Photography by: CHICHI UBIÑA
By: GREENWICH HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Archibald F. MacNichol House, 1927
Situated on a wooded multi-acre lot in Khakum Wood, the Archibald F. MacNichol House is a large, 2 ½-story Georgian Revival dwelling constructed of roughly cut, irregular-coursed granite blocks and sheltered by side-gabled roofs covered with tile shingles. Both its style and construction were dictated by Khakum Wood deed restrictions, calling for predominantly masonry exteriors and “English” architecture, which usually resulted in houses of Tudor design but also permitted Georgian-inspired houses as in this case.
The architect of the house was Harrie Lindeberg, who was trained at the firm of McKim, Mead & White, and was well known in the area of residential architecture, primarily in the affluent suburbs of New York and Chicago. Lindeberg was known for the subtle, sometimes austere treatment of his designs, evident here in the handling of the masonry construction. Brick was used as the primary decoration, at the window sills, window lintels, cornices, and the segmental-arched dormers of the 1 ½-story service wing. Likewise, he focused attention on a limited number of design elements: the projecting main entrance, crowned by a broken, ogee-arched pediment; the round-arched tunnel piercing the service wing, accessing the garage court from the entrance courtyard; and twin, semi-circular bays composed of leaded windows, dominating the garden elevation to the east.
The original owner, Archibald Ford MacNichol, was a stock broker with the New York firm of Shippee & Rawson and an heir to the plate-glass magnate, John Baptiste Ford. He served in World War I, rising from private to first lieutenant, and helped organize the local Mobile Unit civil defense group in World War II. A member of Greenwich Country Club, he was a champion skeet shooter.
The Henry H. Tyson House, 1893
The Henry H. Tyson House is the first dwelling on the right hand side of Club Road, which leads to the Riverside Yacht Club, about a half mile from Riverside Avenue. The house, originally in 1893 sited on 16 acres of land that extended westerly to the Mianus River, was the summer residence of Henry H. Tyson, a prominent produce merchant in New York City.
The house is one of Greenwich’s best examples of a combination of elements of two late 19th century styles, Shingle and Queen Anne. The overall shape is Queen Anne, exhibiting a 3 ½ story round tower at the façade’s southwest corner and an extensive front porch that wraps around both corners, including a conical-roofed turret at the southeast corner and a port cochère extending off the east elevation. The details, however, are characteristic of the Shingle style, in which the complex shape of the house is unified by its smooth, shingled surface. The porch rail is completely shingled and the roofline’s overhanging eaves are supported by large, curved shingled brackets. The rear wing shows a two-story turret to the east, displaying the characteristic partial bulge shape with its roof blending into the rear wing’s roof. On the opposite, west side, a fully developed one-story turret presents a quite different appearance, cantilevered off the north-west corner and surmounted with a bell-shaped roof. A number of windows are placed in slight recesses, into which the house’s shingled walls curve.
Henry Hawkins Tyson, born in 1834, was the younger brother of George I. Tyson, who had acquired extensive property in the area beginning around 1880 and built a summer residence further down Club Road. George was the leading founder of the Riverside Yacht Club in 1888 and its first commodore. Henry Tyson served as one of the club’s trustees. The New York Times obituary of Henry Tyson, who died in 1903 at the age of 69, recounted that “he was, when a schoolboy of twelve, thrown on his own resources by the death of his father, and with his brother, George I. Tyson, he started a newspaper route. They prospered to the extent that Henry in his early 20s was able to open a butcher stand in the Jefferson Market. His obituary noted that “he amassed a comfortable fortune
A 1900 article in The New York Times reported a fire that broke out in the coachman’s apartment above the carriage house on Henry Tyson’s property and spread to the barn, burning both to the ground. The article recounted that Tyson’s daughter Ida “braved the flames to save her pet pony.” Although “she was knocked down and trampled upon [, she] “escaped serious injuries.” The account noted that no horses or carriages were lost, but the damage was estimated at the then-hefty sum of $5,000.
