Kettle Creek Historic District
The Kettle Creek Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1995. 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 Kettle Creek Historic District is located on Weston Road (Route 57) in the southwest section of the Town of Weston. Part of an existing local historic district of the same name, the Kettle Creek Historic District is less than a half mile in length and encompasses the core of the crossroads village that evolved here in the mid-to-late eighteenth century. The Kettle Creek Historic District name was taken from the historic school district here and Kettle Creek nearby. On the west side of the highway, the Kettle Creek Historic District extends from Broad Street north to the intersection of Old Weston Road. There is only one property on the east side of the highway and it is located at the intersection with River Road.
The Kettle Creek Historic District consists of 13 buildings located on eight contiguous properties. Of the ten contributing buildings, four are houses built between about 1740 and 1895. The rest of the contributing buildings are secondary structures, including several barns (one converted to a residence) and other outbuildings. There are three non-contributing buildings in the Kettle Creek Historic District: two houses built about 1950 and one modern garage.
The one-story Cape form is utilized in the three oldest houses in the Kettle Creek Historic District. One built at the corner of Broad Street and Weston Road about 1750 was originally a three-bay Cape with a rubble foundation (48 Weston Road). There is a distinct flare to the eaves of the front slope of the gable roof. Before two additional bays on a concrete foundation were added, probably in the early twentieth century, the doorway and chimney were located at the original north end of the building. An associated barn stands to the north of the house. A second Cape, built c. 1770, is located at the corner of Old Weston Road (2 Old Weston Road). There is now an entrance in the west gable end but it is probable that there once was an earlier entrance in the center of the north-facing elevation, the side facing the road. In the 1930s gabled dormers were added to both slopes of the roof and the south slope was extended to create a porch. Because the land falls away there, the south elevation has an exposed basement level and the porch above is supported by posts. Across the road to the north is an associated barn, which has been dated to 1812. To the rear of the barn is Kettle Creek, which flows through the "kettle," a shallow dish-shaped ledge formation from which the creek takes its name. This property was also the former site of the Kettle Creek School.
The third Cape in the Kettle Creek Historic District also has a flared gabled roof and its front slope extends over an open porch, a type often called Dutch Colonial (1 River Road). Internal evidence indicates the dormers may be original. The facade under the porch is flushboarded. About 1790 a two-story three-bay addition was constructed at the south end of the original Cape for an inn known as Scribner's Tavern. The entrance to the inn is on the left side of the addition. With its hood, sidelights, and narrow pilasters, it may be an early twentieth-century remodeling. The doorway itself, with its fanlight, is more typical of the period of the addition. It opens into a large entrance hall, where, instead of an open staircase, there is a steep double-run staircase behind the rear wall of the hall. Now divided into finished rooms, the second floor of this section was originally one open and unfinished room, the sleeping quarters for the inn. A barn/carriage house located across the road, once associated with this house, has been converted to a residence (68 Weston Road).
The last historic house to be built in the Kettle Creek Historic District appears to date from the mid-nineteenth century, but actually is an early example of the Colonial Revival style and built about 1895 (3 Broad Street). It has a gable-to-street orientation and a full facade pediment, which contains a fanlight set within a shallow triangular recess. Another feature of this house, which may be original, is located at the northwest rear corner. There the first floor is recessed and contains a second entrance, which, with its five-pane overlight, resembles the one on the facade. On the east elevation, there is a large five-sided two-story bay addition.
The later non-contributing Colonial Revival houses in the Kettle Creek Historic District are both located on the west side of Weston Road and generally set back from the street. The one at 62 Weston Road is a one-and-one-half-story house which displays small rectangular six-pane windows under the eaves. The other is a more conventional example, two stories in height, with a three-bay facade.
The Kettle Creek Historic District, which includes one of the earliest settlement areas in the Town of Weston, is architecturally significant for its well-preserved collection of eighteenth and nineteenth century houses. Together they embody the early settlement period of this crossroads village as well as its later growth as a way station on one of the town's more travelled highways, thus serving as a representative illustration of the historical patterns of development in Weston.
Much of the collective architectural significance of the Kettle Creek Historic District is derived from its well-preserved examples of the Colonial Cape style. Compatible in scale, type, and period, these cornerstones of the Kettle Creek Historic District clearly evoke its eighteenth-century heritage, a historic ambience further enhanced by their well-preserved settings and associated structures. In addition, through their various building histories, they reflect the several stages of development of the colonial period in Weston.
An indigenous and popular colonial form found throughout Connecticut, the Cape was especially favored during the early eighteenth-century settlement of the coastal hinterlands. Certain features of those in the Kettle Creek Historic District, the flared eaves and the integral facade porch, are often attributed to Dutch influence. Scattered examples of the Dutch type are found north of New Haven and throughout the Western Uplands, the regional geographic context for the district.
Quite possibly the oldest example in the Kettle Creek Historic District is the original part of the Scribner's Tavern. Individually significant because of its antiquity and exceptional state of preservation, which includes even the original flushboarding of the facade, this house epitomizes the full expression of the Dutch Cape, where the low gabled roof sweeps out over the piazza, or porch, and is supported by posts. Although gabled facade dormers are often a later addition to houses of this type, here they appear to be original construction. Like many houses of this period, the Scribner Cape was a "starter house" with an end chimney, although that feature was enclosed within the frame of the structure. Some colonial houses were more directly oriented to the south, but here the chimney stack positioned at the north end gives the living space considerable solar exposure. Although almost inevitably houses of this size were enlarged with additional bays, or even raised another story later in their history, few examples remain in their original state. Sometimes they became the kitchen wing of a later main block, as was done here. Since the tavern addition is essentially a separate house, the original portion remains intact, substantially adding to its significance. The only perceptible change is the doorway openings cut through the wall for access between the buildings.
