor had 5 to 6 large wharves as well as several ship-yards 
and handled a great deal of cargo. The wharves and docks were the center 

' 18 


of activity in Black Rock in those years, for it was from tlie ships which came 
that commerce flowed and events and happenings in the village had a close 
relationship with the wharves. Deacon Alanson Allen was the first storekeeper 
and also the postmaster of Black Rock, and it was in his general store that 
the sailors and the villagers used to mingle. In time, John Ogden succeeded 
the deacon as the proprietor of this store. 

Black Rock harbor was a Slave center, slavery being common here for 
about 150 years. Dutch traders introduced slavery in 1619 to the James- 
town Colony and by 1669 it had become a profitable trade here but by 1819 
slavery was abolished in this area. Very little is seen in our slave history but 
it does appear in books printed before the Civil War. 

Upper Wharf 

First used in the late sixteen hundreds by the early settlers for coastal 
trading, many ships of all types and sizes came and went, it being one of 
the only deep harbors on the Connecticut coast. 

As shipping increased, Captain Schabad Wheeler who owned the ship 
yard above, built a large and more modern wharf with shipstores and ware- 
houses. In 1801 Peter Perry of Mill Plain became sole owner, whose family 
operated it for three decades. The wharf passed through many hands and was 
in use as late as 1915. . 

Henry Wilson Fancher born 1809 and his son Captain Sherman Fancher 
and grandson Captain Charles Henry Fancher who died in 1940 all spent their 
lives around this dock which was known for many years as Fancher's Dock. 
There were other enterprises which had their dependence upon the sea, one of 
them being the lobster and fish house of Thompson and Fancher conducted 
on Fancher's Dock. Cod and lobster were brought in by smacks and were 
sold at wholesale and retail. Charles H. Fancher of Haviland court, was one 
of Black Rock's best known residents, afterward took over, and he also con- 
ducted an ice business for many years. 

Middle Wharf 

The stone ruins can be seen on the foot of Beacon Street — was built 
in 1766, by David Wheeler, 3rd, who also opened up Beacon Street for devel- 

The wharf changed hands many times — in 1811 it became the property 
of David Penfield. After his death in 1845 this wharf fell into disuse since 
the new owner, Captain Benjamin Penfield, was master of packet boats from 
Bridgeport Harbor. 


Captain Wilson's Wharf 

Built 1850 by Captain Daniel Wilson at the foot of Seaview Terrace the 
remains can still be seen. At present it is an empty lot where a few power 
boats are stored in the winter. The wharf, under Captain Howes, imported 
coal and continued in the coal business till about 1910 under Woodruff Burr. 

Squires Wharf 

Built 1760 by Samuel Squire. In the Black Rock Bank is the original 
painting showing this wharf, also in an air-view, can be seen the remains of 
this wharf. The wharf remained in the family through the middle 1800 pass- 
ing to Captain John Squire and son John, Jr. It was located on the once famous 
Money Beach, now Black Rock Yacht Club — once a part of the George Hotel. 


The stores of Black Rock were noted for their chandlery. Even after 
Bridgeport wharves absorbed most of the sea-trade of the vicinity, ships from 
that harbor were sent to Black Rock to be fitted out for long voyages or repair. 

The shipyards of Black Rock are first noted officially about 1740, and the 
first single shipbuilder of consequence was Captain Ichabod Wheeler, whose 
yard lay on the lot north of the wharves, bordered by "shipharbor creek." 

The Journal continually refers to this or that worthy who stayed in Black 
Rock "to build a ship" or "to launch a Vessell", and Longfellow's picture of 
a shipyard might have been sketched by William Wheeler's pen — 

"... timbers fashioned strong and true, 

Stemson and keelson and sternson-knee . . . 
And around the bows and along the side 

The heavy hammers and mallets plied . . . 
And around it columns of smoke, upwreathing, 

Rose from the boiling, bubbling, seething 
Caldron that glowed 

And overflowed 
With the black tar, heated for the sheathing" — 


Facsimile of original title page drawn by William Wheeler, 1780, for his 
Journal of which all the early accounts of Black Rock History were found. 
Based on this Journal Mrs. Cornelius Penfield Lathrop published a book 
called "Black Rock Seaport of Old Fairfield" 1644-1870. 


The year 1804 dates a significant entry from Wheeler Journal: 

"December 25th — About this time news came that the June (cost 
2,000 dolls.) belonging to Riley and Joseph Squire of this port with 
7 ton of Iron on board, was entirely lost on the devil's back coming 
from Salem — And that the Bonaparte, about the same burthen, 
was lost altogether with a cargo of coals near Egg Harbor. And 
also that the Rising Sun had to throw overboard 34 or 40 barrels 
of oil to lighten her in a storm to pass Chatham Bar — These three 
vessels belonged to poor Black Rock." 

In addition to the building of ships, the repairing and scraping (or grav- 
ing) of vessels was an important occupation. There are several references to 
the "graving banks" south of the wharves and shipyards, where the boats were 
laid up to be de-barnacled. 

Captain Ichabod Wheeler's chief successor was the firm of Daniel Wilson 
& Co. Later — in 1856 — Captain William Hall came from "down east" and 
purchased from (four owners. Captain Brittin, Verdine Ellsworth, Elizabeth K. 
Wilson, and Sturges & Clearman) the former shipyard, and four waterlots. 
Upon the lower waterlot he managed a "ship-railway." He died in I860, and 
was succeeded by the firm of Hillard & Rew. later Rew & Walker. 

Three sets of marine railways existed at what is now the foot of Brewster 
Street in the days before the Civil War and in the summer season these were 
constantly in use for ships discharging their cargo or seeking repairs. 

One of the large vessels launched at Black Rock was the Blackhawk. Pro- 
phetically she "stuck on the ways," and was lost on her first voyage. 

The schooner "Equal Rights" was a leader in the shipping trade of her 
day. She was named because three persons contributed equally in the cost of 
its construction. 

The schooner "Sarah Jane" was built to replace the Blackhawk and re- 
trieved the fortune lost. The shipyard gave way to a turpentine factory in 
1870 which burned. Again the place now has a shiprailway for hauling 
pleasure craft and storage. 

When the waters of Long Island Sound were navigable, as a rule, an in- 
coming vessel would be waiting in the harbor, ready to unload when its pre- 
decessor had discharged its cargo. A few of the ships were annually stranded 
here when the winter threw a sudden band of ice about the harbor while many 
made a practice of mooring for the winter in the icebound waters off Black 
Rock harbor. 


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1768 — The Isaac Jarvis-David Penfield homestead (10) 

(Photographed 1869) 

Seabright. The property on which the homestead was built has an earher history being 
the site of a house built in 1768 by Thomas Beebe on a lot purchased from David 
Wheeler, 3rd. This house was transferred in 1770 to George Morehouse, in 1775 to 
Ebenezer Burr, in 1780 to Isaac Jarvis, in 1784 to John Squire, Jr., in 1789 to David 
Squire, who moved with his family to Stamford, N. Y., and in 1794 to Captain Barlow 
Sturges, who sold the lot to his brother Gershom, and moved the house down the road 
to the lot above the Middle Wharf, which was managed by the three Sturges brothers. 
Early in the new century, David Penfield came to Black Rock from Fairfield, bought 
the house in 1793, and subsequently the wharf -shares from Barlow, Benjamin and 
Gershom Sturges. After the death of David Penfield in 1845, the house was occupied 
by his son, Captain Ephriam Lewis Penfield, and the succeeding generation (several 
of whom appear in the photograph, taken about 1867). The house was destroyed by 
fire about 1870. 


1789 — The Joseph Bartram homestead (15) 

(Photographed 1870) 

BARTRAM HOMESTEAD— Brewster Street (Bywater St.) John Wheeler (1765- 
1846), brother of William, and younger son of Captain Ichabod, received from his 
father in 1790 the lot on which his father and he had built during the preceding year 
a house overlooking the harbor. In 1803 Terence Riley bought from John Wheeler 
the house, with a wharf and store, but during the next two years, after purchasing 
another wharf, business difficadties overtook the new proprietor, and after Riley's sudden 
death in New York in 1805, the house property was immediately attached by Nicholas 
Fish of New York, one of the creditors, who sold it to William Hoyt. Rufus Hoyt 
became owner in 1808. From the Hoyt family the property passed through several 
owners to Captain Thomas Bartram who in 1829 deeded it to his son. Captain Joseph 
Bartram, and for more than a century the house has been occupied by his family. 
This house was torn down about 1932. 



1— ' 


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87f„(ril|JiaiS JliCiiriliL 1894 


r-rorn Juno20tnU^i 15, 

The George Hotel, "on the sound," Black Rock Beach, Connecticut, was 
opened 1874 — it was an elegant and magnificent hotel, known all over the 
world for its fine food and charm. It was built and managed by George A. 
Wells, who was an associate of P. T. Barnum. 

"Located on Grover Hill, a bold promontory jutting into Long Island 
Sound forming the western boundary of entrance to Black Rock Harbor. 
Fronting the beach to the east, south and west, is a perpendicular bluff of 
from 10 to 30 feet high; above, the land rises gently in all directions to the 
summit of the hill, which is at an elevation of 100 feet above high water. 

It was an imposing structure, located within 100 feet of the Sound. Its 
commanding view was unsurpassed by any on the Connecticut coast. Toward 
the south the horizon is bounded by the white hills of Long Island while on 
either hand the Sound extends as far as the eye can see. In the west are the 
beautiful villages of Fairfield and Southport; turning to the north, close at 
hand, was the quaint little town of Black Rock. Toward the east the fast- 
growing and enterprising City of Bridgeport can be plainly seen, with its tall 
spires outlined against the distant hills. 

The air is bracing and invigorating and in the warmest days of mid- 
summer a cool sea breeze is seldom wanting. The absence of all malarial 
diseases and the fact that mosquitoes, those pests of nearly every location 
near salt water, are seldom seen, greatly enchances the desirability of this 
really beautiful spot. 

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lover of souvenir booklet given out by Hotel 
in 1891 


The drawing room and special parlors are spacious; the sleeping apart- 
ments are large, well furnished, and contain large presses or wardrobes. Tran- 
soms are placed over every door, thus affording free circulation of air and 
perfect ventilation. Every room in the Hotel is lighted with gas, and com- 
municates with the office by electric bells. 

The elegant and commodious dining room, as also the children's and 
nurses' dining room, are on the main floor, overlooking the Sound, and are 
large and cool. 

The "cuisine" is under the supervision of an experienced "chef," and the 
table is provided with the delicacies of the season, and the best the market 
affords; milk, butter, eggs and vegetables coming direct from the hotel farms. 

Abundance of fruit grows on the premises, while fish, oysters, clams and 
lobsters are procured daily from adjacent waters. 

The House is connected by telephone and telegraph. Direct communi- 
cation is made with Wall Street by private wire and stock quotations are 
received and posted. Three mails, each way, daily. 


In addition to the regular Wednesday and Saturday hops, the daily con- 
certs which have met with such general approval, will be continued. The 
piazzas overlooking the harbor and Sound are broad and afford a grand 
promenade of over 500 feet. Arrangements have been made to illuminate 
the extensive grounds, which are elegantly laid out for lawn tennis, croquet, 
archery and other out-door amusements while pretty Chinese pagodas and 
large shady trees afford a quiet retreat for those seeking repose. 

A massive sea wall surrounds the entire property extending in length 
over a quarter of a mile crowned by a concrete walk and esplanade. While 
strolling along this pleasant promenade, across on Fayerweather Island 
Black Rock Light is seen, marking the entrance to the harbor. Looking 
Soundward, the pleasure yachts, steamers and sailing vessels present a pano- 
ramic view of marine life unsurpassed by any pleasure resort on this Con- 

The adaption of most careful and perfect improvements in the method 
of drainage has been such as to meet with the highest commendations from 
the best well known sanitary experts. The system is such that not a sewer pipe 
passes under the Hotel, but is conducted at once to the outside, and then by 
iron pipes into the channel, a distance of 2,000 feet, where the swift-flowing 
tide conveys the waste at once away into the Sound. To this, in connection 
with the well known healthfulness of the location, we attribute the remarkable 
fact that during a period of sixteen years, although we have entertained over 
35,000 guests including children there has never been a case of protracted 
or fatal illness at the Hotel." 

The "George Hotel at Black Rock" calls up pleasant memories to many 
folks residing in New England, the Middle Atlantic States and even farther 
away. From the time the hotel was built by George A. Wells in 1876 until its 
closing, about 1900, it was a popular summer resort, the hotel and its several 
cottages, being crowded throughout the season. The Saturday night "hops" 
were attend by be/ies of Bridgeport's beaux and belles. Folks around here 
still remember the long bus that nightly, during the summer season, went from 
the hotel to the old Rosedale landing, returning via Fairfield Avenue, packed 
to the steps with guests from New York, who were visiting for the week-end 
or arriving for the season. Several wagons trailed behind piled with trunks. 

It was about 1902 when the hotel was torn down, but the south wing, 
being of a later date, was thought worth saving. It was removed on scows by 
Treat and Chamberlain, contractors who built the County Court House, taken 
up the creek and eventually set up on Bassick avenue in Bridgeport. Here it 


was converted into stores on the ground floor and tenements above, and may 
be seen on Bassick avenue today, between State and Fairfield avenue, the sole 
material reminder of the good old days when the George Hotel was a popular 
summer hostelry. Warren Briggs, architect, had the contract to raze this popu- 
lar house after the death of Mr. Wells. When doors were closed on the last 
season and "Finis" was written at the end of the register, the hotel and cottages 
were purchased by a syndicate of Black Rock residents, Messrs. Watson, Thorne 
and Pearsall, whose palatial residences were south of the hotel. 

His Private Sea Wall 

Down on the shore, at the entrance to the "rock" proper, stood a building 
known as the Shore House, which had belonged to the Penfield family of Black 
Rock. George A. Wells purchased this and afterwards bought Grover's Hill, 
the famous fortified promontory of Revolutionary days, and in 1876 built 
the hotel, later adding cottages with accommodations for 200 guests in the 
height of the season. The outlook was charming, on clear nights Execution 
light, near New York could be plainly seen, and on clear days houses on Long 
Island were easily visible. Old Mrs. Moore, who used to keep the lighthouse 
on Fayerweather Island, loved to relate about days when the Black Rock cliff 
extended out almost to Penfield Reef, and cows were kept out there to graze, 
where now is deep water. Storms often dashed madly against the clifi^ but 
Mr. Wells had a large stone wall erected which protected his property from 
the biggest ones. One of the tempests however, inflicted severe damage and 
P. T. Barnum, a great friend of Mr. Wells, came over the next day to see the 










damage and sympathize with his friend. P. T. Barnum said "George, I am 
awfully sorry this happened." To which Mr. Wells quickly replied, "Well, 
P.. T., just as much as you are sorry, give me a check. If you are $2,000 sorry, 
all right." 

Twenty yachts came ashore in this storm. Manville, of "Manville Paint" 
fame, had his fine schooner yacht anchored in the harbor, it had cost him 
$50,000. After the storm, the remains were sold for a few hundred dollars. 
The entire dock had been ripped away, and the waves had picked up the yacht 
tossing it down on the standing piles of the wrecked dock. 

The Atlantic Yacht squadron, the New York and the Larchmont Yacht 
clubs always made Black Rock a week-end port on their cruises. This annually 
meaot a big Saturday night hop, attended by many Bridgeporters. Commodore 
Gould always held service Sunday morning on his yacht, Atlanta. An organ 
was on deck and seats furnished for 150 guests. 

A Famous Tallyho 

Many folks still remember seeing the tallyho which Mr. Wells purchased 
from Jim Fiske, New York's once famous financier. It was something of an 
innovation, but Mr. Wells rather doted on innovations. The first bathing 
hous(? on wheels, such as was used at Brighton, England, was imported by 
Mr. Wells and was used on the Black Rock beach. The first oysters taken from 
this country to England were exported by Mr. Wells when he was associated 
with P. T. Barnum, in 1865, the year they took Tom Thumb to Europe. 

Also, the first boat ever propelled by a kite operated by Mr. Wells' son- 
in-law, W. W. Harral, about 1880, was from the George Hotel to Port Jefterson. 
The event created such a stir that the New York Daily Graphic devoted two 
pages to the story of this event. The kite was 9 by 12 feet and was attached 
to the bow of the boat, taking two men to hold the kite. A sail boat following 
the yacht was left far behind. After the wind changed and on the way back, 
making great speed, they passed a schooner. The captain of the schooner 
seeing no person operating the yacht, exclaimed: "My God! It must be the 
Flying Dutchman." 

The old Penfield cottage, after the owners of which Penfield Light was 
named, was purchased by Mr. Wells, put on scows, and moved from its site, 
to the Grover Hill section and was added to the cottage colony of George 
Hotel. This colony included eight cottages, which were built at a cost ranging 
from $8,000 to $15,000, a very good price for building in those days. 

Johnathan Thorne and his neighbor, Mr. Pearsali, purchased some of 
the Grover Hill property from Mr. Wells and erected their handsome resi- 
dences, still standing, south of the residence of the late General T. L. Walton. 
The Thorne and Pearsali mansions were built at a cost approximating a 
quarter of a million each, materially adding to the residential section of the 
point. Among those who rented cottages for many seasons were William 
Pond, music publisher; Hostesser of the "Bitters" fame; Frederick Stern and 
family of New York, the dry goods merchant; and the Cheneys of South 

Sea View Cottage, private residence of George A. Wells 

Manchester, silk manufacturers. These were but a few of the families who 
returned year after year, to this popular hotel, which was under the manage- 
ment of Mr. Wells and his nephews, the Harrals, notably George S. Harral, 
who was manager when the hotel was closed. 

George Was No Saint 

Some one referred to this hotel as the "St. George," not long ago, and 
was corrected promptly with; "You mean the George Hotel, not the St. George. 
It was named for George Wells, and I'd say he was no saint." 

But the fact is, Mr. Wells named the hotel after the George Hotel at 
Stratford-on-Avon, where he often stopped when in England, because it was 
so well conducted. And guests of the George Hotel at Black Reck would agree 
that the hotel lived up to the character of its English namesake. 


Sound Beach Cottage 

The shore house, Mr. Well's first purchase, was used in connection with 
the hotel principally as a bar. There those delectable concoctions of American 
extraction, now but a memory to the general public at large, were mixed and 
dispensed. Excellent shore dinners also were served there. A long wharf led 
out over the water and another walk led to a boat and summer house com- 
bined, which was directly in front of the hotel. When the Watson, Thorne 
and Pearsall syndicate was formed after Mr. Well's death for the purchase of 
the hotel, it was eventually decided to tear down the hotel proper, with the 
exception of the south wing. The cottages and shore house were not removed 
and the old shore house still nestles snugly to the water line much the same 
as it did in the old days But all these have passed, like the hotel, and the shore 
house has subsided into private life and subdued old age. 


The barns and stables were the finest of their day, accommodating over 
100 horses and ample carriage room. The covered court yard gave extensive 
room and facilities for harnessing and unharnessing the horses under cover. 
Horses or carriages could be hired at any time, drives to Greenfield Hill and 
Samp Mortar Rock were popular afternoon drives. 

The hotel stage met all trains and was the only means of transportation 
in those days. 


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Below is the description George Well wrote aboin bis cottages. They are 
now all gone, some torn down, others moved and remodeled. {See house 


The Hawthorn, Sound View, Beach House, Hill Side and Cedar Lawn, 
are owned by the proprietor, and are all contained on about fifty acres belong- 

Hawthorn Cottage 

Cedar Lawn Cottage 


ing to the property; they adjoin the Hotel, are situated on high ground over- 
looking the Sound, have broad piazzas. From the balconies, as also from the 
Hotel, a magnificient view of the Sound can be obtained. All these beautiful 
cottages have been built within the last five years. 

They are elegantly furnished and provided with every modern convenience 
for housekeeping; they are lighted with gas, supplied with running water, hot- 
air furnaces, ranges, etc., and communicate with the George Hotel office by 
electric bells. 

Hill Side Cottage 

liA-^{-^ f'^^T iiipiniiwinniiup^" 

Rose Cottage 

They contain from fifteen to twenty rooms, and no expense has been 
spared in making them the equal of city houses. " . . 

With a view of enabhng families who desire to keep house, these cottages 
can be engaged for the season, and until late in the fall, or they will be rented 
by the season to parties desiring to board at the Hotel, and yet retain the 
privacy of home without the cares of housekeeping. 

1891 — They had 40 trains a day, fastest one — 1 hour 27 minutes. 

1951 — We have 60 trains a day — fastest one — 1 hour 5 minutes. 

Parties desiring deeper water, bath houses and spring boards have been 
placed on the end of Pagoda Pier. 

Sail and row boats can be obtained at all times, and experienced attendants 
will accompany fishing and sailing parties when desired. 

The extensive water frontage and piers afford ample opportunity for in- 
dulgence in aquatic sports. For the accommodation of ladies and children, 
bathing houses have been erected on the sandy beach, where they may bathe at 
any stage of the tide with perfect safety. 


A favorite promenade of the guests is a private pier of the "George," and 
is situated within a stone's throw of the house; is over 500 feet long, and ex- 
tends to the channel, offering a convenient landing at all times to yachtmen, 
who pronounce this harbor one of the finest and safest between New York and 
New London. It has, in consequence, become a favorite rendezvous of the 
various yacht clubs, several of whose craft are usually at anchor immediately 
in front of the Hotel. 



He Was Formerly Associated With P. T. Baruutn as a Showman 

An eventful life full of many experiences and exceeding by five years the 
three-score and ten limit was closed by the death of George A. Wells, which 
occurred yesterday afternoon at his home in Black Rock. For several months 
past Mr. Wells had been in poor health, and for some little time had been 
confined to his home. Death was not totally unexpected, for several times 
during the past few weeks he had been very low. He leaves two daughters, Mrs. 
W. W. Harral and Mrs. W. L. Miller, both of whom reside in this city. Fun- 
eral services over his remains will be held tomorrow afternoon at 2:30 o'clock 
from his former residence in Black Rock. 

Mr. Wells was a native of Stratford, but early in life came to this city. 
He engaged in various pursuits, but some time prior to 1840 opened a large 
boarding and oyster house on Water street, near Bank. This was a successful 
venture, but in the great fire of 1845 the establishment was destroyed. In 1850 
he began his life in the amusement world, in which he made so great a success. 
At that time P. T. Barnum had just brought Jenny Lind before the public and 
selected Mr. Wells to direct her tours. This work he did with such satisfaction 
that at the termination of the contract in 1852 Barnum engaged him for a tour 
of America and Australia as manager of Catherine Hayes, another star. 

His next important position was that of manager of the Tom Thumb 
combination including the general, his wife and Commodore Nutt. In 1862 
General Thumb in company with the then Miss Lavinia Warren, was being 
exhibited by the late Mr. Barnum. Mr. Wells visited the parents of Miss 
Warren at Middleborough, Mass., and secured their consent to the marriage, 
which occurred soon after in this city. He then took the combination and 
visited every city of importance in this country and Europe, the venture making 
him a wealthy man. 

