November 28, 2012

Victorian Photo Album of the Enos Kellogg House

 
I posted a long time ago about the c. 1890s photo album of my house that my parents randomly found at an auction in Pennsylvania (anyone care to calculate those odds?).  I never got around to scanning most of these photos, however.  Since I needed a couple of these images for a Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation barn stabilization grant for which I am applying, I decided to finally scan in the whole thing. 
 
So, without further ado, here is what our house and property looked like in the last years of the 19th century.  At this time, the property was owned by George Edwin Comstock, his wife Emma, and her father, Harvey Lyon.  The property served as a nursery, Comstock & Lyon (originally Comstock Brothers), growing flowers (dahlias, in particular) and fruit (there was a large apple orchard on the surrounding acreage).
 


The title page has a copyright date of 1896, so I am guessing that the photos are likely just before the turn of the century.  The clothes would seem to support this guess.
My favorite picture in the album.  Hard to imagine a team of oxen standing in what is now the entrance of our driveway.   Note the well house on the left of the picture, and the barn behind the house, which I believe is the structure that was later attached to our house and now serves as the kitchen.
Basically the same view, but in the summer.  Note the horse and buggy in the yard on the right.  I'll have to rebuild that stone wall in the foreground some day.
Family portrait, standing in front of the entry hall on the south side of the house.  We uncovered the horizontal siding seen on the front in a recent re-shingling.  It was a deep green color.  My guess is that the three individuals on the far right are Edwin Comstock, Emma Comstock and Harvey Lyon, respectively, but unfortunately, the pictures were unmarked.  The girl in front and center may be Edwin and Emma's adopted daughter, Nettie.  City directories, show several boarders living in the house at the time, as well as Edwin's sisters. 
The barn, located to the north of the house.  Hopefully, we can get it looking this good again in the next few years (without the cupola, which would not have been original to the structure).  The shed on the right is long gone, but a replacement sure would make a nice garage for us.  I'm definitely buying that Powerball ticket tonight.
The stone carriage hbarn, located directly across the street from our house.  Hard to tell, but I believe that this is the rear of the structure.  The barn to the right is gone. 
The carriage barn again, with kids and their calf
Another sadly long-gone structure.  I am not sure what the building was for, but I wonder if it was a cider mill. I know that there was once one on the property, and the conveyor belt on the left looks like ones I have seen elsewhere to deliver apples into the hopper of the grinding mechanism.  I love the advertisement for Comstock Brothers Clothiers, Norwalk and South Norwalk.  I'm not sure how closely "my" Comstocks were related to the local clothing moguls, but I suspect that they must have been fairly close, as they provided such a large canvas for the billboard.  As our property was in the country at that time, I assume they were target marketing to visitors to the orchard.

Just hanging out on some farm equipment.  The dog makes several appearances in the photo album.
Harvest time.  I think that they are peaches in the baskets, but they might be potatoes.  I have no idea what type of greens they are holding.

Driving the team of oxen  That is our house in the far back left, and the stone carriage barn directly behind the cart.
Southwest corner of our house, with the front porch that graced it for parts of the 19th and 20th centuries.  Look at the size of the elm tree in the center.  It's hard to see, but there are two people and a dog standing at its base.
Chickens!  Their flock is a lot larger than ours.
A boy and his pig.
This appears to be the same dog that is standing on top of the wood sled in the winter picture.  He appears elsewhere, as well.  Clearly a well-loved family member.
Two women and a girl with a small dog in front of one of the huge stone walls.
Kids with the little dog.
Boy and dog, sitting next to what appears to be the house.
Baby with the big dog.  I think that is the front porch of the house in the back left.
Moo.
Neigh.
My guess is that this is our street, Ponus Avenue.  Probably looking down towards Four Corners, where the house is located, based on the stone wall to the right.
Another street view.  Dirt roads out here in the country of Broad River.
Norwalk church.  I saw it pictured on a 19th century map at the Norwalk Historical Society, labeled as the Presbyterian Church (I think).  That's a horse and buggy at the front right of the building.
A view of what I assume is Norwalk Harbor.  The sidewheeler is the Hampton,and the buildings in the back left have "Omega Oil" painted on their roofs.
Skating scene, most likely in Norwalk.
I have no idea who's house this was, but it probably had a family connection.  Maybe the richer Comstock Brothers Clothiers relatives lived here?
I have no damn idea where this is.
 

3 comments:

  1. Love your blog. Old house lover, myself. I'd love to help you find more artifacts on your property. Feel free to email me at Jlozbass@yahoo.com and I can further detail. Cheers, John

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  2. I love these photos.Doesn't it feel like some of the teens may have taken some of them, especially of the horse?

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    Replies
    1. Some of these do feel like the kids were taking them - they have that informal feel, which is unusual for Victorian era photos. As you say, the animal photos, in particular. Hadn't occurred to me, but I bet you're right!

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