Sale of Bristol's historic Longfield property is finalized

Nearly two years after clearing its first hurdle, Longfield has a new owner and a new plan

By Christy Nadalin
Posted 7/30/20

The sale of Longfield, the iconic landmark property at the north end of Hope Street, closed Friday, July 24, nearly two years after a developer first presented a rehabilitation plan to the Bristol …

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Sale of Bristol's historic Longfield property is finalized

Nearly two years after clearing its first hurdle, Longfield has a new owner and a new plan

Posted

The sale of Longfield, the iconic landmark property at the north end of Hope Street, closed Friday, July 24, nearly two years after a developer first presented a rehabilitation plan to the Bristol Planning Board in September 2018. That developer, Edward Redmond, is the buyer, and Dory Skemp was the listing agent.

Built in 1848 in the American Wooden Gothic Revival style (unusual as the Gothic style is typically executed in stone), Longfield’s first owners were Charles Dana Gibson and his wife, Abby deWolf, grandparents of the notable graphic artist. Abby deWolf was the granddaughter of William deWolf who, along with his brothers, made a fortune in the slave trade during the latter half of the 18th century.

The house was designed by Russell Warren, who also designed Linden Place, the Francis M. Dimond House at 617 Hope St., and the Arcade in Providence. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, notable for both its architecture and connections to some of Bristol’s more prominent families.

Set on more than an acre at 1200 Hope St., Longfield passed through several owners since its inclusion on the National Register, and over the years deferred maintenance has spiraled into outright disrepair. At present, the 5,300-square-foot interior of the house is stripped down to the studs, although its historic architectural details have only been minimally altered over the years and the intricate woodwork remains throughout the property. Prior to 2018, it languished on the market for three years, its asking price coming down to $499,000 during that time. It finally sold for $400,000 on Friday.

Mr. Redmond initially proposed developing the property while restoring the historic house, and with the exception of a reduction in units by two, that plan remains essentially intact. The project will provide a total of 10 dwelling units, with two in the existing house and eight more in new structures set off a new one-way street along the east and south boundaries of the property.

The proposed plan was designed by local architect John Lusk, whose portfolio includes notable historic preservation of structures including Seven Oaks and the Linden Place Barn, which was renovated to house the Bristol Art Museum. Mr. Lusk’s design seeks to maintain the integrity and setting of Longfield, and add gardens and exterior lighting that will highlight the property.

The project is in conformance with the Secretary of the Interior’s standard for historic preservation, and the new structures have been designed to be contextual with the historic house while being lower in height and smaller in volume, as though they are the original carriage house(s) for the estate.

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