He then returned to this city and retiring from show business began 
his dealings in real estate. Much of this property was disposed of advanta- 
geously through a lottery which he established and which acquired a national 
reputation. Early in the '70's he moved to Black Rock and soon after began 
the erection of the George hotel, which in 1874 was opened for the first time. 
Under his able management it soon became possessed of the reputation for 
excellence, which it still possesses. About two years ago he purchased the 
Hotel St. Marc at Fairfield, but a short time since retired from the management 
of both houses. 


It is now nearly two years since he came prominently before the public in 
connection with Oscar Moore, the colored boy, whose wonderful powers of 
memory amazed all who heard him. Mr. Wells had named him the Human 
Phonograph and intended to make a tour of the country with him, but was 
prevented by his failing health. 

Roou Pl»m or tub 


"OH TlHt bound' 

BwieK RoeK Be/ich, 

George S. Harrall, last living rela- 
tive of George Wells, surrounded 
by the memoirs of his famous 

1 Floob 



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(Top picture) Fayerweather Lighthouse in operation 1808-1932. 

(Lower left) One of the two blinkers that have replaced the Lighthouse. 

(Lower right) Lighthouse Keeper's house on Fayerweather Island. 


Fayerweather's Island was first owned by a Rev. Charles Chauncey and 
sold by him to Benjamin Fayerweather in 1713. The government bought the 
island and built a lighthouse in 1808 in accordance with a Congressional Appro- 
priation of $5,000 which was approved on February 10, 1807. 

The first lighthouse keeper, John Maltbie, died after five months on the 
island. ,; ■ 

The second lighthouse keeper, Captain Isaac Judson, also died on the 
island. He kept the light till his death in October 9, 1814. Stephen T. Moore, 
was appointed lighthouse keeper in 1817 and remained until 1874. Catherine 
Moore was appointed lighthouse keeper after the death of her father, Stephen 
Moore, and retained her post until 1878. She was then 84 years old having 
tended the light since she was 12 years old. This family tended the light for 
over three-quarters of a century. Joseph Eddy was Miss Moore's assistant for 
the last few years. 

On September 22, 1821, a southeast gale washed over the island and 
destroyed the lighthouse and the last of the great trees that at one time covered 
the island. Every vessel in the harbor was washed ashore, one sloop was de- 
masted, one vessel with six men aboard went down, all hands lost. 

On October 28, 1835, the new lighthouse (still standing) was built by 
Daniel Wilson and Downs at a cost of ^^8,000. Leonard Clark was appointed 
Acting Keeper of the lighthouse on December 14, 1878, following Miss Moore. 
Clark became Keeper on February 11, 1880 and was followed by Mary Elizabeth 
Clark, who was made Acting Keeper on March 14, 1906 and was relieved on 
April 5, 1906. Jonathan D. Davis became Assistant Keeper on March 22, 1906, 
was appointed Keeper on May 14, 1906 and remained until 1932, when the 
lighthouse was replaced by automatic blinkers. 

Black Rock Light is among the oldest along Long Island Sound. Its oil 
light, a fixed white light of 350 candle power, was visible for 44 miles. It was 
replaced in 1932 by two automatic blinkers that stand, one 1800 feet farther 
seaward from the old light on a rocky shoal with a large stone foundation and 
by a 40 foot steel tower costing $7,000 and built by the Mouker Contracting 
Company of New York. This tower was blown down in the storm of 1950. 
The second blinker was a 25 foot tower farther in toward the harbor and cost 
$5,000 which still stands. 



In these days so much is said and written 
of the new woman, of what she is doing and 
will do, that one is apt to lose sight of the 
fact that the "old" woman did just exactly 
as much, only there were not quite so many 
of them. 

No woman more fitly illustrates the truth 
of this iconoclastic remark than the light- 
house keeper, Kate Moore, now one of the 
"exempts." She has recently passed her 
ninety-fourth birthday, and until ten years 
ago, when she trimmed her lamps and 
climbed the spiral stairway of the tall tower 
for the last time, the liiiht at the entrance to 
Black Rock Harbor, near Bridgeport, Conn., 
was for many years kept burning by her 

Although now so near the century mark, Miss Moore is still hale and 
hearty. Her hazel eyes are as bright and her intellect as quick as if she were 
thirty, but Father Time has rather outdone himself in writing his stenographic 
characters upon her face, having been aided in this doubtless by Brother Nep- 
tune, for, crossing and recrossing her face are the lines of ten thousand curious 
wrinkles. Time has, however, touched her brown hair with the utmost delicacy; 
it covers her head well and but few silver threads are visible. She still holds 
herself erect, although in her daily walk along the shore she generally carries a 
quaint, knotted staff. 

Her manner of speaking is abrupt, as though she were accustomed to giv- 
ing orders and to having them obeyed. Although deprived of educational ad- 
vantages in the isolated home, where she lived so many years, she became a 
reader of books and was a waiter of her experiences in a most interesting way. 

She is spending her last days quietly in an old-fashioned cottage command- 
ing a magnificient view of the Sound and of Fayerweather Island, on which the 
lighthouse stands. The approach to the cottage is by a flight of six steep steps 
cut into the elevated front yard. A Sunday World reporter who called there was 
met by the old lady herself and invited inside. 

As she talked she held in her arms a cigar-box containing some tiny shells, 
which she had just gathered for use in her fancy work. When asked how it 

KATE MOORE — Interviewed by New York World reporter. 


happened that she selected as her vocation the keeping of a lighthouse, she 
smiled and replied: "Well, I didn't exactly select it; I was brought up to it. 
My father Stephen Tomlinson Moore, was a West Indian merchant, and one 
time, while he was here, he undertook to assist Commodore Hull in getting in a 
load of hay. The oxen ran away, father was injured, and the Government gave 
him the position. Between him and me we kept the lighthouse in our family for 
seventy-two years. No doubt, that seems a very long time to you; but I can 
remember further back than that. 

"At that time the island was very different from what it is now. It was a 
fine piece of land of two hundred acres, with plenty of trees, while now it has 
but eight acres and has no foliage except the ailanthus trees which I set out 
twenty years ago. I planted one hundred and fifty, and many of them are still 
living. They're fit for nothing but a sand beach, anyway, you know. 

"I've heard my father say that when my grandfather, Robert Moore, first 
sailed into Black Rock Harbor — or rather Pequonnock Harbor, it was then — 
the island was quite a forest. He held a commission under King George, and he 
married Phoebe Tomlinson, of the Housatonic River. I suppose you know that 
the Tomlinsons came to this country and bought a whole township on the 
Housatonic .'* 

"As I was saying, the island has been ruined by gales since then. Every 
fifty years these great gales come, the waves dashing clear over the island, and 
on January 19, 1820, the last of the old trees was swept away. The lighthouse 
itself blew over once. I don't remember just what year it was," she said, mus- 
ingly, "but I know it was on September 22. It was a dreadful thing to have 
happen, for this was then the only light on the Connecticut side of Long Island 
— the only light between New Haven and Eaton Neck — and was of course 
of inestimable value to mariners. 

"Sometimes there were more than two hundred sailing vessels in here at 
night, and some nights there were as many as three or four wrecks, so you may 
judge how essential it was that they should see our light. 

"It was a miserable one to keep going, too; nothing like those in use nowa- 
days. It consisted of eight oil lamps which took four gallons of oil each night, 
and if they were not replenished at stated intervals all through the night, they 
went out. During very windy nights it was almost impossible to keep them 
burning at all, and I had to stay there all night, but on other nights I slept at 
home, dressed in a suit of boys' clothes, my lighted lantern hanging at my head- 
board and my face turned so that I could see shining on the wall the light from 
the tower and know if anything happened to it. Our house was forty rods from 


the lighthouse, and to reach it I had to walk across two planks under which on 
stormy nights were four feet of water, and it was not any too easy to stay on 
those slippery, wet boards with the wind whirling and the spray blinding me. 
I don't want to do it now," she said with a shake of her head. 

"At what age did you begin the care of the light?" 

"I was just twelve years old when I first began to assist my father in trim- 
ming the wicks. A few years after that his health began to fail and from then on 
I was practically the keeper. He died fourteen years ago at the age of one hun- 
dred, after having been an invalid for a great many years. The commission was 
then given to me for eight years — Admiral Case, of the United States Navy 
secured it for me — but I only remained four years." 

"Did you stay during that time entirely alone.'*" 

"Generally; although I had a young boy to assist me at times. But I never 
had much time to get lonely. I had a lot of poultry and two cows to care for, 
and each year raised twenty sheep, doing the shearing myself, and the killing 
when necessary," she said, as though butchering were quite an everyday affair 
with women. "You see in the winter we couldn't get on land on account of the 
ice being too thin or the water too rough. 

"Then in Summer I had my garden to make and keep, for I raised all my 
own stuff, and, as we had to depend on rain for all the water we used, quite a 
bit of time was consumed in looking after that. We tried a number of times to 
dig for water, but always struck salt." 

"Didn't you find the life a hard one.''" 

"No. I don't think I did. You see, I had done all this for so many years, 
and I knew no other life, so I was sort of fitted for it. I never had much of a 
childhood as other children have it. That is, I never knew playmates. Mine 
were the chickens, ducks and lambs and my two Newfoundland dogs." 

"Do you ever feel homesick for your island home?" 

"Never. The sea is a treacherous friend. In sailing to Georgia one time 
I was blown to the West Indies, and I've no love for such things." 

"Is it true. Miss Moore, that you have, yourself saved twenty-one lives?" 

"It is," she said, modestly, "and I wish it had been double that number. 
Of course, there were a great many others, washed up on the shore, half dead, 
whom we revived, and they all stayed with us until they received means with 
which to leave. They used to eat up all our provision, and Government never 
paid us a cent for boarding them." 

47 ' 

"Were many of the dead washed onto your beach?" A look as though she 
saw the ghastly faces came into Miss Moore's eyes; she shuddered and made a 
little gesture with her hands, as she exclaimed: 

"Hundreds! We had to keep them too, until Government chose to dispose 
of them." 

Miss Moore owns the property on which she lives, and has besides, it is 
said, a bank account of |7 5,000, all of which she accumulated during her 
recluse existence, when her expenses were necessarily small. A part of her little 
fortune was acquired, so the natives say, through interests which she controlled 
in oyster beds near the island, the planting, gathering and seeding for market, 
all being conducted under her supervision. She boasts that she has never seen 
the day she was afraid of a man. When piratically inclined oystermen or clam- 
diggers attempted to venture on her soil, she was on the lookout and even 
though the invader came well protected she would man her little boat, and, 
with an old shotgun that was her constant companion, row out and cause a 
hasty retreat by the offender. She rarely wasted words on such an occasion. 

"I represent the United States Government and you've got to go!" was her 
terse way of putting it, and she was invariably obeyed. - 

Another industry by which she added to her dollars was the making of 
ducks. They were sold not only to visitors to the island as souvenirs, but the 
the demand for them became so great among sportmen that Miss Moore fre- 
quently had orders from dealers for two or three barrels of them at a time. 
When asked how she made them she replied: 

"Why, I just took two blocks of wood and carved them out with a knife. 
It didn't take long to make one, and I liked to do it. I often worked at them 
in the nights that I had to stay up." 

During the interview the subject of genealogy came up. In this it appears, 
Miss Moore is quite an enthusiast. 

"My mother was descended from the Plantagenets," she said proudly, 
"and Baron Boothe, of England, is also one of my ancestors, as is Gen. David 

As her visitor arose to leave Miss Moore said: 

"And did the "New York World" send you all the way up here just to 
see me?" 

"It certainly did, "he answered, "and had you been further away I should 
have been sent just the same." 

48 . 

"Well, well," she said slowly, nodding her head with each word, and then 
added, with apparently much commiseration: 

"But it's too bad you didn't know when I was visiting my sister in 
Brooklyn, and saved yourself this long journey." 

With cordial invitations to "come again whenever you can," the reporter 
said good-by to this very interesting but by no means new woman. 

Home of KATE MOORE after she left the Fayerweather Light- 
house. She lived there until her death about the year 1900. 
After Miss Moore, the property was owned by W. W. Welslo, 
until it was torn down in 1930. It was located at the foot of 
Brewster Street, across from Fancher's Dock and the Fayerweather 
Yacht Club. 

— Photo courtesy of Mrs. Verna Priestly 


(Top) Present School built in 1905; (left center) First school 1675-1831; (lower left) 
School built in 1831; Auxiliary Black Rock School built in 1893-1905. 




The first Black Rock public school was a low, one-room building with two 
doors and a pot-bellied stove near the front door. 

The older children sat on benches in front of their desks, which were along 
the two long sides of the room in front of the windows. The little tots sat on 
low benches facing the teacher. The building was located on a green at the 
intersection of Brewster Street and Grovers Avenue. Mr. William Wheeler, 
was the teacher for many years. (1789-1817). 

The school was in continuous use until 1841 when it was sold to Arthur 
Smith, who moved it off the green on to a lot next to the new school and made 
it into living quarters. It was finally torn down in 1920 — then being well 
over 200 years old. 

1818- 1827 

The Black Rock Academy was a two-room schoolhouse, 30"x20" which 
stood on the site of the present public playground. (Brewster and Ellsworth). 
This was a private school. 

February 17, 1831 

Black Rock voted 300 dollars for a new schoolhouse and 40 dollars for 
land. In October 1841, the school was opened. It was a two-story building 
with a belfry. It was torn down in 1923, after serving for 82 years. 

Other old schools in Black Rock were the Dr. Beach Singing School — 
1785; Staples Free School — 1793, which lasted only five months in Black 
Rock. It was donated by Mr. Staples of Weston. An Act of Assembly ordered 
it moved to Weston where later it was called the Weston Academy. Mr. 
William Wheeler was the first headmaster at 166 dollars a year. 


This was originally the barn of the Hackley estate. It was all that was 
left of the Hackley Estate that was burned. The barn was later bought by 
Joseph Smith and moved to Hackley Street and made into a home. It was 
located where the present playground is situated on Ellsworth and Brewster 



In 1829 a select school was organized. It first held classes in the upper 
floor of the carriage shop. Later it had its own building in Smith's Lane (now 
Calderwood Place) . Mrs. Joseph Bartram and Mrs. Benjamin Penfield con- 
ducted the school. 

The present Black Rock Public School was built in 1905 v/ith an addition 
in 1911 and the final addition, with the assembly hall and playground, in 1923- 

Teachers of Black Rock School 

Prior to 1865, some of the teachers were Alanson Allen, Mrs. Jones, Miss 
Browne, and Miss Susan Mills (Allen) 

1865 Mr. Hill ^ .-. . 

1869 Mr. Middleton 

1870 Grade 1, Miss Preston 
1883 Grade 6, Minnie F. Ford 
1885-1890 Miss Carpenter • ■ 

Miss Rose Lathrop 
1891 Grade 4, Mary S. Mixson 

Grade 3, M. Alice Gould 

1893 Grade9, Mary S. Mixson (Prin.) 
Grade 3, Emily C. Brown 

1894 Mary S. Mixson (Prin.) 
Grade 3, Anne H. Crandall 

1895 Grade 9, Carrie P. Hammond (Prin.) 
Grade 3, Anne H. Crandall 

1896 Grade 4-7, Carrie P. Hammond (Prin.) 
Grade 1-3, Anne H. Crandall 

1897 Grade 4-7, J. Hattie Holzer (Prin.) Mrs. Darr Whitney, 
Rose Harrington (Assistant) 

Grade 1-3, Anne H. Crandall 
1900-1905 Miss Anne Drew Hallock (Mrs. Frank Miller of the 

Frank Miller Lumber Company) 
1900-19 18 Miss Fannie G. Sturges (Mrs. Bert Rigers) 
1905-1922 Miss Levi 
1923-1924 Miss Little (Mrs. Joe Yates) 
1924-to date Miss Ida Holroyd (Prin.) 

The school enrollment in 1925 was 902; in 1954 — 430. 


As told by iMrs. Helen Lockwood Alansfield of North Haven, Conn., 
who went to school there. 

It was a low one-room building with two doors to entry, one on either 
side of the stove. The stove was at the entry end of the room and the teacher's 
desk at the other, unless it was very cold, then he or she would move it nearer 
to the stove. 

The older children sat on benches in front of their desks, which were 
along the two long long sides of the room in front of the windows, with their 
backs to the room. 

The plank benches were held up by stout hickory sticks, which spread at 
their contact with the floor. 

The little tots sat on low benches facing the teacher. 

Arthur Smith's father bought the old school house, moved it over on his 
property and made it over into a dwelling (which was used as such until about 

The following ivas taken frofn a letter ivritten hi 1927/8, by 
Mrs. Arthur Smith of Black Rock: 

Known as the lirst school house at Black Rock, it originally stood on the 
green (in the triangle at the intersection of Grovers Avenue and Black Rock 
Avenue (now Brewster Street), across from the one you saw in the past, how 
many years before I don't know. At that time there was a private school in 
what used to be called Smith's Lane (now Calderwood Place), where the 
Smith boys came up with me. I went there to school. 

When the new school house was built there was a fight between the 
Smiths and the Bartrams. 

My father bought the old school house and moved it over onto the lot 
my mother owned and made it over into a house, that is all I can tell you 
about the school afl^airs. 

From the time of the school on the green there has been no building on 
the ground. 

— File of Fairfield Historical Society 
Fairfield, Conn. 
Copied by Edna H. Forsyth, Curator 
from typed copy. 


Vieu'S of 
Gilman's Club House (Uter kuowu as champ's Shore House) 

(Reading from left to right — Top) Originally indoor riding rink, later a roller skating 

rink. Swimming pool. Lounge Club House. 
(Second row) : Bowling alley, Ballroom, East view of Club House. 
(Third row) South view of Manor House, North view of Manor House, North view 

of Club House.. 

(Bottom) East view of Manor House, Lounge in Manor House, Bedroom in Manor 

GEORGE F. GILMAN— 1859- 1901 

In 1859, George Gilman and George Hartford entered into partnership 
to sell tea. The partnership flourished very quickly and Gilman ceased active 
participation and retired to Black Rock. The company grew into the gigantic 
Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company. Prior to the forming of the A & P Tea 
Company, Gilman was a wealthy leather merchant and social playboy. Hart- 
ford was a poor merchant. 

George F. Gilman was born in Waterville, Maine in 1828. He died in 
1901 in Black Rock at the age of 73. 

Nathaniel Gilman, father of George F. Gilman had been in the leather 
business and when George was a youth, went to New York City to Gold Street 
behind the present World Building in New York, and established himself in 
the same business. When George grew up his father set him up in the tea, 
coffee, spices and baking powder business on Spring Street at Vesey. A retail 
house under the name of the Great American Tea Company, continued through 
42 years of Gilman's consistent prosperity to be the main headquarters of the 
later Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company. Tea was sold by wagon routes, 
and every one who bought a half pound received a premium which, when 
enough had been accumulated, was redeemed for china. The premium had 
a picture of a grandmother, said to have been Gilman's own. He sold exclu- 
sively for cash and all stock was inventoried at cash prices. A team of white 
horses drew his products through the streets and his wagons and stores were 
always painted red. Gilman believed in the power of visual advertising. With 
the aid of his partner and manager George H. Hartford, he opened successive 
stores throughout the country, until he had 290. Then he refused to add one 
more to this chain. His first store was at 290 Spring Street. His post office 
box was 290. There was for him magic in the number and he refused to change 
his luck. A store had to be closed to open an additional one. 

Gilman came to Black Rock with his wife. Legend does not say who 
recommended the spot to him but he thought it good for his health, and 
soothing to his 60 year old nerves. His first home in the section was on Grovers 
Avenue in the old colonial house built by Nehemiah Burr in 1762. On 
November 7, 1894, the house was burned to the ground and Mr. Gilman and 
his servants narrowly escaped in the middle of the night. Occupants were 
obliged to jump from the upper windows to save their lives. One of these 
injured was Mrs. Bertha Chapman, almost constant hostess and chaperon for 
his house parties. Her daughter later became the socialite Mrs. Gould Brokaw, 
and still later Mrs. Roelker of Providence and Newport. The "New York 


Herald's," James Gordon Bennett's journal, said the house and its contents 
were valued at $80,000 and that Mr. Gilman was covered by $50,000 worth of 
insurance. A local journal of the period said the house was worth $20,000 with 
its contents. For the time being, Mr. Gilman was given sanctuary in the Pen- 
field home nearby, which he later occupied and then abandoned for the Charles 
Riven house on Ellsworth Street, the latter because there was a plentiful supply 
of tin bathtubs, an innovation of the era. When Mr. Gilman built his new 
manor house, known as the Gilman House, he put a bathroom between every 
other room. 

Lillian Nordica, greatest of Brunhildes with whom he claimed distant 
kinship, was a frequent guest and sang to his guests in the beautiful music 
room. Nordica was a Maine girl known as Miss Lily Norton, before she made 
fame as an operatic soprano. George Burroughs Torrey, Bridgeport's painter 
par excellence and his first wife, were frequent guests. Gilman was one of the 
early Torrey enthusiasts, in which affection he showed more discrimination 
and taste than in his sponsorship of later mediocre copyists. Isable Irving, 
Bridgeport's boast, and her sister Evangeline, were guests at the Gilman man- 
sion, and Mr. and Mrs. Blakely Hall, among others. She was the famous 
Helen Potts Hall.. 

Gilman assembled his society friends about him and got commissions for 
the young Carl Blenner, son of the New Haven pickle maker. Blenner painted 
beautiful women in the manner of Torrey, and Gilman adored beautiful wo- 
men. Gilman undoubtedly started Blenner on the road to fame. He arranged 
a roomful of his works at the Hillside seminary, under auspices of the Ceramic 
Art Club of Bridgeport. Blenner also painted the young Chauncey Depew, 
son of the master after-dinner speaker, who was a friend, and legend says, 
sometimes a guest of the Gilman's. 

Gilman's mansion was well staffed. His cuisine was unexcelled. He had 
an entourage of seven. The famous "John" whom a few knew as possessing 
a patrynomic of Gustasson, was butler major domo, of his establishment and 
was with him for years. His servants all adored the handsome well-set, heavily 
built six-footer, weighing 175 pounds, with a smooth shaven face in an era 
when Dundrearys and mustachios were most formidable. He gave big Christ- 
mas parties for his help and presented them with good-sized boxes of A & P 
Tea and the inevitable coupon which made his fortune. In this casual survey 
of a genuinely remarkable man, it is impossible to tell whether he pioneered 
in the presentation of coupons for tea and coffee premiums. He was certainly 


V^eu's of 
Gilman's Manor House 

(Top) : Gilman Carriage, photo showing the changing of horses in Milford while on 
a day's excursion. 

(Center, left to right) : Turkish Baths, Kitchens, Greenhouse. 

(Bottom, left to right) : Porch, solarium and dining room of Manor House. Exterior of 
Manor House viewed from Seaside Avenue. 


one of the earliest of the merchants who realized the magic of an accumulation 
of these little coupons which would obtain for their holders, cups and saucers 
and dishes of all sorts. 

