History of The Putnam House
The Putnam House Restaurant is located at 12 Depot Place in Bethel, Connecticut. The Putnam House building was built in 1852 as The Putnam House Hotel. The hotel, at the time, was owned by Frank A. Judd. Mr. Judd was a partner of J.B. & F.A Judd Hatters Co. Frank A. Judd's Office at the time was on Center Street, (which is now Greenwood Ave.) Frank was married to Sarah E. Conklin and was probably a member of the early Bethel family for whom Judd Avenue is named. The land on which the Putnam House was built belonged to Seth Seelye, the town's first selectman and prominent Bethelite whose home was donated by heirs to be used as the library.
Little is known about the hotel or its operations, but during the next century, the house changed hands several times. In 1955, it was purchased by George Shaker, local realtor, and turned into apartments until it was turned into the first of six restaurants in 1982.
The restaurant was originally called Dickson's then La Plume, Papa Gallo's, Mackenzie's Old Ale House, Monetti's and is currently The Putnam House Restaurant and Tap Room. Successfully run since 1998, the restaurant and building are currently owned by Daniel J. Mottola. The Restaurant consists of an elegant dining room, a tap room, bar, seasonal outdoor patio & 3 private dining rooms. The building also offers a high end hair salon known as Rue De Sean Salon
The building is an example of French Second Empire Victorian architecture in Bethel. The French Second Empire style was considered very modern in the 1850's, reflecting the latest fashion of construction in France. Its distinctive roof is named after 17th century French architect, Francois Mansart. The style became widely used in France during the reign of Napolean III (1852-1870), France's Second Empire. The architectural rumor mill proports that the development and popularity of this style in the mid 1800's was a response to a Paris property tax, which was levied on each story below a building's eaves. As an architectural tax dodge, a three story French Second Empire with its mansard roof would be taxed as a two-story house because its third story is situated above the eaves. Exhibitions in Paris in 1855 and 1867 helped to "export" the style to England and the United States.
Frank Judd's Hotel, (later his home) is a typical design of the French Second Empire Victorian style, which was popular in the U.S from 1850 to 1880. The prominent feature of this style is its mansard roof, which consists of a low pitched upper roof and a steeply pitched lower roof with dormer windows. The wide eaves of the roof generally have ornamental brackets. The original windows would have been the double-hung type with two long panes of glass in each sash.
The building currently houses one of Bethel's finest restaurants. An elegant Victorian dining room on one half and a warm friendly pub and tap room on the other half. The continental menu is second to none. So experience a taste of history as yesterday meets today at The Putnam House Restaurant and Tap Room.