first family reunion
We had a wonderful week with visiting family from Boston, Ohio, Kentucky and Dallas who proved that the house is indeed made for a crowd. Most popular features of the house for the kids were tower top, bell butler and crawlspace closet in hallway.
old window, new view
West-facing window added to the breakfast room will make KP duty easier by providing the dishwasher with a lake view. Silhouetted against old, wavy glass panes is vintage soap-holder faucet from The Old School Plumber.
on a clear day
best. backyard. amenity. ever.
One of the many beauties of the property is that it sits on Lake Wononscopomuc, or, to most people, Lakeville Lake. The house's frontage isn't wide (a mere 55 feet, actually) but it is lovely. I went down to visit it the other day. There is an old rock near the shore that I like to wade out to and was sorry to have scared away a flock of fellow appreciators.
vernal ponds turn autumnal
For the first time in Holleywood's history (we think), its vernal ponds persist into leaf-peeping season.
Happily, the only impact of the hurricane at Holleywood was the unseasonable return of the vernal ponds. Some say the ponds formed originally because so much stone was extracted from the ground for building. Others contend that the ponds are a recent phenomenon. But this is belied by the photo below, from a 1930s glass plate found by Cynthia Hochswender in the archives of the Lakeville Journal. The photo shows that the ponds were alive and well-filled back when the west entrance was used as a formal driveway.
It turns out that the story of a sunken plane at the bottom of Lakeville Lake is...only a legend. Bill Littauer, President of The Lake Wononscopomuc Association, sets the record straight for those who weren't there 40 years ago. Too bad there's no Snopes category for local lore. UPDATE, January 1, 2012: Brian Doyle reports in a comment that there's enough plane wreckage left at lake bottom to make for a very interesting scuba dive. He dived to the wreckage in approximately 90 feet of water in the center of the lake.
On Friday, September 18, 1970, a twin engine Cessna 337D was on a flight from the Westchester County Airport in White Plains to Glens Falls, New York, when a small fire apparently broke out in the cabin.
Witnesses said the pilot circled the lake once and appeared to be trying to land on the water. One wing tip touched the water. That forced the nose of the plane down and the craft immediately broke apart and sank in about 40 feet of water. Two men fishing nearby and several people from the Grove sped to the scene in small boats, but were unable to find survivors. They did manage to attach a grappling hook to part of the wreckage.
There is a myth that the plane wreckage remains on the bottom to this day. However, that is not true. The next day the Grove swimming float was fitted with a winch and a tripod and towed to the scene. Divers attached a hook to the tail section. The wreckage was towed to the beach where it was examined and removed. Parts of the wreckage scattered in 60 to 80 feet of water, but most of it was recovered by divers.
The bodies of the passengers were not recovered until the next day, Sunday, September 20th. They were 39 year old Vincent A. Nastasi of 135 Beverly Terrace, Yonkers, New York, and Jonel E. Jorgulesco of S.W. 13th Terrace, Miami, Florida.
Investigators later determined that a short circuit in a wire leading from a transformer in the rear of the plane to the front probably caused a small fire in the carpet of the cabin. That is what may have led the pilot to try an emergency landing on the lake. Witnesses speculated that the landing attempt may have failed because the pilot was trying to avoid hitting the fishing boat.
--Bill Littauer, President of The Lake Wononscopomuc Association
We built a pond on our little farm in Amenia, but its waters are never as pristine as this. Lakeville Lake (or, Wononscopomuc Lake as it's officially called) is breathtakingly clear, perhaps because it's the deepest lake in Connecticut. In some places it goes to 250 ft, deep enough to conceal the crashed airplane that some say is buried at the bottom. [UPDATE: plane story turns out to be apocryphal.]
who we are
We are a couple of Upper West Siders from NYC who never set out to buy an old mansion in Connecticut. But the moment we walked through its massive front door, we were smitten. The info on this site is earnestly cobbled from a variety of sources, including the web. Please let us know if we've gotten something wrong, or if there's a story about Holleywood you'd like to share.