Chaffee House and Barn Chaffeeville

Lost Mansfield > Chaffee House and Barn Chaffeeville

POST #42 Chaffee House and Barn Chaffeeville

CHAFFEE HOUSE AND BARN, CHAFFEEVILLE: In the course of building the Mansfield Hollow Dame project, the U.S. Government took over 2,300 acres in Mansfield, North Windham and Chaplin. Some 200 families lost their property and over 30 homes were demolished, dismantled or relocated. Property owners were paid what the government considered fair market value, but many thought the compensation was inadequate. Construction of the Mansfield Hollow Dam began in July of 1949 and was completed in 1952 at a cost of $6.5 million.

Chaffee family homstead
This lovely Victorian home was among the properties on Chaffeeville Road that was condemned when the Mansfield Hollow Dam was constructed. It was known as the Doc Chaffee house. It was likely built by one of the Chaffees who operated the nearby O. S. Chaffee and Son silk mill, but which one has yet to be determined. The property was owned by Anon Anonson at the time of the dam’s construction. According to our records, the house was dismantled and later rebuilt in Franklin, but this has not been verified.

Sections of Route 89 and Chaffeeville Road that were below the 260’ elevation line were discontinued and the homes in these areas were moved or demolished. These sections of road were rerouted to higher elevation. Baker Road, which ran between Chaffeeville Road and Wormwood Hill Road, was also abandoned and the houses there were torn down. There are still cellar holes visible along these discontinued sections of road.

Chaffee homestead dairy barn
This barn once housed the prize cattle of Joseph Dwight Chaffee and his creamery operation. It was demolished when the Mansfield Hollow Dam was built. The associated house, then owned by Katherine (Wolff) Rebi, was moved further north on Chaffeeville Road.

J. D. Chaffee ran the O. S. Chaffee and Son silk mill with his father, Orwell S., but also dabbled at being a gentleman farmer. After his father died in 1887, Joseph Dwight formed a partnership with Charles Fenton and established the Natchaug Silk Company in Willimantic. In 1889, he purchased “the most desirable building lot” in Willimantic and built an impressive Queen Anne style house (163 Summit Street). His brother, Olon, continued to run the silk mill in Chaffeeville.

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