Long Ridge Village Historic District
The Long Ridge Village Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document.  Adaptation copyright © 2010, The Gombach Group.
The Long Ridge Village Historic District is a rural residential settlement located at the northern boundary of Stamford, Connecticut, eight miles north of its central business district. It includes 66 contributing buildings (34 dwellings, two churches, and 30 outbuildings) and six contributing structures that range in date of construction from c.1750 to 1925, and nineteen modern non-contributing buildings (nine dwellings and ten outbuildings). The contributing buildings were built in a variety of styles, primarily Colonial, Federal, and Greek Revival.
Topographically, Long Ridge is a relatively level upland region trending to the north and south, and traversed from the northwest to the southeast by the tree-lined street formerly known in its entirety as Long Ridge Road. Except for the northernmost section, which continues to the New York State line, this street was bypassed by a new route to the west in the 1930s and re-named Old Long Ridge Road. The Long Ridge Village Historic District's boundaries include all of the properties on both sides of the street, giving the district an elongated shape, with an eastern extension consisting of several adjacent properties on the western end of Rock Rimmon Road. The properties that surround the Long Ridge Village Historic District have not been included because they contain newer dwellings or because their structures, if they are old, are not easily visible from the district.
The southern entrance to the Long Ridge Village Historic District is where Old Long Ridge Road almost merges with Long Ridge Road (the 1930s bypass) and then veers off to the right, continuing through the district as its central spine. The first house on the west side of the street is the Second Empire dwelling at #250, consisting of a clapboarded first story surrounded by a partially enclosed porch showing chamfered posts and scrolled brackets, and surmounted by a concave, slate-shingled mansard roof punctuated by gabled dormers with arched windows. To the rear is a side-gabled Italianate barn remodelled into a restaurant but retaining its board-and-batten siding and cupola with round-arched vents. Across the street at #333 is the Seth Cook House, a commanding three-story Italianate dwelling showing clapboard siding and surmounted by a low-pitched hipped roof crowned with cupola and distinguished by a centrally placed pediment. It also features bracketed eaves sheltering rectangular frieze-band windows. To the north, at #353, is the Jonas White House, a 2-1/2-story colonial featuring a side-lit entry surmounted by a triglyph and metope frieze and a projecting cornice curved at the center. Window sash is nine-over-six on the original three-bay section to the right, and six-over-six on the two-bay north wing.
Further north, on the eastern side of the street, is a 2-1/2-story front-gabled vernacular Italianate at #380, which shows a round-arched window in the gable as well as a polygonal tower and a Tuscan-columned verandah, both constructed c.1900 after the house was moved from its original location south of #333. To the north is the Charles Lockwood House at #392, a 1-1/2-story side-gabled Greek Revival featuring a side-lit entry with a fan-light, small frieze-band windows, and a covering of wood shingles. Across the street at #405, is the Samuel Ingersol House, a five-bay, 2-1/2-story Colonial covered with wood shingles and showing two interior brick end-chimneys. It is further distinguished by a central trabeated entry with leaded glass sidelights flanked by fluted pilasters and surmounted by a fluted architrave, plain frieze, and molded cornice. Window sash is nine-over-six at the first floor and six-over-six at the second story. Across the street to the east, at #424, is a 2-1/2-story Federal covered with wood shingles and showing corbeled end-chimneys and a gabled entry porch sheltering the side-lit and pilastered main entry. Next are two side-gabled clapboarded dwellings: #432 features a transomed entry, while #448 shows two interior end-chimneys and prominent corner boards. To the rear is a board-and-batten Italianate barn with octagonal windows and a belvedere with round-arched vents. Next door, at #462, is the Nathaniel White House, another 2-1/2-story Federal house whose side-lit entry features a carved sunburst design in its cornice. Its 1-1/2-story board-and-batten south wing was originally a cobbler's shop. At #455 is the Greek Revival-styled Long Ridge Congregational Church, distinguished by a high portico consisting of four unfluted columns with Egyptian-influenced lotus-leaf capitals supporting a plain architrave and frieze surmounted by a rather high flushboard pediment. The flushboard facade features a pilastered entry surmounted by a full entablature, while the roof shows a slightly set-back square belfry composed of flushboard base with a projecting cornice, above which rises the clapboarded cupola, which shows pilastered corners, rectangular louvers, and a full entablature.
