Nehemiah Brainerd House B&B

Haddam, Connecticut

About The Inn

About the Inn

Colonists, Deacons, Quarrymen, Novelists, and HGTV

History

The Brainerds were a prominent family in Haddam during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Nehemiah Brainerd (1742-1807) built this house of post and beam construction about 1765. He was the great-grandson of Daniel Brainerd, an original settler, and the nephew of the missionaries John and David Brainerd. In 1740 his father Nehemiah married Elizabeth Fisk, the daughter of Haddam’s minister Phineas Fisk. Nehemiah Sr., a Glastonbury, Connecticut preacher, died two years later and his widow returned to Haddam with her infant son, Nehemiah, Jr. Young Nehemiah probably built this house soon after his marriage to Sarah Brainerd on land his mother had received as part of her dowry from her father. He graduated from Yale University in 1763 and served as justice of the peace, town clerk, town treasurer, and deacon of the Congregational Church. His sons Nehemiah and John were very successful and ran a granite quarry business which is still in use today. After their father’s death in 1807, they deeded the house to their sisters, Jemima and Lydia. Jemima sold the house in 1847 to her nephew David B. Ventres. The property left the Brainerd family after his death.
 
Katharine Ingham Brush (1901-1952) purchased the house, added two wings to the structure, and moved it to its present site in the midst of the depression in 1932. Ms. Brush, according to her obituary in Time Magazine on June 23, 1952 was a "glamor-girl best selling novelist….. of the post-World War I speakeasy era……A Boston movie critic at 17, she was twice married, twice divorced. In the early ‘30’s she moved into a flossy, Joseph Urban-designed Manhattan duplex apartment and settled down at a 15-ft semicircular desk."

Several of her novels were picked up by Hollywood and made into movies starring the likes of Spencer Tracy and Jean Harlow. We have a collection of her books and movies, and several photographs of her and her apartment in New York designed by the famed Ziegfeld Follies set designer, Joseph Urban. By the way, her autobiography mentions the simultaneous renovations of both this house and her New York City apartment in 1932.
 
HGTV
In 2006 the house was featured on the HGTV program "If Walls Could Talk." The show ran for a couple of years, but if you missed that episode, we have a copy you can view when you visit.

2016 Governor's Tourism Volunteers of the Year Award Winners!

Innkeepers Maryan and Jeff Muthersbaugh

We bought the main house on September 13, 2002 and undertook a top to bottom restoration. In 2008 we restored and enlarged the Laurel Cottage guest house and in 2015 we completed construction on the spacious Carriage House. Jeff is former Chairman and currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, is Vice President of the Connecticut Lodging Association, and is President of the Connecticut B&B Association. He is also Vice Chairman of Connecticut's Central Region Tourism District. Maryan serves on various tourism boards and commissions.  We both have an interest in history, and architecture.  Please come visit us and enjoy the incredible beauty and history of this part of the lower Connecticut River Valley.