ClickOn December 13th, the Derby Historical Society donated a preservation easement on the John I. Howe house to the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation. The house was built in 1844 by Dr. John I. Howe (1793-1876), who invented and perfected an automated pin-making machine and organized the Howe Manufacturing Company. With Howe’s machinery and processes, American pin makers were able to outstrip their English competitors.
Architecturally, the house is an exceptionally well-constructed masonry residence, built of granite by a local stonemason, Lucius Hubbell. With its solid walls, unusual cruciform plan, and finely detailed porches, the house stands out among the buildings on Caroline Street in downtown Derby. The house is individually listed on the National Register.
The Derby Historical Society bought the Howe house in the 1980s and now is preparing to sell it. The expectation is that the house will be renovated for multi-family occupancy, in keeping with the character of the surrounding neighborhood. Thanks to the easement, the Connecticut Trust will be able to guide the renovation. Under the terms of the preservation easement, a private legal agreement which will run with the property, the society and all future owners must keep the building in good repair and must obtain permission from the Trust before making any exterior alterations, which must preserve the significant historic and architectural features of the structure.