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Spacious Skies

Sea View Farm’s magnificent legacy continues



Photographs by Douglas Foulke, Ann Dahlgren, and Alan Goldfinger

This Congress Street house—8,000 square feet on 18 flat, sprawling acres—was once the home of lawyer Henry B. Stoddard. In the early 1900s, Stoddard purchased 14 acres of land and a barn (for the now enviable price of $5,500) known as Sea View Farm, and commissioned famous tri-state-area architect Cameron Clark to build the home. Clark’s wife Agnes Selkirk Clark, a well-known landscape architect, designed the home’s formal gardens. From the step-down living room to the stone terrace, the Clarks’ vision remains intact. And though the home has undergone top-to-bottom renovations, current owners Joanna and Bert Morris went to great lengths to preserve its original character. It is stately, with formal living and dining areas that evoke the grandeur of earlier times, wide oak floors, and

Victorian-style gardens featuring Italian statues and moss-covered stones that spill over with roses and hydrangeas, inviting reflection and repose.

Melanie Marks, a professional genealogist and historic research consultant who owns the company Connecticut House Histories, has been unearthing old newspaper articles and historical records to trace the history of the Congress Street home and its past occupants. One former owner in particular left the home a mystery: a mass of hundreds of electrical wires in the basement—each representing a separate phone line. It may be that the phone lines belonged to Arthur Pearce, who lived in the home while publishing Fairfield County Publications. Or more intriguing, and more likely, they may have indicated covert government conversations, tracing back to when Eugene “Morehead” Patterson and his wife Margaret lived there. Patterson’s company, American Machine and Foundry, developed military equipment during WWII, including guided missile equipment, and received government contracts during the ensuing Cold War. He would earn the title of ambassador, and was appointed by President Dwight Eisenhower as a special representative for International Atomic Energy Agency negotiations in 1956. It’s quite possible that some highly secretive, calls were coming into this Fairfield home.

It’s likely, too, that the still-working elevator off the formal dining room, as well as the powder room and the butler’s pantry, received more regular use in those early days. Today, the family is more often found reclining in the home’s new spacious living room off the renovated kitchen, with its 20-foot ceiling, fireplace with limestone mantle, and small round windows overtop for peering down from the second floor. Music follows occupants in the home, thanks to built-in speakers throughout; and all the floors, including those in the pool house, feature radiant heat for keeping it cozy. Another favorite escape in the home is on the completely remodeled third floor. “This would have been servant’s quarters,” Joanna says. When the Morrises moved in, only the air conditioning and heating ducts were here. They put the dormers back in the windows, creating several cushioned seating nooks, and added a charming guest room, a billiard room complete with fireplace, and a media room with a built-in flat-screen TV with 7.1 surround sound, leather armchairs, and a small refrigerator and microwave.

Joanna and Bert met while both working at GE, and were initially drawn to the home’s acreage and barn—perfect for their then-12-year-old daughter’s horse. But daughter Erica, now 26, opted to keep her horse at the Hunt Club, and the barn was soon converted into a woodworking shop for Bert and son Drew, 22. Drew is beginning a career in engineering with GE (Erica works for GE Finance in Atlanta) and early projects included building a half-pipe with his dad when he was 10. “I used it twice,” Drew jokes now. Dad adds: “Being an engineer, building it was 90 percent of the thrill.” When he was 16, Drew took auto mechanics at school and his dad brought home a dream fixer-upper—a 1973 Corvette. “He completely rebuilt this car,” says Bert, adding that his son received a transmission under the Christmas tree. The home’s three-car garage features a hydraulic lift, perfect for the mechanically inclined.

The backyard space that once provided a prime spot for go-cart races is now maintained by a caretaker who lives on-site in a 1,400-square-foot two-bedroom guest house. In the summer, the heated pool and Jacuzzi are big draws, particularly with the all-inclusive pool house, which includes a full kitchen, a steam bath, and TV, and an outdoor grill hooked to a gas line so there’s no need to refill a tank. Hydrangeas bloom everywhere in the warmer months. “I have every species,” says Joanna, who relishes gardening, and whose gardens have been featured as part of the Discovery Museum’s Discovery Garden Tour. Colors range from blue, to pink, to white, to lime green. “And I love knockout roses,” she says, some of which are visible from the home’s living room and the sitting room attached to the master bedroom. Each of the home’s six bedrooms is en suite—complete with dressing room and bathroom—and several feature full sun. The master bath is ornate, with a cream-colored onyx vanity, a rose-colored chandelier over the tub, running lights under the built-in cabinets that are activated if someone enters at night and an attached walk-in closet.  This same closet may have once served as a secret office for Mr. Patterson, Joanna suspects.

