Dudley Fox House (1854)

August 3rd, 2015 Posted in East Hartford, Houses, Italianate | No Comments »

Dudley Fox House

Dudley Fox (1823-1889), a silversmith, built the house at 177 Naubuc Avenue in East Hartford in 1854. He then constructed a factory to the north were he manufactured silver plated ware. Fox served as the Hockanum postmaster from May 12, 1865, through November 27, 1867 and used a fancy stamp cancellation marking in the form of a Running Fox. (for more information see “Dudley’s Fox” by W.J. Duffney). Business did not go well and in 1869 Fox sold the house to his son-in-law. Read the rest of this entry »

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St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, East Plymouth (1792)

August 2nd, 2015 Posted in Churches, Plymouth, Vernacular | No Comments »

St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, East Plymouth

The third oldest surviving Episcopal Church building in Connecticut is the former St. Matthew’s Church in East Plymouth. The church was built by a group of members of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Plymouth who lived in the eastern part of town and were displeased in 1790 when the church decided to build a new meetinghouse in Plymouth Hollow, now Thomaston, which was then in the far western part of Plymouth. St. Matthew’s Church was built in 1792 with support from Episcopalians from the neighboring towns of Bristol, Harwinton and Burlington. The largest part of the original membership of St. Matthew’s came from the northwestern section of Bristol. Many Episcopalians had settled there near Chippens Hill and wanted a church nearby. St. Matthew’s Church is a vernacular building, in many ways similar to contemporary Congregational meetinghouses. A rural community grew up around the church, which is adjacent to the East Plymouth Cemetery. The history of the building can be found in the History of the Town of Plymouth, Connecticut (1895), compiled by Francis Atwater:

The church was built in 1792, but was unfinished inside, for at a meeting held March 5, 1793, Isaac W. Shelton and Stephen Graves were appointed a committee to “lay out the money, and procure somebody to do off the inside of the church.” And again, at a meeting held at the church December 31, 1793, the following committee was appointed to “examine and find the most convenient way of doing off the church and make report at the next meeting:” Noah Andrews, Ira Dodge, Isaac W. Shelton, Calvin Woodin, and Timothy Sperry; at which meeting held January 13, 1794, it was voted to “finish the church in the following manner: to make a broad alley through the center of the lower floor, and finish the sides with pews in the most convenient manner, also to finish the gallery by making two rows of seats round the whole square, and a row of pews across the south end.” It was voted that the church be called St. Matthew’s at a meeting held October 19, 1795. On November 10, 1794, it was voted to adopt the constitution of the Protestant Episcopal Church of Connecticut, and Caleb Matthews, the parish clerk, was instructed to attend the convention at Cheshire and request the Right Rev. Dr. Seabury to consecrate the new church.

In 1795, “the church was consecrated by Bishop Samuel Jarvis, second Bishop of Connecticut.” Various changes were made to the building over the years, as again quoted from Atwater (in 1895):

When first erected the building stood in front of its present location with its entrance at the south end, but in 1842, or soon after, was turned around and placed where it now is. The old square pews were removed about 1830.

[. . .] In 1871 or ’72, the church was remodeled, a chancel arranged, the old towering pulpit taken down, and doors taken off the small pews, also a ceiling made to reach across from one gallery to another. There is no chimney, and when a stove was put in the people thought that no one could speak in such close atmosphere. It used to be a large and full congregation, but has dwindled down to half a dozen old decrepit ladies, and service is seldom performed there.

The former church is now a private residence.

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Levi E. Coe Library (1893)

August 1st, 2015 Posted in Libraries, Middlefield, Romanesque Revival | No Comments »

Levi E. Coe Library

Born in Middlefield in 1828, Levi E. Coe later settled in Meriden, where he became president of the Meriden Savings Bank and also served as a judge. He built and donated the library in his hometown that bears his name. The Richardsonian Romanesque-style library was dedicated in 1893. The building, located at 414 Main Street, was expanded in 1974 to connect to the neighboring Library Hall, the former St. Paul’s Episcopal Church that the library had acquired in 1920.

Library Hall and Library in Middlefield

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Old Axminster Building, Bigelow-Hartford Carpet Company (1902)

July 31st, 2015 Posted in Enfield, Industrial, Italianate | No Comments »

Old Axminster Building

Thompsonville in Enfield was once home to a substantial carpet manufacturing industry. In 1901, the Hartford Carpet Company of Enfield merged with the E.S Higgens & Company of New York to form the Hartford Carpet Corporation. Expansion followed and in c. 1902-1905 the company built a large mill building for the production of Axminster, a type of tufted-pile carpet. Located at the southern end of the factory complex, the Axminster Building is a four-story structure with a strong structural system to contain the many massive broadlooms required for production of Axminster. The building’s east end was once a common wall shared with the Color House, which has since been demolished. A new Axminster building was constructed in 1923. By that time the Hartford Carpet Corporation had merged with the Bigelow Carpet Company of Clinton, Massachusetts to form the Bigelow-Hartford Carpet Company (1914). Today the former carpet mill complex has been converted into the Bigelow Commons apartments. Read the rest of this entry »

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Richard Coan House (1841)

July 30th, 2015 Posted in Guilford, Houses, Italianate | No Comments »

Richard Coan House

Richard Davis Coan built the house at 15 Fair Street in Guilford around 1841. He married Flora Hitchcock Granniss. Richard Coan is described in New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial, Vol. III (1913):

He spent the greater part of his life in the place of his birth, and being a builder by occupation erected many houses and public buildings there. Later he removed to New Haven, where he was actively engaged in the building business, a member of the lumber and manufacturing firm of Lewis & Beecher Company, who conducted large planing mills, and was one of the leading industries of the city. He was known by the title of major, commanding the Guilford troops on muster day. He was very prominent in the work of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, and later in the Church of the Ascension, and being a musician of note was active in the choirs of both churches. After his removal to New Haven. Mr. Coan built a fine residence on Wooster street, which was at that time the finest residential section of the city.

The house in Guilford was later owned by Beverly Monroe, who ran a store on Boston Street established with his father and brother.

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Southmayd Building (1872)

July 29th, 2015 Posted in Commercial Buildings, Middletown, Neoclassical, Victorian Eclectic | No Comments »

548 & 542-544 Main St., Middletown, CT

The Southmayd Building, at 542-544 Main Street in Middletown, is an outstanding example of a nineteenth-century commercial block with a cast-iron facade. It was built by George M. Southmayd, who was in the undertaking business. His father John B. Southmayd had started the business at his home, which stood on the same site. In 1911 Ludwig Krenz bought the building (It is also known as the Southmayd-Krenz Building) and opened a bar and restaurant and it has been used for that purpose ever since under various owners. Read the rest of this entry »

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O’Rourke’s Diner (1946)

July 28th, 2015 Posted in Art Deco, Commercial Buildings, Middletown | No Comments »

O'Rourke's Diner

O’Rourke’s is a world famous diner in Middletown. Located at 728 Main Street, the diner was built by the Mountain View Diner Company (it was manufactured in 1946 and has the serial no. 223). In 1930 “Pete the Greek” Asvestras moved his lunch wagon here and by the 1940s James Dunn was running Dunn’s Diner on the spot. John O’Rourke purchased Dunn’s Diner in 1941 and soon acquired the Mountain View dining car as his business expanded. The diner, which did not have fire insurance, suffered severe fire damage in 2006 after a hamburger steamer was left on overnight. A fundraising campaign with support from the local community and around the world led to successful renovations and the diner reopened in 2008.

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