NORTH HAVEN — Three homes, all built in the 1930s, are on the market for more than $850,000, including a house used as a filming location last year.
In December, Hallmark filmed part of a holiday movie at 5000 Ridge Road, a property known as the Twin Gates estate. Built in 1936, it’s the most expensive house of the three, listed for nearly $1.3 million.
“The grounds are beautiful,” said Iris Meyer, William Raveis Real Estate agent.
There are three buildings on the nine-acre lot. The main house has eight bedrooms, four bathrooms and two half-baths for a total of 5,392 square feet. Four bedrooms clustered in one wing of the house are former servant quarters, according to Meyer.
The other buildings are a one-bedroom studio apartment, which is the former caretaker’s living quarters with a greenhouse attached, and a mother-in-law apartment over a detached six-car garage.
The lot originally was part of a nearly 100-acre former orchard owned by Walter Greist in 1882, according to information from the North Haven Historical Society.
“There was a beautiful old rail fence around the place and many apple trees,” a letter by Estelle Greist from 1951 states.
The property was subdivided in 1892 into 10 lots of about 10 acres each and sold for $250. The new owners built log cabins for summer use on the land, calling it the Mountain View Association.
The property that became Twin Gates first belonged to Fred White, who bought one of the original 10 lots from Greist.
Albert W. Kraft, then president of United Illuminating Company, built the present house in 1936, calling it Kraftwood.
He didn’t live in the house long. He was arrested in 1939 for embezzlement and resigned his position.
He did leave the neighborhood with a legacy.
“We did not get electricity until Al Kraft came,” Estelle Greist wrote in 1951.
D.W. Mabee, a principal in the National Folding Box Company in New Haven, was the property’s next owner. Mabee died in the late 1970s. The current owners, the Parisis, have lived there since 1979.
Mark Parisi said his parents’ house has been on market for more than two years.
The original coal furnace is still in house, along with a fire hose system connected to the property’s well. The well also supplies three fire hydrants on the property. The fire suppression system was installed in the 1940s after Mabee’s sister’s house burned down, Parisi said.
Another mogul’s home
Back in 1892, Greist sold lots of his orchard property to Harry Weed and to Art Ward. Richard Sargent, of Sargent Manufacturing, bought both lots in the 1910s and combined them into the property that became 3030 Ridge Road, another home for sale currently, listed at $975,000.
Sargent built the present 5,903-square-foot colonial house in 1938. It has five bedrooms, four bathrooms and two half-baths, a three-car garage and detached two-car garage.
John Cuozzo, of Press-Cuozzo Realtors, said the 3.8-acre property “offers an abundance of privacy.”
The house features six fireplaces, French doors, random-width oak peg floors and a barrel-ceiling library. The master bedroom is a second-floor, two-room suite with a dressing room and attached bathroom. The first floor features a guest bedroom with attached bathroom, something that is “unusual of colonial style of this vintage,” Cuozzo said.
Outside there’s an in-ground gunite pool and bluestone patio.
According to information at the North Haven Historical Society, the Sargent family resided there from the 1910s to the 1950s. Ownership passed to Barbara Olin Taylor in 1960, to Lawrence Noble in 1974, and to its current owners in 1976.
The house that toys built
Four miles south of the Ridge Road properties is another luxurious home for sale at 17 Old Orchard Road, listed at $850,000.
“The home is situated on just under an acre, within one of North Haven’s most interesting and coveted neighborhoods,” said Jed Backus, listing agent of Backus Real Estate.
According to land records from the historical society archives, the area was apple orchards when toy manufacturer A.C. Gilbert purchased the land in the 1920s.
Glibert created the Erector Set in 1913, inspired by his train rides between New Haven and New York. His Mysto Manufacturing Co. became the A.C. Gilbert Co. in 1916 and continued for six years after its founder’s death in 1961 before declaring bankruptcy.
“Today, most of the apple trees that gave the street its name are gone,” Backus said, “but there are still towering copper beach trees and numerous specimen plantings that speak to the area's rich history.”
Gilbert built the present house on Old Orchard Road, though he didn’t reside there, in 1938. It has five bedrooms, three bathrooms and two half-baths in 4,669 square feet.
The custom-built home was constructed of mostly natural materials, including stone and wood with a slate roof.
There’s an indoor koi pond in the sunroom that is self-maintaining, skylights, cathedral ceilings and a large library with rolling ladder bookshelves.
“The thoughtful architectural design of the home is matched by its landscape architecture,” Backus said, “with multiple bluestone patios and sitting areas nestled into the home's exterior contours.”
One of the neighboring homes was built for Charlotte Gilbert, A.C. Gilbert’s daughter.