To the north, are two clapboarded Colonial houses with saltbox rooflines: the William White Jr. House (#481), a 1-1/2-story dwelling with a centered board-and-batten door, and the Jacob White House (#484), a 2-1/2-story building featuring a centered transomed-and-side-lit entry and a U-shaped succession of c.1940 wings that connect it to a cobbler's shop to the southwest. The east side of the street shows the William Mead House (#493), a 1-1/2-story side-gabled dwelling with a flushboard facade and an unusual front porch showing stickwork supports, valances, and side screens constructed in an "X" pattern. The neighboring St. Francis Episcopal Church (#503) is almost identical to the Congregational Church except for its four fluted Doric columns and the band of denticulated molding that surrounds the building at the top of its architrave. Further up the west side of the street is the Hickford Marshall House (#528), a striking two-story Greek Revival dwelling constructed of granite ashlar trimmed with red sandstone and framed by massive wooden corner pilasters supporting an equally impressive frieze punctuated by horizontal windows. The centered, in antis entry is flanked by fluted Doric columns framed by oversized pilasters, while the front porch consists of filigreed cast-iron rails and supports carrying a bracketed cornice with a band of denticulated molding. Crowning the flat roof is a clapboarded belvedere, also framed by prominent corner pilasters and a wide frieze.
Facing the V-shaped northern intersection with the Long Ridge Road bypass, is #535, a vertical-boarded, side-gabled barn converted into a residence and distinguished by second-story round windows and a centered gable with an arched window. To the north is the old Todd Shoe Factory at #555, a long 2-1/2-story side-gabled building showing a central side-lit entry, a wrap-around porch featuring sawn, open-work posts and rails, and a row of six half-windows on the third floor, just below the eaves. To the southeast is an attached cobbler's shop. On the other side of the intersection, is #2874 Long Ridge Road, moved back from the front of its lot when the bypass was built in the 1930s, removing most of its front yard. This 1-1/2-story side-gabled dwelling features a shed-roofed portico supported by a chamfered posts, a flushboard facade framed by pilasters under the porch roof, and a transomed entry. To the north is #2884, a 2-1/2-story saltbox-roofed Greek Revival featuring an impressive Greek-temple-style, three-bay entry faced with flushboard siding, framed by pilasters supporting a prominent entablature, and focused on the centered, side-lit front door, also framed by pilasters. On the other side of the street is the Jesse Waring House at #2891, a 2-1/2-story Colonial dwelling featuring a centered entry flanked by sidelights and fluted pilasters, twelve-over-twelve window sash, and an arched window in the north gable. Set back from the road is #2905, a two-story cross-gabled dwelling consisting of an original section moved to this location and sited with its gable end facing the street, and a long side-gabled wing built much later. The last building on the street, located on the New York State line, is the Joseph Waring House at #2916, a 2-1/2-story Federal dwelling featuring a centered entry flanked by sidelights and surmounted by a wide frieze and a projecting cornice.
The western end of Rock Rimmon Road includes seven dwellings, including #1374, a front-gabled 2-1/2-story dwelling with a pedimented entry and a round-arched attic window with Gothic Revival trim; #1377, a 1-1/2-story side-gabled dwelling retaining its clapboard siding and front porch showing turned balusters; and two virtually identical 2-1/2-story Colonial Revival dwellings at #1327 and #1333, each one showing a pyramidal roof punctuated by hipped dormers, an enclosed L-shaped front porch, and a covering of wood shingles arranged in alternate wide and narrow bands. At #1336 is the only intact farm complex in the Long Ridge Village Historic District consisting of a 2-1/2-story clapboarded farmhouse, board and batten barns and a vertical-board corn crib and well house.
Long Ridge Village is architecturally significant on a local level due to its concentration of very good examples of Colonial, Federal, and Greek Revival buildings. The variously styled dwellings stand as evidence of the 18th-century disbursed settlement's transition from an agricultural community to a shoe manufacturing center in the early 19th century (criterion A). Several residents held important political positions in the town and the State General Assembly, and the village provided a residential haven for prominent medical and theatrical people during the 20th century.