He seldom expressed himself as to his philosophy of his business, but from 
time to time there trickled through the channels of the business world, such 
facts as his insistence that each of his stores, an entity in itself, should return 
a minimum gross profit of $1 a day. This profit was probably larger when to 
the stores returns was added the immense trade of the itinerant tea, coffee and 
spice vendors, as ubiquitous an incident of the American scene of the nineties 
as the traveling butcher and baker and dry goods peddler. However quiet in 
person this amazing chain store millionaire boasted there was nothing unob- 
structive about his stores and his wagons they being always painted red. 

When the histories of vast and unique American ventures are written, 
Gilman must take his place with the great merchant princes, Wanamaker, 
Selfridge, Steward and Straus.. 

He was inconspicuous in his charity, never letting his left hand know what 
his right was doing. He provided for many families in his vicinity and was slyly 
averse to anyone knowing of his good deeds. 

The house was something of an earmark of its owner. Gilman called 
Edward C. Greening, acountant for his local nephew George Smith, and pro- 
ferring him paper and pencil, asked him to draw an oblong box. This was the 
basic design of the structure.. Long corridors ran through the center of the 
house, on the three floors. Kitchens were added to this crude facsimile of an 
architect's plan, a conservatory was patched on the porches and portecocheres 
wantonly added, like currants to gingerbread, at the whim of the imperious 

How much the house cost him was never determined. It was not let by 
contract. Day labor built it, hence its cost was huge. It was wholly in subdued 
taste, the piece de resistance being the drawing room or grand salon. This 
was paneled in heavy brown oak. On the ceilings were painted, cupids, bow- 
knots, and birds on wing, done by a local artist. Miss "Essie" Sautell, who later 
became Mrs. Griswold. It was the era of Bouguereau, the French painter, intro- 
duced at the World's Fair in 1893. America was coming of age in art, when 
the insipid boudoir charm of the trivial and artificial French school, its bac- 
chantes and nymphs and chaste goddesses, was in apogee. 

The millionaire tea merchant was an expansive host, an inveterate enter- 
tainer and the multiplicity of guest rooms, all opening upon the long corridors, 
testified to his hospitable manifestations. 


Although he was unmistakably an art lover and helped many young artists 
by buying their paintings he had an aversion for photographs. His aversion for 
photographs was no less emphatic than his aversion for mirrors. He never 
looked into one. He refused to permit them even over the mantles in the 
bedrooms which the style of the period inevitably imposed. He had a similar 
aversion for clocks, never v/anted to know the time of day and lesser hatred 
was directed against telephones, just then coming into common use. He hated 
to be reminded of the passage of time. He never looked at a funeral passing, 
and though a philosopher of some parts, a man who could quote the economist, 
Adam Smith, with startling recollections, he would not permit discussion of 
anything that approached the subject of death in his presence. His friend and 
protege, Carl Blenner, the painter of beautiful women, one time fell ill in his 
home and he packed him off immediately to a hospital lest he be reminded of 
illness or witness his death. 

He was not precisely a lord of the manor, but he was a grand host. How- 
ever, if he were suddenly called to New York on business for the Great Atlantic 
and Pacific, of which he remained part owner until his death, he was nothing 
loth to pack oft every guest in the house and close it up. His horses were at 
the disposal of his guests and the stable was one of the finest outside of Pierre 
Lorillard's in the Ramapos. His love of horse flesh was almost congenital. 
When he died in 1901, the Waterville Journal recalled his boyhood and young 
manhood in the town, when he drove a span of white horses, delivering his 
produce. Later, in Black Rock he often sat on the box and directed his tally-ho 
to Newport or Old Point. 

The presence of youthful guests subdued his fear of old age. Barry Wall, 
the beau of America, best dressed man in the world, was his frequent guest 
with Mrs. Wall. 

Gilman feared making a will and when he died there was a contest over 
his estate. Nine nephews and nieces, children of his half brothers and sisters, 
received legacies which they took as shares in the Company, later to sell them 
with the reorganization of the A & P, under Hartford's management. Of the 
large family of 14 brothers and sisters of two families, none now remain in 
these parts. Oilman's stepmother had been Johanna Boyd, niece of the first 
governor of Maine and he was proud of his conferred heritage, often speaking 
of it to his guests at Black Rock. 

Mr. Gilman died on March of 1901 after which the estate changed hands 
several times and most of the pasture land was sold. Simon Lake, the inventor 
of the submarine, owned the estate for several years. The Manor house was 


converted into a residence Club for business men, offering a putting green and 
tennis court. The Club became Champ's Shore House and was the scene of 
many banquets, parties and outings. It was used as a roller skating rink. For 
many years, it was called Floral Park. It later became a rest home called Rest 
Haven. The building was torn down in 1937 to make room for new homes. 

Original Village Shop — This 
house was owned by George F. 
Oilman (later of the A & P Tea 
Co., chain stores) . The house was 
located at the present driveway of 
the Burroughs Home on Ells- 
worth Street. The building was 
moved to its present site and 
made into a dwelling by Joseph 
Smith in 1912. 

HAMILTON HOUSE — Ellsworth Street, stood on the site of 
the Burroughs Home. Mr. Hamilton was an executive with the 
A & P Tea Co., and started there as a tea tester. The house was 
divided into two and moved to the present location in 1910 by 
Joseph Smith. 


1766 — The Joseph Silliman homestead (7) 

(Photographed 1873) 

Because Black Rock was so intimately connected with shipping on the 
Sound, it became the nautical center of this section and many members of 
prominent families in Fairfield and Bridgeport took to the sea for their liveli- 


TURPENTINE FACTORY — Located near the docks. It had a tall brick smokestack which was erected in 1869. 
Loads of Carolina Yellow Pine were discharged at Fancher's Dock. Turpentine, tar and acetic acid were extracted 
at the Factory. The Harrison family, in the copper smithing business in New Jersey, acquired the Turpentine 
Factory and operated it until it burned in 1880. 

View of lower Brewster St. taken 
about 1930 by Mrs. Priestly. On the 
right is the Homeburg house, which 
is now Fayerweather Yacht Club. 
In the center, the Fancher house, 
which is still standing. On the left, 
the Kate Moore house, torn down 
in 1930. 

FANCHER HOUSE— Haviland St. (Located Fancher's 
Dock next to Fayerweather Yacht Club). Built by 
Hezekiah Osborn (1772-1846). Early in the nineteenth 
century, he came from Mill Plain in Fairfield and had 
a waterlot surveyed for him "on a wharf lot belonging 
to John Wheeler" where he erected a home from which 
vantage point he managed a store and wharf until 1834 
when he moved to New York. After this, the house 
was occupied by three generations of Fanchers. Captain 
Charles H. Fancher was born in this house in 1855. 

GOULD HOUSE - 1875 — 121 Seabright Avenue. 
The house was built by two brothers, William and 
George Gould. Their father's house stood next to the 
Seeley house on Ellsworth Street. The south side of the 
house was owned by Willam and he sold it to Joseph 
Smith about 1906. The north side belonged to George 
who sold it to Hugo Keller in 1901. Mr. Keller still 
lives there. The Goulds w^ere builders who built St. 
Mary's-by-the-Sea Church. 

59 I iL\\Ui h b rcL — 1840 Sturges W. Seeley ( IS.'t- 
90')) was a shipbuilder in the Black Rock shipyards, 
ought his property from William Wheeler; 1905 
lartha Seeley Harrison (1838-1923) Mr. Harrison was 
coppersmith whose family came from New York 
here they owned a coppersmith plant. They took over 
le turpentine factory and operated it until it burned in 
SSO; 1923 Nelson Harrison took over family home and 
ill lives there; Standing at the fence are Mr. and Mrs. 
turges W. Seeley. Photograph taken about 1900 — fence 

gone but otherwise house has not changed. 
»n porch are Mr. and Mrs. Sturges Seeley. By bicycle is 
*Jelson Harrison. Photograph taken about 1900 — house 
as not changed. 

.5* %^ 

267 Ellsworth Street — 1853 Cyrus P. Spencer; 1888 
Hatty Spencer Rodgers (Rodgers was a blacksmith); 
1900 Sold to Pahy Dowling who was in the Rum busi- 
ness and for many years had a saloon at Railroad via- 
duct and Fairfield Avenue; 1917 Mrs. Mary Dowd 
(Dowd was a coachman for Mrs. Morris and Dr. Hull). 

ALLEN HOUSE — 213 Ellsworth St. Captain Charles 
Allen built house in 1850. He was a sea captain and the 
son of a sea captain. His uncle was Alanson Allen. He 
lived in the house until his death in 1911- The house 
was left to his daughter, Sarah, the wife of Joseph 

li'j'ff'r'fJ !'i 1 : 

lAYMOND HOUSE — 245 Ellsworth Street. Curtis 
I. Raymond built house in 1856. He was a boatbuilder 
md worked at the Hull Shipyard in Black Rock. Curtis 
•Raymond had one son, Henry C. Raymond, who mar- 
ked in 1898 and brought his wife to Black Rock. Mrs. 
ilaymond still lives in the house. She was 94 on 
April 25, 1953. Mr. Raymond was a foreman on the 
Bartram Estate. 


WALKER HOUSE — 250 Ellsworth Street. The house 
was built by Oliver Walker in 1840. Mr. Walker was 
a partner in the Walker-Rew Shipyard. The house was 
bought by Fred Britton, a distant cousin of John Brit- 
ton. The house, for many years, was the home of Mr. 
and Mrs. Flicker, owner of the Bridgeport Post. It is at 
present owned by Joseph Taylor. 

SMITH HOUSE — 227 Ellsworth Street. The house 
was built by Isaac W. Jones (1806-1863), about 1845. 
The house then had a flat roof. Joseph Smith (1853- 
1942) married Sarah W. Allen, daughter of Captain 
Allen, who lived next door. House was passed to Mrs. 
J. E. Hurlburt, his daughter, in turn it passed to her 
daughter, Mrs. Viola Hurlburt Carpenter. 

BURROUGHS HOME — 228 Ellsworth Street. The 
house was built by Oliver Burr in 1850. His sister, Abi- 
gail, married David Lockwood and lived across the 
street. In 1860 D. Burroughs bought the house and for 
two generations his family lived there. In 1942 was sold 
to Mrs. Eugene Burns, who lives there at present. 

BRADY HOUSE — 283 Brewster St. The house was 
built by George Palmer in 1840. In 1850 Daniel Gold- 
ing bought the house. He came to Black Rock to man- 
age the tide mills at Ash Creek and built a house on the 
island by the mill. Later he bought this house. Goldingj 
changed his name to Goldin because the original form 
of Golding couldn't fit on the barrels of flour and for 
business convenience dropped the final "G" — therefore 
Goldin. In 1860 James Brady bought the house. The 
house passed to his son, William H. Brady, upon his 
death. Willam Brady lived in the house with his sister, 
Sara, until his death in 1950. In 1950 the house was 
sold to Julius Renn. 

Street. Captain James Wilson 1767 purchased land from 
Ezra and Ichabod Wheeler and built the house now 
standing. The property was sold in 1775 to Captain 
Ebenezer Bartram who during the Revolution served 
actively in the defense of the Connecticut shore. After 
his death, his son remained in the home until 18 If 
when upon his removal to Westmoreland, N.Y., the 
house was sold to William Hoyt and Sullivan Moulton 
(of Greenwich) . Captain Daniel Wilson later purchased 
the house which remained in his family until after the 
death of his daughter, Catherine (Wilson) Morrison, 
early in the twentieth century. The present owner is 
Joseph Herman. 


WILLIAM WHEELER. Jk. HOIM;. 1840 — 81 
Hackley St. This house was built by Willam Wheeler. 
Jr., in 1840. He was the great-great grandson of 
Thomas Wheeler, who first settled in Black Rock in 
1649. L'pon William Wheeler's death in 1879, it was 
sold to George Oilman, who later sold it to Joseph 
Smith, who retained it until his death when his grand- 
son, Joseph Hurlburt, obtained it. Mr. Hurlburt lives 
there now. 

SMITH HOUSE— 118 Ellsworth Street. Built by Arthur 
Smith 1893. Mr. Smith was born 1847 and went to sea 
at an early age. He became a captain at 17 of a two- 
masted schooner in the New England Trade. He later 
\\'ent into the coal business and then began the Smith's 
Express which he carried on until his death in 19.''?. 
Arthur Smith was the son of Elizabeth Allen and David 
Smith (who was a builder and built many of the old 
houses in Black Rock.) Elizabeth was the daughter of 
Alanson Allen, one of the earliest settlers. The house 
is now owned hv Mrs. Bessie Smith Hubhcll. 


iilllTTON HOL'SE — Ellsworth itrccL It wa.s built in l83o bv Captain John Picrson Brittt.n. (1803- 
1878). He left the house to his son. John NX'illiam Britton (1836-1911). After his death it was left 
to his second wife. Rebecca Brewster ^"alker Britton, who remained there until her death in 1936. 
The house has been rebuilt several times and finally two houses were made from it. 

ELLSWORTH HOUSE — 115 Ellsworth Street. Built 
by Verdine Ellsworth (1791-1871)) about 1840. It has 
been the parsonage for the Black Rock Congregational 
Church for almost 100 years. Ellsworth Street was 
named after this family. 

CASSIDY HOUSE — 691 Ellsworth Street (Corner of 
Crowther Avenue.) The Cassidy family moved to this 
house in 1898. Burr family lived there before them and 
the Warren family before the Burr family. 


RONSON HOUSE — 237 Brewster Street. Thomas 
Ronson was a merchant in Black Rock and la'^er moved 
to Bridgeport. He died in 1888. His wife Catherine, was 
the daughter of Captain Job Bartram (Note his funeral 
expenses under Bartram story.) House was once owned 
by the George F. Oilman Estates. The present owner is 
Mrs. Eva R. Meyer. 

ST. ANNS PARISH HOUSE — 481 Brewster Street. 
This was the former home of Joseph J. Ciglar who built 
the house about 1910 on the site of the W. L. Burr 
homestead. The Burr homestead was moved down to 
Britton Avenue by Joseph Smith. (Pictured on Page 68.) 

259 BREVC'STER STREET — The house was built b\ 
David Smith in 1843, who married Elizabeth Allen 
The house was sold in 1860 to William Mather who in 
turn sold it to J. Brady in 1867. In 1894 James Brad\ 
sold the house to Charles H. Fancher along with tht 
barn on 3 Calderwood Avenue, which has since been 
remodeled into a home and lived in by the W. J. Nolan 
family. The house passed to Mildred Fancher on her 
father's death and she in turn sold it to Joseph Sievers. 


ALLEN HOLISE— 291 Brewster Street. This house was 
built in 1850 by G. Shelton. In 1875 it was sold to 
James E. Allen, who came from Boston and was a gard- 
ener for Thorne and Oilman. His two sons, James E. 
Allen and William M. Allen, still live in the house 

BURROUOH'S HOME — Fairfield Avenue at Ells- 
worth Street — Built 1903. The Home was started by 
Catherine Burroughs PettengiU, one of Bridgeport's 
first and most generous philanthropists, in 1887, for un- 
married women, widows, in her father's old homestead 
on John St., Bridgeport. In 1903 the present structure 
was built. The above photo shows it as it appeared. 
Note trolley tracks and unpaved street. The Hamilton 
Estate was located previously on this site, the house 
being moved to new location on Ellsworth Street, by 
Albert Borgman shortly after it was built. 

1800 — The Gershom Sturges-Benjamin Penfield Homestead (9) 

(Photographed 1897) 

PENFIELD HOUSE — 105 Beacon Street. The Penfield Homestead was continuously in the Penfield family from 
1836 until about 1942 when it was sold to Marc Bendick, a New York consulting engineer. During the Rev- 
olutionary War, the house was a tavern, and many are the stories told of the gay affairs held there. Old folks 
declare that in the ball room, once a part of the house but now long since destroyed, was a spring floor, which 
yielded to the steps of the dancers. How George B. Sturges acquired the house is not known, but in 1836, Ben- 
jamin Penfield, a well-known sea captain of his time, purchased the dwelling from him. Four years later, his 
energetic wife supervised the remodeling of the entire building to suit her fancy. The house was stripped to its 
framework, and that is the reason the heavy old beams are now imbedded in the walls and not in relief as one 
would expect to find them. Mrs. Penfield also laid out the orchard. The smoke-room and storage room for hams 
and bacon she retained against the face of the chimney in the attic, and, as they were built of brick they are still 
in excellent condition. Upon the death of Captain and Mrs. Penfield, their daughter, who had married Captain 
George Penfield, her cousin, and also a noted sea captain, inherited the building. The house was later willed to 
Mrs. George Penfield's grand-niece, Mrs. Cornelia Penfield Lathrop. The house overlooks Black Rock harbor, 
once thought to be growing into a really great commercial seaport. The rooms are sunny and large, and there is a 
wide hall, in which a beautifully curved mahogany balustrade follows the staircase. Much care was taken in the 
wood work, which is marked with simple ornamentation. There are many small quaint closets, and several of ample 
size. The kitchen, with its huge fireplace and mammoth ovens, was recently done over to conform with modern 
housekeeping. The house is a well-known landmark to residents of Black Rock. 


70 Garden Terrace, Corner of Oilman Street. This was one of the Oilman Houses built about 1880, 
James Duhigg, manager of the Oilman grounds, lived here. It has since been greatly remodeled and 
the present owners are William Bird and Carl Bergman. 

REW HOUSE - 1840 — 318 Orovers Avenue. Built 
by Rev. Edward T. Rew (1821-1889). His son, Edward 
and Eliphaiet Walker, formed the REW-WALKER 
Shipyard, which built many fine schooners that sailed 
out of Black Rock. House was later owned by James 
Carr who was the boss carpenter of the Oilman estate. 
In 1895 William White, a stone cutter, bought the 
house. The present owner is A. H. Ritsul. 

LEWIS BURR HOISE - 120 Britton Avenue. The 
house was built by Woodruff Lewis Burr (1830-1903) 
in I860. He was the son of Lewis Burr, who operated 
the Burr Coal Company and the middle wharf on Sea- 
bright Avenue. The house stood where St. Ann's Church 
is now and was moved to present location by Joseph 
Smith to make room for a home built by Joseph Ciglar. 
The home is owned at present by Mr. H. M. Worthing. 

KNAP-BURR HOUSE — 48.^: Brewster Street, it was 
given to Captain Wilson Knap by his father Ebenezer 
Knap in 1813. Captain Knap's heirs sold it in 1830 to 
Lewis Burr (1806-1886). The Burr family remained in 
house for 75 years. The present owned is Dr. J. G. 

5 Calderwood Avenue — ■ Iht house was built in 1838 
The Aaron Smith family lived here. The street was first 
called Smith Lane but was later named Calderwood , 
after his wife's maiden name. The present owner is 
H. J. Thompson. 


Built by John Wheeler in 1720 

268 BREWSTER STREET— The oldest house in Black 
Rock. 1720 John Wheeler (1664-1754) built the house 
for his oldest son, John Wheeler (1694-1725); 1725 
upon death of John Wheeler, it passed to his daughter, 
Abigail Wheeler; 1745 upon death of Abigail Wheeler, 
it passed to her uncle, Thomas Hill; 1750 Thomas Hill 
sold house to Captain Ichabod Wheeler; 1799 house 
was deeded by Captain Wheeler to his grand-daughter 
Debby Squire, "for care and service in my house since 
1793"; 1810 house became the property of Captain 
David Keeler; 1814 Captain David Keeler sold to Her- 
man Rugles; 1817 Herman Rugles sold to Seth Perry 
(operated store on wharf); 1823 house was bought by 
Alanson Allen, who came from Westport. He was post- 
master, shoemaker and operator of the village store. He 
was a school teacher and church deacon. He Nvas mar- 
ried twice and his house was left to his only daughter. 
Elizabeth Allen Smith upon his death in 1883. She in 
turn left the house to her son, Charles Smith who also 
operated the village store after his grandfather's death; 
1917 Charles Smith sold house to Slater, a fireman; 
1938 Slater sold house to John Gramigna; 1945 John 
Graminga sold to Eugene Kelly. The present owners 
are Mr. and Mrs. James R. Brown. The picture on the 
right shows the house as it appears today. 

o^ .%.: 

imi,ililliSII-"'''-:;i:!iiii! "" ■I!!'!: -!« '■'■■Ji! 

The uKlcst huLiM- in Black Rock as it appeared in 1823, 
when it was the home of Mr. Alanson Allen, who is 
pictured in front of the home with his wife. 

(I I i iTF 

':¥" • 

CLARKSON HOUSE — The house was built by John 
Clarkson, Sr., an Englishman. The house was moved 
from its original location, Fairfield Avenue, corner of 
Gilman Street, to make way for the Beverly Theatre 
Building. It is now located on 36 Livingston Street, 
owned by Harry E. Duffy. 

HANSON HOUSE — Home of Hans Hanson was the 
oldest house on Hanford Avenue. It was built before 
the street and stood in the middle of a lot with a swamp 
between it and Jetland Place. The swamp was often 
used for skating. 


BRODY HOUSE — 43 Seaside Avenue. Georgian Architecture — White clapboard house with entrance into large 
drawing room. The house contains 5 beautiful fireplaces — each one different, two living rooms, library, dining 
room, breakfast room and kitchen, six bedrooms and four baths. It has the fanwindows on either end of the house 
and features the paladium windows in the front of the house. The house originally faced Grovers Avenue. 

George T. Solly 

Mary A. H. Palmer 

Hollister & Kelsey 
Woodruff L. Burr ) 

Charles H. Fancher ) 
Charles H. Fancher 

George F. Gilman 
Alfred Gilman 
Simon Lake 
Black Rock Estate, Inc. 
James J. Walsh 
Rosalind Sayte 

Frank B. Hastings 

Charles S. Brody 

• ** 





•^^^*^i' : 



i A 

I ll\i ' I \' I l\ 

II H()\ll 







Land was received from Mrs. Solly's estate, 
Captain Chas. Penfield, whose father, David, 
came to Black Rock in 1803. George Solly 
married Elizabeth Penfield. After Solly's 
death, in 1872, she married John Y. Provost 
in 1877. 

Mary Ann Howell Palmer was the adopted 
daughter of the Solly's. 

Harbor Master, Alderman — came from old 
Black Rock family. 
A & P Founder, 

Inventor of Submarine. 

( Tenants — 

( Whitney — Inventor of Whitney Stoker. 
( Judge Merritt — Judge of City Court. 
Attorney at Law and noted Civic leader. 


HLTTCHINSON HOUSE — Thome Place, was originally Hill Side Cottage — one of the cottages of the George 
Hotel. The house is still standing at its original location. The Watsons, Thornes, and PeaisalLs'have lived in this 
house at one time or another, while their own houses were in the process of being built. 


Alfred Street — named after Alfred Gilman, step-brother of George Oilman. 

Anchorage Drive — Bridgeport Yacht Club was at the foot of this street. 

Bennett Street — named after the sister of Mr. Fox's wife. 

Bartram Avenue — named after the Bartram family. 

Brewster Street — named after the Brewster family. In 1895 it was Black 
Rock Avenue to Grovers Avenue, then it was Main Street, later it was called 
Haviland Street. 

Burr Court and Road — named after the Burr family. 