The couple loves Fairfield, and plans to stay in town, but are selling with an eye toward downsizing and moving closer to the beaches and downtown. “We want somewhere where we can walk to everything,” says Joanna. “And where I can ride my bike to the train station,” adds Bert, an avid cyclist who commutes to New York City. Wherever they move, the couple would like the ability to still garden and share space with their three dogs and two cats, with, if Bert can help it, minimal need for renovation.

 

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View map »


Telephone: 120-333-25052
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More information

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

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Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
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Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346
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Where:
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Cost: Members: Free; Adults: $5; Seniors & Students: $3; children 5 and under: Free.

Where:
Fairfield Museum
370 Beach Rd
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View map »


Website »

More information

In this key moment in our national history and the struggle for women’s equality and freedom of expression, the Fairfield Museum’s exhibition “Flappers: Fashion and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

The Housatonic Museum of Art presents a new exhibition, “Drip Drop, Tick Tock” by regional artist, Joseph Fucigna. The show focuses on sculptures from the on-going Plastic Fencing...

Cost: Free

Where:
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900 Lafayette Blvd.
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View map »


Telephone: 120-333-25052
Contact Name: Robin Zella

More information

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Open during regular Library hours Paradise [Lost] features a collection of color photographs by Árpád Krizsán, Best in Show winner of Pequot Library's 2017 Art Show....

Cost: Free and open to the public.

Where:
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720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346
Contact Name: Pequot Library
Website »

More information

Nature is on display in “A Reverence For Nature” with pieces that reflect the artists’ admiration of nature or the environment in a multitude of ways. Exhibiting artists include...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
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View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
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More information

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Where:
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View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Symphony Orchestra
Telephone: 203-956-6771
Contact Name: Sandra Miklave, Executive Director
Website »

More information

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Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
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View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

ReTooled: Highlights from the Hechinger Collection, an engaging and thought-provoking look at the unexpected subject of tools, will be on view at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, CT, from September...

Cost: Members and students with ID free. $10-$25

Where:
Bruce Museum
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View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
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Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

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Cost: $30 for Bruce Museum members, $40 non-members

Where:
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One Museum Drive
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Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
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Sponsor: Pequot Library
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Cost: Members: Free; Adults: $5; Seniors & Students: $3; children 5 and under: Free.

Where:
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View map »


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More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
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370 Beach Road
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View map »


Website »

More information

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Website »

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Cost: Free

Where:
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900 Lafayette Blvd.
Bridgeport, CT  06604
View map »


Telephone: 120-333-25052
Contact Name: Robin Zella

More information

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

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View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

More information

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Cost: $50; $37.50, $25, Students $10

Where:
Norwalk Concert Hall
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View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Symphony Orchestra
Telephone: 203-956-6771
Contact Name: Sandra Miklave, Executive Director
Website »

More information

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Cost: Members and students with ID free. $10-$25

Where:
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View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 2034136735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

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Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346
Contact Name: Pequot Library
Website »

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Where:
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1 Museum Dr
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View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
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More information

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Show Less...

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Where:
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View map »


Sponsor: Wall Street Theater
Telephone: 877-987-8764
Contact Name: Jeanne Moore
Website »

More information

A series of graphic novel-style panels designed by illustrator Kirk Manley tells the dramatic story of the spy ring that operated between New York City, Long Island, and Fairfield during the...

Cost: Members: Free; Adults: $5; Seniors & Students: $3; children 5 and under: Free.

Where:
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370 Beach Rd
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View map »


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More information

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370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

The Housatonic Museum of Art presents a new exhibition, “Drip Drop, Tick Tock” by regional artist, Joseph Fucigna. The show focuses on sculptures from the on-going Plastic Fencing...

