51 Ashley Street

Status: Completed

A single-family home that had been vacant for some time when NINA acquired it, the house has now been fully restored. It sits squarely in between two other NINA homes, 47 and 55 Ashley Street, and it is the westernmost of six houses in a row built by Frederick Mahl in the 1890s.

51 Ashley Street is a brick home constructed in 1891 by Frederick Mahl, a prolific Hartford builder who constructed the five houses to the west of this one -- including 47 Ashley Street, which was previously a NINA home. All six of these homes are readily identifiable as Mahl homes by the recessed triangles on either side of the front gable windows.

The house is an excellent example of a brick Queen Anne found throughout Hartford but most especially here in the Asylum Hill neighborhood. It possesses many of the elements common to this style:

  • an asymmetrical design with prominent front-facing gable;
  • an ornate full length front porch with brackets and turned posts;
  • intricate masonry; and
  • arched brick lintels with a projecting brick course over the windows.

The house, which had been rented out for decades before NINA acquired it, had fallen into disrepair, and there had been extensive damage done to the interior. NINA restored the house to its original use as an owner-occupied single-family home. Rehabilitation work included a new roof, new kitchen, and new baths as well as new mechanical system. The front porch was rebuilt with original porch components retained or replicated.

The front garden was designed by Christine Jones, who designed the garden across the street at 48 Ashley Street as part of the 2012 Landscape Design Challenge. Christine also designed the garden next door at 55 Ashley Street.

Along with 55 Ashley Street, this house constitutes the completion of NINA's anti-blight work on this block of Ashley Street. NINA started work on this block in 2004 with the re-location of the Victorian Lady, 21 Ashley Street, and since then has rehabilitated six more homes here. 51 Ashley Street stands as testimony to the results that our targeted reinvestment strategy and strong partnerships with residents and community stakeholders can achieve -- and we are very proud that this block of Ashley Street is now considered one of the loveliest blocks in all of Hartford.

51 Ashley Street Before

51 Ashley Street Before
When we first acquired 51 Ashley Street, it showed signs of damage and neglect, but the exterior was substantially intact. The house had been in the same family for years, but it had fallen on hard times during the last decade, after it had been converted into a multi-unit rental. We're not exactly sure how many units it became, but we think there were at least three units. And we're also not exactly sure when it first became vacant, but we're fairly certain it had been unoccupied for five years.

The previous owner had a strong sentimental attachment to the house and hesitated before selling it to us. After we assured him we would restore it to its former glory, he relented -- and he was quite happy with the result.

Below are some photos of what the house looked like inside -- we've done our best to select photos that match with the interior shots above, but it was a little difficult to replicate exactly. The views inside have changed substantially because we removed false walls and other blockades that had been installed to sub-divide the house.

Project History