Built about 1700 on the old Boston Post Road, Darien’s Pond-Weed House is a classic Connecticut saltbox with a large stone central chimney and sloping rear lean-to roof-line. It is considered the oldest house still standing in Darien.
In 1692 Nathaniel Pond who was listed as a “Blacksmith of Branford” bought the land on which the Pond-Weed house is located near the ford and former sloop landing on the Noroton River. Settlements began in Darien in about 1700 when the first roads were “Cut in the woods.”
The Noroton Cove settlement that eventually became Darien included a sawmill built by a dam on the Noroton River, a small shipyard on the shore of Holly Pond – and Nathaniel Pond was the blacksmith. By 1703 a school district was established.
Soon after the Pond-Weed House’s initial structure was built, several additions were made to the central framing resulting in a two story home, T-shaped floor plan and lean-to saltbox roof-line. Nathaniel Pond sold the property to Nathaniel Weed in 1716 “With dwelling house and barn.” It remained in the Weed family for 210 years.
The Pond-Weed House’s notable features include the massive stone chimney, exterior walls of shingles with semi-circular butts, a first period exterior door, exposed framing, paneling and much early hardware still remaining.
In addition to its historic architectural importance and its connection with Darien’s leading families, the building also served as a tavern in the 18th century when it was known as the “House Under the Hill” or “Half-Way House” due to its position half-way between Norwalk and Stamford.
In the late 1730s severe winter storms resulted in the deaths of several people traveling from Darien to church in Stamford. As the first generation of Darien settlers were aging they proposed creating a newer, closer parish to reduce the difficulty getting to church on Sunday.
In 1744 this lead to the hiring of the Rev. Moses Mather – still in his mid-20s – who spent his entire 64-year career at this parish post until his death in 1806. Moses Mather became one of the most outspoken proponents from the pulpit of American Independence during the Revolutionary War.
The town was primarily dominated by Patriots during the Revolution with the community’s Tories fleeing to Long Island, but conducting raids on the community throughout the war. The plaque in front of the Darien City Hall tells the story of how, “Tories disrupted services at the meetinghouse on July 22, 1781, capturing Dr. Mather and forty-seven other men, and transported them across the Sound. Dr. Mather with twenty-six of his parishioners suffered five months in the foul British prisons in New York City before those who survived their confinement were exchanged and returned to their homes.”
It has long been said of the Pond-Weed House when it was operating as the Half-Way House Tavern that “George Washington stopped here” on the march south from Boston to New York during the American Revolution.
Today the Pond-Weed House is a private residence located …