Peyton Randolph Bishop House
The Peyton Randolph Bishop House, built in 1839, is a historic house in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The house is a Greek Revival-style house with three stories, brick exterior and a one-story front porch. Over time, the has has been renovated and many Victorian features were added.
Historically, the house is important because it is one of the few Greek Revival single-family residences that remain in Bridgeport’s downtown area. Later homes in the area were beginning to build in Gothic Revival and Italianate styles.
The house was built in the Golden Hill area which stands at an elevation of 80 feet above sea level with amazing views of the city of Bridgeport and Long Island Sound. Many of the well-to-do people in town were wealthy people who were able to build high-style homes. The owners of the Peyton R. Bishop house were properous and many of the home’s renovations were done to enhance their social standing.
In 1864, the home was purchased by Philo Hurd Skidmore who was the owner of the Pacific Iron Works in Bridgeport. Most likely, because of his business connections, he felt pressure to make his home larger and more modern. For this reason, a third story was eventually created along with a rear addition with a mansard roof and classical detailing that reflected the Second Empire style.
Then, in 1884, the home’s ownership was transferred to Philo’s son, Philo, Jr. After he succeeded his father as owner of the Iron Works, Philo, Jr. added a transitional Queen Anne-Colonial Revivalist-style front porch, a Queen Anne-style mahogany living room mantle and other details.
By the 1920s, many of the Golden Hill mansions were being razed to make room for new apartment buildings to house the increasing immigrant labor population. The residents of many of these large, fashionable homes moved away and the Peyton R. Bishop House became a rooming house.
The floor plan of the house is typical of many Greek Revival houses with a side stair hall on the west with the living areas on the east and the back. The layout of the stair hall and the formal rooms have stayed substantially the same over the years. The third floor has been altered from its original configuration. Most of the functional and decorative woodwork that was original to the house still remains including mantelpieces, eight-panel doors, the stairway, casings, cornice moldings and baseboard.
The entry hall has a curved Greek Revival staircase with a mahogany handrail. The floors of the formal rooms on the first floor and the stair hall are quartered oak that is laid in a diagonal pattern. The front parlor has lower tripartite bay windows, a coved ceiling and an oval ceiling medallion.
On the second floor, the rooms are simpler versions of the Greek Revival and Victorian styles and there is an original mantelpiece in one of the bedrooms. In 1985, the third floor was completed gutted. There were no significant architectural details on this level.
With a recent rehab, the property is now almost exactly like it was in 1916 with many architectural details and features preserved.