Holbrook-Blakeslee House

The Holbrook-Blakeslee House (c. 1712), located at 54 Elm Street in Ansonia, Connecticut, is an interesting old home with a direct connection to the Mansfield House. Built in 1712, the home was acquired by Captain John Holbrook, in 1738. Holbrook was one of the eight who established the Episcopal Church in Derby, in 1748, hiring the newly ordained Reverend Richard Mansfield, D.D., as their pastor, and purchasing the land and home where Rev. Mansfield and his family would live.

Holbrook-Blakeslee House Front

Holbrook also donated the land on which the first Episcopal Church was built, where Rev. Mansfield officiated. Today, that land is now part of the Old Episcopal Burying Ground. The original church building (a modest, one room structure) was later moved across the street and attached to the David Humphreys House, as an extension. Today, it serves as the gift shop of the David Humphreys House Museum, which is owned and run by the Derby Historical Society.

Holbrook-Blakeslee House Plaque

In 1792, Edward Blakeslee, an assistant to Rev. Mansfield, took ownership of the former Holbrook House. Blakeslee was subsequently ordained a priest in 1793, and continued to serve the Episcopal Church. He had also been married to Rev. Mansfield’s daughter, Sarah. Tragically, both suffered untimely deaths; Sarah in 1790, and Edward in 1797, at age thirty one. Both are buried in the Old Episcopal Burying Ground, as are the rest of the Mansfield family members.

Holbrook-Blakeslee House End

This house is an excellent example of an early Third Period, New Haven Colony home, with a full second story, and a large kitchen area occupying the entire rear first floor. I haven’t seen the interior yet, but I’m told it had once been converted to a two-family dwelling, and now requires quite a bit of restoration work.

Holbrook-Blakeslee House Direct Front

The Holbrook-Blakeslee house is currently up for sale, and in my opinion, needs a thoughtful, dedicated new owner who’s willing to take proper care of it and invest in its long-term preservation. Let’s hope such a new owner comes forth some time soon.

Postscript

As of at least August 20th, 2012, the Holbrook-Blakeslee house had finally been sold to a new owner.

About John Poole

My interests include historic homes, architectural preservation and restoration, improving the energy performance of old houses, and traditional timber frames.
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8 Responses to Holbrook-Blakeslee House

  1. Wonderful post! You need more realtor friends so you can see the inside of more historic homes. I hope you’ll have the chance to get inside this one.

    • John Poole says:

      Hi Marian,

      Thanks for visiting, and thanks for the comment!

      Actually, I have quite a few local realtor friends, some of whom are big fans, or even owners, of vintage/historic homes. My not seeing the inside to date is more a matter of being very busy and simply not setting the time aside (yet) to go visit. But I will!

      ~John

  2. Do not buy this house. I repeat, do not buy this house. Or am I too late?

  3. elsie valeski says:

    I am a docent with Derby Hist and take the 1762 program children on a historic walk on Elm St. This a favorite house of ours because it has not been changed, and I ask the children to be on the look out for a house that looks like the DAVID HUMPHREYS HOUSE, THEY ARE ALL EXCITED WHEN THEY DISCOVER IT. I WOULD LOVE TO SEE THE INSIDE, CAN YOU ARRANGE FOR ANOTHER DOCENT AND ME TO TAG ALONG WHEN YOU GET PERMISSION TO GO IN.I HOPE THE NEW OWNER APPRECIATES THE HISTORIC VALUE AS YOU DO WITH THE MANSFIELD HOUSE AND NOT TRY TO MODERNIZE IT AS THE PEOPLE THAT BOUGHT THE STOKES HOOSE WAS ALLOWED TO DO.

    • John Poole says:

      Hi Elsie,

      Thanks for asking. Yes, let me see what I can arrange, and I will get back to you on this. I think that’s a great idea, and would certainly to be glad to have you and some other docents come along. BTW, at some point, I will also invite the docents, volunteers, and DHS board over to the Mansfield house (just need to get things a bit shaped up there, first).

      And thanks for your support of the Venture Crew/Day in 1762 Program!

      ~ John

  4. Linda Milardo says:

    I hope the new owners are preservationists like you John. I enjoyed reading this post and did not know about the marrige between Blakslee and Mansfield. As a docent I’ve spoke a lot about the historic homes and would be glad to see the inside of any of them.

    • John Poole says:

      Hi Linda,

      Thank you. As I mentioned to Elsie, I will attempt to arrange a showing of the inside of the Holbrook-Blakeslee house, and will notify you when I have a better idea of when that might happen. And we’ll also have some sort of Mansfield open house, some time this summer as well.

      I’m glad you liked to article, and thanks for the comment. There are a number of postings here about the Mansfield House and Mansfield family, which I hope you might find time to read. And there’s much, much more to come regarding the Mansfield House, both technical and historical.

      ~ John

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