In 1717, Thomas Brush, James White and Michael Waring purchased 246 acres that had been assigned to the Selleck Family in the original Stamford land divisions. Two years later, John Ingersol, from Oyster Bay, Long Island, bought out Thomas Brush. Actual development of the land did not occur until the 1750s, when the town decided to build a road connecting the area to the village of Stamford proper. A disbursed settlement then began to form on long lots that ranged east-west, divided by the "Bedford Road," so-called because of its terminus in Bedford, New York. In 1779, Robert Erskine, one of George Washington's map makers, recorded four farmsteads in the district. Three were built by descendants of James White and Michael Waring, while the fourth was built by Samuel Ingersol, a descendant of John. As well as being farmers, the four residents participated in civic affairs. For instance, Samuel Ingersol held the position of town viewer and surveyor. The villagers supported the American Revolution, for many male adults enrolled, for at least a few months, in Washington's army. The village grew slowly, and in 1790 the tax list for the village (a larger area than the district) recorded a blacksmith, miller, tailor, goldsmith, doctor, and innkeeper present in the agriculturally based community. Of these people, Aaron Stuart, innkeeper, purchased John Ingersol's house (now 353 Old Long Ridge Road) in 1789 and used it as the village's first inn.
In the first half of the 19th century, the shoe-making industry overtook agriculture as the village's primary commercial activity. The oldest extant shoe factory dates from the third decade of the 19th century (555 Old Long Ridge Road) and was built by George Todd. In 1846, Todd brought 13 boys from New York City to work as apprentices in his new shoe factory, but the labor importation was unsuccessful, the business was soon dissolved and the building became a dwelling for the Todd family. In 1858, the (Frederick) Scofield and (Seth) Cook shoe factory was built on the west side of Old Long Ridge Road. It soon became the Cook and (Charles) Lounsbury Shoe Manufacturing Company, employing, at its peak, 50 people and using machinery to produce 20,000 pairs of shoes a year. Up to the 1880s, Long Ridge Road was Stamford's center for shoe manufacturing, with according to census data, one third of the households in the village involved in this industry. The product produced in Long Ridge was sold in local and interstate markets. In the late 19th century, with failure of the proposed Port Chester-Ridgefield railroad, industry in Long Ridge declined and the shoe factories moved south to the center of Stamford to be closer to good transportation and the influx of immigrant labor. The only new business to enter the village was Leroy DeForest's slaughter house and meat market at #1336 Rock Rimmon Road.
Several of the shoe manufacturers lived on Long Ridge Road. Cook lived at #333, Scofield at #432, and Lounsbury at #448. They were joined by other shoe makers such as Charles M. Lockwood and his son at #392, and Amaziah Brown at #424. This group of people involved in the same industry, living in close proximity, created a distinctive social enclave in the center of the Long Ridge Village Historic District. With few exceptions, they lived in predominately conservative Federal houses. However, Seth Cook, in 1870, built a large Italianate mansion on the south end of the village and Charles Lockwood built the first Greek Revival house in the village. As other families became more prosperous, they, like William Brown (#424), altered their houses in whatever style happened to be in vogue.
Long Ridge's turn to an industrial economy caused a tripling in the construction of buildings in the first half of the 19th century to 19 houses and 2 churches. The first Universalist church, was built in 1834 and the Congregationalists built the Union meetinghouse in 1840 for their own denomination as well as for the Episcopalians and Methodists.
Members of the community were also politically active: Hickford Marshall, a shoemaker, was elected selectman in 1854; George Lounsbury was a member of the General Assembly in 1855; and Frederick Scofield was a first selectman in Stamford.
The village's relative architectural integrity and proximity to New York City attracted several famous people to the village. During the first quarter of the 20th century, Ernest Lederle, Chief of New York City's Health Commission and founder of Lederle Laboratories, lived at #353 Old Long Ridge Road. In 1954, Mary Moon Hemingway, editor of House Beautiful and House and Garden, bought the property and featured it in the February 1973 issue of the magazine. In 1922, Dr. Josephine Baker, a pioneer in pediatrics, bought #462 Old Long Ridge Road, and the stage and film star Luise Rainer (Knittel) lived there in 1954-5, followed by stage and film actress Mildred Dunnock who purchased the property in 1956 and lived there until 1965. Joshua Logan, director, producer, and co-author of South Pacific, lived at #484 Old Long Ridge Road from 1951 to 1971. Upon Logan's return from filming the screen version of his play in the Orient, he commissioned Frank Okamura to transform the rest of his property into a Japanese garden. Vivian Vance (Dodds) of I Love Lucy fame lived in Long Ridge village at 509 Old Long Ridge Road from 1961 to 1967.
