Douglas Library, Hebron (1898)

May 23rd, 2017 Posted in Hebron, Libraries, Queen Anne | No Comments »

The Hebron Library Association was formed in 1889, taking over the 200 volumes of the Hebron Literary Society, formed the previous year. Originally requiring a yearly subscription, in 1899 the organization became a free library. Books were located at the home of the Association’s president, Dr. Cyrus H. Pendleton, until a library building was erected at 22 Main Street in Hebron in 1898-1899. Its name was changed to the Douglas Library in 1949, after Dr. Charles J. Douglas endowed a large sum of money in memory of his wife, Ida Porter Douglas. She had no only greatly assisted the library over the years, but had been the driving force organizing Hebron’s Bicentennial Celebration in 1908. An addition to the building was erected in 1957. The library was much expanded and thoroughly modernized in the late 1990s. The library became a town department in 2005.

Former Nichols Store (1874)

May 22nd, 2017 Posted in Commercial Buildings, Vernacular, Willington | No Comments »

Although it is now used as a diner, the building at 12 Tolland Turnpike in Willington, next to the old railroad depot, was built as a store. The first store in West Willington opened in 1837. The business was acquired by John Carpenter in 1874, when the current building was erected. In 1888, Charles Nichols bought it, moved the building to its current location and added a grain room. Hans Hansen acquired the business in 1902 and added a post office section in 1936. By the time of his death in 1939, Hansen’s Grain and Grocery Store was being run by his daughter, Ester (1913-2014), and her husband, Floyd W. Phelps. It was renovated in 1957 to become Phelps Market, which later moved to Phelps Crossing nearby.

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Higganum Congregational Church (1845)

May 21st, 2017 Posted in Churches, Greek Revival, Haddam | No Comments »

In 1844, residents of the village of Higganum in the town of Haddam successfully petitioned to form their own ecclesiastical society, taking 135 members of the First Congregational Church of Haddam and that church’s minister, Rev. David Dudley Field. On July 23, 1845, the new congregation dedicated the Higganum Congregational Church at 23 Parsonage Road. In 1870, a rear addition to the church building was erected containing a chapel, conference room and kitchen. Another addition was constructed in 2012 to provide Christian Education classrooms, the church office and a remodeled Fellowship Hall.

Gen. William W. Harts House (1729)

May 20th, 2017 Posted in Colonial, Houses, Madison | No Comments »

The house at 908 Boston Post Road in Madison, currently in a dilapidated condition, was recently subject to a foreclosure. The first person to build on the property was Ensign Nathaniel Dudley, c. 1729-1730, and the building was then expanded over time with several additions. Capt. Edward Griffin (1762-1802), who sailed schooners between between Boston and Haiti, acquired the house in 1799 from Lyman Munger. On one voyage, Capt. Griffin once threw his son Harry overboard after a quarrel. The cook threw over a chicken coop to keep Harry afloat and the young man was later rescued by a passing ship. Capt. Griffin was a slave owner who committed a heinous act. Hearing that revenue officers were coming to his house to assess his property, he entombed two of his slaves by walling them in the basement and leaving them to die.

The house had a number of owners after Capt. Griffin. Unoccupied from 1895 until 1909, it then became the summer home of Martha Hale and her husband, William Wright Harts (1866-1961). An 1889 graduate of West Point, Harts served in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, eventually rising to the rank of Brigadier General. He oversaw a number of large construction projects, involving fortifications and river and harbor engineering. In 1901, he was sent to the Philippines, where he built roads and designed and constructed Fort McKinley (now Fort Bonifacio).

During World War I, Harts served in France and was appointed military governor of the Paris District and then Chief of Staff of the Army of Occupation in Germany. He was also a military aide to President Woodrow Wilson. Back in the United States, he supervised construction of the Lincoln Memorial and the Arlington Memorial Amphitheater. He lived in Madison full time after 1930. The general’s uniform is now in the collection of the Madison Historical Society. In the years since his death in 1961, the house, which came to be called the “General’s Residence,” has been a wedding dress shop, a restaurant, and a bakery.

Bristol Armory (1928)

May 19th, 2017 Posted in Bristol, Gothic, Military | No Comments »

By 1927, community leaders in Bristol had long lobbied the state to build an armory for the city’s National Guard units, which had been utilizing inadequate rented facilities. That year, armory supporters finally acquired funding and hired Payne & Keefe of New London to design an armory at 61 Center Street. Opened in 1928, the Bristol Armory is a Military Gothic style building that faces the intersection of Center and Valley Streets. An unusual feature is that the Armory’s drill shed floor is on the second level of the building. In 1978 a military museum opened in the building. The museum moved to the Bristol Historical Society building in 2008. More recently the state has sought to sell the building.

Copper Beach Inn (1889)

May 18th, 2017 Posted in Essex, Folk Victorian, Houses, Stick Style | No Comments »

Now a restaurant and inn, the former residence at 46 Main Street in Ivoryton (one of the three villages in the Town of Essex) was built in 1889 by Archibald Welsh Comstock (1860-1940). His father, Samuel Merritt Comstock (1809-1878), had founded the S.M. Comstock Company, which manufactured ivory products such as piano keys, billiard balls, dominoes and combs (thus giving Ivoryton its name). After Archibald Comstock’s death in 1940, his estate passed to his wife. The house was sold in 1954 and soon became a restaurant called the Johnny Cake Inn. The Inn was forced into foreclosure in 1966, but in 1972 it was acquired by Robert and Jo McKenzie, who reopened it as the Copper Beach Inn, named for the large tree at the entrance to the property. The business has continued under various owners over the years. It closed for a time in 2013 after another foreclosure, but soon reopened under new ownership. Sadly, the Inn lost its namesake tree earlier this year — taken down after it was discovered its center was rotting due to a fungal disease.

Old Congregational Church Parsonage, Coventry (1792)

May 17th, 2017 Posted in Coventry, Folk Victorian, Houses, Vernacular | No Comments »

When the house at 99 High Street in Coventry was built as the Congregational Church‘s parsonage, c. 1792, the church building was located nearby, facing what is now Veterans Memorial Green. By the time the church’s congregation merged with that of the Village Church on Main Street in 1869, the former parsonage had become a private residence. Built as a one-story structure, the house was raised to two stories after the Civil War, with the front porches likely added about the same time. The hexagonal corner porch was probably added c. 1900.