History, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.
Lois Werner of the Brookfield Historical Society considered the yellow, two-story house at 7027 Warren Sharon Road that was built in 1871 to be historic. But, Dustin Ghizzoni, son of owners Jim and Darlene Ghizzoni, considered it just an old house.
It’s a moot point now that the house has been torn down.
“It was past the point of repair,” Dustin Ghizzoni said.
In a twist of irony, the house was torn down just following Jim Ghizzoni’s death on May 28. Dustin Ghizzoni said the demolition had been planned for some time and there was no significance to the coincidence.
The house was built by Henry Hamilton, who was born in Ireland in 1829, and moved to Brookfield 20 years later, said Werner, referring to an entry in the 1874 Trumbull County atlas.
“A doctor built the house,” Ghizzoni said. “I guess it was referred to as the house on the hill.”
The hill, which runs between Bedford Road and Brookfield Center, was known as “Hamilton Hill,” according to Joe Tarkanick in “The Brookfield That Was Part II.”
Werner said she believes the title of “doctor” was ceremonial, associated with him being an undertaker. Hamilton also was listed as a furniture maker and a coal man in the atlas, she said.
“There’s nothing I can find that proves he was a doctor,” Werner said.
Hamilton married Sarah Fitch in 1854 and they had five children. He was a charter member of the Disciple Church, which was built in 1876 in Brookfield Center and is now Brookfield Christian Church.
Ghizzoni said there is a story that the house was part of the Underground Railroad, the network that moved escaped slaves to freedom in Canada, but he has been unable to confirm it.
Werner remembers being in the house as a girl in the 1950s, when the Chantrey family lived there.
“It wasn’t really great then,” she said of its condition.
The Chantreys were the last family to live in the house, Ghizzoni said. His father bought it in 1994, he said.
“Originally, the plan was he was gonna restore the house and live there,” Dustin Ghizzoni said.
However, when estimates to restore the building came back at $150,000 to $250,000, plans changed, Ghizzoni said.
The restoration price tag plus the fact that the house sat so close to Warren Sharon Road led Jim Ghizzoni to conclude the house had little residential value. With Valley View Department Store still operating, Ghizzoni hoped the property would have commercial value.
“It never materialized,” Dustin Ghizzoni said.
The house was “zero sentimental value” to the Ghizzoni family, and it’s value to architectural salvagers was limited.
“Most of it was just garbage,” Ghizzoni said.
Some “pickers” invited by Ghizzoni to look the place over took only the chimneys, and Ghizzoni said he was saving some of the beams.
“I might build some furniture out of them,” he said. “My wife and I are going to restore an old farmhouse in town.”
DSL Excavating of Brookfield knocked down the house.
It’s disappointing when an old place such as this is razed, Werner said, but not surprising.
“That’s the problem with these old houses,” she said. “It takes a lot to keep them up.”
The photo of the house prior to demolition is courtesy of Trumbull County Auditor’s Office.