2970 Bronson Road
Fairfield, CT, USA

  • Architectural Style: Neoclassical
  • Bathroom: N/A
  • Year Built: 1890
  • National Register of Historic Places: N/A
  • Square Feet: N/A
  • National Register of Historic Places Date: N/A
  • Neighborhood: N/A
  • National Register of Historic Places Area of Significance: N/A
  • Bedrooms: N/A
  • Architectural Style: Neoclassical
  • Year Built: 1890
  • Square Feet: N/A
  • Bedrooms: N/A
  • Bathroom: N/A
  • Neighborhood: N/A
  • National Register of Historic Places: N/A
  • National Register of Historic Places Date: N/A
  • National Register of Historic Places Area of Significance: N/A
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Mar 30, 2023

  • Charmaine Bantugan

Verna

Built from 1890, for Frederic Bronson, Jr. (1851-1900) and his wife Sarah Gracie King (1850-1931). Started in 1889 and situated on Greenfield Hill about about three miles from Southport, although now completely unrecognizable, it still stands and is known today as the Fairfield Country Day School. Aside from the road which bears the family's name, the 105-foot water tower put up outside the main gates by Frederic Bronson in 1894 also stands as a reminder of Verna Farm's Gilded Age past.... The original Verna Farm was established by Timothy Dwight who made reference to 'Fair Verna' in his poem Greenfield Hill. One year after (1796) being appointed President of Yale University, Dwight sold Verna and its 200-300 acres to one of New York's wealthiest financiers - and a native of Connecticut - Isaac Bronson. It was Bronson who planted the dogwood trees along the road that still bears his name, and it was the view from Greenfield Hill over the white and pink dogwoods that later prompted Eleanor Roosevelt to pay compliment to the area as one of the most beautiful communities she'd ever seen. "Conspicuous & Substantial" It passed from Isaac's son, Frederic, to Frederic's son, Frederic Jr., who in 1889 tore down the existing 18th century farmhouse and replaced it with a grand, three-story, mansion designed by Richard Morris Hunt - the same architect favored by the Vanderbilts who built Frederic's brother-in-law's house in New York, the Winthrop House. On completion, it was described as, "a conspicuous and substantial red brick mansion which shines amid its environment of charming fields and noble trees". It contained 42-rooms of which 18 were for the servants and nearly all of the furnishings were brought over from Europe. It's usually described as having been built in the Italian style, but it seems in many ways more Southern and isn't too different from Octagon House in Washington. Bronson's model farm was noted for its Jersey cattle; Chester pigs; honey bees; clover fields; and, crops of pumpkin, potato, tomatoes (the very same served at Delmonico's restaurant no less) onion, cauliflower and other "garden sass" that were the staple for the "jolly" dinners Bronson held here when the New York Coaching Club came visiting. Frederic Jr. died at Palermo in Italy only ten years later in 1900 and was buried at Fairfield. His only child, Elsa - considered one of the most beautiful girls In New York society and who was among the closest friends of the Duchess of Marlborough - was married the following year to Lloyd Carpenter Griscom, then the U.S. Minister to Persia. While he was Theodore Roosevelt's Ambassador to Italy from 1907, Elsa and her mother lived at the Embassy in Rome and arranged to lease Verna for four years to J. Kelly Robinson, the millionaire match manufacturer whose daughter is remembered for building the Countiss Mansion in Chicago. Fortunately for them, Robinson died the following year (1908) so when President Roosevelt died in office in 1909 and they returned to America, Verna was available. It was after Elsa died in 1914 - and particularly when nine months later her mother remarried Adrian Iselin Jr. - that the Bronson era came to an end. Moving on from the Bronsons Elsa had left Verna to her husband, but he found Huntover Lodge - his estate at Syosett on Long Island - easier to use as a base for commuting to-and-from his international career. Presumably the not-so-old house was rented out and by the 1920s it was being maintained by a caretaker, although his sons continued to come to Greenfield Hill and in the 1930s Bronson Griscom and his wife rented the sheepherder's cottage for several years. However, after his late mother-in-law, Mrs Iselin, died in 1931, Griscom finally felt able to relinquish Verna and two years later (1933) he sold it to William A. Morschhauser. Less House for Morschhauser Morschhauser drastically remodelled the house, removing the third floor and giving it its present Colonial-Revival theme while reducing the number of rooms from 42 to 13. He lived here with his wife, Madeline, heiress to her father, Peter Doelger (who died worth over $7-million) who founded the Peter Doelger Brewing Co., New York. They lived between here and 1 Madison Avenue, New York, until Morschhauser died in 1940 and the following year (1941) Madeline - remaining in Fairfield - sold it to Ernest Staber. Becoming the Fairfield Country Day School Ernest Staber was a native of Iowa who became the manager of the operations and engineering department of the Standard-Vacuum Oil Company, developing petroleum facilities in the the Far East (notably China) and Africa. On retiring in 1949, he moved with his family to Atherton, California, and in the same year he sold Verna Farm that ever since then has been home to the Fairfield Country Day School.

