With the completion of the town’s survey on historical resources, this is the last article of this series. As such, it is fitting to highlight one of the town’s more significant structures.
For 164 of its 180 years, the property originally known as the “Comstock Farm” has been owned by just three families. This Federal style farmstead — with its symmetrical, two-story, five bay, center hall plan — is set on a small rise from the road. The center entrance is flanked by fluted pilasters and sidelights.
According to the NYS Office of Historic Preservation, it is important as an example of rural Federal-style architecture, and in recalling Cazenovia’s prominence as a prosperous agricultural region. Bordering the hard line between the village and town, the home marks the gateway between the two.
Zephaniah Comstock was born 1792 in Connecticut. Arriving in Cazenovia, he bought 130 acres from Simeon Marshall in 1818. There he lived with his wife, Sarah, and three children. By 1860, he and his son, Julius, had prospered and had a successful farming operation. Around this time, a Victorian-trimmed front porch was added. Zephaniah died April of 1878.
The farm was left to Julius, who died before 1900; his daughter Mariah and son-in-law, Edward Smith moved in with Julius’s widow, Martha. Martha and the Smiths continued to farm and live there until they sold it to William Gaugherty in 1910.
In 1912 Gaugherty sold the property to Henry Burden, a wealthy landowner responsible for placing the telephone and electrical wires underground on Albany Street. During this time, a large two-story wing on the west side of the house was added.
In 1932, Francis and Dorothy Townsend moved in, first as renters in the back wing of the house, then buying the property two years later. They established a large chicken farm, and each of the several hen houses had its own unique name.