In sum, Old Long Ridge Village is historically significant as an example of the evolution of a disbursed settlement from 18th century agricultural community to 19th century manufacturing community to 20th century haven for the New York acting community.
The architecture of Long Ridge Village includes Stamford's last significant enclave of 18th-century Colonial and Federal homes, as well as its largest assemblage of Greek Revival houses and the two oldest Greek Revival churches in town. Two Second Empire houses and an Italianate dwelling at the south end of the district serve as reminders of the popularity of the picturesque modes during the third quarter of the 19th century. Three Colonial Revival houses were built in the early 20th century and are compatible with the rest of the area's architecture.
The oldest group of houses in the Long Ridge Village Historic District consists of five 18th century dwellings and three built in the 19th century's first decade. The oldest show additions and alterations but retain visual evidence of their original Colonial elements. The Jacob White House reveals its original saltbox roof in its oldest section. The Jonas White House, built 1770, features nine-over-six sash on its original half-house section, while the Jesse Waring House, built 1774, shows twelve-over-twelve sash. Ironically, the house most obviously Colonial is the William White House, which was built in 1804, but shows an anachronistic saltbox roof and a board-and-batten door. Except for this structure, all of the houses in this group feature Federal-style entryways, which represent alterations in the earlier dwellings, like the Samuel Ingersol House, built in 1756 and featuring leaded sidelights, fluted pilasters, and a fluted architrave, as well as delicately molded window surrounds. The entry of the Jonas White House features a triglyph-and-metope frieze, while the Nathaniel White House, which was built in the Federal style, shows a carved sunburst design over its trabeated doorway.
The largest and architecturally most significant assemblage of buildings in the Long Ridge Village Historic District was built primarily in the Greek Revival style during the second quarter of the nineteenth century. The earliest example, built in 1830, is the Charles Lockwood House, which features triglyph frieze-band windows, eared window and door surrounds, and deep returns on its raking cornice. By far the most stylish example is the Hickford Marshall House, which combines a number of stylistic elements unique to the area, particularly its ashlar walls which are trimmed with red sandstone and framed by prominent corner pilasters and a wide frieze — creating an unusually colorful and robustly proportioned example of the Greek Revival. Other unique elements include a clapboarded belvedere crowning the flat roof, an in-antis doorway featuring fluted Doric columns, and a front porch constructed of filigreed cast iron, the delicate quality of which contrasts with the rather massive scale of the structure's basic design. The William Mead House and #2884 Long Ridge Road both feature anachronistic saltbox roofs, the former also showing a vernacular stickwork porch, while the latter is distinguished by a Greek-temple entry, consisting of a three-bay flushboard facade framed by pilasters and a prominent entablature. #2874 shows a similar entry sheltered by a front porch. The village's two nearly identical churches are excellent examples of the temple-front Greek Revival church, both showing the full development of the Greek-temple facade including a full-height and full-width pedimented portico. St.Francis Episcopal Church (Universalist Society Church) is the oldest extant church in Stamford and is distinguished from its neighbor by a band of denticulated molding surrounding its architrave, while the Long Ridge Congregational Church features columns with lotus-leaf capitals, a rare example of Egyptian-Revival influence. These churches are significant on a local level because of their skillful design and the lack of other local examples.
The period following the Civil War is represented primarily by houses built in the Italianate and Second Empire styles, the most prominent examples of each marking the southern entrance to the district. The Seth Cook House is a good example of the Italianate style, showing all of the typical elaborations of the low-pitched, hip-roofed variant of the style, including a not-so-common cupola. Broad eaves supported by paired brackets are found not only at the main roof, where they shelter distinctive frieze-band windows, but also at the porch roof and the cupola roof. The front porch features chamfered posts set on paneled posts (unaccompanied by balustrades) and surmounted by exaggerated capitals. A distinctive note is visible in the main roof's centered pediment, which is echoed over the central paired window of the second story. The John Bostwick House is likewise a good example of the Second Empire style, showing a second-story concave mansard roof with gable dormers. The porch, which features chamfered posts and scrolled brackets, is unusual in that it surrounds the house -a rare occurrence in this style.
In sum, the district develops its significance from the physical fact that it is the largest agglomeration of 18th century and early 19th century houses in Stamford, and that it contains interesting local examples of the Greek Revival style, which has otherwise largely disappeared from the city. The Long Ridge Village Historic District also reflects the popularity of this and other styles when Connecticut towns were evolving from disbursed agricultural settlements into thriving industrial communities.
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