Trumbull house goes from simple cottage to lakefront gem
TRUMBULL — The laundry room of 156 Old Dike Road has an exquisite view of Pinewood Lake, with a glossy expanse of water clearly visible from the window above the sink.
It’s extravagant view for room dedicated to soaking delicates and sorting items by color — until you realize that this laundry room used to be the home’s kitchen, more than half a century ago. The house, now a 3,297-square-foot ranch with a full basement (of which that laundry room is a part) was once roughly half its current size.
“It was just a little lodge for the guy (who owned it) to come fishing,” said the property’s listing agent, Mark Markelz. Though town records say the house was built in 1961, Markelz said it was built a bit before then. In 1993, extra space was added to make it the house it is today.
But the “new” house has something in common with its former self — they both offer pretty amazing views of Pinewood Lake. The house has roughly 230 feet of direct lake frontage, meaning the water can be glimpsed from nearly every room.
The lake itself has a fairly deep history. According to the Pinewood Lake Association website, before Trumbull was settled, what is now the Pinewood area was home a Paugussett Indian named Mischa, who lived near a lake that settlers later called Old Farm Pond. The pond was about 1,150 feet long. Between 1836 and 1840, about 100 acres, including the pond, where purchase by the Pequonnock Manufacturing Company and Diantha Bunnell.
The property was transferred several times over the years, and the lake grew about 3,600 feet in length, with the addition of a dam for the upper pond. Sometime in the 1930s, the body of water was bought by Benjamin Plotkin, who developed it as a resort for guests, and renamed it Pinebrook Lake.
The resort — called Pinebrook Country Club — soon became the summer rehearsal headquarters of The Group Theatre, made of various actors, directors, playwrights and producers. Those said to have spent the summer at Pinebrook included Carol Channing, who just died this week, along with Lena Horne, Elia Kazan and many others.
Eventually, the bank was appointed as a trustee of the property. It was the bank that changed the lake’s name to Pinewood Lake and created the Pinewood Lake Association.
At one time, Markelz said, many of the houses around the lake were used as summer residences. Having a small house for part-time use as a fishing cottage, like the Old Dike Road house, wasn’t unheard of. But this house was built up into a bit of an anomaly, Markelz said.
“(A ranch) is a unique style out here on the lake,” he said.
The property has other fun quirks as well, including a full workshop underneath its two-car garage. The home has three bedrooms, three full bathrooms, and is listed at $650,000.
Markelz said its history, unusual design and water views make the house something special.
“It’s just really cool,” he said.
Do you know of a house or apartment building with an interesting story? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org, and the home could be featured in an upcoming installment of Habitat.