Norwich, CT Hotel Fire, Dec 1883



NORWICH, Conn., Dec. 23--The oldest house in Windham County, a large wood colored edifice of the "lean to" period, which greatly antedated the revolution, having been built in 1710, has been burned in Thompson the past week. It was famous old inn christened as the "Brase Bull," and bore over the front door a miniature bull of old-fashioned hammered brass, which was also swallowed up in the flames. In the days of the then great New York, Hartford and Boston turnpike it was a changing station for the stage horses, and when the stage route vanished at the approach of the railroads it feebly held its own as a Summer resort. It had little diamond window-panes, wide fireplaces, and outer doors cut in halves, after the original New England style, which suffered the lower part of the door to be used as a breast-work against the onslaught of Indians. From its situation, on the apex of Washington Heights, a charming bird's-eye view in the different States of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and even across Connecticut to the blue line made on the southern horizon by Long Island, in New York State, was to be gained.

The most famous of local traditions have sprung from this old house. It was cut up in all sorts and numbers of odd shaped rooms, and the fire on the kitchen hearth had burned for more than 100 years. In fact this was the source of the old building's ruin for the continual heating of the stone work in the great chimney charred the oaken floor timber above, until finally the flames burst out and consumed the structure. For 152 years it was used as a hostelry, and it was the occasion of Gen. Washington's sojourn at the "Brase Bull," that led its courtly proprietor to dub the hill whereon it stood Washington Heights.

The New York Times, New York, NY 24 Dec 1883