Standing tall and wide on the corner of Fairfield and Perry in Stamford, CT is a home that looks nothing like its neighbors nearby. Styled in the complex and detailed stylings of the Queen Anne school of architecture, the Gustavus and Sarah T. Pike House has stood as a fantastic example of a style that is rarely seen in the modern day. The roof design, in particular, stands out as unique even for its time, featuring double gable structures and carefully crafted dormer windows.
At the time of the Pike House’s construction in 1880, the
neighborhood around Perry and Fairfield had only just been planned. The Pike House was one of the first homes
constructed in the neighborhood, which at that point was known as Richmond
Hill. The fact that the home was constructed
in the Queen Anne style identified it as an earlier home; later residences were
built using less ornate stylings reflecting the sudden industrial development
of Stamford around the turn of the century.
Nearby homes are tightly-packed and efficient, while the Pike House
sprawls on a large plot of scenic land.
Since the construction of the Pike House, the surrounding
neighborhood has changed drastically. The
Interstate highway now passes through to the south and the railroads which
predated the house have expanded and changed.
It would be easy to miss the House, tucked away as it is, if not for its
size and stylistic bombast.
Constructed by Waldo Fuller of Brooklyn, NY in early 1880,
the Pike house was bought by its namesake Sarah T. Pike only a few months
later. Sarah T. Pike was married to
Reverend Gustavus Pike, a renowned minister and graduate of Dartmouth
College. Reverend Pike was the leader of
a famous African-American choir, the Fisk Jubilee Singers, and his success
alongside them led to tours of Europe in the years preceding his relocation to
When the Pikes moved away in 1886, the house was bought by
Jane E. Pomeroy. Pomeroy lived in the
home until 1905, at which point she sold it to Frederic Mather, descendent of
Cotton Mather. Frederic Mather was also
a Dartmouth graduate and had practiced law in Cleveland before relocating his
life and career to Stamford. He would
live in the home from 1905 until he passed away in 1925.
Mather served as the President of the Stamford Historical
Society from the years of 1911 to 1923.
As a result, the Pike House has been tied to the history of Stamford in
more ways than one.
The Pike House has been preserved incredibly well, perhaps
as a result of its owner’s historical sensitivity and awareness. Of particular note is the craftsmanship of
the interior of the home, with an incredible number of varied materials being
used to create beauty. The Pike House is
also a unique example of a larger home built from plans laid out in a pattern
Most pattern book homes were small and efficient, as pattern
books largely catered to the needs of turn-of-the-century urbanization and
industrialization. The Pike House is
neither small nor efficient, and its stylings are distinctly unlike the
majority of pattern book homes, even those that stand on the streets nearby. Because of its notable difference in style, historians
were able to track the design back to a specific pattern book, “Modern
Dwellings” by H.H. Holly. According to
the NPS NRHP nomination paperwork, it is possible that the home was designed by
Holly himself, who was a popular architect in the city, though it is much more
likely that the home was built from his pattern instead of being the
inspiration for it.