Wadsworth-Dorman House (1826)

May 30th, 2017 Posted in Farmington, Houses, Vernacular | No Comments »

The house at 165 Main Street in Farmington was possibly built as early as 1826 by Sidney Wadsworth (1786-1846), whose family homestead is across the street. Rumah Dorman (1837-1916), wife of Civil War veteran Edward H. Dorman, bought the house in 1865. Erected as a one-and-a-half story tenement, the house was enlarged in the early twentieth century by Rumah Dorman’s son, Frank E. Dorman. He also added a wraparound front porch that has since been removed. Frank E. Dorman served as sheriff and for a time was a night watchman at the Hillstead estate where he sometimes made the night rounds with Theodate Pope Riddle, who had trouble sleeping. The house was sold out of the family in 1963. Read the rest of this entry »

South Britain Academy (1835)

May 29th, 2017 Posted in Greek Revival, Houses, Schools, Southbury | No Comments »

The house at 698 South Britain Road in South Britain, Southbury was built c. 1835-1840 as a school called the South Britain Academy. The Academy, started around 1820, had a library and an Institute for Elocution and Debating. The school had closed by the 1860s and the building was converted into a residence. In 1922 it was acquired by Henry McCarthy, a merchant, and his wife, Helen McCarthy, who worked as secretary of Southbury’s board of Selectmen from 1943-1965 and then worked for the town’s social services office.

American Legion Hall – Griffith Academy (1874)

May 28th, 2017 Posted in Churches, Folk Victorian, Organizations, Wethersfield | No Comments »

The building at 275 Main Street, at the corner of Hartford Avenue, in Wethersfield, was built c. 1874-1876 as a Baptist Church. Declining membership led the church society to vote to disband in 1918 and deed their Main Street property to the Town of Wethersfield for use as a library. The town decided not to proceed with that project and in 1922 the building was sold to Russell K. Bourne D.S.C. Post of the American Legion, which changed it name to the Bourne-Keeney Post 23 in 1949. The name honors Russell K. Bourne, who was killed in action in 1918 during the First World War, and Robert A. Keeney, who lost his life when the USS Indianapolis was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in 1945. The second floor hall of the building maintains the deck of the Minerva, used as training ground for the town’s Sea Scouts. In 2014, the Legion Post sold the building to the Griffith Academy, which teaches Irish dance. The Academy had been renting the Hall for many decades. The veterans continue to use the building as well, now renting the basement.

Jennie and Edward Gilbert House (1871)

May 27th, 2017 Posted in Haddam, Houses, Second Empire | No Comments »

The house at 429 Saybrook Road in Higganum was built by Cornelius Brainerd (1811-1884) as a wedding present for his daughter, Jennie (Jane Jerusha), who married Edward Dwight Gilbert, a merchant, on June 1, 1871. When the Higganum Savings Bank was chartered in 1874, E. D. Gilbert was secretary and his father-in-law was treasurer, a position Gilbert would later hold. Gilbert also served as postmaster. The later couple moved to Cornelius’ house and sold the 1871 house, which has since lost its original elaborately carved porch.

Wheeler Library (1900)

May 26th, 2017 Posted in Libraries, North Stonington, Romanesque Revival, Schools | No Comments »

The Wheeler Library, 101 Main Street in North Stonington, is a private institution that serves as a public library for the Town of North Stonington. Funded with money donated by the Wheeler family, the Library was built in 1900 of Westerly granite. It was originally a school as well as a library, until the secondary school on the first floor moved out in the 1950s.

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Norwalk Public Library (1903)

May 25th, 2017 Posted in Libraries, Norwalk, Tudor Revival | No Comments »

For my 50th post for the City of Nowalk, let’s look at the Norwalk Public Library building at the corner of Mott and Wall Streets (address: 1 Belden Avenue). The Norwalk Library Corporation was founded in 1879. This subscription library constantly struggled to find sufficient funds but its leaders finally persuaded the city to take it over as a public library in 1895. The library was originally located in rented rooms near Wall and Main Streets until funding was acquired from a Carnegie grant to erect a library building. A lot for the new building was donated by Hubert E. Bishop, the grandson of Norwalk manufacturer George G. Bishop. The Tudor-style library, designed by British architects W. and G. Audsley, opened in April 1903. The original entrance was on Belden Avenue, but when a major addition was constructed in 1978-1982 the entrance was moved to face Mott Avenue. The South Norwalk Library was founded as a completely separate entity, but was merged into the new city-wide system in 1975. Read the rest of this entry »

Gurley Tavern (1822)

May 24th, 2017 Posted in Chaplin, Federal Style, Taverns & Inns | No Comments »

The old Gurley Tavern at 42 Chaplin Street in Chaplin is an impressively detailed Federal-style residence. It was built c. 1822, the year the Town of Chaplin was incorporated, as a stagecoach inn. An upstairs ballroom, which later housed a private school, has since been converted to a bedroom and bathroom. An addition connects the building to a barn at the rear. During the twentieth century, for fifty years the former tavern was the residence of quilt maker Ruth Snow Bowen and was known as The Quilt Shop. The Chaplin Post Office was located in the north parlor from 1950 to 1965. The building, later in rough condition, underwent a major restoration in 1999-2000. It began taking guests as the Old Gurley Tavern Country Inn, but was later subject to a foreclosure.