An agricultural disaster in the late-19th century sank the anchor crop of the town's Mill Hill area, the Southport globe onion.
But evidence of the area's agricultural history remains, particularly in the stately red barn at 1101 Mill Hill Road, which once housed cows and horses, but has since been modernized to accommodate recreational and business activities more suited to contemporary times.
This barn and its 11-room antique farmhouse -- the main living quarters of this property -- are on the market for the first time in 18 years. Its next owners can imagine the horse-drawn hay wagons and farmers harvesting their onion crop while enjoying all the modern conveniences this property offers. The house was renovated and updated in 2004.
Pre-dating the onion farms were the tribes of Indians that camped on Mill Hill about 4,000 years ago, according to state Archaeologist Nick Belantoni. The current owner said he has found arrowheads and a neighbor found a 4-inch-long spear point.
The house, built in 1900, and the barn, which dates to about 1850, sit on a designated country road. The house was included in a 1988 Fairfield Historic and Architectural Survey, which was updated in 2009, and while it is a vintage house it is not included in a specific historic district. Nor is the property listed on the National Register of Historic Places, so there are no restrictions regarding renovations.
The farmhouse has 3,649 square feet of living space, including three bedrooms. The post-and-beam barn has flexible use as both an entertainment space and a legal home office. It has a separate driveway and the lower level serves as the garage containing three car bays.
Inside the barn there is a 25-foot cathedral ceiling, loft, half bath and a 12-by-10-foot, electrically-operated drop-down movie screen.
The screen is above the front door, where the barn's original 14-foot hay doors once were.
The barn has its own heating and air conditioning, separate utility meter and it is well insulated.
Access to the property is gained through a mahogany gate, which is flanked by stone walls and white wood columns and leads to a large, red brick courtyard, lending a European ambiance.
The grounds include three flagstone patios on various levels. The backyard features a wisteria-covered pergola and stone wall with a white picket gate surrounding perennial flower beds.
In the main house, the living and dining rooms are open, one to the other.
The wide, red brick and cherry wood paneled fireplace is closer to the dining area.
There are two more eating areas in the large kitchen. One is separate from the rest of the kitchen. The other is the breakfast bar of the center island.
Part of the kitchen floor is hardwood. Another part, in the prep area, is decorative tile, which also makes up the backsplash.
Appliances include a four-burner Dacor range and Bosch dishwasher.
A first-floor half bath has hand-painted birds and vines. The master bath on the second floor has limestone tiles on the floor, surround of the soaking tub and the lower half of the walls.
The limestone wall tiles are punctuated by decorative tiles, some with leaves and others with inspirational messages: "Each day is a gift," "Love much," "Live well."
One of the bedrooms has a hand-painted mural of an apple tree and a rabbit and rooster reading a book.
The property abuts a 38-acre, town-owned parcel with hiking trails. The deed restriction does not allow any development on that land, ensuring that the owners of this house will have privacy and quiet.
ABOUT THIS HOUSE
TYPE: Antique farm house and barn
ADDRESS: 1101 Mill Hill Road
NUMBER OF ROOMS: 11
AMENITIES: beach rights, large converted barn, gated 0.42-acre level and sloping property, borders 38 acres of town-owned open space property, three terraced flagstone patios, brick courtyard, pergola, stone walls, invisible fence, skylights, zoned central air conditioning, one wood-burning fireplace, landscaping, workshop, insulated windows, some window treatments, French doors, exterior lighting, perennial flower gardens, extra insulation for energy efficiency, exposed beams, barn has in-law apartment potential
OTHER INFORMATION: three bedrooms, two full and two half baths, detached three-car garage, full unfinished basement with storage, zoned gas hot air heating system, laundry room, mudroom, hardwood floors throughout most of the house, attic access via scuttle, septic system, public water
SCHOOLS: Mill Hill Elementary, Roger Ludlowe Middle, Fairfield Ludlowe High
TAX RATE: 23.93 mills