Cost: Free

Where:
Housantonic Community College
900 Lafayette Blvd.
Bridgeport, CT  06604
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Telephone: 120-333-25052
Contact Name: Robin Zella

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Join us while we hunt for the East Coast's best Dance Crew. Watch as crews for all ethnic backgrounds and styles of dance come together to compete for title of The Best Dance Crew! Hip Hop,...

Cost: Pre Sale $25.00 Day of Show $30.00

Where:
Wall Street Theater
Wall Street
Norwalk, CT  06850
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Sponsor: Wall Street Theater
Telephone: 877-987-8764
Contact Name: Jeanne Moore
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On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
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Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
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Open during regular Library hours Paradise [Lost] features a collection of color photographs by Árpád Krizsán, Best in Show winner of Pequot Library's 2017 Art Show....

Cost: Free and open to the public.

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
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Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346
Contact Name: Pequot Library
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Nature is on display in “A Reverence For Nature” with pieces that reflect the artists’ admiration of nature or the environment in a multitude of ways. Exhibiting artists include...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
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Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
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Francisco Fullana, Violin Soloist Join us for three masterpieces representing important moments in time for orchestral music.  Arvo...

Cost: $50; $37.50, $25, Students $10

Where:
Norwalk Concert Hall
125 East Avenue
NORWALK, CT  06855
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Sponsor: Norwalk Symphony Orchestra
Telephone: 203-956-6771
Contact Name: Sandra Miklave, Executive Director
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On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
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Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

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ReTooled: Highlights from the Hechinger Collection, an engaging and thought-provoking look at the unexpected subject of tools, will be on view at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, CT, from September...

Cost: Members and students with ID free. $10-$25

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
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Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 2034136735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
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Laura from Olive My Skin will be joining us to talk about her lovely natural soaps, wood wick soy candles and skin care line, all proudly made in Connecticut. All Fair Trade, paraben free,...

Cost: free

Where:
The Smithy
10 Main Street
New Preston, CT  06777
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Sponsor: The Smithy
Telephone: (860)868-9003
Contact Name: susan
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A series of graphic novel-style panels designed by illustrator Kirk Manley tells the dramatic story of the spy ring that operated between New York City, Long Island, and Fairfield during the...

Cost: Members: Free; Adults: $5; Seniors & Students: $3; children 5 and under: Free.

Where:
Fairfield Museum
370 Beach Rd
Fairfield, CT  06824
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In this key moment in our national history and the struggle for women’s equality and freedom of expression, the Fairfield Museum’s exhibition “Flappers: Fashion and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
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Website »

More information

The Housatonic Museum of Art presents a new exhibition, “Drip Drop, Tick Tock” by regional artist, Joseph Fucigna. The show focuses on sculptures from the on-going Plastic Fencing...

Cost: Free

Where:
Housantonic Community College
900 Lafayette Blvd.
Bridgeport, CT  06604
View map »


Telephone: 120-333-25052
Contact Name: Robin Zella

More information

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Formed in 1963 in Stamford, CT, The Fifth Estate was a central part of the garage rock movement. Remember NBC's 'Hullabaloo'? They performed their crackin' song 'I Just...

Cost: $28

Where:
Fairfield Theatre Company at StageOne
70 Sanford Street
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

Open during regular Library hours Paradise [Lost] features a collection of color photographs by Árpád Krizsán, Best in Show winner of Pequot Library's 2017 Art Show....

Cost: Free and open to the public.

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346
Contact Name: Pequot Library
Website »

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Evocation of light is ever present in the romantic and experiential landscapes of Ira Barkoff. His recent works convey the spontaneity and the maturity of the artist’s hand and dedication to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Canfin Gallery
39 Main Street
Tarrytown, NY  10591
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Sponsor: 1953
Telephone: 914-332-4554
Contact Name: Jean-Claude Canfin
Website »

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Francisco Fullana, Violin Soloist Join us for three masterpieces representing important moments in time for orchestral music.  Arvo...

Cost: $50; $37.50, $25, Students $10

Where:
Norwalk Concert Hall
125 East Avenue
NORWALK, CT  06855
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Symphony Orchestra
Telephone: 203-956-6771
Contact Name: Sandra Miklave, Executive Director
Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

ReTooled: Highlights from the Hechinger Collection, an engaging and thought-provoking look at the unexpected subject of tools, will be on view at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, CT, from September...

Cost: Members and students with ID free. $10-$25

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 2034136735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

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