The Land Trust House: Where Land Conservation Meets Historic Preservation!

Maybe you’ve hiked along one of our trails, enjoyed a view across a protected salt marsh, or watched an osprey soar above the acres of open space it calls home. Maybe you’ve seen our blue and green striped signs as you drive through town.

The Branford Land Trust plays an integral role in our quality of life here in Branford, and it’s crucial that we have a homebase. Since the 1970s, that homebase has been the Land Trust House, located at 26 School Street in Stony Creek. It is part of the Stony Creek Thimble Islands Historic District and comprised of two connected structures — a schoolhouse built in 1865 and a firehouse built in 1901 and expanded in the 1950s — that serve as the center of our operations for meetings and office space, as well as storage for equipment, supplies, maps, and our archives.

  • Dedicated shortly before school began in 1865, the schoolhouse had “all the modern conveniences.”
  • Perched on a Stony Creek granite foundation, many of the building’s original elements, such as the wainscoting and yellow pine floors, still exist.
  • Looking closely around the two front doors, built as separate entrances for girls and boys, you can still see what might be the carved initials of long-ago students.
  • In 1895, the schoolhouse became town hall — some residents still remember voting there into the mid-twentieth century.
  • The Stony Creek fire company was established in the newly designated town hall on School Street in 1900, shortly after a fire destroyed the Albondi Grocery Store.
  • In Stony Creek, the Live Oak Hook & Ladder Co., which later became Hook & Ladder Company No. 5, was established under the direction of Alexander Sutherland, a foreman at one of the local quarries.
  • In the 1920s, the company got its first motorized pumper, and built a second engine themselves in John Brainerd’s garage.
  • In 1953, the firehouse was expanded after the tragic Collins fire killed three and threatened to spread to much of Stony Creek.

In October 1983, the Town of Branford donated the property to the Branford Land Trust. Since then, the House has served as the BLT headquarters and is critical to the management and maintenance of more than 1,400 acres in more than 130 parcels and 30 miles of hiking trails in town.

Today, the Land Trust House is undergoing desperately-needed renovations that includes repairing structural problems, resolving an obsolete electrical system, removing hazardous materials, and replacing the failing septic system, as well as addressing the energy inefficiency of buildings that are more than a century old. The Land Trust House will emerge as a handsome marriage of historic architectural design and energy efficiency reflecting the organization’s values of environmental stewardship — Where Land Conservation Meets Historic Preservation!

The project has garnered community support from the Branford Historical Society, Branford Rotary, former Town Historian Jane Bouley, the Stony Creek Association, and the Stony Creek Museum.

Based on professional estimates, the project will cost approximately $500,000. A large portion of the funding will be provided by matching fund grants from the Connecticut State Office of Historic Preservation and the 1772 Foundation. Together, these grants will provide $210,000, leaving the Land Trust to raise $300,000.

Read more about the history of the Land Trust House below, then click SAVE THE LAND TRUST HOUSE to make a donation or mail your check noted BLT House to P.O. Box 254, Branford, CT 06405 . Your contribution — large or small — will help ensure the continued protection of Branford’s history and its natural resources. Thank you!