Historic Buildings of Bristol: Laurel Crest Academy

Historic Buildings of Connecticut

Copper Ledges is a Colonial Revival mansion in Bristol built in 1924 for Fuller F. Barnes (1887-1955). Barnes expanded the business started in 1857 by his grandfather, Wallace Barnes, who manufactured springs for clocks.

Barnes and his brother, Henry, developed the company into the Associated Spring Corporation, which was organized in 1923 with Fuller Barnes as president. Associated Spring, part of the Barnes Group, would become the largest manufacturer of springs in the world.

The mansion stands on a prominent knoll at 60 Founders Drive, just southeast of the intersection of Stearns and Bradley Streets. Designed by local architect Henry Hayden, it was named Copper Ledges because the area is rich in copper.

Extending to the south of the house are long formal gardens that end at a swimming pool and a dramatic loggia, erected in 1926. When it was constructed, the mansion was part of a 14-acre estate, which Barnes acquired in 1920. The Barnes family compound included the home of Fuller’s brother Henry Barnes, known as Chimney Crest, and various outbuildings.

The estate has since been subdivided. Before he died, Fuller Barnes donated the house to Bristol Hospital, with the plan that it be made a convalescent home.

The idea proved unworkable and the two Barnes houses instead became home to Laurel Crest Academy (later Laurel Crest Preparatory School), a private boys’ school, from 1960 to 1970. A girl’s school was added in 1970 and the name was changed to Devonshire-Laurel Crest, but the school closed in 1971. Copper Ledges is now a private residence.

The rear of the house, facing Bradley Street.

Photo (c) Historic Buildings of Connecticut

 

Content courtesy of Historic Buildings of Connecticut 

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