In the late 1800s, the Indian Avenue section of Middletown was marketed to wealthy New York and Philadelphia families by the Sturtevant family for summer cottage sites. One investor was the actor Edwin Booth (1833-1893), who was introduced to the area by the Bispham family of Philadelphia, who were friends and partners in the development. Booth, brother of Abraham Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth, purchased lots there in 1879 and commenced building his summer cottage in 1883. “Boothden” was originally designed by noted architect Calvert Vaux, whose son Downing Vaux was engaged to Booth’s daughter Edwina. The scandalous break up of Downing and Edwina hampered the building process and Booth waited out the summer in hotels and guest houses as builder Truman Peckham completed the house in 1884.
Edwin Booth only spent four years at Boothden. Money problems, Edwina’s later bad marriage and his brother’s legacy took a toll on him. The house (which would not sell) was willed to Edwina in 1893 and ultimately sold in 1903. Ironically, located one half a mile away off Vaucluse Avenue, lies the remains of Baptist minister Obadiah Holmes (1606-1682) Abraham Lincoln’s fourth great grandfather.