Wednesday, April 13, 2011

More On The Hubbard Mansion

'Tree Fanatic' asked in a comment about what I called the Hubbard Mansion on Newfield Street, in my preview of tonight's Planning and Zoning Commission Public Hearing. I called it that based solely on a brief conversation with the mansion's current neighbors. Recognizing how slim that research was, I looked in the Hartford Courant's archives for more about this branch of Middletown's prolific Hubbard family.

The house was home to Elijah Kent Hubbard, his wife Helen Keep (Otis) Hubbard, and their four children. E. Kent was president of the Manufacturers Association of Connecticut for 30 years, and served on several municipal committees. Born in Chicago, he moved to Middletown as a child and had extensive connections to the prominent families of our city--his great-uncle founded Russell Manufacturing and his grandmother was Elizabeth DeKoven. His siblings also built mansions at about the same time. His brother married Murial McCormick (granddaughter of John D. Rockefeller), they built a mansion on a hill above Westfield Street, not too far from the Hubbard Estate, I referenced this as the McCormick Mansion. His sister married Clarence Wadsworth, together they built Wadsworth Mansion.

Helen Hubbard was also from Chicago, and graduated from the University of Chicago. She was a director of the Hartford Symphony Society, was a member of the Connecticut Valley Garden Club, and was active in the Russell Library.

The Hubbard Estate was 57 acres of land, it included the hill above the Coginchaug on which the house was built, and extensive land across Newfield Street. At least some of this land was bought by Helen in 1912 from the Arawana Golf Club. I could not find any records of when the house was built (city records list it as being built in 1900, but the city often gives only an estimation of the date of construction).

After E. Kent's death in 1941, the estate was bought by Reuben Mittelman of West Hartford, as a land speculation. He in turn sold the house and some of the land to three families: a state bank examiner, a physical education professor, and a librarian, the latter both at Wesleyan. In 1952, the west side of Newfield Street was developed, and 26 homes were built on Fisher Road, Newfield Street, and Westfield Street.

The most recent property transfer involving the house was in 2009. The house had been split roughly down the middle and had two separate owners. One held about 3200 square feet on a 3 acre lot, the other about 5,000 square feet on a separate 1 acre lot. Both were purchased by the same person, who is now applying to have the house converted to a 5 unit dwelling.


Tom Adkins said...

I have an 1845 letter written by a Marianne C. Wilcox of Middletown who makes reference to the Hubbard mansion. Based on the comments made in this article, I'm wondering if the Hubbards owned different mansions at different times in Middletown. Wilcox says their "furniture was attached" which makes it sound like there were family financial problems in 1845. Any additional info would be appreciated.
Tom Adkins
Mt Sinai, NY (across the Sound)

Joys Division said...

Is there any update on this property? I believe it was for sale about two (2) years ago, but I can't find any information about it at all on the web now... does it stand?

Julie-May said...

I was born in 1958, the youngest of 6, this house belonged to my grandmother, Marie Rider, my fathers mother. She owned the entire house & I felt like I was in a novel when we went to see her. It was every kids dream. I remembered the floors were pristine & there was a cupboard in the kitchen filled with candy!