The image of the "half house" of the Cape form is also illustrated by another significant and somewhat later example at 48 Weston Road, one which sets the tone upon entering the district from the south. With its rubble foundation, low plate, and windows tucked up under the flared eaves, its mid-eighteenth-century origins are evident. Here too the chimney stack was placed on the north side of the original house. As indicated by the concrete foundation under the addition, this example was not enlarged until the early twentieth century, a notable delay. Although the associated farmland to the west and north is no longer part of the property, its stone retaining walls and nearby barn contribute to the historic character of the farmstead.
Although somewhat less well-preserved, the c.1770 Cape at 2 Old Weston Road is the third and last example in the Kettle Creek Historic District. As was more common in the late colonial period, when farming was better established and the town had become more populated, this Cape was a full-size center-chimney house from the start. The age and form of the barn, as well as its traditional siting, add to the significance of the property. Perhaps taking a cue from the older part of Scribner's Tavern, the twentieth-century porch addition on the south side suggests a Dutch Colonial Cape, a thoroughly compatible remodeling.
A well-preserved and quite unique 1895 Colonial Revival is located at 3 Broad Street. Although its construction date (which is undisputed) does extend the historic architectural range and add variety to the district, this anachronistic building is more representative of the earlier nineteenth century. In fact, it could easily be mistaken for a transitional Federal/Greek Revival farmhouse. Such a style and form were rarely, if ever, utilized in the Colonial Revival. Although a decided classical influence permeated the early Colonial Revival, it was primarily Roman in origin and expressed in Georgian motifs. More conventional expressions of the Colonial Revival are found on the exterior of the c.1790 portion of Scribner's Tavern, in the detailing of the frieze and part or all of the Federal Revival doorway. Similarly, the later compatible additions to the district were the Colonial Revivals built in more traditional two-story form (62 Weston Road and 68 Weston Road).
Historical Background and Significance
The Town of Weston was first settled in the early 1700s when descendants of Fairfield proprietors moved north onto their allotments in the land reserve. When there was a large enough population to support a church society in the western half, the parish of Norfield was founded. The eastern half developed in a similar fashion, with the area there becoming known as North Fairfield Parish; together the two parishes merged as the Town of Weston in 1787. In 1847 the eastern part broke away and became the Town of Easton.
Instead of congregating in a nucleated town center, as might have been done in the earlier colonial period, Weston's people settled on individual, widely separated farmsteads along the course of the rivers and streams, a dispersed settlement pattern commonly found in the second-tier towns along the coast. The relative poverty of the first settlers is reflected in the preference for the smaller Colonial Cape style farmhouses found in the district. Over time some settlement nodes situated near major thoroughfares evolved into crossroads villages and later became the nuclei of the town's seven school districts.
Such was the case with the Kettle Creek Historic District. By the time improvements were made to the Weston-Danbury road, a major colonial highway which followed the path of much of the present Route 57, this village could support a tavern and a store. It is said that travellers who took the packet boat from New York to Saugatuck (Westport) could continue north by stagecoach and stop at Scribner's Tavern (1 River Road). Although Scribner had added on to his house for the tavern, he spent little on the amenities; travellers slept in an open dormitory on the second floor. The tavern apparently remained in business at least until after the Civil War since it is identified on the 1867 historic map as belonging to H. Scribner & Son. Farm products were probably bartered for necessary farm and household goods at the village store located in the Cape at the crossroads (48 Weston Road). For a time, a post office was located here. Other elements of this increasingly self-sufficient community were a blacksmith shop on the west side of the highway across from the tavern and a sawmill nearby, where Kettle Creek joins the main branch of the Saugatuck River, but neither structure has survived. After the Kettle Creek School District was established in 1795, one of the earliest in town, its one-room district school stood near the site of the barn associated with 2 Old Weston Road. It was moved in the early twentieth century to be incorporated in a house that now stands to the north in the local historic district. Starting in the late nineteenth century, some of the larger farms were subdivided and new houses built. One of the earliest is the unusual Colonial Revival at 3 Broad Street, which dates from 1895.
In the twentieth century Weston was becoming a suburb, a process accelerated by the building of the Merritt Parkway, which has an interchange on Route 57 just below the town's southern border. All over town old houses were remodeled and/or enlarged by newcomers to the community, a trend reflected in several houses in the district (2 Old Weston Road, 1 River Road, and 48 Weston Road). By the time the state route was improved and rerouted east of Kettle Creek in the early 1950s, many more houses were built in this neighborhood and two are located in the district (54 Weston Road and 62 Weston Road).
Farnham, Thomas J. Weston: the forging of a Connecticut town. Canaan, New Hampshire, Phoenix Publishing for the Weston Historical Society, 1979.
Report of Weston, Connecticut Historical Commission: Proposed Kettle Creek District, n.d.
Report of Weston, Connecticut Historical Commission: Proposed Revised Kettle Creek District, n.d.
Town of Weston, Atlas of Fairfield County, 1867.