Yale University, 38 Hillhouse Ave, New Haven, CT 06520
Harrison House, 124 Main St, Branford, CT 06405
Whitneyville Cemetery Hamden, New Haven County, Connecticut, USA
J. Frederick Kelly (June 20, 1888 – September 1, 1947) was a nationally known architect as well as an architectural historian. He was a member of the Horace Walpole Society, elected in 1935.
He was born in Lowville, NY, in 1888 to Dr. John Devin Kelly (1846-1920) and Anna M. Schraub (1859-1946) who were residents of Hamden, CT. He graduated in 1905 from New Haven High School and from Yale University in 1915 with a degree of Bachelor of Fine Arts. He held the Winchester Fellowship of Yale University, and later studied at the Ecole Special D'Architecture at Paris, France. He and his brother Henry S. Kelly ran an architecture firm Kelly & Kelly, designing many New Haven buildings including the New Haven Museum on Whitney Avenue, and the Yale School of Medicine. Alone he designed the Eaton Cenotaph on New Haven Green, and restored the historic First Congregational Church at Lebanon which was destroyed by the 1938 hurricane.
Frederick was an authority on Connecticut colonial houses and worked closely with the Colonial Dames.
He was the architect for the restoration of the Henry Whitfield House (248 Old Whitfield St., Guilford, Connecticut), the Nehemiah Royce House (538 N. Main St., Wallingford, Connecticut), and 470 Livingston Street, a Colonial Revival house which is a contributing property in the Whitney Avenue Historic District, New Haven, CT.
He was author of numerous publications including ‘Early Domestic Architecture of Connecticut’, ‘Connecticut Historic Monuments’, and ‘Early Connecticut Meeting Houses’ plus many articles on the subject.
In 1937 J. Frederick Kelly purchased the Harrison House at 124 Main Street in Branford as a renovation project. Since it was only owned by two families throughout its history and though slightly modernized, it still retained most of its original structure and features. Kelly undertook a four year restoration project, returning the house to its original form.
Frederick Kelly died in 1947 at the age of 59 and left the Harrison House to the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities (now called Historic New England). It is from this organization that the Branford Historical Society has leased the Harrison House since 1974 for one dollar per year.
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