Fair Haven Heights, or
simply the Heights, is a residential and light
industrial neighborhood in the
eastern part of the city of New
Haven, Connecticut, located east of the Quinnipiac River. Fair Haven Heights is
not to be confused with the adjacent Fair
Haven neighborhood west of the river. The area is bordered
on the west by the Quinnipiac River, on the north by Route 80, on the east by the town of
Haven, and on the south by Ferry Street and Warwich
The main through routes are Quinnipiac Avenue, East
Grand Avenue, and Eastern Street
It was founded in the 18th century as a fishing and oystering
village called Dragon. Dragon was initially located at the point
where the present day Ferry Street Bridge crosses the Quinnipiac
River. Early Native American
settlements existed in the same location. According to some, the
name Dragon originated with stories told by suitors of seals (sea
dragons) that would sun themselves on this sandy point of land.
According to others, it was called Dragon by the early white
settlers because the Native American word for those harbor seals
sounded like "dragon" to their ear.
From the time of the Quinnipiac (in their language,
“long-water-land”) Indians, the oyster
not only an available food source but a major industry of the
community, which was to influence the prosperity of the
neighborhood during the nineteenth century.
time came to include the eastern side of the river that belonged to
Haven, and came to be known as the Heights (because the
bulk of that area is set on a huge, heavily wooded hill).
Together both the neighborhood across the River (called Neck at the
time) and Dragon became Fair Haven in the nineteenth century
(1824). In 1870 the Neck became part of New Haven. It was not until
1881 that the Heights incorporated with New Haven, after an
affiliation with the town of East Haven.
Today, it is a demographically mixed neighborhood. There are luxury
along the Quinnipiac,
modest small homes along Grand Avenue, and public housing projects
at the summit of the hill. Similarly, the
ethnic breakdown of residents ranges from Italian-American to
Puerto Rican to African-American to white.
There are two large, colonial-era churches on Grand Avenue between
Lenox and Quinnipiac. One is Episcopalian
and predominantly caters to Fair Haven's Hispanic population, and
the other is Presbyterian
. In addition,
the New Haven Religious
Society of Friends
relocated their Quaker Meeting House
to Grand Avenue in
There are still many factories and shipping businesses along the
Its current Alderman
Originally, the Heights was generally fields and woods. In the 18th
and 19th centuries, this area saw the construction of many homes in
the Victorian Gothic
Spacious homes were built by successful businessmen high above the
river on streets known as East Grand Avenue, Clifton Street,
Sherland Avenue, Lenox Street and Quinnipiac Avenue.
James F. Babcock
, a lawyer and publisher of the New
Haven Palladium built a large Victorian Gothic home on of land
between East Grand Avenue and Clifton Street. The present day
address is 89 Sherland Avenue. A few years later the house, two
barns and a carriage house were sold. The Babcock home was altered
and two more homes were built. Arched woodwork decorates the eaves
and high gables. On the southern part of what was the Babcock
estate at 154 East Grand Avenue can be found the Victorian Gothic
home of the Moody family. Lucius Moody was a successful insurance
agent. his wife, Dr. Mary Blair Moody was the first woman physician
in the area. Sharp gables, porches and bays, and decorative
woodwork complete this example of wooden Victorian Gothic. Two
Victorian Gothic cottages remain at 106 and 112 Sherland
The Charles Ives home originally was built on Clifton Street on
land that is now Fairmont Park. The Ives redstone walls and gates
remain. Charles Ives , a lawyer, not to be confused with the
composer, Charles Edward Ives
was a member of the Connecticut General Assembly
and Speaker of the House in the mid-1800’s. The Ives’ Victorian
Gothic home was designed by Rufus Russell. In the early 1920’s the
Ives’ property was purchased by the City of New Haven to become
Fairmont Park. The Ives’ home was moved across the street, and made
into two two-family homes. (151-153 and 159-161 Clifton Street).
Further down Clifton Street at 80 and 84 stand two Greek Revival
homes on high cellars.
The Henry Lancraft house was built on Lenox Street in the Victorian
Gothic style. The Lancraft brothers were builders and oystermen in
the late nineteenth century. A redstone wall remains on the
property with an entrance at 120 Lexington Avenue.
Coming down the hill to 61 East Grand Avenue one finds the
Foote-Chamberlain house. Built in the 1830’s in the Italian Villa
style it sits above a stone wall
topped by an iron fence. In the late 1800’s the house was renovated
with the addition of a veranda, two ells, a balustraded roof and
All along Quinnipiac Avenue one can find homes that were built by
families in the oyster business, banking and provisions. The Barnes
Victorian Gothic home can be found at 1212 Quinnipiac Avenue. Henry
Barnes and his neighbor Horace H. Strong along with Franklin H.
Hart were wholesale dealers in meat, seafood and vegetables. At 965
Quinnipiac Avenue stands a home built by Willet Hemingway.
Descendants of the family continued to live in the home for years
after it was built in the late 1840’s. At the turn of the century
changes were made in the house that altered it to the Victorian
Carpenter Gothic style. In the 2002 the now 3 family home was
purchased by Doug and Cheri Forbush who continue to occupy and
maintain it. The bright pink house, located at the corner of
Hemingway Street and Quinnipiac Avenue, serves as a useful landmark
while driving or walking through this historic neighborhood.
List of streets
- 1st Ave.
- Aner St.
- Clifton St.
- East Grand Ave.
- Eastern Cir.
- Eastern St.
- Eldridge St.
- Essex St.
- Foxon Blvd./Foxon Rd.
- Hemmingway St.
- Highview Ln.
- Howard St.
- Hulse St.
- Judith Ter.
- Kingswood Dr.
- Lelia St.
- Lenox St.
- Lexington Ave./Lexington Ter.
- Marie St.
- Mountain Top Ln.
- Oxford St.
- Pequot St.
- Quinnipiac Ave.
- Revere Ct./Revere St.
- Rock Hill Rd.
- Rosewood Ave.
- Runo Ter.
- Russell St.
- Russo Ave.
- Sherland Ave.
- Skyview Ln.
- Summit St.
- Welcome St.
- Woodhill Rd.
- P. K. Flynn, A View of the River: Cellars, Columns