Britton Avenue — named after the Britton family. 

Beacon Street and Place — deeded in 1765, to the town by David Wheeler. 

Balmforth Street — surveyed in 1765 by Captain Samuel Burr. In 1895 it was 
called Beach Avenue. 

Clarkson Street — named after the Clarkson family. 

Courtland Avenue — named by Mr. Glover of Fairfield who owned property 
in that area. 

Calderwood Avenue — formerly know as Smith's Lane, named after Margaret 
Calderwood who married Aaron Smith. He and his family sailed from North 
Haven, Maine to Black Rock in a schooner. They settled in the Lane. 

Canfield Avenue — property owned by Mr. Perry, who operated a cider mill, 
the street was named after a man who worked for him. 

Davidson Street — named after the Davidson family who owned the first house 
on the street. Mr. Davidson was an executive of the A & P Company. 

Fames Boulevard — named after George Fames, Park Commissioner of Bridge- 
port at the time of building. 

Ellsworth Street — named after the Fllsworth family, it was known formerly 
as Church Street, and was laid out in 1802. 

Fayerweather Terrace — named originally after the island. 

Fairfield Avenue — originally called Beaver Street, Fllsworth Street to Ash 
Creek 1680-1691, it was called Country Road from Park Avenue to Fllsworth 
Street around the year 1872. 

Fox Street — named after the Fox family whose home originally stood at 
Fairfield Avenue and Fllsworth Street. It was later moved to Fairfield Ave- 
nue between Fox and Bennett Streets. 

Garden Terrace — George F. Gilman had his garden here at one time. 


Gilman Street — named after Mr. Gilman, founder of the A & P Stores, it 
was formerly know as Beach Road in the year of 1893. 

Grovers Avenue — 1680-90 (from the Green to Field Gate) corner Seaside 
Avenue. Mr. Wells opened a private road around George Hotel in 1896. 
Hackley Street — in 1834 it was named after the Hackley family. The house 
burned down, leaving a barn remaining which for a while was used as a 
auxiliary school house for Black Rock. Later it was moved by Joseph Smith 
to a location on Hackley Street. The former name of the street was Wheeler 
Lane or Wheeler Street. 

Haddon Street — named after a famous hall in England, taken from the book 
"Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall" (Major). 

Hansen Avenue — ^named in 1924 after the Hansen family who owned land. 
Haviland Street — laid out in 1802, former Main Street, (lower end of Brew- 
ster Street.) 

Hope Street — laid out in 1873. 

Jetland Place — name inspired by Mr. Jones, a very religious man. 
Lake Avenue — named after Simon Lake, inventor of submarine, who at one 
time owned the Gilman Estate. 

Morehouse Street — named after the surveyor of the street. 
Mountford Street — named after Mountford Clarkson. • ' 

Nash Street and Lane — named after the Nash family who lived at 289 Ells- 
worth Street, in the house now owned by the Elander family. 

Orland Street — formerly known in 1896 as Balaris Lane. 

Old Battery Road — named after the old Revolutionary War fort. 

Penfield Place — named after the Penfield family who owned the mill. 

Pearsali Place — named after the Pearsall family. 

Quinlan Avenue — named after Judge Quinlan. 

Rowsley Street — named after a town in England, taken from the book "Dorothy 

Vernon of Haddon Hall" (Major). 

Scofield Avenue — named after H. G. Scofield, city engineer, who laid out the 

street, his helper, to drive the stakes, was Capt. James Cassidy, who was a small 

boy at the time, the date being 1890. 

School Street, named after Black Rock School. 

Siemon Street — named after Carl Siemon of the Siemon Rubber Company. 

Thorne Place — named after the Thorne family. 

Wilson Street — named after Howard Wilson of Fairfield who owned the 

property in 1903. 


SELECT SCHOOL - 1829 — 103 Grovers Ave. Built 
by Captain Thomas Ranson, it originally stood on Cal- 
derwood Ave. and was used for the Select School run 
by Mrs. Joseph Bartram, Mrs. Carrie Penfield ( 1829- 
1839). The house was moved by ox-drawn wagon to 
its present location, by the Murray family. It was, at 
first, close to the road. Later it was moved up on the 
hill where it nou- s.'ands. Mrs. Archibald McNeil lived 
there for many years 

PEARSALL, THORNE AND WATSON homes as they appeared about 1885. Right photo same as 
left photo. Watson house in foreground, then the Thorne home and Pearsall. The Watson house 
was torn down and a much larger home was built in 1916. The Pearsall home burned and was 
rebuilt. The Thorne home was remodeled and enlarged. 

AMUELS RESIDENCE — Old Battery Road. The original house (left) was built by Pearsall around 1883. It 
turned to the ground and was rebuilt by Pearsall (right). For many years, the Van Valkanberg family lived 
here. However, it is presently owned by Thomas Frouge and lived in by the A. O. Samuels family. 


SWANSON RESIDENCE — 121 Grovers Avenue. Built 1762 Nehemiah 
Burr (1734-1814), about the time of his marriage to Sarah Osborn, built a 
house at the bend of the old road to Grovers Hill — now the corner of 
Balmforth Street. Here they brought up a large family. One of his daugh- 
ters, Sarah, married Captain Thomas Bartram. His son, Noah Burr, died in 
1859, and the property was purchased by Captain Benjamin Penfield for 
his son, William Henry Penfield, whose wife lived there while he saw 
active service during the Civil War. After the war the house was sold by 
Captain Penfield, and after several transfers, it was bought during the nine- 
ties by George F. Gilman and converted into a studio. Subsequent owneis 
made many alterations and the original outline has been completely modern- 
ized. Sigurd B. Swanson, President of Apex Tool Company, is the present 
owner. At the present time the first floor consists of a large living room 
containing two unique fireplaces, a dining room, a modern electric kitchen, 
and powder room. The porch and solarium adjoining the living room have 
been modernized with louvre windows. The second floor consists of three 
bedrooms and two baths. The third floor is a complete suite consisting of 
a living room, bedroom and bath. There are two two-car garages, one of 

which is attached to the home. The masonry in the basement supporting the fireplace is about 10 feet square and 
contains an old Dutch oven no longer in use. The home is located on a tract of land covering II/2 acres. 

Nehemiah Burr 
Ebenezer Burr 
Nehemiah Burr, Jr. 

Benjamin Penfield 

Eli Willets 
George F. Gilman 
Minnie N. Little 
Rose M. Sprague 
Kenneth W. McNeil 
Lily T. Spooner 
Olaf Christianson 
Max Ams 
Dorothea Swanson 




Title search was done by Attorney Brody. 

Served in Black Rock Fort in 1779 

Paid 200 L 

Nehemiah Burr, Jr., died in July, 1814. His 

son, Noah, lived in his house as did Oliver, 

son of Noah, until transaction to Penfiield. 

Was Captain and owner of ship "Wonder" 

which sailed between Black Rock and New 

York. Paid $900 for house. 

Paid $2,250 

Paid $800 

Sprague Meter Company founders. 
Paid $12,000 


Son of Founder of Max Ams. 

Sigurd B. Swanson — founder of Apex Tool 

Company, Vice President West Side Bank. 


HI;LL HOl'Sl-— 1865— 184 Grovcis Avenue 

Captain Thomas Holberion bought one of four lo.'s laid out in Black Rock by David Wheeler, 3rd, along a 
proposed road from Grovers Avenue to the harbor. During the next quarter century. Captain Holberton's property 
here and elsewhere in Black Rock became involved in so many transfers, mortgages, and releases (doubtless in 
proportion to the success or failure of his many shipping ventures) that the ownership of certain lots is not al- 
ways definite. It appears, however, that in 1793, the dwelling house where Thomas Holberton now lives," pre- 
viously quitclaimed by the Captain to Robert Wilson, was sold to Samuel Sherwood. 

In 1796 the new owner moved to Ridgefield, deeding the house to Captain Thomas Bartram, who also pur- 
chased the three adjacent lots, secured a release of the road from the town, and in 1800 (presumably when his 
own house was completed) transferred the entire property to his brother. Captain Job Bartram. who had recently 
married Captain Holberton's daughter, Ruth. In 1817 Captain Job was drowned off the harbor, but his family 
retained the homestead for many years. It was torn down to make way for the house built on the property about 
I865 by Dr. Calvin E. Hull, which is now occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Erwin J. Panish. Col. and Mrs. S. W. 
Roessler lived in the house previous to the Panish family. 

166 GROVERS AVEXT'E— this house has been the 
residence of Dr. Harry Resnik and his family since 
1948. Originally constructed by Charles V. Barrington, 
subsequent owners were Albert W. Smith, Alfred Sea- 
man, and Samuel Cone (an official of the Casco Prod- 
ucts Corporation.) It was in this house that Mrs. Albert 
Smith convened a neighborhood meeting to discuss the 
overcrowded conditions at Black Rock School. At this 
meeting the Black Rock School Parent Teachers' Asso- 
ciation was started. 


109 GROVERS AVENUE— Jeremiah Jennmgs (1799- 
1875). The house was built by Mr. Jennings in 1870. 
Mrs. Ten Eyck lived in the house for many years. The 
present owner is the DeLamater family. 


2r»):S «ND23>r«»»I3, made this ,6'-f^a>} q\^J^.:l A. D./f/^^belvfoea 




p«W«tb. that the laid j/-/'/' '^ '''*' K.*^'^'^'*' \ ^ hatU placed and bound hiii 

an apprentice to ibe Mid C ^ / < « w'^ 
to be ioMructed in the a:t, mystery, trade, and occupation of <«- ^ lx^-y-<^^M^^^K^ 
which the said lcC^*^^ now uies, and to live with, aad 
•«ve hiw ai an apprtntHwi from the date bereoT, until *u<f, the iaid*rcJ*^* v^ ^ -^ «" « ^? « '^'^ 
•bal/ a.'ilyeat and be oflhe age of twenty-one years, which will happen on the 2^~^^y of c*i/'j't*** y. 
A. p./$;-;Ji,iftheiaid ^aWJ ^ 

UDto him, the laid C4, ( { *. ^a. 

so lolfg lives ; all which time the said 

Bi an apprentice, shall faithfully senre, and be just and true 

as his master, and his secrets keep,' and hii 

lawful coiDmands everywhere willingly uhey ; he slmil do no injurv to his said matter, in his ivrson, family, 
property, or otherwise, nor sufler it to be tlof^e by oilieri ; he shall not enibcitle, nor waste ihe noods ol his <;ti(i 
matter, nor lend them, without his consent : he shall not play at cards, or other unlawful ^anit s. norlu(|iiint 
taverns, or tipling bouses, or thops, except about hi» master's business, there to be done ; he hhuli noi rtnitrnct 
marriage, nor at any time, by day or night absent himself from, or leave his said master's service, without his 
consent ; but in all things, as a good and faithful apprentice, shall and will behave, and demean hiniseil to his 

said master, faithfully during the time aforesaid. And the said (x.ici 1 y.v \ /^//C. v 

on his part, for the consideration pf the premises, doth covenant, and agree, to, and with the said .^'A r /i . . ^. /»'« 

Jv 4V^ tK'/<^^'^k^^^ **<^'' '^y himself, respectively and jtiintly, to teach and instruct the said '/) r* ' *^. ^ -^ 

as his apprentice, or otherwise cause him to be well and sufficiently instructed and 

taught in the art, mystery, trade, and occuoation of 6< / /• *» c ///^ /: * -.. «fter the best way 

■ nd manner that he can ; «w*«l«4«^wi»t>"WwWsw>w»>»4wBM4»»wwiHippwwi« iiti u s t i— »4wiiM^»4>Hi>^hMMwHi»- 
\ \»%mt \ X f mt^imm^itttmmtmtmmkitmm^fi^im m, ar fun m I h s f sa> fmt iisiii wf u ii t l iiiiiiio , to i;naid his morals and 
to train him to habits of faithfulness, iudiulry and economy. And that the said master will provide f(»r, and al- 
low to his said apprentice, meat, drink, washing, lodging, and apparel, for summer and winter, on common and 
00 holy days, and all other necessaries, in sickness and in health, proper and convenient for such an apprentice, 

during the time of hii apprenticeship ; and shall and will give to laid apprentice A^l^ ^ , O /" vw 

ir<r WITNESS WHEREOF, the »ld parlks have hereunto interchangeably ict their hnBifa-Mi(t aeals, *c 
/^II day of cV/^ t. C A. D. 18 O 

gned, sealed, and delivered, ) /^^Jy^ 

in presence of J ^ ^■^'r 



■/,j, . 

' V 


'/ ( 

Mr. David Lockwood (1811-1885) came to Black Rock in 1827 to work as an apprentice shoemaker for Alanson A! 
He settled here, married, built his house and was active in the Church. He was also teacher in the old school. 

THE LOCKWOOD HOUSE as it appeared in 1881. 
The house has since been lowered and a veranda added. 

DAVID LOCKW OOD HOUSE— 191 Ellsworth Street. 
This house was built in 1840 by David Lockwood. It 
was left to his adopted daughter, Mrs. Lockwood Mans- 
field. It was later sold to Homer B. Davis, who now 
lives there. 


TREAT HOMESTEAD ~- 40 Beachview A\enue Mr 
Treat built a boat house 30' x l4' in Black Rock Har- 
bor. He and his family lived in it for two years. In 
1913 he bought land on Beachview Avenue and towed 
the boat there. They lived that winter and the summer 
of 1914 in the boat ashore. Little by little, Mr. Treat 
added on rooms until now he has a very comfortable 
home where he lives with his daughter, Mrs. Priestly 
and his grandchildren. 

field Avenue corner of Ellsworth Street. In 1896 it 
was sold to W. A. Bradley, boss of the carriage shop 
owned by George Oilman. Upon his death, it was 
inherited by his daughter, Mrs. Mary Nichols. It was 
later sold to John Bodnar. 

HAMILTON HOUSE — The other half of house pic- 
tured on page 60. It stood on the site of the present 
Burrough's home. Mr. Hamilton was an executive in 
the A. and P. Tea Co. House was divided into two 
and moved to its present location on 573 Ellsworth 
Street (about 1910). Present owner is Mrs. Anna 

BUCKLEY HOUSE — 89 Grovers Avenue 

This house was built in 1807 by Urich Buckley on 
lower Brewster Street on a lot purchased from Nathan 
Wheeler. Captain William Hanford Nichols enlarged 
the house for his children and grandchildren. The house 
later became an addition to the Bartram holdings and 
was moved by barge, across the harbor to its present 
location — the corner of Grovers Avenue and Old 
Battery Road. It was the residence of Mrs. Mary B. 
Henshaw and her daughter, Mrs. William Paxton, 3rd, 
of Sailors' Lane for many years. The present owner is 
the Naramore family. 

tery Road — originally was the 
Thorne home. It had been rebuilt 
many times. For a long time it was 
occupied by W. G. Bryant. 


OLD BATTERY ROAD — Formerly the Daniel G. Patterson home ROSE COTTAGE was a rose colored cottage 
located originally near the Armitage house, on the shore line. The Thorne and Pearsall families lived in this 
house while their own homes were being built. After completion of the Thorne home, Rose Cottage was moved 
to its present location. Mrs. Thorne used Rose Cottage as a studio. One wing of the building was made into a 
gardener's cottage. This wing was later moved next door and was occupied by City Attorney and Mrs. Swartz. In 
1924 Kenneth McNeil bought the property and made many alterations. In 1926 Dr. Patterson bought the prop- 
erty. In 1951 Mr. Fred Frassinelli bought the house and has made extensive alterations. 

.^ ^rr- 

nilfiFIinnilFiiillRriilliFIL !"-i~j f ^-^ 




This house was located on Fairfield Avenue at the 
east corner of Railroad Avenue. 

Built about 1888, by James Horan, who came to 
Bridgeport in 1874 from Hartford to work as a gar- 
dener for Mr. North. Mr. North owned extensive 
holdings in Black Rock. Along with the house Mr. 
Horan conducted the florist business, which, at one time 
grew to include twenty- two greenhouses. 

I ! 

.-, I 

I- ' 

The dwelling cost $6,000 to build. Foundation was - 
of blue cut stone, the exterior was clapboard with \ 
shingles intermingled. The roof was Bangor slate. One ; 
feature of the house was its large hall and grand stair- 
case. First floor consisted of parlor, sitting room, dining j 
room, kitchen, hall and pantry. Second floor — four | 
spacious bedrooms, smoking den, bathroom, and linen 

The house was torn down in 1936. However, the 
flower business was later carried on by Stephen D. 
Horan, and is now conducted in the P. O. Arcade by 
Stephen J. Horan. 

THE JAMES V. JOY HOUSE — Old Battery Road. 
House was originally built about 1888 as one of the 
cottages to the George Hotel. The house was then 
located on the shore front, later, being moved to its 
present location, on Old Battery Road. It was the home 
of Dr. Thorne, son of Jonathan Thorne, who built the 
estate on Fames Blvd. (now the home of A. O. 
Samuels) . 

Noie of 'mterest: Dr. Thorne died last year in Green- 
u'ich, Conn., his estate was valued at jive million 

From 1920 to 1926 property was owned by Kenneth 
McNeil. From 1926 to 1935 house was owned by 
Province Pogue of the G. H. Walker Investment Bro- 
kers. Mr. Pogue did extensive alterations and improve- 
ments. In 1935 it became the home of James V. Joy, 
president of the Joy Insurance Company, and president 
of the West Side Bank and Trust Co. 



I THOMAS BARTRAM HOUSE — 427 Brewster Street 

Captain Thomas Bartram (1771-1838) whose name figures prominently in many land transactions in Black Rock, 
jbought from Joseph Squire in 1801 the land on ^\■hich he erected his home and to which he added acre after acre 
by purchase from his neighbors. The home remains in his family (the longest consecutiNe tenure recorded in Black 
Rock) having passed to his second son. Captain Thomas Burr Bartram (1803-1886) and his family. The present 
owner is Mrs. Harry Bartram. 

Thomas Bartram, self-made man and founder of the Bartram fortunes 
which have spread out into milhons and over many miles of territory, got his 
start in life by accounting for every single penny. Blacksmith, livery-stable 
proprietor and shipowner, he turned everything he touched, if not to gold, at 
least to good honest copper and silver, and when he spent out his hard earned 
savings, he noted each transaction down in his great, calf -bound account books. 

The fine house he built at Black Rock still stands at the corner of Bartram 
avenue and Brewster street and after 154 years, is still occupied by his de- 
scendants. The present owner is Mrs. Harry B. Bartram. The carefully kept 


account books are preserved, too, bearing mute testimony to the methodical 
thrift of their compiler. 

The name of Bartram is inextricably interwoven with the history of Black 
Rock, although Bartrams were not the original settlers. For Black Rock, unlike 
any of our other settlements hereabouts, was originally the stronghold of a 
single family . . . the descendants of Thomas Wheeler. For almost a century, 
this family held undisputed sway on the acres between what is now Bridgeport 
proper and Fairfield. 

It was David Wheeler, his grandson, who first opened up the family 
reaches to outsiders, and sold off land to Captain Joseph Silliman and Captain 
Thomas Holburton, who immediately removed thence. A short while after, 
wharfage land was sold to a group of 13 Fairfield residents and sometime 
before 1775, Ebenezer Bartram, Jr., of Fairfield, purchased one sixth right to 
a wharf which had been opened up by David's cousin, Ichabod. The Bartrams 
had arrived at Black Rock. Members of the family have been there, ever since. 

Ebenezer Settles In 

In 1775, Ebenezer Bartram purchased the house which Captain James 
Wilson one of the 13 early comers to Black Rock, built in 1767. Here he 
brought his wife, Mary, daughter of Captain John Burr of Fairfield, and here 
he lived the remainder of his life. 

Four of his six sons either follov/ed the sea, or had their living there- 
from. Three of the four died in the course of their nautical adventures. 

There was Joseph, the eldest. He was born in 1760, and was a lad of 
fifteen when his father moved from Fairfield to Black Rock. Joseph was 
apparently engaged in some sort of shipping business, and on October 12, 1787, 
he set sail from Black Rock harbor bound for the West Indies. He was neither 
master nor member of the crew, but simply as a passenger, according to an 
entry for that date in the diary of William Wheeler. He died at sea, en route 
homeward, of causes not stated in that remarkable chronicle. 

The next son was Ebenezer, who seems to have stuck to the land and who 
moved to New York State in 1818. 

The next was Thomas, who died in infancy, and then came Job. He 
followed the sea and captained his own ships. Job married the daughter of 


Captain Holburton one of the "F. F.'s" of Black Rock, and came to an un- 
timely end on October 28, 1817. With Samuel Morehouse, he had gone fish- 
ing "off the Bar," and the next day the boat was found, "bottom up." Relying 
on the redoubtable William Wheeler, we learn that the body of Morehouse 
was recovered almost a month later, and had apparently been awash for weeks. 
Mr. Wheeler described the circumstance, and this early diarist is nothing if 
not graphic. On November 18, the mortal remains of Captain Job Bartram 
were recovered and consigned to the earth, at Fairfield. 

Died of Yellow Fever 

Our Thomas, builder of the house at the corner of Bartram avenue and 
Brewster street and keeper of the accounts, was the fourth son, and Barnabas 
was the youngest. He followed the West India trade, like his older brother, 
and he died of yellow fever in the West Indies, in 1803. 

Thomas Bartram was married to Sarah Burr in 1797. The extant record 
of his business transactions commences in 1801, the year he set up his house 
at Black Rock, and continues through 1835, three years before his death. There 
are three volumes preserved, covering the years between 1801 and 1819, and 
the period from 1830 to 1835. Two and perhaps three volumes, from the 
period 1819-1830, are missing, but the surviving closely written tomes give 
a more dramatic record of the creation of a Yankee fortune than any novel- 
ist's pen could have written. 

A Man of Many Interests 

Here, between the straggling lines of somewhat faded writing, the read- 
er is confronted by the image of Thomas Bartram . . . the cautious young 
man, starting out on his own, making grist of all that came to his mill. 
Dickering in horses. Dickering in real estate. Dickering in wood-selling. As 
well as dickering in cattle. Setting up a small, independent money loaning 
business, and ultimately, turning to the sea and its returns to found the basis 
of a great financial dynasty. 

So were most of our Yankee fortunes created. It was different in the 
South. There, prosperity came almost unsolicited. The climate, the soil con- 
ditions, slave-trade and slave-holding, all set the stage for the triumphal 
entrance of the star. King Cotton. The show was on, and carried itself 
almost, without a great deal of backing from the supporting cast of planta- 


tion owners. The applause rolled in money, in ever increasing and stagger- 
ing sums, and the great Southern fortunes came into being. 

Perhaps the comparative ease with which the South began to strike 
it rich in the closing years of the seventeenth and came into its own in the 
eighteenth century may have accounted, to a large extent, for the rapidity 
with which that same section lost its golden touch, after the Civil War. The 
Southern capitalist had no protracted period of training at wresting wealth 
from every transaction, of making the last cent out of every deal and passing 
up no chance, however small, of turning a penny, and when the system to 
which he was accustomed broke down, he was unprepared to scurry around 
for a substitute. 

