Some houses stand out due to their grandeur, or due to architectural style, but one ruin along Litchfield Turnpike stood so tall in spite of its boarded-up windows that it became somewhat of a landmark at the corner of Bradley Road. Last month, when cold February winds were whipping across the Woodbridge flats, the teeth of an excavator started ripping into the home and eventually demolished it.
Across the street, Anna Dickerson and a few family members watched as the house that had been built by her grandfather, Pasquale Perrotti, in 1923 was taken down. Perrotti was one of a family of thriving farmers in The Flats, as this area still is sometimes called. He and his wife Anna raised 12 children in the house. According to the assessor’s map, it had four bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.
Only one of those children is still alive, Anna Dickerson’s 102-year-old mother. Even so, Anna and her cousins remember visiting her grandparents’ house, with aunts and uncles having coffee in the kitchen, or during hot summer days, in the basement kitchen. The demolition brought up memories of all generations playing Bingo together (they used buttons for marking numbers) or just playing in the yard. “It was so sad to see that wonderful old house go, but it was in terrible condition,” Dickerson wrote in an email.
The family had sold the property to Woodbridge Village Associates LLC in 2004, who planned to combine the eight acres of this property with adjacent plots for a development of some 140 units of active adult housing. But the project hasn’t gotten off the ground, and the house stood empty for many years.
It attracted vagrants, said Land Use Analyst Kristine Sullivan. One of them lived in a tent on the third floor without any heat or electricity. The town received complaints about it, “people wanted it down”. She said there were other buildings on the property that the town has condemned over the years. As with most older buildings, there was asbestos that needed to be removed. The cost for demolition is the responsibility of the property owner.
Even if the Woodbridge Village development is dormant, the property owner, represented by Attorney John Knuff, recently requested an extension of the site plan approval. The town’s Plan and Zoning Commission was scheduled to take up the issue at its March 6 meeting. For Anna Dickerson, the active adult project would be a real boon for the town. “This was a perfect project as the property is near shopping and a bus line and has city water and sewers already in place,” she said.
Photo 1: Twelve Perrotti children grew up in this house at 1710 Litchfield Turnpike. For some of the grand-children, the recent demolition brought up fond memories of family life in the big house.
Photo 2: The Perrotti Family posing for a picture on the front porch at 1710 Litchfield Tpk.