The Porter Cook House

The Porter Cook House $349,000
38 N. Elm Street, Wallingford, CT
Property Details:
Circa: 1789
Style: Colonial
Type: Single Family Residential
Bedrooms: 3

Baths: 2 full, 1 half
Sq. Feet: 2,736
Acreage: 0.39
Garage: 2 car, detached
Peggy Mallick

Calcagni Real Estate
Description: Welcome to the Porter Cook House! This beautiful antique home is one of a handful of 18th century homes in Wallingford’s center.  Because of the poor economic conditions in the 1780’s, many Wallingford natives moved to Ohio to farm on less expensive land there.  Porter Cook chose to remain in Wallingford and build on land his grandfather, Deacon Benjamin Atwater, passed on to him.  His decision to build in Wallingford signified his hope for the town’s return to prosperity. The Cook family was among 38 families that founded Wallingford in 1670.

The home was raised on Saturday, October 3, 1789.  Samuel Doolittle framed the house, Timothy Carrington and his son, Lemuel, clapboarded and shingled the exterior, Col. Isaac Cook erected the cellar walls, and Tolbridge and Jordan put up the chimney using bricks made by Zebulon Potter in the north section of town.  Cook later hired Capt. John Mansfield, a local carpenter, and his son Abel to do the inside finishing work.  The house cost Cook $17 to build.

Later in October work on the house was interrupted by the visit of President George Washington to Wallingford, which Porter Cook recorded in his diary.  The President had breakfast at the Carrington Inn on Center Street.  During his hour and a half visit to Wallingford, Washington walked down North Main Street and, as he wrote in his diary, was fascinated by the cultivation of the white mulberry tree, the leaves of which were used to feed silkworms so that they would produce silk thread.  A sapling from a mulberry tree on Porter Cook’s property was gifted to Washington by Cook on his way to his Mount Vernon estate.

This home is an architectural gem.  The home is a center chimney, Georgian colonial with post and beam construction, joined with wooden pegs that are visible in the walk-up attic.  The front doors are double coffin doors with transom lights above.  The current owners purchased the home in September 1987 from Russel and Michele Burgess.  They have decorated the interior with paint colors, wallpaper and furnishings in keeping with the colonial style.  Of special note are the six fireplaces, original wide plank chestnut flooring and 12x12 divided light windows, some of which still contain distorted glass.

The inviting front hall welcomes you to this historic home. The main floor hosts a formal living room and dining room which features raised panel walls.  There is a large eat-in kitchen, which provides modern space for family living, as well as a den. The back hallway of the home leads to an office that was added in the mid 1800’s as well as first floor laundry. The front & rear staircases lead to the 3 bedrooms on the second floor.  The master bedroom suite has its own full bath and dressing room. There is a large walkup attic, ideal for lots of storage. A charming screened porch and patio overlook the large, beautiful and tranquil backyard. The home also has a 2-car detached garage and plenty of parking. Wonderful updates to the home include: new roof; high efficiency natural gas furnace; and newly stained cedar shingles on the exterior. Downtown Wallingford restaurants, shops, library and park are just steps away, as well as Choate Rosemary Hall. Truly a special home in a great location!

The current owners have lived in the home for 30 years and raised their 3 children here.  They have lovingly cared for this historic gem and now it is time to turn it over to new caretakers.

Click on the photos below to enlarge.