The Branchview Estate was established during the Gilded Age. In the late 19th century a rapid economic growth spread across the Northern United States, as the wages grew much higher than those in Europe, especially for skilled workers who expanded the industrialization of the United States. At the same time, the Gilded Age was also an era of adject poverty and inequality, as millions of immigrants—many from impoverished regions—poured into the United States, and the high concentration of wealth became more visible and contentious.
The Branchview Mansion started as two smaller homes, built-in 1843 to replace the original homestead built-in 1695. Both were destroyed by fire in 1868. Thereafter, construction began immediately to build a massive three-story structure in 1869. It took more than six years to complete the mansion. In 1875 Nathaniel Branch moved into his new country manor, but would only get to enjoy his home for a short time before an untimely death in 1881.
The fictitious Town of Lockport, Connecticut, is a small coastal community that was founded in 1638 by the wealthy shipping entrepreneur, Addison Locke. Because of its small natural harbor, it served as mainly a fishing community, and stopping point for larger vessels making their way up or down the coast from such cities as Boston and New York.
The majority of the town was initially populated with English Puritans who had migrated from other areas of the original Colonies to seek out fresh opportunities for themselves. In 1653, Addison Locke merged his shipping business with the large fishing operation of his friend, Merwin Branch. Both men were part of the Mayflower Society. This society comprised families who originally traveled from England on The Mayflower to become settlers in the new world. In 1657, the two men would controversially purchase a large parcel of land located on a point just north of town from the Wangunk Indians, the indigenous people of Connecticut.
Many tribal members protested since this beautiful parcel was considered sacred land. Legend has it that several of the disgruntled members placed a curse upon the land shortly before they were forced to vacate. Addison Locke chose the more coveted parcel of land on the point, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, to build his homestead. Merwin Branch settled on the other side of the deep woods, closer to the Lockeport Harbor.