- Associated Press - Sunday, April 10, 2016

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - Hiram Bingham III, when he wasn’t bringing back boatloads of artifacts from Peru and spreading the word about Machu Picchu, called a 30-room house on Prospect Street home.

It was not only famous for the Yale lecturer and his travels to South America, but the Italian Villa Revival mansion was also called the Tiffany House after Bingham married Alfreda Mitchell, the granddaughter of Charles Tiffany of Fifth Avenue fame.

All that is interesting background for the latest use of the 3½-story, single-family home at 787 Prospect St.

CT Clinical Services Inc., a residential addiction recovery program founded by David Vieau, bought the property earlier this month from Patrick and Stephanie O’Keefe for just over $2 million.

Vieau has taken out building permits for about $450,000 in plumbing, electrical, heating, air conditioning and some construction work at the mansion, which will be home to about 20 women, average age 23, in recovery, he said.

It has a marble staircase and 14-foot ceilings in some of the many rooms. Constructed in about 1905, the house was designed by Chapman & Frazer. Prior to being home to the O’Keefes, it was used as a dormitory for Albertus Magnus College students, Vieau said.

Vieau’s sober houses are mostly located in large, single-family homes that have been repurposed.

There are six in New Haven and one in Hamden and, while he had a rocky time when he proposed the first such home, it has been smooth sailing since then with government officials and, for the most part, the neighbors.

Sober houses are largely protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act and the federal Fair Housing Act.

In 2005, when the city challenged how many clients could live at the 980 Townsend Ave. sober house, they ultimately settled a lawsuit, paying the company $350,000.

“It has been a learning curve,” Vieau said of the process. “We will be very good neighbors,” he promised.

Vieau said CT Clinical Services knows the kind of neighborhood that works best and, when a deal for another house nearby fell through, he started knocking on doors in the East Rock area and asked residents whether they were interested in selling.

When he got to the O’Keefes, who had been thinking of moving, the answer was yes.

Vieau said there is up to two feet of concrete between the exterior and interior walls, as well as between the ceilings and floors as a fire safety measure. He is completely redoing the third floor, which had been used by the O’Keefes as a storage area.

Vieau said they uncovered what could be one of the earliest air conditioning systems. It was made by General Electric and had a Ford engine. They are taking it out and replacing it.

He said they had hoped to be in their new space by June, but that is not likely considering the amount of work they are doing. Vieau said they are in no rush.

“It is an elegant house. We are planning to bring the aesthetics back,” Vieau said.

Bingham, who had seven sons, divorced his wife and married Suzanne Carroll Hill in June 1937.

In November 1924 he was elected governor, but a month later he was elected to fill a vacancy in the U.S. Senate. He served one day as governor before going to the Senate. Bingham was re-elected to a full six-year term in the Senate in 1926.

The 40,000 Incan artifacts taken from Peru in an agreement with that country’s government at the time were returned to Peru in 2011 after Peru sued.

Both parties reached an agreement in which Yale University and the San Antonio Abad University in Cuzco now share stewardship of the collection and collaborate on academic research.


Information from: New Haven Register, https://www.nhregister.com

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