But men like Thomas Bartram, accustomed by heritage and training in 
Yankee dickering, were prepared to fight through any situation. The crippling 
of Yankee trade, during the 1810-1814 period, would have put a crimp in 
the sails of less determined business navigation, but the Yankees simply turn- 
ed their backs on the sea, more or less, and looked inland for profit. 

They found it. Thomas Bartram's day books commence with the year 1801. 
The first entry is characteristic of the careful disposition of the gentleman. 
"Book bought of Seth Perry, December 24, 1801," he writes, and the purchase 
price, G-G-, as follows: 

The first page contains an itemized account of the costs of his new domi- 
cile, a rendition of expenses which throws an interesting light on early 19th 
century building costs. Two thousand feet of boards, at $19 a thousand, cost 
the builder 11 pounds, 8 shillings, the pound being approximately worth a 
little over three dollars at the then rate of exchange. 

This system of carrying the price of individual items in dollars, and the 
totals in pounds, shillings and pence is interspersed with pages kept in dollars 
and cents exclusively. The currency system here was so new and the Americans 
so accustomed to the English system of reckoning, it took some years to get 
into the way of the new. 

The accounts at this time include, also, the cost of construction of barn 
and blacksmith shop. The complete outlay for the transaction was 310 pounds, 
12 shillings and 11 pence. This included masons, joiners, fence construction 
and even a board bill for the joiner (unnamed, alas) and an expenditure of 

BARTRAM HOUSE — 427 Brewster Street 

Looking south, on Brewster Street, about 1910. It was then called Black Rock Avenue. 

Photo Courtesy Thomas Cohvell. 

four pounds for carting the brick to the spot. Listed as an expense, but charged 
up to the house account for there is no price following, is "cake for raising." 
There is no mention of rum, cider or other beverage for this occasion, so 
perhaps Ebenezer provided the hquid refreshment for his son's house raising. 

So Thomas Bartram had built him a house, and a barn, and a shop. Being 
a prudent Yankee, he kept his property in good shape. In 1812, he evidently 
had the domicile painted, and now he listed not only cost but names of those 
employed. Will Hoyt and T. Cook Wordin sold him the paint, at a cost of 
$99.75. Paint was dear in those days. Elijah Turney and Equire Nichols 
evidently did the work, the former receiving $6 and the latter $8 for their 

Nothing was too small to be taken into consideration if it promised re- 
turns, and nothing was too great to be dared, by this Federal tycoon. In his 
smithy, he performed the -various tasks of his trade. He mended a "dung fork 
for Samuel Nenfield," and collected 2-6 for the job. He performed a number 


of other small jobs, such as repairing a hatchet, making an ax, etc., and took 
in exchange one saddle and bridle, the bill rendered having amounted to three 
pounds, and the stirrups to the saddle being listed as Bartram's own, probably 
made by him for Penfield at some past date. 

The Livery Business 

Then there was the livery business, from which he reaped considerable 
returns. "Horse to Bridgeport," "Horse to Mill River," Horse in Carriage 
to Town" are among the items wedged in here and there over a period of 
years. Between March and July, 1804, Lewis Goodsell, Jr., hired a horse eight 
times, to take him to Newfield, and the price for all trips was 12 shillings, 
about 20 cents a trip. 

There is of course no accurate allowance made anywhere for depreciation, 
and the totals were not net profit by any means, but as you turn the yellowed 
pages, you are astonished at the constant increase and the amazing versatility 
of the man. 

There was the sheep and wool business. Wool sold in the year 1809, on 
the date of July 18, brought him in $1,200. 

This may have been public vendue at Fairfield town. Nabby Squire bought 
six pounds worth of wool, and paid cash on the spot. Hannah Burr evidently 
had a big family to provide for, and her purchases amounted to 30 pounds, also 
paid. Eben Bartram, the non-seafaring brother, who with his wife and family 
was then living in the older house, down the street, to 26 1-2 pounds worth, 
and evidently on credit, or as a gift, for "no pay" appears on this entry. Buck- 
ley, Bradley, Wheeler, Sturges, Wakeman, Hubble, all are listed as purchasers. 

Took Half The Increase 

The actual sheep raising business is also listed as a separate series. During 
the period 1812-1814, Thomas Bartram handled blooded stock on shares. The 
term, used in his books, is one familiar in the language of the Scriptures. For 
he took sheep of other men, probably with an overstock and insufficient past- 
urage, for a period of time and at the end of a stipulated interval, returned 
wool and a portion of the "increase." The following series of items, under 
date of September 29, 1813, gives the picture. 

Took of David Ely — 

1 full blood ram, 2 seven eights ews, 8 three-qrts ews. 


To keep three years to return half the wool and keep half increase 

Thomas Bartram was in the wood business. In November, 1813, he 
bought of Abner Seeley "1 acre woodland" at Chestnut Hill, and paid the 
astonishing sum of $110 the acre! This a scant two months after he had 
purchased residential property near his home from Will Hoyt for $25 an 
acre. But Thomas Bartram was no fool and he knew what he was getting 
before parting with his hard earned shekles. In the month of December 
alone, he sold $95 worth of wood, presumably off that piece, and still had 
probably not begun to touch the timber thereon. He was a charitable man, 
and one load had gone to "Widow Hidgson" from whom he had exacted 
"no pay." 

In 1810, Thomas Bartram evidently managed a sale of woodlot for 
his sister-in-law, Deborah Bartram, widow of the Job who died of yellow 
fever seven years before. She is billed for the work, and the items include 
"4 sheets paper for advertisement"; "half day putting up do" (they were 
evidently broadsides); "half day marking woodlots"; "$2.00 to Nathan 
Beers, Vendue Master," and an item of $.75 for rum. 

The canny Yankee also ran a sort of loan business. He apparently 
discounted notes for half of Black Rock and Fairfield. But it was in the 
shipping that he made the bulk of his fortune. 

The sloop Rising Sun was his first craft. He was only part owner, to 
begin with, and the ship was built at Black Rock m the year 1804. Her first 
voyage, made that year, brought him $1,000 and his expenses were consider- 
able. He apparently bought her rigging in New York, and her mast, at a 
cost of $5, in the same city. 

In 1805, she brought him S2,000; in 1806, $2,319, and in 1807, he was 
the richer by $3,400 from his investement. By 1815, he was shipping rum 
to New York and selling it at $1.35 a gallon. Under the date of September 7 
of that year, he sold $514.00 worth in one consignment. 

He had a second schooner now, the Stamper, and Samuel Laker was her 
master at a monthly stipend of $10. She sailed between Boston, Black Rock 
and New York. The next year he purchased the sloop Abeona, and cleared 
$2,515 on the first year. Remember that all this time he was dealing in 


retail blacksmithing, taking in a few cents here and a few there. They 
mounted up. 

Of Thomas' children, both his sons, Thomas Burr Bartram and Joseph 
Bartram, followed in the merchant marine business. Where pennies had 
been counted a generation before, dollars and hundreds of dollars were 
scored up whatever that second generation used for account books. The 
fortune grew, and Thomas Burr Bartram continued to live in the family 
house. After his death and that of his wife, Miss Alice Anna Bartram, his 
daughter, resided there. She died in 1930, and her nephew Harry E. Bartram, 
great grandson of the builder, came to live there. The estate which he 
inherited from his aunt, over and above his own inheritance, amounted 
to almost a million dollars. 

On his death, by provision of Miss Bartram's v/ill, the dollars made 
by Thomas Bartram, sheep-dealer, blacksmith, money lender, wood seller 
and ship-owner, augmented by succeeding generations, will go to the 
Bridgeport hospital, an institution which would completely have flabber- 
gasted the simple captain to whom the expenditure of $.83 for white lead 
was worth recording in full. v ' 

Job Bartram drowned October 28, 1817 •. ' . 

Body drifted ashore November 18, 1817 

To coffin and sheet — Norwalk 


To one quart Rum 


To toll going after corpse 


Expense on letter 


Tolling bell 


Paid Nathan Burr Society rate 


' $8.60 

Paid Kitt digging grave 






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Miss Anna Jane Burr, born in 
Black Rock, first wife of John 
W. Brittin — period 1850. 

Frances Elizabetii Burr mar- 
ried Elipiilet Walker, mother 
of Rebecca Walker and Sarah 
W. Brittin. 

Miss Catherine Wilson daugh- 
ter of D. Wilson, married to 
Mr. Wm. Morrison. 

Miss Sarah Bartram daughter 
of Joseph Bartram, a leader in 
Black Rock. 

Miss Mary Bertram married 
Rev. Henry C. Woodruff, pas- 
tor of the First Congregational 
Church of Black Rock 

Cornelia Penfield, aunt of Cor- 
nelia Penfield Lathrop (author 
of Black Rock, Seaport of Old 
Fairfield) . 


The ladies of Black Rock formed a Social 
Society and during the Civil War made shirts 
for the soldiers. These young ladies were 
daughters of sea captains except Miss Anna 
]ane Burr, whose father Lewis Burr, was a 

Miss Elizabeth Bartram 

Martha Pcntield Nichols 

Mrs. David Sturges was 
Libbie Gould 

Mrs. David Smith. Bessie 
Smith Hubbell's grandmother. 

Mrs. Viola Smith Gould, wife 
of Mr. George Gould. 

Miss Ella Smith, granddaugh- 
ter of Mr. Alanson Allen. 



Courtesy of Miss Virginia E. Hull 


Charles H. Fancher, 76, retired lobsterman, waterman, mariner, "tide 
expert" and former alderman of the city of Bridgeport is to succeed William 
A. Lamond as Harbormaster, when the Common Council holds its February 
election according to statements made by prominent Democratic officials. 

Mr. Fancher was a member of the Council under mayors Dennis Mulvihill 
and Hugh Stirling. 

The wide experience in all things connected with ships and shipping, his 
complete knowledge of the "whims" of the harbor tides and currents and 
his keen insight into what constitutes harbor business make Mr. Fancher 
peculiarly fitted for the position, his supporters say. 

Accepted by the people of Bridgeport as a merely nominal post — much 
the same as that of the poet Laureate of England — the city Harbormaster has 
hitherto excited no special comment.. 

This story was written by Major H. C. Morris and is reprinted from the Bridgeport Sunday 
Post, January 12, 1930. 


Beyond the passing of a few heavily laden barges lashed to the side of a 
tired-looking panting tug, up the harbor, the average Bridgeporter gives but 
little thought to what sort of business actually goes on in Bridgeport's haven. 

The opening and closing of the bridges that span the arms of the harbor 
to let the water-borne traffic pass means just so much annoying delay to many 
pedestrians and motorists. They forget that every time one or the other of the 
bridges is opened the commerce of Bridgeport is enriched. They forget that 
every barge of coal, every schooner of lumber, every tanker of oil, every over- 
seas tramp loaded with pig iron, and every lighter groaning under its weight of 
sand means a step forward in the increase and revival of that shipping business 
that Bridgeport once enjoyed and which gained for her a reputation as a 
prosperous shipping port. 

Life-Long Experience 
And so when the announcement was made that a new Harbormaster is 
to be appointed the public seems to be evincing a new interest in what may 
be called one of the city's greatest and most valuable assets — the Harbor. 

Mr. Lamond's tenure of the office of Harbormaster has been long and 
honorable. He has seen a vast volume of business moving in the harbor and 
has been imbued with the steady faith that sooner or later Bridgeport harbor 
will once more come into its own and make its mark as an important shipping 
point on the north Atlantic seaboard. 

In Mr. Fancher, his successor, the public has a servant who has had a 
life-long experience in harbor work in Bridgeport and vicinity. He has navi- 
gated the Sound in all weathers and in all manner of craft, is familiar with 
the eccentricities of the local tides and currents and has a great store of 
knowledge as to what the business of a harbor really means. 

Captain Charles H. Fancher was born at the old Fancher homestead at 
Black Rock in 1853 and has spent his entire life within sight and sound of 
the pounding waves of Black Rock harbor. For the past 50 years he has lived 
at the Foot of Brewster street (at Haviland street) behind the old Joseph 
Bartram residence which was one of the five store houses that once lined the 
harbor shore in the palmy days of shipping. 

No man is more able to talk of those times than Captain Fancher who 
recalls the early days in Black Rock when the present harbor at the foot of 
Brewster street was the center of shipping, from which a large fleet of fast 
clippers operated to the West Indies and returned with "rum and molasses" 
as well as other valuable tropical products eagerly looked for in Bridgeport 
at that time. 


Sailing and Fishing 
Captain Fancher recalls how there were once three sets of marine rail- 
ways in operation at what is now the foot of Brewster street, in the Civil War 
days. In the summer season these were constantly in use by ships discharging 
their cargoes and coming to berth for repairs. 

Shipbuilding too, was one of the leading interests of the day, and there 
are still signs of the battered old wharves which once served the Hall, Rue 
and Walker, and Henry Parker shipbuilding firms. 

Two of the best known ships built there were the "Black Hawk" and 
the schooner "Equal Rights," leaders in the shipping trade of their day. The 
latter was so named because three persons contributed equally in the cost 
of its construction. 

When the waters of Long Island Sound were navigable, as a rule, an 
incoming vessel would be waiting in the harbor, ready to unload when its 
predecessor had discharged its cargo. A few of the ships were annually 
stranded here when the winter threw a sudden band of ice about the harbor, 
while many made a practice of mooring for the winter in the ice-bound 
waters of Black Rock harbor. 

Because Black Rock was so intimately connected with shipping on the 
Sound, it became the nautical center of this section and many members of 
prominent families in Fairfield and Bridgeport took to the sea for their 

Although Captain Fancher spent most of his life in sailing and fishing 
in the waters of the Sound he never answered the "call of the sea" as a 

Among the best known skippers he says in the heydey of Black Rock as 
a navigation center were Captains George Benjamin and William Henry 
Penfield, Captain Thomas McMuUen, Captain Hanford Nicholas and Captains 
Joseph and Thomas Bartram. 

Included with the leading residents of the section were the Bartram, 
Penfield and Burr families, Levi Lyon, Captain John Britton, and Captain 
Arthur Smith. 

Was Fanner Alderman 
"Before my time Black Rock was part of the town of Fairfield," Captain 
Fancher told the Sunday Post. "Land grants by degrees transferred rights from 
Fairfield to Bridgeport until Bridgeport limits extended to Ash Creek and 
included Black Rock itself in the Bridgeport city area." 


Captain Fancher points out that the present Black Rock Congregational 
church was the first church to be erected in the district, being built in 1849, 
four years before his birth. 


-^■^fe^■> Mf/Mft^ 




A tradition handed down to Captain Fancher and given general cre- 
dence, is to the effect that the name "Black Rock" is derived from a heavy 
massive dark ledge of rock which runs through the land and sea geological 
formation of the district. Evidences of this ledge are to be found today in the 
cellars and basements of many of the old Black Rock houses and along the 

According to Captain Fancher, Penfield Reef and the lines of jagged saw- 
tooth rocks that surround this famous point are also parts of this rock ledge. 

Captain Fancher first attended school at a private institution conducted 
by Miss Carrie Penfield on Coulderwood avenue. Later he enrolled in the old 
Black Rock district school on Brev^^ster street at the foot of Grovers avenue. 
In this building, which was recently razed, he attended school until his fifteenth 
year when he went to work as a carpenter's apprentice. After many years as a 
builder he entered the wholesale and retail lobster business operating small 
sloops along the coast as far as Nova Scotia. 

Serving as a member of the Bridgeport Common Council under former 
mayors Dennis MulvihiU and Hugh Stirling, Captain Fancher was respon- 
sible for the bringing about of many municipal improvements for Black Rock, 
including the installation of the first sewer line in that section through Ells- 
worth street via Fairfield avenue to the harbor. 

Valuable Trade Puller 
On entering the Fancher home one is struck by the fine collection of 
handsome silver curios and other trophies, always kept polished and in ship- 


shape trim. These are happy reminders of the golden regatta days on Long 
Island Sound under the burgee of the Long Island Yachting association. 

Captain Fancher piloted some of the fastest of these craft in races, his 
best known yachts being the "Tema," the "Viking" and the "Vagabond." One 
of his most prized possessions in this line is a handsome gold cup won in the 
Norwalk Yacht club regatta in 1901, as a first prize. A silver loving cup as 
second prize in the first annual regatta of the Bridgeport Yacht club on August 
12, 1899 also occupies a place of honor in the Fancher home. 

Captain Fancher says that he is glad to have the honor of being Bridge- 
port's Harbormaster, feels that there are wonderful possibilities in the post 
for extensive overseas trade as well as coastwise traffic. "Make the channels 
deeper" he says, "put up wharves to accommodate big ships and set out to get 
business for the port and Bridgeport harbor will pay for itself in the long 
run, besides being a valuable 'trade puller' for the entire community." 

Foot of Brewster Street about 1930 — present site of Port No. 5, Naval Veterans Club. 



1893 - 1925 

ii,M^t^0lmf ^ m - 

St. Mary's by the sea was a show place of Black Rock. Standing on the 
beach this picturesque little church was visable from far at sea. 

In 1893, Mr. Pearsall, brought his young wife to Black Rock to live in his 
beautiful estate. Thinking that it would please her to have a picturesque little 
church that she could call her own erected near her home, Mr. Pearsall spared 
no expense in the building of the structure. 

The walls, were built of heavy logs, brought from Canada in rafts. Box 
hedges, neatly trimmed, enclosed the grounds and two rows of high trees 
formed a pathway to the doors. A wonderful altar, a clear toned organ and a 
set of specially made chimes were installed and made the church one of the 
show places of Bridgeport. 

On Sunday afternoons Rev. Robinson, former rector of St. John's Epis- 
copal church, came to the little house of worship to preach. While the church 
was built to accommodate 200 persons, it was rarely that more than 50 or 60 
would make the trip by trolley or stage coach to attend the services. 

For eight or nine years the church was used steadily. Then Mr. Pearsall 
died and his death was followed shortly after by that of his wife. In his will, 
he deeded the church to his friend, Jonathan Thorne, but the Thornes rarely 


used the place. For years it stood untouched. During the World War the 
church gained a lease on life and services were held weekly for members of 
the naval reserve corps stationed at Black Rock. 

But one wedding and one funeral were held in the little church. The 
wedding was that of Bianca West, well known about the town in 1895. Always 
on the lookout for something unique or unusual, the tiny church appealed to 
her as the ideal place for a marriage. The funeral held was that of the wife 
of a gardener in one of the nearby houses. 

1910 the bishop unsanctified St. Mary's church in order that it might be 
used for any purpose. After Mr. Thome's death the church was left entirely 
alone and became a favorite place for tramps. Finally the property was deeded 
to the City of Bridgeport to use as it might see fit. 

The pews, organs, altar and other fittings were turned over to the First 
Congregational Church in Fairfield. At first it was decided to move the church 
to Fairfield to be used as a meeting house, but when the cost of the project was 
figured, it was abandoned. 

Several years ago the city decided it would turn the structure into a bath 
house, but the dangerous currents around the place v/ere brought to the atten- 
tion of city officials and this project was also abandoned. The church v/as torn 
down in 1925 to make way for the new road. The residence of Pearsall still 
stands; more information about the house in section about old houses in Black 


THIS HOL'SE was k)cated on the island in Ash Creek. 
It was torn down about 1935. 

Eicke ran a meat wagon in Black Rock for over 40 
years. He resided at 70 Nash Lane. 



BLACK ROCK YACHT CLUB was organized m 1925 
with John Field as Commodore. In 1930 it was com- 
pletely overhauled and a swimming pool was built. 
The building was first built by Wells, owner of the 
George Hotel. It was called the Pleasure Hall. After 
the death of Wells, Thorn bought it and used it for 
entertaining. It was also rented as a summer house for 
several years. 

Black Rock Harbor at the end of Anchorage Drive. It 
was torn down about 1919 and made into several 
houses. A house owned by Mr. Joseph Cone is now 
located on this site. 


Built in 1902, on Seabright Avenue, overlooking the harbor. The first director was John Malm. Henry 
Nyberg was the musical director for over 35 years and he guided the chorus in many big singing festivals. 

The first organized Swedish Male Chorus was at the University of Uppsala in Lund, Sweden. In about 
1840, Swedish settlers started chorus singing here, the Scandinavian Sick Benefit Society Male Double 

Quantelle — 1880; Lyran Singing Society — 1889, Scandinavian Saengerbund — 1893; Swedish Glee Club 1899. 

These societies finally emerged into the S. S. Norden Singing Society. Today the Club is mainly social. 

On the site of the Clubhouse was once the Wolcott Chauncy House — 1769-1805. This house was later 
used as a wood shed by David Penfield who owned the house across the street. His son, Isaac Chauncy, 
who was born in the homestead, became a famous Naval hero who rose to Commander. He is buried in 
Arlington National Cemetery. 



AN EARLY MAP — Beers, Ellis and Soule — 1867 


M'^f , 

the Holmberg homestead. The slips are the site of 
shipbuilding and a great deal of sea-activity. 

Port 5, Naval Veterans 




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^/.yM- ffaeA Harbor 




liftiiitiiii^ ti{<mmǤmmmmmmmM 

Atlas of Bridgeport — Roger H. Pidgeon — 1896 


^< ' 'C %* ,^ 

Top left — Site of old Fairfield 
Bridge from Paul's Neck to Balm- 
forth Street. (Date 1760-1802). 
Stones of foundation are visible at 
extreme low tide. 

Center left — Old abutments seen in 
the foreground are remains of old 
Fairfield Bridge. 

Top right — Site of old Penfield Mill 
in Ash Creek, just above St. Mary's. 
This dam was torn down in 1795 
after a subscription had been raised 
to give Penfield a sum of 90 pounds 
for compensation for the destruction 
of the dam so that eels, clams and 
shad could again locate in Ash 

Center right — Bullard's Bridge, lo- 
cated on Brewster Street, at Canfield 
Avenue. Picture was taken looking 
east. The creek was a great deal 
wider then. 

Lower photo shows how Bullard's 
Bridge looks at the present time. 



THE OLD BRIDGE connectini; FairhelJ and Bridijepoit when it was a wooden structure. It \sas sometimes called 
the Five Bridges because of its construction — being built in five sections with pilings between. 

THE BRIDGE TODAY — note area had been filled in. thus shortening the span. It was at the site of this bridge 
that the first mill of this vicinity was located . . . dating back to 1680. 

Ash Creek was originally called Uncoway (Unquowa) River which name came from the Indians who lived 
in Black Rock. A French frigate fought a running battle with a ship commanded by Benedict Arnold. In this 
running battle the French frigate caught fire and was beached at the mouth of Unquowa River, scattering debris 
and ashes the length of the river. As a result of this, it took on the name Ash Creek. 

This story is a hand-me-down, no official records are available. 



Railroad wrecks or like calamitous events appear to come in cycles. Why? 
No scientist, psychologist or star gazer has been able to tell. Physicists assert 
it to be mere coincidence. 

Observers of human events, though they may not be able to explain them, 
do know that there is something to this superstition of tragedies commg in 
threes, however much they may seek to rationalize them by asserting their 
incidence to be only coincidence. When suicides and murders come in bunches 
the psychologist may reasonably attribute them to suggestion. But in the case 
of railroad accidents it is not so simple to trace. 

