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15 Richmond Road

     The John O’Blenis House, c. 1927      

The property upon which both 15 and 19 Richmond Road were built was part of a large tract of land comprised of about four acres that had belonged to William and Josephine Craw who lived at the top of the hill behind Richmond Road. In its heyday, the Craws’ house was surrounded by an apple orchard that ran all the way down to Roton and Rowayton Avenues and to Crockett Street on the northern side. 

In 1922, Mrs. Craw hired architects at Samuel W. Hoyt, Jr. Company[1] to draw up plans to develop some of her property, including the creation of two new roads, Drum and Richmond. After Mrs. Craw’s death in 1926, the Craws' niece Jenny sold the house and property, four acres of which were purchased to build new homes, most of which were built from Sears Roebuck kits including this one, sold to John O’Blenis.

John O’Blenis was born, raised, and married in New Jersey, working as a shoe dealer, broker’s clerk, bookkeeper, publishing house clerk, and cashier. He married Ann Amelia Montrose, also a New Jersey native, in 1870, and the couple raised five children in Westfield. Ann died in 1914, and John lived with his oldest daughter Lillie after Ann’s death. John and his family members spent summers in Rowayton, either renting rooms or staying at a hotel. In 1927, the widowed John and his children and grandchildren purchased the house at 15 Richmond Road. John was only able to enjoy two summers at the house, as he died in July of 1929 in Rowayton. His children and grandchildren continued summering at the house until 1959 when they sold the property to Hans R. & Juliana P. Schneider.

 

[1] Mr. Hoyt was also involved in laying out 6 Vincent Place and the development of Covewood Drive.

The Vallonia.jpg
John O'Blenis Shoe copy.jp2
15 Richmond Lettie O'Blenis  copy.jp2

John's daughter
Lillie O'Blenis Webster

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