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Peter’s Rock History, Legends and Folklore

Arthur Button – Trees and Houses
(from North Haven Historical Society and Peter’s Rock Archives)

by Philomena Gambardella

In Southern Montowese, just beyond the junction of Middletown and Quinnipiac Avenues, stand three white houses built with wood from trees supplied from North Haven’s 14.4 acre Peter’s Rock

Mr. Albert Annunziata (1912-1998) of Middletown Avenue recalled that during the early part of this century, Arthur Button had permission from the town during the Depression to cut lumber on the Rock and around the base. The branches were given to poor people for firewood.

“A man by the name of Barone owned a saw-mill and was there helping with the cutting. Heavy trunks were cut into logs which were then taken to Peter Odean who lived on Quinnipiac Avenue near Bishop Woods who finished the lumber and readied it for building.”

Mr. Annunziata also stated, “During the summer, workers put in foundations and dry cellars; in the winter built the three cottages (#115-119-123) on Middletown Avenue. He provided work for many years for men during the Depression>”

Arthur (1862-1951) and Anson Button (1859-1939) were sons of North Haven farmer, Henry O. and Mary D. Baker Button. The single brothers, farmers who owned vast amounts of land, lived in the family homestead built in Montowese on a triangular 2 ½ acre site bounded by and running to a point at the intersection of Quinnipiac and Middletown Avenues.

On April 18, 1873, when Anson was living in Canada, assigned “to his mother, Mary D. Button, wife of Henry O. Button (d.1870): Situated in Montowese, 2 ½ acres, southerly and easterly by highway, formerly Middletown Turnpike, and westerly by highway leading to North Haven Center (Quinnipiac Avenue), together with dwelling house and all other buildings, the same triangular in shape and the same premises formerly occupied by my father as a homestead.” Volume 16, page 457: North Haven Land Records
This site, purchased in 1951 from the Estate of Arthur Button, was eventually subdivided. The house, moved to a smaller parcel at 132 Middletown Avenue, was replaced by a gas station.

In 1958, Cosmo Gambardella purchased the house, built the present brick addition, leaving the house intact. The historical structure now houses “Amber Restaurant,” purchased in 1973 by Charles DeMartino.

Joel Beach purchased 28+ acres of farmland in 1951 from the Button estate: 27.6 acres at 169-219 Middletown Avenue and 14.75 acres to the rear of the first parcel, continuing to the southern base of Peter’s Rock. This site is included in the 182 acre parcel now owned by the town of North Haven.

Note: Although this article is not dated, the property across from Peter’s Rock Park Entrance is now the Formosa Asian Fusion Restaurant and the park acreage is 220 acres. 

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