There was a time in the New Haven road system when the corporation, 
under presidency of Charles Sanger Mellon has such a consecutiveness of 
serious accidents over a comparatively short period that the unscientific con- 
clusion was reached that the road was "under a jinx." 

Not Really a Jhix 

The jinx, however, when rationalized, was found to be something more 
tangible than ill luck. In fact, conditions within the road itself, such as gen- 
eral jitterness of employes, tired workers, worn-out rolling stock, used by 
Mellon in his attempt to build overnight for himself and his mentor, the elder 
Morgan, a New England empire of ships, railroads and trolleys, with exorbi- 
tantly inflated and watered dividends for stockholders. 

Thus science and common sense rationalized the superstition of jinx in 
the case of the New Haven. 

The first of a series of wrecks, if it did not specifically provide a cause for 
ultimate demolition of the Morgan rail empire, and the deposition of Mellon 
and a reorganization of the company, at least pointed the way to it. This was 
the Federal wreck here in Bridgeport in 1911. 

Crack Trains Wrecked 

Because it had certain analogies to the disastrous wreck of the streamlined 
"San Francisco" last week in Nevada, the wreck of the crack Federal Express 
at the viaduct on Fairfield avenue, Bridgeport, bears recalling. In both cases 
the swank trains jumped the rails, precipitating death and destruction in their 

(Reprinted from The Bridgeport Sunday Post, August 20, 1939) 


Twenty-four hours before the "San Francisco" was wrecked last week, 
another wreck occurred in Denver, involving two trains — the Santa Fe's crack 
"Navajo" and a Denver & Rio Grande-Western passenger train, the collision 
of which killed two people and injured many others. 

The Federal was the first in the series of wrecks which afflicted the New 
Haven road, which depleted its treasury by necessity of indemnity and, though 
the fact was unvisioned at the time, it was the beginning of the downfall of 
the broken-hearted, elderly Mellon and the unscrambling of the New Haven 
road monopoly by the now retired Justice Louis Brandies of the United States 
Supreme court. 

It was on the sweltering night of July 11, 1911, hot and humid as the 
present August day. The world was lagging along rather more slowly than 
today, but there were then vacation seekers, holidayers, as today and many 
were abroad the swank Federal Express en route from Montreal to New York 
and Washington, when it pulled out of New Haven more than an hour late, 
on that fateful morning. 

Engineer A. M. Curtis, a freight-engineer had been pressed into service to 
take the place of the regular engineer, Edward Fowler, who had asked for the 
night off. 

150 Passengers Aboard 

The train had nine cars, with six sleepers. Traffic was more than ordi- 
narily heavy not only on account of the vacation season but also by reason 
of the fact that a number of delegates of the Christian Endeavor, and mem- 
bers of the St. Louis ball team of the National League, with Roger Bresnahan, 
were on board. All told, there must have been 150 passengers, in the coaches 
and three Pullmans . . . persons of wealth and influence generally in their 

The majority of them were sleeping, either in the Pullman berths or in 
the coach seats, unaware, like the victims of the San Francisco flyer, of the fate 
that was to be theirs. Their day of destiny was at hand, however. 

The city was in darkness, at 3:15 o'clock. A few tortured souls unable to 
bear the heat, remained awake. 

A Mirage to Watch^na)! Skelly 

Watchman William B. Skelly, of the Bridgeport Vehicle company, look- 
ing out of his window, waiting for dawn at the viaduct above him on Fairfield 
avenue, almost abutting upon the Horan property, saw what he believed to be 


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i!m^4'^'':rTW*^* *••*■ 

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Federal Express Wreck — July 11, 1911 

At Railroad Viaduct and Fairfield Avenue, 14 died, 50 were hurt. Qf"'^ Glass PUte Cuwera) 

' Photos by Albert Dor^i^man 

a mirage ... a heavily loaded train, going at a mad speed, plunging over the 
embankment and down into the street in Fairfield avenue . . . that is, as much 
as he could discern. 

He seized the lantern and rushed to a scene which marveled Dante's In- 
ferno in its terror, although the full import was not immediately born upon 
him. At almost the same time Patrolman Riley, patroiing his beat at this 
point, heard a crash, saw an unusual electric display, and such cries as never 
before pierced the still air of the sultry July morning. 

Riley saw the huge locomotive plunge down the embankment with the 
cars in its wake. These two men were apparently the first to arrive at what 
turned out to be one of the most disastrous wrecks on the New Haven road, 
right in the center of Bridgeport, since the East Norwalk wreck of 1853, when 
on March 5, 1853, 44 lives were lost in a drawbridge disaster. Among the 
victims of this earlier wreck was Dr. Samuel Beach of this city. 

When the toll was taken, at the scene of the wreck and hospitals of the 
city, St. Vincent's and Bridgeport, 14 were found to have been killed, among 
them the ill-fated Curtis, engineer of the Federal. 

His body was found in one section of the debris, far separated from his 
head, found in the wreckage of the telescoped coach 100 yards from the engine. 

The scene was of utter darkness. Piercing and harrowing cries of the 
wounded and dying filled the air. It took no stretch of the imagination to see 
that the tardy engine, traveling at the rate of 60 miles, on the track over the 
viaduct — when 15 miles an hour was legitimate — had jumped the track at the 
switch, in trying to take a new crossover, installed three weeks before, and 
tumbled into the roadway — -the huge locomotive going one way and dragging 
some coaches after it, and the other coaches going another way. 

The Pullman sleeper containing the St. Louis ball team stood miraculously 
poised over the embankment, and did not topple over. Three Pullmans, two 
baggage cars and a day coach between the baggage-mail car and the Pullmans 
were reduced to splinters. Telephone and telegraph poles in the vicinity were 
crumpled like paper. Pieces of granite and masonry weighing tons were dis- 
lodged from the viaduct and iron girders were twisted and broken ofi^ by the 
impact of the smash. Curtis had not seen the caution signal in time to slow 
down for the crossover and sent 14 to their death and maimed scores of others. 

In the day coach between the baggage car and the Pullman, most of the 
dead were found. One hundred and fifty yards from the crossing the leviathan 
locomotive's remains, a mass of twisted iron, with its tender demolished, were 


The locomotive was on the west side of Railroad avenue with the baggage 
and mail cars, next to the viaduct, where they landed in breaking away from 
the locomotive. 

The third coach landed in John Koran's lawn, with the adjoining Pullman 
on its top. 

The section of the picket fence separating the Horan property from the 
railroad's property was shattered by the crash and sections of it were used for 
stretchers, for the dead and dying. 

Herois/}/ Aplenty 
There was heroism aplenty, testified to by the survivors, among police, 
passengers and the general public. The wreckers from New^ Haven were two 
hours late in arriving, and the police and physicians did work of mercy and 
salvage, unaided by technicians. 

The fatally wounded were not of Bridgeport, but among them were 
children and babies whose piteous cries wrung the hearts of the rescuers. 
Mary Louise Rogers, the seven-months-old daughter of Mrs. Gwendolyn 
Rogers, wife of George E. Rogers, sergeant in the LInited States Army, was one 
of the victims with her mother. They had been in the ill-fated day coach. 
Afterwards Rogers settled with the New Haven road for $6,500. 

The largest death claim then possible in the state was S5,000, and there 
was implied criticism in journals of the day of the manner in which the road's 
legal adjusters scattered among the wounded and dymg, attempting to settle 
to forestall suit. The cost to the company of the wreck was half a million 
dollars, and that, which was followed by the W^estport wreck and later the 
wreck of the Bar Harbor express in New Haven, the third in the calamitous 
series, left the road cognizant of the fact that it was losing money by its old 
dilapidated rolling stock. 

Engineer Blamed at First 
However, at the inquest which Coroner Clifford Wilson held in private 
and was therefor severely criticized, there was no hint of inferior equipment. 
That came later in the Bar Harbor and Westport inquests, and the dead en- 
gineer Curtis was held blameable for the tragedy. For a time his body lay 
unclaimed and indifferently in the morgue here. 

"He is not a member of our organization," said a railroad man. 

The Bridgeport Standard of that day observed that not even his wife had 
come to claim the body. Even his family, apparently, spurned the man re- 


sponsible for one of the most disastrous wrecks on the New Haven road. 
There was no hint in the inquest that Curtis had been overworked, although 
later in the inquests into the subsequent wrecks, it was brought out in the case 
of the Westport wreck that the dead engineer, Dohcrty, of New Haven had 
worked over ten hours the day he took out the fatal locomotive in the train 
wreck which killed several members of the Brady family of New York and 
the Garvans of Hartford. Facts like these later accumulated to bolster up the 
charge of mismanagement of the Mellon regime. 

Among the Vict'n7is 

Other victims of the Federal here were Mrs. Charles D. Wolcott, wife of 
the secretary of the Smithsonian Institute of Washington, D. C; C. W. 
Christie, of Philadelphia; George E. Saunders, of Norwich; George H. Hart- 
man, a three-year-old boy, and several of the train crew. Fireman W. A. Ryan 
and Engineer Curtis jumped with the crash, were caught in the debris, and, 
according to a newspaper account of the day, were "reduced to pulp." 

Fortunately the wreck did not take fire, else scores would have been burned 
to death. Fire Chief Edward Mooney, with his men, arrived quickly on the 
scene with hatchets and saved the lives of several passengers by chopping 
through the roof of the sleeper, and raising the debris of the telescoped day 

Chauffeur George North of the police patrol was sleeping on a couch, 
unable to stand the heat of a bed, when he heard the crash. Arriving quickly 
he saved several lives by pulling the victims through the window of the over- 
turned Pullman. 

The lusty cry of a babe of a year, piercing the black inferno, attracted 
Patrolman John Barton to a coach and he extricated the tiny victim. Mrs. 
Walter C. Clephane, of Washington, one of the victims, called Barton a hero. 
There were many unsung heroes among laymen and physicians. 

Physicians Worked Valiantly 

Drs. Andrew McQueeney, Robert J. Lynch, H. R. Bennett and W. J. 
Greenstein, worked valiantly transferring the victims to the Bridgeport and 
St. Vincent's hospitals. 

"It was the worst sight I ever saw," Dr. Bennett reported. 

Some of the victims went insane with pain and horror when they arrived 
at the hospital. One woman victim was delivered of a child in the hospital 
shortly after the wreck. 


Investigators went to work. The Interstate Commerce commission ruled 
that 15 miles an hour on a viaduct such as Fairfield avenue's was legal rate 
of speed. The forty-seven victims in course of time left the hospital and the 
wreck was all but forgotten . . . forgotten until the summer of the next year 
when a similarly disastrous wreck of the road occurred in Westport, near 
Benson road. 

Then followed in September, 1912 — the wreck of the swank Bar Harbor 
express at New Haven — between times a number of smaller wrecks on the New 
Haven, all of which reinforced the phantom of the "jinx," all contributing with 
other circumstances to seriously cripple the road, for the time being. 

PHOTOGRAPH taken looking East on Fairfield Ave- 
nue by Morehouse Street. In the background is the 
Duhigg Store, the house on the left is on Fox Street. 
First trolley came in 1894 — the last in June 1937. 

PICTURE taken when the Railroad ran on ground level 
— about 1900. 



FEBRUARY 1913 — The burning of three houses owned 
by Mr. Sven Swanson, father of Sig Swanson, president 
of Apex Tool Co. The houses were rebuilt identical 
to the original ones. 

peared about 1925. Building located next to the Ritz 


'^emcm^£/i 'W^m? 

/ ?IS" s~ 

Spalla's Barber Shop in the early twenties. 

Carlson Grocery Store on Fairheld Avenue near 
Brewster Street. 

1917" -Old open trolley cur on Fauhcld Avenue at 
Brewster Street. The building in the foreground (corner 
Fairfield Avenue and Brewster Street) was later moved 
down Brewster Street to make room for the new Black 
Rock Bank Building. 

Fairfield Avenue looking East from Brewster Street. 

DUHIGG STORE— Corner of Fair- 
field Avenue at Fox Street. Mr. Ed- 
ward Duhigg started the store in 
1901 when he was 21 years old. 
The building was torn down in 
1926 and the present building was 
erected. Mr. Duhigg developed and 
owned most of Fox Street, More- 
house Street and Benne't Street. He 
also owned the block of stores be- 
tween Fox and Bennett Streets. 



The Church Edihce at Ellsworth Street and Bartram Avenue 

The House of Worship erected by the First Congregational Society of 
Black Rock, was dedicated to God on August 8, 1849. On the 11th of Septem- 
ber, 1849, a special council of ministers convened therein to assist in the organ- 
ization of the church, 24 members havin£r been dismissed from the First Church 
of Christ in Fairfield, Conn., for that purpose. 

On application, this church became associated with the Fairfield County 
West Association at its annual meeting held at Stamford, October 7, 1849. 

In 1886, a chapel was erected at the rear of the church edifice. In 1922, 
this chapel was removed to another site on the church lot, and replaced with the 
"Woodruff Memorial," erected in memory of Rev. Henry Collins Woodruff, 
pastor, 1881-1922, a period of forty years, by his wife, Mary Bartram Woodruff. 


At a meeting of the church, February 9, 1850, Rev. William J. Jennings 
was invited to become the first pastor, and he was ordained and installed April 
9, 1850 (salary $500.00 per year), and dismissed October 6, 1857. His succes- 
sors have been: Rev. Marinus Willett, 1858-1861; Rev. A. C. Baldwin, 1861- 
1866; Rev. F. W. Williams, 1866-1874; Rev. Howard W. Pope, 1874-1881 
(salary $1,200.00); Rev. Henry C. Woodruff, 1881-1922; Rev. Charles H. 
Cleveland, 1949-1952. 

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§€c^oL Jp litk^.^t<. :^£M^t^J^d4<.\i/ ^J^/iJ Ir 0^/ct^ii^<^ 

j^ / / J 1 • // / 

(Copy from Church record books) — This is the resolution to form the Congregational Church, 
September 3, 1849. The store referred to was located on Brewster Street, below Grovers Avenue. 
William Wheeler (clerk) is the one who kept the journal on Black Rock that was the basis for 
Mrs. Lathrop's book, "Black Rock, Seaport of Old Fairfield." 

Church Buys Site on Harbor 
At a special meeting of the First Congregational Church of Black Rock 
in January of 1955, it was voted to purchase a four and a half acre shorefront 
site at 184 Grovers Avenue. Plans toward eventually establishing its entire 
activities at the new location are being developed. 






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The church building, now at l6l Ellsworth Street, cares for the activities 
and spiritual needs of about 1,000 persons, churchmen explained. 

The estate, extending 475 feet along Black Rock harbor, formerly was 
the home of Col. S. W. Roessler, U. S. Army engineer in charge of Bridgeport 
harbor activities. The main building was erected about 65 years ago. (Pictured 
on Page 75, the Hull House.) 

Purchase price is reported to be about $60,000. 

The church was prompted to this action because of inadequate facilities 
at its present location to take care of its fast growing work, it was explained 
by a spokesman. It has one of the largest Sunday schools and young people's 
works in the state, he said. . 

More Urged by Pastor 

The pastor, the Rev. Harry L. Cox, in his message to the church, stressed 
the fact that present indications point to the need for added facilities in all 
departments. He urged the church to "have the vision and faith to take this 
great step forward." 

The planning committee, in its report, told of its study of sites both within 
and outside of the Black Rock area. The committee was unanimous in its con- 
clusion to recommend this site in order to keep its identity in the section which 
it has served so long and which it hopes to serve to an even greater extent. 
In its decision the committee took into account not only the beauty of the 
tract but the ample space for such desirable features as off-street parking, it 

The church will take possession of the property about May 1. The 
residence will be put to immediate use, but further building plans will not 
proceed until the building fund is adequate. 

The Black Rock church has had a vital part more than 100 years in the 
spiritual life of Black Rock. The church was formed in the days when Black 
Rock was a village in the Town of Fairfield. It seemed, the committee said, 
"a happy coincidence that this church, whose early history was linked so closely 
to the sea, with many of its parishioners sea captains, should now have this 
unique location on the harbor front." 



ST. MARK S LUTHERAN CHURCH— Midland Street and Jetland Place 

The first work of the Lutheran Church in this community traces back to 
the organization of a Sunday School forty-four years ago. On May 12, 1907, 
ten children met under the leadership of representatives of the Salem Lutheran 
Church. After meeting in varied buildings and homes, property was purchased 
on Princeton Street on March 31, 1911, for S600.00. At that time there were 
thirty-eight pupils and seven teachers. The chapel on Princeton Street was con- 
structed in 1912. Here the Sunday School met regularly year after year as a 
branch of the Salem Sunday School on Park Avenue. 

The Congregation's first meetings were held at St. Andrew's. Later the 
meetings were held at the chapel on Princeton Street, which the Salem Church 
on Park Avenue graciously presented to St. Mark's. With the increase in mem- 
bership the chapel became too small and the Black Rock Theatre and later the 
American Legion Hall on Brewster Street were used. 

March 1951 land was purchased from the Bartram Estate and a church 
built on Midland Street. The first pastor of this church was Rev. Charles V. 
Bergstrom. He was followed in 1954 by Rev. Frank A. Anderson. 



1. v?^'**'** 



ST. ANN'S CHURCH — Brewster Street 

Reverend Joseph F. Ford came to Black Rock in the spring of 1922 to 
establish the new church of St. Ann on the property purchased from Joseph 
Ciglar by Patrick H. FitzPatrick, in the name of the Most Reverend John J. 
Niian, Bishop of Hartford. 

Father Ford came to St. Ann's from St. Andrew's Church in Colchester, 
Connecticut. He laid immediate plans for the erection of a portable church to 
serve the needs of the people of Black Rock and the eastern section of the 
town of Fairfield. It is said that once the platform was laid, the people of 
St. Ann's parish under the direction of Father Ford, assembled the new portable 
church. The church was dedicated on May 14, 1922 by His Excellency Bishop 
Nilan. It is well remembered by the earlier parishioners both for its simple 
interior and the pot-bellied stove which was its sole means of heat. 

Father Ford opened the portable church with a mission. Thus the parish 
life of St. Ann's began. The portable church soon proved too small, and plans 
for the erection of a basement to a new super-structure were made by Father 
Ford. The basement church of St. Ann's was dedicated on December 5, 1926. 
With the opening of the new church, the portable church moved to new sur- 
roundings to house the people of Holy Rosary Parish while their new church 
was under construction. 


The basement church was planned well to serve the increased needs of 
the parish until the present church was built. 

Father Ford founded parish societies to unite the people of his parish. 
He founded Our Lady's Guild, which later became the Altar Society; the Holy 
Name Society; and an organization known as the Joan of Arc Club, the first 
of three organizations in the history of St. Ann's parish for the young people. 
It was later succeeded by the Marquette Club, and more recently by the Father 
Ford Club. 

m '. 

ST. ANNS SCHOOL — tllsworth Street at Fairtieid Avenue 

In August, 1935, Father Ford purchased the old Bridgeport Orphan 
Asylum, located at Ellsworth Street and Fairfield Avenue, when this institution 
moved into new quarters at Woodfield. Plans for its conversion into a paro- 
chial school began immediately. On Wednesday, September 5, 1935, school 
opened with Mass. Classes One to Four assembled for the first day of school. 
The dedication of this new building was to have taken place on Saturday, 
September 8, with Monsignor John J. McGivney as speaker. The school repre- 
sented the fond hopes of Father Ford, but it was not his happy privilege to 
see the school opened. He was taken to St. Vincent's Hospital on Sunday, 
September 2, and died on Friday, September 7, the day before his planned 
dedication ceremony. He was buried on the following Monday and the speaker 
for the dedication ceremony became the preacher for his funeral Mass. 

The religious teaching of the children of the parish had started out in the 
hands of the lay people appointed to that work by Father Ford. Later he re- 


ceived the services of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent's Hospital. 
With the opening of the school, four sisters arrived. 

The second pastor of St. Ann's was Reverend Henry J. Coleman (de- 
ceased 1954). Father Coleman came to St. Ann's from St. Michael's Church 
in Beacon Falls, October 19, 1935. 

The better to assist the school, Father Coleman established the Mothers' 
Club, an organization of the mothers of children in school. In May 1936, he 
organized the Children of Mary. The Boy Scouts, Troop 30, were organized 
by him in April 1936; the Cub Scouts, Pack 30, in 1943; and the Girl Scouts, 
in 1947. ^ 

St. Ann's School graduated its first class in June, 1940. The rapid growth 
of the school is well evidenced in the fact that five hundred twenty-five children 
are now enrolled at St. Ann's. 

With the opening of St. Ann's School in 1935, a wing of the building 
served as a convent for the four nuns who later became eight and ten in num- 
ber. The rapid development of both parish and the school caused Father 
Coleman to purchase a convent for the Sisters, in order that he might make 
use of the space occupied by them for classroom purposes. The present con- 
vent, located at 543 Ellsworth Street, was purchased from the Estate of Annie 
Gall. The Sisters of St. Ann's took occupancy on November 7, 1945. 

Many are the memories connected with the basement church of St. Ann's. 
In it many of our parishioners were baptized, received their First Communion 
and Confirmation. Many, too, were married in this structure. For others it 
holds a lasting memory, because from it were buried members of their families. 
Now it serves as a parish hall, but for all it will stand as a monument to the 
parishioners who built it and to the pastors who were its shepherds — Father 
Ford, and Father Coleman, and the present pastor. Rev. Walter J. McCarthy. 

The new church, designed in medieval Gothic style of the Parish Churches 
of England, was dedicated Sunday, April 20, 1952. 



The Black Rock Branch Library opened in a portable building at the cor- 
ner of Fairfield and Melrose Ave., on July 1, 1922 with Miss Alice Durgy as 
branch librarian. Miss Durgy was followed by Miss Mildred Camp, who in 
turn was succeeded by Miss Virginia E. Hall, the present branch librarian. For 
nine years this portable building served the people of Black Rock as a branch 
library. In 1931 sufficient land was purchased from the Bridgeport Housing 
Co., at the same location, to accommodate a new library building. 

Ground was broken for a much needed permanent building in August 
1931. This building was completed in February 1932, at a cost of $45,000 and 
opened to the public February 5, 1932. Mr. Leonard Asheim was the architect. 

While waiting the completion of the new building, the library served the 
the public from the oM Black Rock Bank building on Brewster St. The entire 
book collection was shelved there, but left no room for people to read in the 
building. The portable building that was used for nine years was sold to 

the Boy Scouts and was used as a recreation hall at 

Lake Pomperaug. 

The library gives servdce to the schools and to 
an active community. During this thirty two-year 
period 1922-1954 the library has furthered many ac- 
tivities such as story-hours, class work with schools, 
reading clubs, and scout instruction. 

The users of the library increase and decrease in 

number according to the demand on time given to 

outside interests. The number of borrowers at this 

»* date is 2,178. The number of books in the branch at 

Miss Virginia E. Hall, present this date is 19,977. The circulation of books at this 

libranan.^She has served since ^^^^ -^ ^^^^^^ ^qqqq ^ ^^^^^ 


'Da ^oxi ^cw^m^^&i? 






