Moses Yale Beach (January 7, 1800 – July 18, 1868) was an American inventor and publisher born in Wallingford, Connecticut. He is best known as the man who founded the Associated Press, and was also a descendant of Elihu Yale, an early benefactor of Yale University.
Front View of The Moses Yale Beach House
Moses came from a farming family in Wallingford and received an ordinary education. He began working as a cabinetmaker at 14, and by 18 years old he had saved $400 which he used to start a cabinet making business in Northampton, Massachusetts.
When the cabinet making business failed, Moses moved to Springfield, MA and tried inventing a gunpowder engine for propelling balloons. That idea turned out to be a dud as well.
Moses then turned his attention to building a steam boat that could ferry passengers across the Connecticut river between Hartford and Springfield, but financial difficulties caused him to stop working on his steamer before it was finished, another setback in his early life.
So how did he end up building the house you see above?
Moses and Julia Ann Beach in 1855
In a way, he married the right woman.
Side View of the Moses Yale Beach House
In 1835, Moses acquired an interest in the paper, which at the time had a small circulation. Moses helped grow the paper into one of the most successful newspapers in New York City and eventually became the sole proprietor, buying the business for $40,000.
Photo of the Front of Moses Yale Beach House
Moses built the New York Sun into the most widely circulated newspaper in the world. He then used his influence to convince other newspapers in New York City to share the cost of transmitting news of the Mexican–American War by boat, horse express and telegraph, laying the foundation of The Associated Press.
The Entrance to the Moses Yale Beach House
When Moses retired he left his business to his sons and returned to Wallingford to build the Moses Yale Beach House, where he lived until his death. The house was located at 86 North Main Street in Wallingford, CT, which is now a Wells Fargo Bank branch.
Front Porch of the Moses Yale Beach House
These pictures were taken some time after 1933 by the Historic American Buildings Survey, right before the house was set to be transformed into a bed and breakfast, the St George’s Inn.
Another View of the Front Porch
The Moses Yale Beach House was the most luxurious house of its time in Wallingford and one of the largest town houses designed by Henry Austin, a prominent and prolific American architect based in New Haven, Connecticut.
Back Entrance to the Moses Yale Beach House
The homes designer, Henry Austin, was a prominent and prolific American architect from Hamden, Connecticut. He practiced for more than fifty years and designed many public buildings and homes, primarily in the New Haven area.
Back View of the Moses Yale Beach House
A view from the back yard of the Moses Yale Beach House.
This structure was on top of the building. We were unable to find any information on exactly what this was, but it looks to be a small solarium or lookout tower. If you know what it is, please email us at [email protected]
Heading in the Front Door
This is the view visitors would have as they entered the house.
Beautifully Detailed Doorways
Everything in the house was finely crafted, from the archways to the winding staircase seen in the background.
Finely Crafted Archway Molding
Some parts of the building were saved before demolition, but as you can see there was already damage to many parts of the building at the time these pictures were taken.
Detailed Door Moldings
Walking down the hallway toward the front door.
The Marble Fireplace
The home was built with high quality materials, including this marble fireplace that was hopefully saved or preserved.
St. George’s Inn
After its use as a private home, the building was turned into the St. Georges Inn, a bed and breakfast that served many families visiting Choate Rosemary Hall. The building is now a Wells Fargo Bank.
Life as a Wells Fargo
The current building retains some of the features from the original building, such as the front support columns and the original fence, both of which can be seen in the picture above. So if you go to the Wells Fargo in Wallingford, look around and remember that you’re inside the remains of what was once the finest home in the city!