John E. Warner House, 1929
Distinguished by steeply pitched, slate-shingled roofs, the John E. Warner House is a good example of a modestly scaled, stucco-covered Tudor dwelling designed to take advantage of its location at the corner of Riverside Avenue and Miltiades Avenue. It combines a number of elements, notably the rounded, conical-roofed entrance bay which occupies the intersection of the front-gabled main wing and the side-gabled north wing. This element is not strictly Tudor in design, but an excellent diminutive example of the towered entry frequently seen in the closely related French Eclectic style. From this corner perspective the house presents a multi-gabled roofline exhibiting three of its seven gables, including one on the attached garage to the far right. But the principal, east elevation features a large polygonal bay at the first story, a four-unit diamond-paved casement window at the second story and clapboards covering most of the front gable. To the left, the façade shows a similar four-unit window lighting a shed-roofed bay projecting from the gabled south wing, which is half-timbered with vertical timbers at the second story and gable. To the left of the south wing, the south elevation shows the main roof sloping down to the first story, which features French doors opening onto a terrace enclosed with a wall of uncoursed granite surmounted with slate coping.
The builder of the house was John E. Warner, a contractor and active developer in Fairfield County, who built the house on a lot subdivided from his parents’ homestead.
The Mill Complex: “New Mill,” 1881, and Depot Building, 1879
“The Mill” is located at the southern end of Glenville’s millpond, where the waters of the Byram River descend over the 30-foot-high granite dam. The complex contains the two remaining buildings of the Hawthorne Woolen Mills, which in 1899 was combined into the American Felt Company. That new entity became the largest and most diversified manufacturer of felt in the country, and advertised: “What Pittsburgh is to steel…what Detroit is to automobiles…what Butte is to copper…Glenville is to felt.”
The manufacture of woolen goods at this location dated back to 1806, when an existing grist mill was sold along with “½ of a carding machine.” Subsequent woolen mills grew into a sizeable assemblage of factory buildings, increasingly specialized in felt and producing the first woven felt in the United States. William Tingue acquired the factory complex in 1875 and renamed it “Hawthorne Mills,” after his mill in Hawthorne, New Jersey, which was destroyed by fire the previous year. Under his direction two mill buildings were added to the complex and are the only ones remaining today. Their architectural distinctiveness reflected the success of the mill’s operations in the late 19th century.
The Depot Building was built in 1879 as the company’s freight depot in anticipation of a railroad line that was never constructed. Its design was more extravagant than depots on actual railroad lines. Its transitional Stick-Style/Queen Anne design includes imaginative brickwork in the form of denticulated pilasters and string courses, but its wooden trim is especially ornate. Its Stick-Style character is exhibited in its large, paired triangular kneebrace brackets supporting the wide eaves, and its Queen Anne influence is shown by elaborate, jig-saw-cut peak ornaments that decorate its main gables and eight dormers.
The “New Mill” was built in 1881 as the mill’s centerpiece, appointed with an array of modern facilities including an automatic sprinkler system, the area’s first telephone system, the second electric generator produced by Thomas Edison, and the first electric lights in the area. The latter enabled night shifts at the factory. The facility’s novelty created a tourist attraction, with people taking the train to Port Chester and switching to horse-drawn carriages for the final leg to Glenville. The New Mill’s Romanesque Revival design presents a decidedly militaristic appearance with a battlemented roofline showing turrets set into corners and well-proportioned walls articulated with intricate brickwork forming string courses between stories, pilasters and arched windowheads. The design is expertly accented with an attached, 55-foot tower featuring corbeled battlements, leaving no doubt as to the importance attached to the enterprise occupying this edifice.
The Mill Complex today has been repurposed into shops, restaurants, other retail operations, office space, and condominium apartments. Felt manufacturing ended soon after acquisition by the GAF conglomerate in 1968. GAF sold the property in 1978 to Greenwich Associates, a real estate developer headed by Ralph Schacter and Seymour Schwartz. [Architects for the transformation were WHO?]