-1910 — Fairfield Avenue, 

luuking east . 

t Bennett Street. 

Photo by Thomas Colwell 1 


, , J 



BLACK ROCK April l, 1918 — This is Fairhekl Avenue, looking east, at Breuster Street. The huilJin.L; in tlic 
center of the picture is now located behind the Black Rock Bank, the present bank taking its place on the corner 
of Fairfield Avenue and Brewster Street. Army trucks line both sides of the street. They are Locomobiles, made 
in Bridgeport, and used in the first World War. 

The Last Remains 

of the 

These pictures and story were 
found in an old scrapbook of Miss 
Anna Hall, after the book had 
gone to press, so we were unable 
to include them with the Hotel 
George story on page 27. 

The building is the last remains 
of the hotel, center section. It was 
moved across Black Rock harbor to 
its present location at Hancock Ave- 
nue, southwest corner of Spruce 
Street, about 1900. At that time 
Black Harbor extended to within a 
few hundred feet of this location. 
The area has now been filled in. 
For many years the bottom story 
was used by the Duka Pharmacy. 
Upper stories are apartments. 

Black Rock ( 

Captain Squire family 7 

The Burr family 2 

Sillimans family 2 

Gold family 4 

J. Bartram family 4 

Sturges family 3 

Chancy family 2 

H. Osborn family 5 

J. Wheeler family 2 

ensus — 1801 

W. Wheeler family 3 

Brewster family 7 

C. W. Brewster family 2 

Mrs. Bartram family 1 

T. Bartram family 4 

J. W. Wheeler family 6 


Also 6 stores, 5 wharves, 4 vessels. 


PICNICKING on Champ ^ Farm (in the viuinity oi Quinlan A\cnuc and Midland S'rcct. 
row of houses in background is on Seaside Avenue. 

The \l 

THE DUNDON HOUSE- -built about 1908. It stood 
at 2295 Fairfield Avenue. House was purchased by the 
F. L. Mills Studebaker Co. in 1953 and moved to its 
new location on Hope Street. 

IHIS hsrAlh on AnJioiai^e Dtnc fionting the Black 
Rock Harbor, is the site of the residence of the 
Lawrence Fenns and their children Joann, Mary-Lou 
and Susan. The previous owner was Mr. Canfield of 
the Canfield Rubber Company. The main house had 
been constructed by Mr. Archibald McNeil. The cot- 
tage was built and is now occupied by Mr. Joseph H. 
Cone, president of the Casco Products Corporation. 



BRIDGEPORT GARDEN APARTMENT CORP., built in 1917 as a government project by the U. S. Housing 
Corp. under the direction of Mr. 'William H. Ham. After World War I it was taken over by the Bridgeport 
Housing Co. (private corporation). In 1954 it was sold to the tenants, becoming a Co-op under the name of 
Bridgeport Garden Apartment Corp. 

On this land originally stood the lavish estate of Mrs. Emma J. Richardson of Bridgeport and New York. 
It consisted of a large brick house, servant house, barns, stables, tennis courts, and beautifully landscaped gar- 
Jens. After her death, in 1908, it passed to her niece, Mrs. Mary R. Washburn, whose daughter married A. 
R. Wood, a famous tennis player of that time. The estate was bought by the government from the Washburn 
family to make room for the project. The houses and barns were torn down. However, one house remains and 
is still standing on Nash Lane — next to the apartments. The Garden apartments have become very choice and 
sought after apartments due to their beautiful landscaping, great trees, and centrality. 

Three of the original tenants still reside in the apartments. Dr. Beaudry, L. B. Walker, and Thomas Collins. 

The two streets, Rowsley and Haddon, which were laid out by the Housing Corporation were named from the 
book "Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall." 





This home was constructed in 1937 by the late Fred 
Frassinelli, one of the founders of the E & F Construc- 
tion Company. Mrs. Frassinelli lives in the house. 

STAPLETON RESIDENCE - Eames Boulevard. The 
house was built in 1949 by Sam Carp and recently sold 
to Mr. and Mrs. Walter Stapleton. 

vard. Built in 1950. 

DAVID S. DRIER RESIDENCE— 19 Eames Boulevard. 
Built in 1939. 

ROGER BONVINl HOMh -Jy tames Bouicvard. 

hMMhT K. MOORl: HOL ih- -37 hames boulevard, m' 


t-* '^ \ 

k}" r* 

^Ci i f^>-"'ft7*T'' 

' ;iiii 

NX'HITTLES HOME — Sailors Lant. The house was 
built in 1930 by Hastings. At present it is the home of 
Mr. and Mrs. Ray Whittles. Mr. Whittles is Vice Presi- 
dent of the Lucas Company. 

ROHER r S. STEARNS HOUSE — 88 Grovers Avenue. 

BURR RESIDENCE — Sailor's Lane. The house was 
built in 1930 by Hastings. At present it is the home of 
Mr. and Airs. Walter Burr. Mr. Burr is President of 
the Electric Maintenance Service Co. of Bennett Street, 
HLick Rock. 

THE ANCHORAGE (view from Harbor)— 98 Grovers 
Avenue. This Black Rock landmark was built by P. J. 
Bartram about 1900. It was later owned by Kenneth 
McNeil, Robert Hincks, H. B. Naramore, and E. Miller. 
Its present owner is Philip Whitney. 

.RMITAGE RESIDENCE — Grovers Avenue. Resi- 
dence of Mrs. Watson Armitage was built in 1916 by 
peneral Watson, father of Mrs. Armitage. The original 
iiouse, lived in by the Watson family, was torn down. 
Photograph of the original house can be seen in another 
;;ection of the book. 

House was built by Sprague of Sprague Meter Company 
in 1930. After his death Mrs. Sprague married L. T. 
Mead. The house was then sold to Rusling. In 1946 
the house became the residence of Gilbert King, a New 
York stockbroker, and son of John T., the late John T. 
King, one time political boss of Bridgeport. 

TH£ CHIAL\l:\'i> The Chimneys", of Black Rock hill, was built in 1929 by Mrs. Dudley Mixer 
Morris at a cost of $400,000. The house has twenty-one rooms. It was designed by the famous 
architect, Charles Wellington Walker. The house was completed just before the Wall Street crash 
and every detail imaginable was included in the plans of the house. Dudley Morris, his fortune 
swept away in the depression that followed the stock market boom, died before the family moved 
into "The Chimneys." Mrs. Morris and her daughter, Peggy, lived in the five-room servant quarters 
for several years. The lavishly decorated five master bedrooms, each with its own bath and fireplace, 
were little used. The huge six-car garage, with its own gas pump, has been empty for years. In 1942, 
it was used for a Coast Guard School, and for housing officers and men. In 1945, the house was 
sold to Joseph Caserta, a builder, for $40,000; Mr. Caserta spent $10,000 in remodeling the house. 

^;'!^ ,% 




WARNER RESIDENCE— Hilltop Road. The home of 
Mr. and Mrs. DeVer Warner, Vice President of the 
Bridgeport Hydraulic Company. The house was built 
about 1937. Recently sold to Arthur J. Quinn, pres- 
ident of Bridgeport Casting Company for $58,000. 

LEWIS LL'CAS HOME— Hilltop Road. Built in 1926 
by Harold Naramore. In 1938 it became the residence 
of Lewis Lucas. 




Lyddy is Superintendent of Police for the City of 
Bridgeport. The house was built in 1947 and is located 
on the highest point of the hill It is on the site of the 
old foit that commanded a view of the harbor in the 
War of 1812 


1951 — AERIAL VIE'^" of Ash Creek, looking west towards Fairfield. Note Fairfield Avenue in the center of the 

UI-ACK ROCK looking cast. Mack iiuLk Ljaiji;c is in the foreground. Fairfield A\ciu 
Bc\erly Theatre Building — upper right. Center top shows Black Rock School. 

ht. Frouge- 

HOUSE on Fairfield Avenue where the present Mary 
Journey's Inn now stands. 

It was built in 1865 by Robert Moran, a wealthy 
farmer, who farmed all the land from Davidson Street 
to Ash Creek Bridge. The house passed to his daughter, 
Alice Moran, who sold it to Mr. Down — who had 
two daughters, Alice and Elizabeth. 

It became the GOLDEN INN, famous for its pastries 
and delicious food. In 1922 it was sold to Mrs. Mary 
Casillo, who operated it under the name of GREEN 
LANE INN until 1925, when it burned to the ground. 


■ f 

* ^ i^ *^* W'*^ ***" * 

AERIAL VIEW of the BuUard Machine Co. and the Rooster River ... as it appeared in the early twenties. 
Now the bridge has been replaced, also the foundry running along Brewster Street extends to Canfield Avenue, 
it being built over the river. Many other changes can be noted. 


1949— AERIAL VIEW OF BLACK ROCK — Fairfield Avenue running diagonally across photo. Bullards is at 
left. Black Rock school and Garden Apartments are in the middle right of the photograph. Note area on lower right 
prior to the building of the new churches — St. Ann's Roman Catholic Church and St. Mark's Lutheran Church. 

1952— ST. MARY'S BOULEVARD and Black Rock's exclusive residential area. 

1949 — BLACK ROCK HARBOR at low tide. Note remains of old piers. Foreground pier is the remains of 
George Hotel pier — prior to that it was part of Squire's NX'harf. | 

U;^ Ai^'w 

• 1* ■#■ Tffi. ■T'' 

.r-.-^«te - ., , :^'^..^^\ 

1951— AERIAL VIEW OF BLACK ROCK, lookmg west. In the foreground is Ballard's. Mote Ash Creek as it 
divides Black Rock from Fairfield. 

(d/ilong ^/'airfkld (dji 

if£nii£ m 


\n III 

Entering BLACK ROCK Irom l-airlicld. 

PACANOW STREET, looking Last. jNIary Journey's Inn can be seen on the left 

1 -,T 

j^mm TMMmm mmm 

POLAND STREET, lookini^ East. Conspicuously on the left is Mack Motors. Right 
foreground shows Ray Arnold Company. 

Looking West. COURTLAND AVENUE on the left and DAVIDSON STREET on 
134 the right. The Ritz Ballroom is in left background. 

mME mm m m^ iie^ie n 

MOREHOUSE STREET, lookini^ West. At extreme n^^ht can be seen the office of 
Antoniak Printing Service, publishers of this book. 

OILMAN STREET, looking West. Black Rock's largest office building ... the Frouge- 
Beverly block is pictured. Note large tree ... as it is a traffic hazard, its removal has been 
on the agenda of the Black Rock Civic and Business Men's Club for many years. 135 

j^mm iF^aiEiFiiigiL® mi^iiie 


At BLNNli'il STREET. Here are some of the larger stores of the area. 

mi^m mm m m^ "^m^ a^s) 

Opposite WILSON STREET, lookini,' East. 

View towards BREWSTER STREET. On the left can be seen the Black Rock Bank 
and Trust Co., where many of the Black Rock Civic and Business Men's Club meetings 
are held. 


j^mm ^Mmmm mmm 

Lp LliL Avenue we go! On the left is ALFRED STREET, on the right are the Garden 

Near PRINCETON STREET are located the Fire Engine Co. No. 11 and the 3rd 
138 Precinct of the Police Department. 

mi^m mm m ran in^ia ai) 

ELLSWORTH STREET, on the right is St. Ann's School, which was formerly the old 
Bridgeport Orphan Asylum. 

On the way to Bridgeport, looking East, the Automotive Twins, can be seen on the 


M®m ^MMmm mmm 

Along Fairfield Avenue, near WALDORF AVENUE. F. L. Mills Company on the left. 

"WHITTIER STREET, looking East. Automobile row now occupies most of the land 
140 which was the former Circus grounds. 

mi^m mm m m^ "^m^ n 

Heading towards downtown Bridgeport. The VIADUCT, scene of the Great Train 
Wreck, story on Page 104, is in the background. It is expected that this area will change 
with the coming of the new super highway. 



1928-1929 Harold C. Main 

1930 Oscar B. Bertilson 

1931 Claude B. Moshier 

1932 Charles H. White 

1933 Ray S. Arnold 

1934 Milton D. Blanck 

1935 John Dobey, Jr. 

1936 Hobart L. Smith 

1937 Louis J. Standish 

1938 W. A. Kimmerlin * 

1939 Louis T. Dobey 

1940 Edgar F. Webster 

1941 Geza M. Horvath 

1942 Richard F. Moore 
1942 Jasper F. Mathews 

1943 Charles S. Brody 

1943 John Zotack * 

1944 Carl P. Finney 

1945 Thomas Mortell 

1946 Gunnard Wellner 

1947 Paul Goldbecker 

1948 William W. Lewis * 

1949 Gabriel Biro 

1950 Robert H. Walker 

1951 Edgar Freese 
1951 Stephen Homa 

1951 V. W. Clabby 

1952 Harry W. Streck 

1953 Frank J. Clark 

* Deceased 




First President 
and Organizer 


Re))i'niisci)ig — Harold C. Main 

Twenty eight years is a long time. It is rather 
difficult to remember in detail everything that hap- 
pened at that time. As far as possible, however, I 
shall try to set down here the facts regarding the 
birth and infancy of the Black Rock Business Men's 
Club, now the Black Rock Civic and Business Men's 

On December 27, 1927, a meeting was held at 
Champ's Farm, then located about where Louis 
Dobey lives on Quinlan Avenue, and attended by 
fifteen business men and property owners. Those 
present were Oscar B. Bertilson, George P. Weising, 
George H. Piatt, Frank J. Green, Fred L. McEnany, 
Arthur Gustafson, Edward M. Brennan, the Rev. 

C. S. McDowell, Joseph R. Barry, George McCormack, Fred A. Lyon, Claire 
DeWolfe, Barton F. Champion, Abe Friedman and Harold C. Main. It was 
decided that night to organize, and a committee was appointed to draw up 

The second meeting was held on January 11, 1928 at which time the 
organization was completed and the following officers elected: President, 
Harold C. Main; Vice President, Fred H. Merwin; Secretary, Raymond S. 
Arnold; Treasurer, Oscar B. Bertilson; "Blackie", Joseph R. Barry; "Rocky", 
George McCormack; Directors: Fred A. Lyon, George Weising, Abraham 
Friedman, Harry H. Miller, Louis J. Spalla and J. S. Gilbert. 

This was not the first business men's organization to be formed in Bridge- 
port. Some time previously a group known as the Bridgeport Business Men's 
Association was organized but did not last very long. However, as soon as our 
group was formed, interest revived among business men in various parts of 
the city and similar groups were formed in the west side, east end, east side, 
north end and down town. The unusual feature is that the only one that has 
remained active throughout these twenty eight years is the Black Rock group. 
Some of the other organizations have disappeared. Others became inactive 
and were reorganized later. Now the question naturally arises — what was the 
secret of our success? I think there were two important factors in which our 
club differed from the organizations in other sections of the city. Most of them 
were organized for purely selfish purposes. Some were simply based on "I'll 


trade with you and you trade with me" basis. Some were just protesting 
groups which were continually complaining about high taxes, high electric 
light and water rates and similar items. The Black Rock Business Men's Club 
stated at the outset that it was devoted to the general improvement of the Black 
Rock section and would be devoted to making Black Rock a better place in 
which to live. When new members were admitted in those early years, they 
were always informed that their membership was solicited only with the under- 
standing that they were willing to give of their time and effort to developing 
the community with no thought of personal gain or reward. I think this con- 
stant ideal of community betterment was a dominating motive and was 
primarily responsible for the success of our organization. 

Second Year Officers of the Black Rock Business Men's Club, January 1928 — Front row, 
seated, left to right, Mr. Jepson, Harold C. Main, Abe Friedman. Second row, standing, 
left to right, Fred Lyon, Claude Moshier, James Griglum, Howard Bodurtha, Ray 
Arnold, Oscar Bertilson. 



I'RR OflSEK HAaspR LRJE - Kareh 


The ultimate success of an organization, however high its aims, can only 
be accomplished through the untiring efforts of its leaders. No sketch such 
as this would be complete if we did not pay tribute to some of the men who 
devoted so much of their time and energy to this organization and to the 
community. Outstanding in those early days were John Dobey, Jr. who for 
many years headed the Civic Committee; Attorney Charles S. Brody, who 
handled all the legal work in connection with the club without ever presenting 
a bill; Joe Barry and the late George McCormack who provided us with much 
entertainment, the late Howard Bodurtha who was secretary for many years 
and Claude B. Moshier who headed the great Mardi Gras in 1930, one of the 
outstanding events in the history of Black Rock. Brewster Street, between 
Fairfield Avenue and the Bullard plant was set aside for a block party, Mardi 
Gras and reviewing stand. The Harvey Hubbell band furnished the music for 
dancing. A colossal parade was held starting at Fairfield and Railroad Ave- 
nues — proceeding out Fairfield Avenue to Grasmere and returning to Brewster 
Street. The parade was led by Alderman Irving H. Johnson astride a white 
horse, as grand marshal of parade and there were many decorated floats and 
costumes of pictorial color, showing the history of the old settlement of Black 
Rock, its seafaring element, its practical adventure and early ship building 
days. After the parade, there was dancing in the streets under flood lights, a 
king and queen were chosen, and a reception was held for them at the Ritz 


i 3 - THE BOYS TRY THEIR SKILL IN BO^X'LING — Front row, left to right: Chester Zambardo, Louis 
S'ldish. Second row, left to right: Louis Dobey, Alex Vago, Ed Dome, George Namian, Captain, Harold Main, 
E'l Frankel, Ed Curtis. Third ro\\', left to right: Mike Kavalich, Claude Moshier, E. C. J. Kelly, Steve Toth, Nat 
(bert. John Pastor. Back row, left to right: D. P. Lynch. Steve Baye, Al McTaggert, Paul Bonney, Bill Kimmerlin, 
Hie Smith, Marius Thane. 

Ballroom. Others who were active in those years were Oscar B. Bertilson, Ray 
S. Arnold, Milton D. Blanck, Hobart L. Smith, Louis T. Dobey, Geza Horvath, 
Richard F. Moore and Jasper S. Mathews. 

Burr Creek project was the Club's largest undertaking. This involved the 
presentation of the Burr Creek Bill to Congress, which passed the House and 
Senate and signed by the late President Roosevelt, thus eliminating the Creek 


■,>f "%* ■** 


Presentation of BURR CREEK BILL at Algonquin Club, Bridgeport, Conn., February 21, 1938. 
Hon. Wm. Citron, John Dobey, Jr., Charles S. Brody, Harold C. Main, Wm. Kimmerlin 

as a navigable stream. It took several years of work by the club members to 
get the property owners, whose land bordered on the creek, to waiver their 
riparian rights. The filling started in 1939 and to date some 200 acres have 
been filled. Two government housing projects have been built in the area. 
John Dobey, Jr., served as chairman. It is the hope that some day this area 
will become a park for the people of Black Rock. 

In this sketch of the early days I have not attempted to recite the many 
accomplishments of our club. Those who lived or worked in Black Rock in 
the early twenties can remember the noxious odors from the creek which at 
that time came right up to Fairfield Avenue. The dangers of this same street 
at that time, a portion of U. S. Route No. 1, with no adequate lighting or 
other safeguards, the disgraceful conditions at the Fairfield entrance to Black 


Rock with an open dump at both sides of the bridge and the mud on Brewster 
Street through which our children had to trudge to attend church or school. 
The elimination of these hazards and the improvements of such conditions 
were among the early aims of the club and were brought to fruition. There 
is no doubt in my mind that this organization will continue to be a dominant 
factor in the growth and development of Black Rock and we who had a part 
in its organization and accomplishments feel amply repaid for our efforts. 


July 6, 1937 

Mr. Citron introduced the following bill; which was referred 

to the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce 

and ordered to be printed 


1 1 



declare Burr Creek, from Fairfield Avenue southward to 
Yacht Street in the city of Bridgeport, Connecticut, a non- 
navigable stream. 

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives 
of the United States of America in Congress assembled. 
That Burr Creek, at and southward from Fairfield Avenue 
to Yacht Street in the city of Bridgeport, Connecticut, be, 
and the same is hereby, declared to be not a navigable 
water of the United States within the meaning of the Con- 
stitution and laws of the United States. 

Sec. 2. That any project heretofore authorized by any 
Act of Congress, insofar as such project relates to said Burr 
Creek from Fairfield Avenue southward to Yacht Street in 
the city of Bridgeport, Connecticut, be, and the same is 
hereby, abandoned. 

Sec. 3- The right to alter, amend, or repeal this Act 
is hereby expressly reserved. 

Public — No. 276 — 75th Congress 

Chapter 607 — 1st Session 

(H. R. 7766) 


To declare Burr Creek, from Fairfield Ave- 
nue southward to Yacht Street in the city 
of Bridgeport, Connecticut, a nonnavigable 

Be it enacted by the Senate and House 
of Representatites of the United States of 
America in Congress assembled. That that 
portion of Burr Creek in the city of Bridge- 
port, Connecticut, lying north of a line 
across the creek beginning at the point of 
intersection of the south side of Yacht 
Street extended and the west harbor line 
of the harbor lines established by the 
Secretary of War December 9, 1924, thence 
south eighty-five degrees forty-six minutes 
se\enteen seconds east to the east harbor 
line of said creek, be, and the same is 
hereby, declared to be not a navigable 
water of the United States within the 
meaning of the Constitution and laws of 
the United States. 

Sec. 2. That any project heretofore au- 
thorized by any Act of Congress, insofar as 
such project relates to the above described 
portion of Burr Creek in the city of Bridge- 
port, Connecticut, be, and the same is 
hereby, abandoned. 

Sec. 3. The right to alter, amend, or 
repeal this Act is hereby expressly reserved. 

Approved, August 12, 1937. 


AERIAL VIEW OF BURR CREEK 1950 — Note two housing projects in foreground on filled-in mudflat. 


It was back in February 18, 1938, at the Black Rock Theatre, that the club presented one of 
its minstrel shows. "Vas you dere Sharlie?" 

Interlocutor, Barrister Charles S. Brody. End Men, Eddie Leonard Bergers, Eddie Cantor Dome, 
First Broom Moshier, Lou Dockstader Smith, Eddie Primrose Johnson, Second Broom Clabby. 

Gentlemen of the Ensemble, Fred McEnany, Richard Moore, Harold Main, Albert Schuman, 
Albert Reich, Morris Thane, Henry Renaud, Joseph Barry, John Dobey, Jr., Alex Vago, Louis 
Dobey, Nathaniel Gilbert, Raymond Gilbert and Louis Standish. 

The entire production was under the personal direction of Florenz Zigfeld (Moshier). Musical 
Director, David Rubinofif (Clabby). Costumes were by the Johnson Body Co., with Prof. William 
Lampman at the Steinway. Stage Manager, O. Berger Bertilson, and Stage Settings by Bridgeport 
Boiler Works. Lighting effects by the L^nited Illuminating Co. Music was played without the 
special permission of the copyright owners. 

Specialty numbers were sung by the following: Joseph Barry, Edward Bergers, Fred McEnany, 
Hobart Smith, Henry Renaud Edmund Dome Richard Moore, Albert Reich, Irving Johnson, Vincent 
Clabby and Claude Moshier. 

