Wednesday, August 15, 2012

112 Years Ago Today...

With a little bit of help from the wonderful staff at Middletown's Russell Library, I was able to locate the house where Kay was born, 112 years ago today. I had come across a biographical sketch which happened to mention that Kay was born in the home of her maternal grandparents, D. Ward and Mary Northrop. 

A 1900 Middletown telephone book was all we needed to locate the Northrops at 174 Church Street. Though we at first thought the house was no longer standing, a little more digging by the Russell Library staff revealed that the house had at some point been renumbered as 154, and is now owned by Wesleyan University.

D. Ward Northrop, ca. 1885
The Northrops were a prominent Connecticut family, all the way back to Revolutionary War days. D. (avid) Ward Northrop was born in Sherman, Connecticut in 1844.  He was graduated from Wesleyan University (Class of '68), opened a law practice in Middletown in 1870, and later became a judge. He subsequently held a number of important political posts, including Mayor of Middletown, and Secretary of State of the State of Connecticut (1883-85). D. Ward Northrop died of pneumonia in 1918.

Built in 1874, the Northrop house, though charming, seems remarkably modest compared to some of Middletown's other homes, especially when one considers that D. Ward Northrop was one of the city's preeminent residents.

The house is used today as student housing. I imagine that the exterior remains little changed since 1900; and the floor plan provided at Wesleyan's Web site would seem to indicate very little, if any, alteration to the interior, as well. Alas, the house was locked up for the summer vacation when we visited, so we didn't get to see the inside.  

But Kay didn't live there long; shortly after she was born (a month or two, it would appear), the family were living in Washington, DC, where Kay's father was employed as a housemaster and instructor at Washington School for Boys, now defunct.

No comments:

Post a Comment