239 Salmon Brook Street
This house was probably built in 1814 for Isaac Phelps, a prosperous farmer, and property owner. He married Rhoda Bancroft in Granville, MA in 1798 and they raised five children in this elegant house.
A Bit More:
The house and land, extending to the top of the ridge next to the current town hall, changed hands many times. Eventually (approximately 1859) it was sold to Lura (Hayes) Dibble, wife of Calvin Benjamin Dibble. Calvin was a merchant dealing in wool, butter, and southern produce. His firm was called Dibble, Worth and Co. Southern Produce of New York City. They came to Granby in the summer. He loved Malaga grapes and had an enclosed greenhouse.
Their daughter, Laura, married Jonathan Brace Bunce and she inherited the house in 1883. They lived in Hartford but summered in Granby. Each summer they would move their furniture on a wagon over Terry’s Plain Pass from Bloomfield to Simsbury and then Granby. After the death of Laura (Dibble) Bunce, her six children built the Granby Public Library in 1918 in her memory.
The next owner (1917) was their youngest child Helen Brace Bunce, by then married to Stanley Wells Edwards. They would also summer in Granby, staying until “Golden Sunday”. This was the Sunday on which all of the leaves on the maple tree in the front yard had turned gold.
Helen and Stanley’s daughter, Mary Wells Edwards, inherited the house. Mary graduated from Vassar and the Rhode Island School of Design and was a professional landscape architect. She worked on the gardens at the Mark Twain House, was part of the Sow and Reap Club at South Church, and donated the magnificent Mary Edwards Preserve on Mountain Road to the Granby Land Trust.
In 1975 Mary Wells Edwards sold her homes in Hartford and Granby and retired to Duncaster in Bloomfield. She donated most of the furniture now in the Abijah Rowe house and the wonderful dollhouse in the toy room.
The house was then sold in 1975 to Hugh and Surrey Hardcastle. The next owners in 1996 were Kevin and Belma Marshall who turned the house into the Dutch Iris Inn. In 2007 the Inn was sold to Bill and Nancy Ross.
Fireplace From The Bunce House
So many things at the SBHS are from the Bunce collection, including all these:
Items From The SBHS
Revolutionary War Camp Stove, From The Bunce Collection
Laura (Dibble) Bunce
Helen Wells Edwards &
In the early 1700’s, even before this house was built, the property was extensive and included one of the first houses built on Salmon Brook Street. The first owners were probably Paul and Abigail Tompkins, followed by Benjamin Dibble who lived to be 85. Dibble was married four times, each time to a younger woman, and is said to have fathered a child at the age of 75.
The census of 1860 lists, as part of the household, an eight-year-old black girl named Alla Rive. In 1870, 18-year-old Alvania Rive was still living with the family. The Civil War was 1861-1865; the emancipation proclamation freeing slaves was in 1863.
Laura (Dibble) Bunce was a collector of antique furniture. She went around in a horse-drawn wagon buying and collecting; records show she spent fifty cents for a grandfather clock. She accumulated so much that she had the top story of the house raised to store her treasures.