Friday, April 20, 2012

'The Oaks'

 'The Oaks', the Jonathan Godfrey residence designed by F. Burrall Hoffman Jr. c. 1915 in Fairfield, Connecticut, with landscaping by Marian C. Coffin. Godfrey and Hoffman were friends, both being arrested together in North Carolina in 1906 after they had gone hunting past the season deadline.  The house has since been demolished.

Photos from American Architect & Architecture, 1916.


Old Grey Dog said...

This place is Superb !

The Ancient said...

The property seems to have abutted the Brooklawn Country Club.

Perhaps the houses on Old Oaks Road are what replaced it. (I can't see anything that looks like Godfrey's house, but I may be missing something.)

The Ancient said...

Regarding Marian C. Coffin (1877-1957), who also designed the grounds at Winterthur --

"Some of Coffin’s best known projects include her designs for the grounds of Winterthur, the Henry F. du Pont estate and the campus layout for the University of Delaware. She won the Gold Medal of the Architectural League of New York for her work in 1930. Coffin was highly regarded in the field and perhaps the best known female landscape architect to graduate from MIT."

See pages 18 -20 for much more.

The Ancient said...

The Smithsonian seems to have pictures of the gardens.

"The Oaks" is a Marian Coffin garden, designed in 1927, for which she received the coveted Gold Medal from the Architectural League of New York in 1930. The garden was known for its formal rose garden, its four arched bowers constructed of pleached white pine (Pinus strobus) and elaborate arched entry gates, which are located within a naturalized setting of woodland and rock outcroppings. In 1990, the house was razed and the land was sold for development

Persons associated with the property and garden include: Marian Coffin (garden designer); Jonathan Godfrey (former owner); and Mr. and Mrs. Edgar W. Bassick (former owners, ca. 1920)

Question: If she designed the gardens in 1927, and Bassick bought the property about 1920, what is Godfrey's name doing on a picture that also has her name?

I guess the answer is she worked for both of them, at different times.

Here's a book which references her work for Godfrey:

There are relevant pictures on pp. 5, 99, 143, and 155

The Ancient said...

There are also photographs in the collection of the Fairfield Historical Society.

And the exact address was ...

Mr. Jonathan Godfrey, “The Oaks,” 479 Algonquin Road, Fairfield, Conn.

There are a couple large houses at the intersection of Algonquin and Renwick, but they don't seem to match. (Other opinions welcome.)

Unknown said...

The correct address for the Godfrey house is 379 Algonquin Rd, not 479.
My parents, Albert and Victoria Ekstrom bought the house in 1952 from the Bassick family.
It was indeed a magnificent house. It had a very large front yard and faced the 18th Fairway of the Brooklawn CC across Algonquin Rd.
My father sold the house in the mid 1980's The buyer wanted to convert it to condo's, but neighbors objected. Next buyer tore it down and 7 houses were build along Eagle Lane, a new road cut in through the old front yard.