I have before me Sotheby’s Preview for October 2002. This was a kind of Reader’s Digest Condensed What to Buy for the very rich and very busy. In it you will find photos of glittering jewels, Louis XIV furniture, and rare Chinese porcelains, as well as articles written in a confidential, insider’s voice, with all the depth of an in-flight magazine. Sandwiched between an extraordinary figure of Buddha and a portrait of James Tissot’s consumptive mistress, we find a listing for “The Rocks,” a property built by architect Ehrick Kensett Rossiter as a summer home for his family in Washington, Connecticut.
The article mentions that Rossiter purchased a “six-acre, boulder-strewn property” in 1882 and that the Shingle-Style house was completed in 1889. The author goes on to say that Rossiter sold The Rocks in 1919 and purchased a house nearby called Standish House, which he had built for Ruth Standish Baldwin in 1910. He renamed the house “Edgewood,” and it became his family’s principal residence.
While all of this is no doubt fraught with interest to architectural historians, I can hear the rest of you yawning. But give me a sec…. The author then tosses in a completely throwaway line: “Still, Rossiter managed to bring a fanciful touch to the otherwise sober Edgewood when he installed a ‘garden ornament’ that was in fact a massive meteorite that had landed on the grounds of The Rocks. Judging from the size of this curiosity, it’s doubtful that any of the house’s subsequent owners have ever attempted to move it!”
Yes, that woke me up too. There are just a couple of massive objections. Meteorites don’t land “on the grounds” of anywhere. They bury. (Or brain innocent and mythical sheep-herders.) And a stone so big that nobody has attempted to move it would probably have taken out the entire town or perhaps the entire state. That would, indeed, be a “curiosity.”
Realistically, it is more than likely that it was one of those earthly boulders strewn across the property. With great generosity and foresight, to keep out lumber companies and preserve the natural beauties of the area, Rossiter bought up unspoiled acreage around his property and founded the Steep Rock Land Trust in 1925. Examining their website, it is apparent that the land is, in fact, steep and rocky. With so many rocks, how did one particular rock enter into local folklore as a “massive meteorite?”
Maddeningly, I cannot find more than a thumbnail photograph of Edgewood online, nor can I find any reference to a “meteorite” or anything similar having fallen in the area. Intriguingly, of the six meteorites recorded as having fallen in Connecticut, all but one fell in towns beginning with the initial “W.” This puzzle has been gnawing at me for months now, so I’d be deeply obliged to anyone with personal knowledge of this house and its aerolite ornament. Deed to Chriswoodyard8 AT gmail.com
Veering off in a completely different direction, Rossiter built Masonic symbols into at least one of the houses he designed including seven-light windows and suns. Rossiter built many houses in Washington, CT and even designed the church–dedicated to St. John. Stretching into earth-mystery territory, are there any solstice alignments to be found? Meteorites aren’t part of Masonic ritual, are they?
Chris Woodyard is the author of The Victorian Book of the Dead, The Ghost Wore Black, The Headless Horror, The Face in the Window, and the 7-volume Haunted Ohio series. She is also the chronicler of the adventures of that amiable murderess Mrs Daffodil in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales. The books are available in paperback and for Kindle. Indexes and fact sheets for all of these books may be found by searching hauntedohiobooks.com. Join her on FB at Haunted Ohio by Chris Woodyard or The Victorian Book of the Dead.