Historic Structures

Oliver T. Sherwood House, Southport Connecticut

Date added: March 21, 2011 Categories: Connecticut House Shingle Style

The Oliver T. Sherwood house was designed by Westchester architect William V. Kent and erected in 1892. In keeping with contemporary stylistic trends, it is designed in the American Shingle style, characterized by uniform shingled surfaces, splaying roof lines with broken and intersecting gables, projecting bays and corner turrets, and usually a front veranda, warmly shadowed by wide, protective eaves. In addition, a token classical Palladian window often appears; in this case, the ionic detailed tripartite window is at the western end of the front facade's main level. The over-all impression of this residence is that it is less formal and affectations by comparison to earlier nineteenth century village residences, and of more modest, low-lying dimensions. Sherwood's long career as a respected bank financier ended with misfortune; he defaulted on a large sum of money as the Southport National Bank's cashier and spent his later life in Canada.

The architect, William Winthrop Kent was born in 1860 in Bangor, Maine, the son of Henry Mellen Kent. He received his secondary schooling at Phillips Exeter Academy, and collegiate training at Harvard College. After his graduation from Harvard in 1882, Kent entered the office of Boston architect Henry Hohson Richardson. During his apprenticship with Richardson the young architect supervised the construction of the Hay-Adams House on Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C, Kent was associated with his brother Edvard who had an architectural practice in Buffalo in subsequent years to his tenure with Richardson. Together, they designed the Jewish Temple, Beth Zion (1890), the W.O. Chapin Building (1908), and the First Unitarian Church (ca. 1910), all in Buffalo. Upon Edward's death in 1912 - he was a victim of the sinking of the Titanic - William Joined the New York architectural firm of Jardine, Kent & Jardine. Kent was one of the architects of the original plans for the New York Cathedral, St, John the Divine, as well as designing several of the first civic buildings in Bronxville, two Carnegie libraries, and several country houses in Westchester County and southern Connecticut. After he retired from active practice, Kent authored a biography of Baldassare Perizzi, sixteenth-century architect, and a book on the history of ornament. He lived to the age of ninety-five at his home at Orleans on Cape Cod until November 7, 1955.

Oliver T. Sherwood was the cashier of the Southport National Bank. In 1903 he was charged with defaulting on bank notes after he had illegally left town. The "Chronicle" reported on May 18, 1903: "O.T. Sherwood, A Defaulter - Southport National Bank will have to bear the Loss of Over $100,000 through the Late Cashier's Operations. Off on a train on May 12 for NY and not seen since - $150,000 shortage -" On June 22, 1903, the whereabouts of fugitive Sherwood was related to the "Chronicle": "O.T. Sherwood in Canada - A NEW YORK Business Man Says Sherwood is There - thinks charge Against Him Is Not in Extradition treaty; has no fear that the authorities will be able to find him." In I904, Sherwood's property in Southport went into receivership and was sold under the auspices of the National Bank.

This irregular L-shaped structure is two-and-a-half stories with partially exposed basement and measures 44'-6" (northwest front elevation) x 50'-6" deep.

Oliver T. Sherwood House, Southport Connecticut 1966 FIRST FLOOR PLAN, ANDREW C. MORRISON, DELINEATOR