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    Real Estate
    Thursday, June 13, 2024

    Antique Captain’s House in Mystic

    The five-bedroom home is in a quiet neighborhood, within walking distance to historic downtown
    2 West Mystic Avenue, Mystic, is offered to the market for $1.95 million. The property is listed by Susan Malan, associate broker with William Pitt Sotheby’s in Essex. Photo: Forefront Media Productions

    By Gretchen A. Peck

    Associate Broker Susan Malan—who is affiliated with William Pitt Sotheby’s Essex brokerage—introduced 2 West Mystic Avenue to the market this month. It’s a five-bedroom antique that perfectly balances period character with modern comforts. The asking price is $1.95 million.

    Patricia Selby and her husband, Michael, acquired the property a few years ago. They’ve circumnavigated the country—over time, moving from Oregon to Palm Springs, California; from Foxborough, Massachusetts, to Mystic, Connecticut, living in homes with character and a story to tell.

    Their Mystic home is historically significant and recognized by the Mystic River Historical Society. A plaque on the front exterior of the house honors the man who had the house constructed for his family back in 1835—Captain Nathan Gallup Fish.

    The antique home was built in 1835 by Captain Nathan G. Fish, who was both a commander of sailing vessels running out of Mystic’s seaport and a shipbuilder. Photo: Forefront Media Productions

    Capt. Fish (1804-1870) not only commanded a number of schooners, sloops and brigs, he was also a partner in a Mystic-based shipbuilding company. The Mystic Seaport Museum retains 31 manuscripts written by Fish, including his diaries.

    “N.G. Fish was an exemplary citizen of Mystic. Deeply religious, he was devoted to the Union Baptist Church, where he served as a deacon and trustee for many years. He was a director and later president of the Mystic River Bank. Active in local politics, Fish served several terms in the state legislature as representative and then senator from Groton,” according to MysticSeaport.org.

    His West Mystic Avenue home was passed down to Capt. Robert Palmer Wilbur (1839-1913), who married Fish’s daughter, Phebe Miner Fish. He, too, was a seafaring man, who served as a private during the Civil War and as a deacon for the Union Baptist Church. The couple had six children.

    During their tenure at 2 W. Mystic Avenue, the current owners learned other fascinating details about the property. “Through a social media group, I met a woman who was the granddaughter of a woman who lived here, and she told me her grandmother used to run a tea room out of the front room we now refer to as the library,” Selby said.

    The home’s kitchen has beautiful limestone countertops, high-end appliances, a butler’s pantry and a sitting room with a fireplace. Photo: Forefront Media Productions

    In the original part of the Greek Revival-style house, there’s a main staircase with a small closet tucked under the steps. It’s got built-in cabinets, where the owners have kept documents related to the house’s history and evolution.

    “If you look at the floor plan, the part with the front door, foyer, living room and library is completely original, including the staircase, the floors, the front door—which has an original lock that had a key bigger than my hand—and the two fireplaces, with marble surrounds are all original,” the owner said.

    The house was expanded over time. Today, it affords 3,517 square feet and two levels of living space. The first floor comprises formal living and dining rooms, a library, eat-in kitchen, home office, a bathroom and laundry.

    “The counters are limestone,” the owner described the kitchen. “You don’t often see those in houses, and they do require a little more care and maintenance, but anybody who has had granite [countertops] already knows how to take care of them.”

    “We have under-cabinet lighting throughout, so it’s really nice in the evenings, because you don’t have to have glaring lights above. And we have built-in Sonos speakers. So, you can be in the kitchen with the fireplace on, listening to music,” she said.

    The formal dining room at 2 W. Mystic Avenue, has striking hardwood floors in a harlequin pattern. Photo: Forefront Media Productions

    The kitchen is complemented by a butler’s pantry and a mudroom with a Dutch door. The butler’s pantry is handy for storage of larger pots and pans. It comes in handy when entertaining in the home because dirty dishes and glassware can be offloaded to the pantry, keeping the kitchen mess-free.

    One of five bedrooms, the primary suite is on the main level. The remaining four bedrooms and a full bath are on the second floor.

    The sellers haven’t had to repair or renovate much of the home, but they did make a few improvements. For example, they made repairs to the built-in outdoor grill and to the Sub-Zero refrigerator and freezer. They also added interior wooden shutters to the west side of the house, which helps keep it cool when summer temperatures soar.

    To add greater energy efficiency and comfort to the home, the owners installed internal storm windows, which don’t affect how the original windows appear on the exterior.

    A replica barn was added to the property by a previous owner. It has two bays for vehicles, a storage loft, and workshop space. Photo: Forefront Media Productions

    “Old houses like this had fire breaks between rooms,” Selby explained. “So, between the living room and the dining room, each door closes off with what feels like a little closet in between. The same is true for the two primary bedrooms upstairs. And besides being a fire deterrent, they were also used for heating the house, because you could close off rooms you weren’t using, and there would be that ‘cushion’ between the room you were heating and the room you weren’t.”

    Today, to heat and cool the house relies on old and new technologies. The original radiators have been retained, and central air conditioning was added by a former owner. The previous owner also installed a detached, heated garage—a replica barn with two-and-a-half bays and a loft for storage.

    Part of the original 1835-period home, the library/family room sits just inside the main entrance, to the left of the foyer. At one point, a previous owner operated a tea room out of the interior space. Photo: Forefront Media Productions

    For outdoor living and dining, there’s the covered front porch and a bluestone terrace. A master gardener, Selby was enchanted by the terraced yard and some of the plantings put in by a prior owner, who ran a local nursery. In particular, she noted the Franklinia, a nearly-extinct flowering tree, native to Georgia and named after Benjamin Franklin.

    “They’re beautiful and bloom in August. The blooms look like a fried egg. I absolutely loved them,” Selby said.

    The property is a quiet neighborhood, yet within walking distance of the famous Mystic drawbridge, the library, shops and restaurants. “We’re two hours from New York and two hours from Boston, and we’ve got a train station here,” the owner noted.

    “It makes for a great family home, but it’s also nice for people who may be retired and have friends and family come to stay,” she concluded.

    2 West Mystic Avenue, Mystic, Connecticut, is in a quiet near-water historic neighborhood, without walking distance of historic downtown. Photo: Forefront Media Productions

    Property: 2 W. Mystic Ave., Mystic

    Bedrooms: 5

    Baths: 4

    Square Footage: 3,517

    Acreage: 0.59

    Asking Price: $1.95 million

    Listing Agent: Susan A. Malan, Broker Associate, William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty, Essex brokerage; Mobile: (617) 645-4392; smalan@wpsir.com

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