J. Frederick Kelly


J. Frederick Kelly

J. Frederick Kelly was a nationally known architect as well as an architectural historian. He was born in Lowville, NY 1888 to Dr. John D. and Anna Kelly who were residents of Hamden, CT. A graduate of Yale University in 1915, 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. 

t t to 2016Frederick 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 in Guilford, CT and the Nehemiah Royce House in Wallingford, 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 leased the Harrison House from 1974 to 2016, for one dollar per year. We were responsible for all maintenance on the property – the yard, building, and all mechanicals. In 2016, the Branford Historical Society purchased the house from Historic New England and continues to maintain and preserve it as an important landmark in our town.