The Committee for the event included: Vincent Clabby, Joseph Barry, Claude Moshier, William 
Kimmerlin, Hobart Smith and John Dobey. 



State Health Aid confers with City Offtcia/s in Response to Con/plaints 

On November 4, 1954, developments in the Wordin Avenue dump con- 
troversy* included acceptance by the Black Rock Civic and Business Men's Club 
of a resolution commending the action by City Court Prosecutor, Max Frau- 
wirth, the arrival of a State Health Department aid for a conference with 
Mayor Jasper McLevy and the continuance of the cases of six men arrested 
for violation of the dump ordinances. (A State health regulation ordered the 
closing of dumping grounds where materials are not disposed of — either 
burned or plowed under.) 

George F. Antoniak, president, backed by the officers and directors of the 
Black Rock Civic and Business Men's Club, called for a special session of the 
organization and presented the following resolution to Mayor Jasper McLevy. 

"WHEREAS the Officers and Directors, being aware of the 
objectionable dumping and burning of all types of refuse and 
rubbish contrary to present City Ordinances, and the menace to 
health and property particularly in Black Rock Village, the West 
End and the Black Rock sections of the City of Bridgeport, we, the 
entire body of Officers and Directors here present, hereby resolve 
that whereas the Black Rock Civic and Business Men's Club, Inc., 
in order to better promote and safeguard the interests of health 
and property values of the entire West End and Black Rock sec- 
tions, do hereby go on record as having voted unanimously to com- 
mend the efforts of City Prosecutor Max Frauwirth in enforcing 
the City Ordinance forbidding the promiscuous dumping of all 
types of refuse, papers and combustible materials at said dump. 

"FURTHER RESOLVED, that he should order the arrest of 
any persons violating the said City Ordinance against said dump- 
ing. Further, that immediate consideration should be given by the 
City to the construction of an incinerator to replace said dump." 

An "all quiet" interlude on the "battle of the dump" front prevailed as 
both Mayor Jasper McLevy and City Prosecutor Max Frauwirth awaited de- 
velopment before taking further action. Then on November 13, 1954, Mayor 
McLevy indicated he had accepted defeat in the explosive Wordin Avenue 

* For many years the Wordin Avenue dump was on the club's agenda — the constant fires 
created a smoke condition in Black Rock and West End, and the health hazard resultant from the 
debris was a cause of great concern. 


dump fire issue. His defeat marked the culmination of days at City Court, 
with a parade of witnesses testifying on the dump issue. Representing the 
Black Rock Civic and Business Men's Club at Court were Joseph A. Caserta, 
Civic chairman; George F. Antoniak, president, and directors Frank J. Clark 
and Dr. Ivan Justinius. Mayor McLevy announced that he would ask the 
Legislature to approve a bond issue to build an incinerator in Bridgeport's 
smoke choked West End and Black Rock. 

The plan was revealed in a letter from Warren Scott, chief sanitation 
engineer for Connecticut who wrote: "We feel that the handling of the 
municipal refuse is the duty of the City of Bridgeport, and the city officials 
have advised that they are taking, and will take steps to control the operation 
of the dump, and are going forward in the near future with plans for con- 
structing an incinerator." 




A Proposal — Tidal dam and road would join St. Mary's, Black Rock with Jennings 
Beach, Fairfield, creating an inland pond safe for swimming and smallboating. 



Bridgeport and Fairfield municipal officials agreed to set up a line in the 
center of Ash Creek, from the Post Road bridge to the Sound, as the town 
boundary in that area. 

Municipal engineers of both communities were directed to map such a 
line and submit it soon for confirmation by a joint committee of city and town 

Then the proposed boundary will be presented by the committee to the 
Bridgeport Common Council and the Fairfield Representative Town meeting 
for final adoption. 

In discussing the matter, the officials pointed out that settlement of a 
boundary, which has been in question for 20 years or more, is a prerequisite 
for any joint action toward improving the Ash Creek area, possibly for a yacht 
basin and bathing beaches. 

This has long been the dream of the Black Rock Civic and Business Men's 
Club and a proposal of this project is shown on the preceding page. 


In April of 1955, the organization went on record as being in favor of 
establishing a Boys' Club in the Black Rock area. The officers and directors 
met with Mr. William Montgomery, regional director. Boys' Clubs of 
America and Mr. Herbert Hart, executive director of Bridgeport Boys' Club, 
to explore the possibility of locating a branch to provide boys and girls with 
recreational facilities similar to other clubs in the city. 

In order to promote interest in the plan an essay contest is to be conducted 
for boys on the subject, "Why Black Rock Needs a Boys' Club." 

The Boys' Club idea received considerable attention during a general 
meeting of the organization and residents of the area at St. Ann's Parish Hall, 
on April 12. It was decided to form a group that would formulate plans io 
further this great need and Mr. Frank J. Clark was named as chairman of 
this project. 



OFFICERS — 1954 

George F. Antoniak 

Zoltan Sabo 
Financial Secretary 

Joseph Banyas 
Vice President 

The Club is composed of 
men in the community, all 
leaders in their own field, giv- 
ing of their valuable time to 
serve civic interests in Black 
Rock. After twenty-eight years 
of continuous service to Black 
Rock, the Club has constantly 
grown. The men who have 
worked so diligently have also 
gained much in experience 
and understanding of civic 
problems, religious and racial 
relations, housing, city plan- 
ning and administration. The 
wealth of information that 
each has gained in meetings 
and informal discussions, has 
helped to make the strong 
bond that makes this civic 
club an organization to be 
proud of. 

Roy Watkins 

G. Webster Miller 
Recording Secretary 

Joseph R. Barry 

Bernard J. Russel 



Frank J. Clark 

Dr. Ivan Justinius 

'^^ T»N 

Joseph A. Caserta 

Barnabas P. Toth 

Gabriel Biro 

Edgar Freese 

Dr. Harry Resnik 

Paul Belles 

Harry W. Streck 



MEMBERS— 1955 

Antell, Dr. Jerome, Optometrist 
Antoniak, George F., Printer 
Applebaum, Morris, Variety Store Merchant 
Arnold, Raymond S., Industrial Equipment 

Baduini, Emil, Auto Accessories Merchant 

Banker, Walter, Attorney 

Bansak, Raymond, Banker 

Banyas, Joseph F., Meats and Groceries 

Barry, Joseph, Ritz Ballroom 

Belles, Paul G., Alderman 

Bertilson, Oscar B., Plumber 

Biro, Gabriel, Banker 

Blackman, Sidney, Jeweler 

Blanck, Milton D., Public Relations 

Blank, Dr. Henry, Dentist 

Bodie, Stephen P., Banker 

Brody, Charles S., Attorney 

Brody, Lawrence, Attorney 

Brothers, Albert T., Auto Dealer 

Brown, Morris, Liter/or Decorator 

Brown, Sidney F., Auto Dealer 

Burkstrom, Edward L., Painter 

Burr, Walter N., Electrical Maintenance 

Campo, John, Jr., Grain Dealer 
Cappiello, Patsy, Restaurant 
Caserta, Joseph A., Realtor , 
Choquette, Peter, Realtor 
Church, Charles W., C. P. A. 
Clabby, Vincent W., Salesman 
Clark, Frank J., Banker 
Cohan, Dr. S. Howard, Dentist 
Colonari, Raymond, Public Relations 
Crapanzano, Dr. Mark M., Dentist 
Creel, John, Neiv Car Dealer 
Csontos, Stephen, Auto Repairing 
Csontos, William, Auto Repairing 

Dearborn, Lew, Realtor 
Demas, Nicholas, Restaurant 
Denter, Charles W., Restaurant 
Deri, Joseph, Auto Body Repairs 
DeSanti, Clement F., Tires 
Dobey, John, Jr., Appliances 
Dobey, Louis T., Auto Parts 
Doebeli, Charles A., Florist 
Dragone, Carmine, Used Car Dealer 
Dragone, Joseph, Used Car Dealer 
Dragone, Patsy, Used Car Dealer 
Dragone, Peter, Used Car Dealer 

Duffy, Harry E., Insurance 
Duhigg, Edward C, Realtor 

Eisenman, Richard D., Banker 

Erhardt, Gustave R., Scrap Metal Dealer 

Factor, Benjamin, Office Equipment 
Fekete, Alexander J., Package Store 
Folbaum, Jacob, Package Store 
Franz, Charles, Jr., Banker 
Freese, Edgar H., Banker 

Gale, James E., Real Estate 
George, Francis, Manufacturer 
Gevurtz, Harold, Tailor 
Goldbecker, Paul J., Optician 
Gniber, William J., Auto Dealer 
Gustavson, Carl A., Retired Policeman 

Herskowitz, Louis, Restaurant 
HofmiUer, Harold P., Paper Salesman 
Holzer, Abraham, Auto Dealer 
Homa , Stephen, Restaurant 
Horvath, Geza M., Jr., Manufacturer 
Hrivnock, Theodore H., Lumber Dealer 
Hubler, Julius A., Plumber 
Hultgren, Eric G., Manufacturer 

lodice, Michael, Seri'ice Station 

Jackson, Edward M., Accountant 
Jacob, Dr. Anton, Dentist 
Jenner, Arthur, Engineer. Retired 
Johnson, Ivar, Contractor 
Mary Journey's Inn, Catering 
Justinius, Dr. Ivan O. 

Katz, Maurice, Insurance Agent 

Kaye, Louis, Used Car Dealer 

Kelly, Eugene, Internal Revenue Dept. 

Kinnie, Dimill L., First Selectman, Fairfield 

Kot, Joseph, Hardware 

Kovacs, John S., Contractor 

Kovacs, William B., Meat Market 

Lako, Steve B., Jr., Auto Accessories 

Lange, Paul H., Engineer 

Lattin, Thomas E., Banker 

Lesko, John T., Mortician 

Lucas, Frank, Restaurant 

Lyddy, John A., Police Superintendent 



MEMBERS — 1955 


Main, Harold C, Banker 
Maraczi, Bela, Restaurant 
March, Arthur A., Attorney 
Martin, William, Service Station 
Mathews, Jasper S., Office Supplies 
Matto, Augustus, Ignition Service 
McLennan, William J., VI ant Protector 
McLevy, Jasper, Mayor 
Meltzer, Dr. Saul B., Surgeon 
Miller, G. Webster, Banker 
Miller, Roland V. G., Auto Body Repairs 
Mizak, Andrew F., Jr., Farm Equipment 
Moody, Fred L., Grocery Store Manager 
Moore, Richard F., Manufacturer 
Mortell, Thomas, Beverages 
Moshier, Claude B., Restaurant 

Nagy, Julius J., Tavern 
Naramore, Robert W., Manufacturer 
Navay, Dr. Aladar E., Dentist 
North, Arthur E., Bui lard's 

Panish, Erwin J., Manufacturer 
Paxton, William M., Ill, Manager 
Pekar, Joseph R., Banker 
Polke, Frank M., Mortician 
Pollock, Herman, Investments 

Reed, Carl R., Banker 

Resnik, Dr. Harry 

Rosenbaum, Joseph M., Hardivare 

Russell, Bernard J., Insurance 

Sabo, Zoltan, Meats and Groceries 
Shaeffer, Samuel F., Department Store 
Sharnick, Ambrose, Service Station 
Shook, Edwin O., Accountant 
Smith, Hobart L., Auto Dealer 
Smith, Joseph G., Manager 
Smith, William H., Bowling Alleys 
Sovary, Stephen A., Meats and Groceries 
Spalla, Louis J., Barber 
Staines, Robert, Package Store 
Standish, Louis J., Manufacturer 
Storey, Wilfred G., Dry Cleaning 
Streck, Harry W., Accountant 
Swanson, Sigurd B., Manufacturer 

Toth, Barnabas, Realtor 
Totoro, Albert M., Banker 
Turetsky, Dr. Samuel, Physician 

Varga, Louis L., Soft Drinks 
Vasil, Peter, Meats and Groceries 
Vissar, Nicholas E., Grocer 

Wahlquist, E. Hadar, Engineer 
Walker, Robert H., Brake Service 
Wallin, Frank R., Machine Shop 
Walter, Claymond, Pharmacist 
Watkins, Roy E., Banker 
Wellner, Gunnard F., Insurance 
Westberg, Herbert W., Manufacturer 
Williams, Kaye, Marine Supplies 

Zwecker, Harry, Florist 



Since 1915 The BuUard Company has been a 

resident in Black Rock and has played a major role in the industrial 

and economic development of the area. 

Present Bullard Plant 

First billiard Plant in Black Rock 

Today the plant, sprawled over 52 acres, has 

814,444 square feet of floor space with an additional 

213,000 square feet under construction. So as the community, 

Black Rock, continues to grow — so does the company. 





our^ n 

Since 1909 

Three generations of our family have faithfully answered the needs 
of thousands of families during the last 46 years. 

We pledge to continue our service 

, which to us means placing in 

action all our highest ideals. 













and SON, 




1390 Fairfield Avenue 


Symbolizing the rich past of the entire 

State of Connecticut is this book on the Black Rock area. As the 
"Arsenal of the Nation," the Constitution State turned out 
firearms and ammunition in the early days when America 
struggled to maintain its hard-won independence. Later, this 
skill was converted into an ability to manufacture precision 
instruments and machines. 

Today, when America again faces a serious threat to 
its freedom, Connecticut industry is still playing a major role in 
our national defense. Moore is proud to be one of the many 
Connecticut machine tool builders contributing to the industrial 
might of America. 





\frr~ • 

Black Rock Bank^s Famous Mural 





Old Black Rock Harbor about 1810 

Organized in 1926 with an outstanding board of directors, managed by 
competent officers and staffed by a friendly group of tellers and clerks, this 
bank has achieved an enviable reputation that extends far beyond the bounds 
of Black Rock. 

Now in 1955, in order to better serve the surrounding territory, we are 
opening a branch office at Black Rock Turnpike and Stillson Road in Fairfield. 


Fairfield Avenue cor. Brewster Street 

Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. 

Black Rock Turnpike cor. Stillson Road 

Federal Reserve System 

Capital, Surplus and Profits over $1,300,000 — Resources over $12,000,000 



The technological development and the resulting high standard of living in the United States of 
America is due in great measure to the genius of many inventors and the enterprising spirit of our 
capitalistic system. 

Mr. Erv/in J. Panish has been a resident of the Black Rock Section of Bridgeport since 1915. While 
v/orking in various engineering capacities in some of our local plants, he used whatever spare time he 
had — mostly nights — to develop certain inventions. The process was extremely slow and often dis- 
couraging. Nevertheless, he never gave up, and finally in 1939 was able to submit to our Naval 
authorities a new Control System which was — and still is — far ahead of anything in its field. 

Little did he realize that the successful conclusion of these full scale experiments would lead to 
the immediate acceptance of his Control System by all our Armed Forces. In fact, the demand became 
so pressing that in 1940 he was forced to use all his financial and technical resources to open up a 
manufacturing plant for the production of this equipment. 

The success of Panish Controls has by now become one of Black Rock's historical facts. 

During World War II, Panish Controls received a total of five Army-Navy "E" Awards and in 
1945 earned the coveted Naval Ordnance Development Award. 

Likewise these controls immediately found a waiting market in the commercial fields here and 

The company carefully avoided over-expansion and the relatively small plant, located on Bennett 
Street, has the distinction of being one of the cleanest, most modern manufacturing plants in Bridge- 
^. _^™......, .™.^ „ ...^„^ .r.-,^^- --..-^.^ ^l^ly ^onoggd by Mr. E. J. Panish, his son R. P. 

Panish, and a nucleus of faithful and devoted em- 
ployees, this concern is doing its share of providing 
employment for many local residents. It is also con- 
tributing effectively to the volume of business in the 
State of Connecticut by buying supplies and materials 
from local concerns. 

The great multitude of small business concerns 
form the backbone of this Country's business. Panish 
Controls is proud to be a cog in the mighty techno- 
logical machine which has made our Country strong, 
protects our freedom and guarantees the pursuit of the 
American way of life. 

To serve our Country and fellow men in peace 
and war has been, and always will be, our greatest 
privilege and satisfaction. 

The history and development of Casco Products Corporation 
centers around the inventive genius of its founder, 
Joseph H. Cone. The basic philosophy of Mr. Cone, that 
of producing a high quality product at a reasonable cost, 
has been the formula for the success of the Corporation 
established in Bridgeport in 1923 as the Connecticut 
Automotive Supply Company and later reduced in 
cognomen to the brevity of C A S C O . 

Among the first products were gasoline floats for 
automobile gas tanks, glass windshield defrosters, ventilating 
fans, and fender guides. Throughout the years, the most 
outstanding automotive accessory has been the famous 
Casco Cigarette Lighter, both manual and automatic. 
In the late 30's, the Company began manufacturing 
household items such as Electric Heating Pads and 
Power Tools. 

Throughout World War II, Casco devoted 100% of its 
efforts to maintaining the same high quality standards in 
the production of defense material. 

During the post-war years, the Company has developed the 
Casco Steam and Dry Iron, the fully automatic Automobile 
Antenna and a complete new line of Heating Pads, in 
addition to constantly doing research in many fields in an 
attempt to meet with the requirements of the public 
and add to the Casco line. 


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THE MODEL TOOL CO. was founded in 1945 
by Evert Edgar and Gunnar Lindquist, and was 
first located at 113 Jetland Street. 

The plant originally made Jigs, Fixtures, General 
Tool Work and Plastic Mold Dies, but as business 
progressed, the decision was made to specialize in 
Plastic Mold Dies. 


In 1952 came the need for a larger plant to meet 
the requirements of the expanding business, and in 
the summer of that year the company moved to their 
present site at 233 Bennett Street. 




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Diack Rock 


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1941 - 1942 

UNITED TOOL COMPANY was founded in 1941 by Eric G. Hultgren, and a small 
brick building was erected at the present location. In March, the same year, the 
Company started operating — Manufacturing Plastic Molds. 

During the war years, 1942-1945, it was engaged in making tools and parts 
for defense. After the war, the Company resumed manufacturing Plastic Molds for 
civilian use, which was rapidly increasing. Therefore, in 1946-1947, the plant was 
enlarged and remodeled to a more modern factory with additional office space and 
drafting room. Also, the tool room was expanded to increase manufacturing of 
Plastic Molds. 

1946 - 1947 
In 1951-1952 a building was added to provide for molding of Plastic Parts. 


This modern plant is equipped to do engineering, tooling, and molding of a finished plastic product. 
United Tool Company is owned and operated by Eric G. Hultgren and son, George W. Hultgren. 







This Agency had its origination in Black Rock and through the acquisition of 
other agencies has served Bridgeport and vicinity for over 75 years. 

We are happy to have been a part of, and shared in the progress of Black 
Rock . . . and the Black Rock Civic and Business Men's Club. 


EDison 3-2101 





AIR VIEW 1953 



The Apex Tool Company, Inc., was founded in 1923 by Sigurd B. Swanson together with his 
father, Sven Swanson, and incorporated in 1929. The original plant was located at 652 State 
Street, and it was later moved to 52 Remer Street in 1928. In 1941 a new plant was erected at 
325 Cherry Street. The first building contained 7800 square feet and after several additions 
there are now 35,000 square feet of manufacturing space. After a few years spent in making 
parts in the automotive field for the Locomobile, Durant, Flint, Princeton and other cars the 
company marketed the Lindemark Tool Holder. When this holder was sold in 1933 the com 
pany manufactured the Whitney Stoker until 1939. In that year the company entered the air 
craft industry and is currently making engine and other aircraft parts for many of the largei 
companies. Starting with a few employees in 1923 the employment in 1954 numbers 165. 






The Electric Maintenance Service Co., Inc., was founded in 1918 
by Walter N. Burr and was located at 175 Cannon Street. The 
principal business was the repairing of electric motors and generators. 
As time went on the sale of new and rebuilt electric motors were added 
to the repairing business, also control, electric hoisting equipment, V-belt 
sheaves, belts and many other items. 

In 1925 the plant was moved to 679 Warren Street and by 1937 
it became necessary to erect a two-story building in the rear of 679 
Warren Street, also a large warehouse was built at 100 Fox Street. 

In 1941 this location was outgrown and the plant moved to its 
present site at 143 Bennett Street in Black Rock, which is connected with 
the Fox Street warehouse. 






a Pioneer 

Immigrating from Sweden to this country in 1880, Mr. Axel N. Nilson 
was among the early Swedish settlers in our city. As such, and particularly 
after the establishment of The A. H. Nilson Machine Co. in 1898, he became 
host and guide to the many fellow Swedes who followed. 

Early machines were designed and built for the Corset and Piano Hardware 
manufacturers. However, automatic wire forming equipment, particularly the 
Fourslide machine, soon became the established line. The wisdom of this 
choice has been shown in its ever widening application in the metal working 

TODAY, Nilson Automatic Fourslide Forming Machines are recognized 
as an outstanding product by prominent manufacturers of wire forms and small 
metal stampings throughout the world. 


1525 Railroad Avenue 



THE BRIDGEPORT CASKET HARDWARE CO., INC., was started in 1921 by Louis 
J. Standish and the late John Pastor, both long-time Black Rock residents. Starting 
"small" — in Mr. Pastor's garage — it wasn't long before the need of more space, 
resulted in moving to a building on Hancock Avenue. Within a year business 
prospered to the extent that still larger quarters were needed. It was then that the 
plant moved to a two-story building on Brothwell Street. By 1929 they had also out- 
grown this building and returned to the heart of Black Rock, to their present location 
at 122 Bennett Street. 

All during this period the firm was striving to develop the reputation of being 
the "QUALITY HOUSE" in its field, in line with Bridgeport's reputation as the home 
of top-quality manufacturing firms, a great many of which are in Black Rock. It has 
been gratifying to achieve this goal, for today when a casket manufacturer is selecting 
the handles, crucifixes, or name plates to be used with his caskets, when he wants 
"top quality" he orders it from "Bridgeport!" Louis J. Standish, Jr. and Theodore 
Pastor, sons of the founders, are carrying on the traditions set up by their fathers. 

Twenty employees are kept busy making distinctive casket trimmings in one of 
the more unusual manufacturing businesses in Black Rock, Bridgeport of the United 
States (there are only twenty-two casket hardware manufacturers in the entire 


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J. L. LUCAS, Founder 



Lucas is proud to have played an integral part 
in the history of a community so well founded 
in tradition. 

In 1905, our first plant on Fox Street was a small 
wooden structure across the street from the home 
of J. L. Lucas, founder of the company. This 
building, as orders for machine tool rebuilding 
increased, was added to and new structures 
erected on adjacent lots. But the company con- 
tinued to grow, until finally in 1941, it was 

found necessary to move from the Black Ro'| 
location to its present site on the Post Road 

Today, the modern plant, specifically design; 
for machine tool rebuilding, is one of the fin(j 
of its kind in the world. And even as Black Roil 
continues to grow today, adding to its fi 
traditions, so the Lucas company, with its ov 
traditions founded in Black Rock, continues 
progress and prosper. 


The Plant froju Which Expertly Rebuilt Machine Tools are Shipped to All Parts of the Worl 


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Telephone FOREST 7-8461 


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University of