Historic New England protects important New Canaan house and garden
NEW CANAAN, CONN. – January 2014 – David Webb Jr. House in New Canaan, Connecticut, is the latest historic property protected through an easement held by Historic New England’s Stewardship Easement Program. It is the fourth property in the vicinity protected by the easement program, joining the Breuer-Robeck House (1947) in New Canaan and the Graham House (1966) in Stamford, both mid-century Modern residences, and New Canaan’s Extown Farm (c. 1776).
The house was constructed c. 1786 by David Webb Jr. on land he purchased from his father-in-law, Deodate Davenport. The property had a succession of owners through the nineteenth century until it was purchased by Henry Davenport, a direct descendant of the eldest brother of Deodate Davenport, and his wife Flora in 1892. The Davenports expanded the house and added the formal terraced garden, transforming the property from a subsistence farm to a country retreat. Today, the David Webb Jr. House retains elements from each of the significant periods of its construction and is an important example of early-Federal and Colonial Revival architecture, materials, and workmanship in southwestern Connecticut, and is individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places. An intact, paneled family room added in the late 1960s and representative of mid-twentieth century suburban life is also protected from alteration in the future.
The 4.6-acre landscape is historically significant and scenic. Much of the open space is visible from the street and lined with historic stone walls and mature trees that help preserve the rural atmosphere on one of the oldest roads in New Canaan. The terraced early twentieth-century Colonial Revival garden creates a swath of open space between the house and the neighboring property, and consists of flowering trees, shrubs, and beds of perennial plants and flowers. Granite steps embedded into a stone retaining wall lead from an open lawn that was a road bed in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries into the lower tier of this garden bordered by a variety of ornamental shrubs, small trees, day lilies, and ferns. A cement pool trimmed with fieldstones offers a focal point of this outdoor space. A small cement patio shaded by a large hemlock tree and surrounded by a variety of groundcovers rises above this section of the garden.
The preservation easement protects exterior elevations and interior features of the house and outbuildings and the garden and landscape features, prevents subdivision, and limits new additions and additional structures.
About Historic New England’s Stewardship Easement Program
The Stewardship Easement Program administers preservation easements held by Historic New England, which protect privately owned historic properties across New England. The program creates partnerships between property owners and Historic New England with the shared goal of preserving a property's historic character. By donating an easement, an owner entrusts Historic New England with the responsibility of working with present and future owners to protect important historic elements from alteration or neglect. To date, the program holds ninety easements, which protect over 150 buildings and over 750 acres of land across five New England states. Historic New England is committed to protecting all domestic building types representing New England from the seventeenth century to the present. Visit www.HistoricNewEngland.org/Stewardship for more information about the program.
About Historic New England
Historic New England is the oldest, largest, and most comprehensive regional heritage organization in the nation. We bring history to life while preserving the past for everyone interested in exploring the New England experience from the seventeenth century to today. Historic New England owns and operates thirty-six historic homes and landscapes spanning five states. We share the region's history through vast collections, publications, programs, museum properties, archives, and stories that document more than 400 years of life in New England. For more information visit www.HistoricNewEngland.org.
Media Contact: Susanna M. Crampton, news@HistoricNewEngland.org