Verna

Built from 1890, for Frederic Bronson, Jr. (1851-1900) and his wife Sarah Gracie King (1850-1931). Started in 1889 and situated on Greenfield Hill about about three miles from Southport, although now completely unrecognizable, it still stands and is known today as the Fairfield Country Day School. Aside from the road which bears the family's name, the 105-foot water tower put up outside the main gates by Frederic Bronson in 1894 also stands as a reminder of Verna Farm's Gilded Age past.... The original Verna Farm was established by Timothy Dwight who made reference to 'Fair Verna' in his poem Greenfield Hill. One year after (1796) being appointed President of Yale University, Dwight sold Verna and its 200-300 acres to one of New York's wealthiest financiers - and a native of Connecticut - Isaac Bronson. It was Bronson who planted the dogwood trees along the road that still bears his name, and it was the view from Greenfield Hill over the white and pink dogwoods that later prompted Eleanor Roosevelt to pay compliment to the area as one of the most beautiful communities she'd ever seen. "Conspicuous & Substantial" It passed from Isaac's son, Frederic, to Frederic's son, Frederic Jr., who in 1889 tore down the existing 18th century farmhouse and replaced it with a grand, three-story, mansion designed by Richard Morris Hunt - the same architect favored by the Vanderbilts who built Frederic's brother-in-law's house in New York, the Winthrop House. On completion, it was described as, "a conspicuous and substantial red brick mansion which shines amid its environment of charming fields and noble trees". It contained 42-rooms of which 18 were for the servants and nearly all of the furnishings were brought over from Europe. It's usually described as having been built in the Italian style, but it seems in many ways more Southern and isn't too different from Octagon House in Washington. Bronson's model farm was noted for its Jersey cattle; Chester pigs; honey bees; clover fields; and, crops of pumpkin, potato, tomatoes (the very same served at Delmonico's restaurant no less) onion, cauliflower and other "garden sass" that were the staple for the "jolly" dinners Bronson held here when the New York Coaching Club came visiting. Frederic Jr. died at Palermo in Italy only ten years later in 1900 and was buried at Fairfield. His only child, Elsa - considered one of the most beautiful girls In New York society and who was among the closest friends of the Duchess of Marlborough - was married the following year to Lloyd Carpenter Griscom, then the U.S. Minister to Persia. While he was Theodore Roosevelt's Ambassador to Italy from 1907, Elsa and her mother lived at the Embassy in Rome and arranged to lease Verna for four years to J. Kelly Robinson, the millionaire match manufacturer whose daughter is remembered for building the Countiss Mansion in Chicago. Fortunately for them, Robinson died the following year (1908) so when President Roosevelt died in office in 1909 and they returned to America, Verna was available. It was after Elsa died in 1914 - and particularly when nine months later her mother remarried Adrian Iselin Jr. - that the Bronson era came to an end. Moving on from the Bronsons Elsa had left Verna to her husband, but he found Huntover Lodge - his estate at Syosett on Long Island - easier to use as a base for commuting to-and-from his international career. Presumably the not-so-old house was rented out and by the 1920s it was being maintained by a caretaker, although his sons continued to come to Greenfield Hill and in the 1930s Bronson Griscom and his wife rented the sheepherder's cottage for several years. However, after his late mother-in-law, Mrs Iselin, died in 1931, Griscom finally felt able to relinquish Verna and two years later (1933) he sold it to William A. Morschhauser. Less House for Morschhauser Morschhauser drastically remodelled the house, removing the third floor and giving it its present Colonial-Revival theme while reducing the number of rooms from 42 to 13. He lived here with his wife, Madeline, heiress to her father, Peter Doelger (who died worth over $7-million) who founded the Peter Doelger Brewing Co., New York. They lived between here and 1 Madison Avenue, New York, until Morschhauser died in 1940 and the following year (1941) Madeline - remaining in Fairfield - sold it to Ernest Staber. Becoming the Fairfield Country Day School Ernest Staber was a native of Iowa who became the manager of the operations and engineering department of the Standard-Vacuum Oil Company, developing petroleum facilities in the the Far East (notably China) and Africa. On retiring in 1949, he moved with his family to Atherton, California, and in the same year he sold Verna Farm that ever since then has been home to the Fairfield Country Day School.

1890

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