The house at 82 Willard Avenue in Newington was built in 1859 and is an excellent example of the Italianate style. A 1955 Harvard Alumni directory lists it as the address of Harold Ingalls Dyer. The house was one of several historic properties specifically excluded from a proposed new development area centered around the recently opened CTfastrak Busway station.
As related in a section entitled “Modern Buildings of Conspicuous Design” in the 1921 book Modern Connecticut Homes and Homecrafts:
It is generally accepted that good building construction prevails in Connecticut, so it must naturally follow then that to win distinction in this field is evidence of exceptional merit, as in the instance of Mr. Lewis A. Miller of Meriden, who during a business career of about a quarter century has built, as general contractor, many structures of various kinds throughout the state that are notable for the excellence of their craftsmanship.
Much of Mr. Miller’s work has been in the line of commercial, industrial and others of the larger type of construction, yet one of the finest residences in the central part of Connecticut is of his making. This house, the home of Mr. A. L. Pelton in Winthrop Terrace, Meriden, is conspicuous for the excellence of its workmanship and materials. Designed in an adaptation of the Spanish style, the walls of the house are of white stucco on interlocking hollow tile, and the roof is of red Spanish tile which makes it particularly effective in its color combinations.
While the house’s color scheme has changed (the roof is no longer red tile), this impressive home, built c. 1918, still stands at 126 Winthrop Terrace in Meriden. The name of A. L. Pelton appears in numerous advertisements from c. 1908-1922 that appeared in such magazines as Popular Science, The World’s Work, Popular Mechanics, The Magazine of Business and The Cosmopolitan. Head of the Pelton Publishing Company, he promised to make men rich by selling them the book The Power of Will, by Frank Channing Haddock, a self-help author. Pelton also published other books such as Creed of the Conquering Chief (1915).
Today marks the Eighth Anniversary of this website! That means a post a day for eight years (2,291 posts/buildings!). Thank you to everyone who follows this site or stumbles upon it. I hope the information and pictures are useful.
At 359 Hazard Avenue in Hazardville in Enfield is the former Hazardville Grammar School. The older section of the building, which was built in 1864, is in the rear. In the twentieth century (perhaps 1948?) the school lost its pedimented front pavilion and tower with a pyramidal roof, which were replaced by a two-story brick addition that became the building’s new front facade. Not used as a school after 1974, the building was later leased to the Y.W.C.A. and is today the Hazardville Daycare Center.
At 15 Bank Street in New London is the Lawrence Hall Building, built in 1920. It replaced an earlier Lawrence Hall building on the same site, which is described in Frances Manwaring Caulkins’ History of New London (1895 edition) as follows:
Lawrence Hall, a private building owned by Joseph Lawrence, Esq., is the principal Hall in the city for public lectures and exhibitions. It was completed in Feb. 1856, and is 105 feet in length, 57 in breadth, and arched above to the height of 24 feet from the floor. It is a beautiful Hall in decoration, proportion and interior accommodation, and with its gallery or corridor, will accommodate 1,200 persons. Architect, W. T. Hallett.
It deserves to be remembered here that the elder Lawrence was the first man who gave New London a strictly metropolitan building, Lawrence Hall, a fine structure built from the plans of the celebrated architect, Hallett. When it was going up some of the citizens expressed their fears that it would overshadow the rest of the city, and Mr. Lawrence replied: “ That is all right; the city will grow up to it.”
The 1920 Lawrence Hall was built after the 1856 Lawrence Hall was destroyed in a fire. The new building was described in the book Modern Connecticut Homes and Homecrafts (1921) soon after it was built:
In the making of the design for Lawrence Hall Building on Bank street, New London, there is shown again [the architects] Mssrs. Bilderbeck and Langdon’s marked ability to obtain decorative quality through their knowledge of the resources of materials, and beauty of form in the development of natural structural lines.
One of numerous US post office buildings produced during the New Deal era is the Bridgeport Main Post Office, located at 120 Middle Street, completed in 1934. A strikingly unornamented Art Deco/Art Moderne structure, it was designed by local architect Charles Wellington Walker under the supervision of Louis A. Simon, the supervising architect of the United States Treasury Department. The lobby has murals by R. L. Lambden depicting mail delivery through the ages.
In 1798 Ebenezer Hale (1771-1843) of Glastonbury married Sarah Cornwall of Portland. The couple shared the house at 1381 Main Street in Glastonbury with Ebenezer’s brother Gideon Hale, Jr., who married Anna Case in 1803. Eventually the house became too small for two families and Ebenezer Hale built his own house at 1378 Main Street in 1806. Ebenezer’s grandsons, George and John Howard Hale, started a peach orchard in 1866. The farm paymaster would pay the orchard workers at the long window on the north side of the house. John H. Hale developed peach trees that could better withstand the northern climate. The first to grade their fruit, the brothers developed their business on a national scale with 1200 acres in Connecticut and Georgia by 1915. As related in A Handbook of New England (second edition, 1917):
It was J. H. Hale, the ‘Peach King,’ who more than any other man in its history put Glastonbury on the map. He began in a small way with upland farms worth $10 an acre, and on this “barren” land proved that peaches could be produced, unequaled in flavor, which would bring the highest prices in the nearby New England markets. Wealth has poured in upon him and is utilized in developing at Fort Valley in Georgia the greatest peach-growing industry of the world.
An interesting recollection of J.H. Hale appears in a speech made by Frank B. White of Chicago at the annual convention of the Wisconcin State Board of Agriculture and printed in the 1905 Annual Report of the Wisconsin State Board of Agriculture:
I had occasion to speak to a gentleman this morning about the Hon. J. H. Hale, of South Glastonbury, Conn. We call him the “Peach King.” When he began the production of peaches in Connecticut, he at once sought to specialize his work and to send forth “Hale’s” peaches as the best product in the market, and he has made a great reputation simply by the peach itself. He had each peach carefully wrapped and on each wrapper it was advertised that it was a “Hale” peach, and in putting up packages, he was careful that every peach should be the same, from the top to the bottom of the package. In doing that, he said he found great difficulty, because he even had to discharge men who insisted upon putting nicer peaches at the top. He said, “I had to discharge my men and employ girls, because the girls are more honest than the men.” After that he had no trouble whatever. But when he put these peaches in the great markets of the east, he found that the commission merchants rather discouraged the idea, they didn’t care to bother with them. He demanded a better price, and he just asked the privilege of putting them in that people might know what Hale’s peaches really were, and it was but a short time before he had them coming for his peaches; letters were being sent to him from different parts of the country, saying, “Send on your peaches, our customers want them,” and from that little beginning he now has 2,300 acres of peaches in a bearing condition, and last year he shipped 210 large refrigerator cars from his Georgia orchard to the markets of the north and had a ready market for all he could produce. He made that market by judicious advertising of the article itself.
Bear in mind, it is the man on the farm that will make the success just as surely as it is the man behind the gun that will win the victory.