Henry Brown House, Chestnut Hill

Lost Mansfield > Henry Brown House, Chestnut Hill


There was an earlier house on this site built by Samuel Storrs, Jr. in 1767. Henry Brown (1797-1890) acquired the property in April 1831 and farmed there until his death. In 1847, he replaced the older structure with a new 2-story farmhouse adorned with Greek revival pilasters. The center chimney of the earlier house was incorporated into the new dwelling. Later in the century, a front porch and ell were added to the house.

The Henry Brown House
This photograph was taken about 1900 when Henry’s son, Stephen P. Brown, and his family occupied the property. They operated a successful dairy business there.

Stephen P. Brown (1862-1946), Henry’s youngest son, assisted on the farm and cared for his father in his old age. After his father’s death in 1890, he bought the interests of the other heirs and took ownership of the 200-acre family farm. He improved the property and expanded into dairying in 1891. With the assistance of his brother, Henry S. Brown, he developed a successful milk business serving many customers in nearby Willimantic. His children carried on the dairy business following Stephen’s death. However, when it was no longer possible to sustain it, most of the land was sold to the Stearns family and added to Mountain Dairy’s pastureland. Siblings Charles S. (1907-1981) and Ruth C. Brown (1905-2001), were the last of the Browns to live in the family homestead.

Stephen P. Brown family and early automobile
This photograph, taken in 1908, shows Stephen P. Brown and his family riding in his “one lunger” Cadillac. Stephen Brown and his oldest son, Harry Brown, are in the front seat. In the rear seat (left to right) are Fannie Brown, Ruth Brown, and Alice Evangeline Mason Brown (Mother), holding Charles Brown.

On November 22, 2016, the by-then decrepit house was demolished. Kathryn Myers captured the scene as it was reduced to rubble in a matter of minutes. A modern cape-style house has since been constructed on the site at 542 Browns Road.

Henry Brown house before being torn down
The Brown homestead as it appeared in 2016, shortly before it was demolished. By then, it had deteriorated to the point where it could not be saved without exceptional expense. (Photograph by Kathryn Myers)
The Henry Brown House torn down
The Brown homestead as it was being torn down to make way for a new home. (Photograph by Kathryn Myers)
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