The Keeney Homestead is a colonial saltbox house located at 1026 Forbes Street in East Hartford. Associated with the Keeney family, the house was built around 1750-1780 and was possibly moved to its current address c 1805 from an unknown original location. After a fire damaged the house in the 1940s, it was restored with the interior of an eighteenth-century house from Glastonbury.
The house at 126 King Street in East Hartford was built in 1787 by David Gilman. The house was acquired by Joshua and Jonah Williams in 1796 and was owned solely by Jonah after 1808. Jonah Williams lived in the house until his death in 1846. It was then acquired by Jonah’s nephew (or was it his grandson?) Elijah Ackley (1829-1901). As related in the tenth volume of the Encyclopedia of Connecticut Biography:
The widow of Elijah, Jr. [1801-1829], with the young son, then but six months old, came to East Hartford, Connecticut, to live with her brother, Jonah Williams. Elijah (3) there attended school and made a life business of general farming, starting early in life in the tree nursery business, and many trees in East Hartford and Hartford to-day came from his nursery. Later he took up the growing of tobacco and continued growing it until he died in May, 1901. He was very active in public affairs, a public-spirited citizen, and represented the town of East Hartford in the Legislature, serving in the same session with the late P. T. Barnum. He also served as an assessor, and was chairman of the First Ecclesiastical Society of East Hartford for many years, and was active in the Grange, having served as its treasurer many years and up to the time of his death.
In 1949 the Town of East Hartford opened three new or expanded schools: Hockanum School and Sunset Ridge School, both built in a similar Colonial Revival style, and a new addition to the Woodland School (originally built in 1928). On August 28, 1949, the Hartford Courant (“New Schools to Open on September 7″) reported that contractors had been ordered to focus on completing the classrooms, leaving gymnasiums, auditoriums and cafeteria kitchens until last (and therefore not yet fully completed when the buildings were opened to students). At Sunset Ridge School, at the corner of Forbes Street and Silver Lane, work on the grounds was focused on at least finishing one walkway as a dry summer had raised a considerable amount of dust. On September 25, 1949, the Courant reported (“New Building Contains 10 Classrooms”) that Sunset Ridge School, erected in less than a year at a cost of $825,000, could accommodate 350 pupils. The school was situated on 10-acre plot that had required extensive grading. The excess dirt had been used to fill in the site of the Woodland School addition and what remained was given to any residents who were willing to haul it away. A lot of clay had been encountered during the digging, which brought to mind that there was once a brick manufacturer located across the street from the school. A 12-classroom addition was constructed in 1951.
It is not certain when the house at 401 High Street in East Hartford was built, but one of its bricks is inscribed with the date 1779. It may have been built by Capt. Moses Forbes (or Forbs), Sr. in that year, or it could have been built around the time he acquired the property in 1757 (the date indicated by a sign on the house). The house passed to his son, Moses Forbes, Jr. and then his grandson, Orrin Forbes. Forbes descendents lived in the house until 1923. The house was remodeled in the nineteenth century in the Greek Revival style.
This week the site will feature buildings in East Hartford! The cube-shaped Italianate house at 110 Main Street was built in 1875 by Rufus Wadsworth, a carriage-maker. He lost the house through foreclosure in 1884.
The First Universalist Society was organized in Middletown in 1829. Ten years later the Society constructed a church on Main Street at the corner of College Street (then called Parsonage Street; the building’s current address is 203-207 Main Street). Declining membership in the early twentieth century led to the sale of the building to the Odd Fellows for use as a meeting hall in 1916. The building has always had retail space on the first floor (originally the basement, as a flight of stairs led up to the church entrance from street level) and there was a conference room in the rear of the first floor. The Main Street front is currently home to Thai Gardens Restaurant.
The sign on the house at 534-536 Naubuc Avenue in Glastonbury indicates that it was built c. 1820 by George Wrisley. The Commemorative Biographical Record of Hartford County, Connecticut (1901) mentions a George Wrisley who built a house later occupied by his son, George Smith Wrisley, and grandson, Ransom Wrisley, but that house must have been built earlier than 1820 if it was built by George, Sr. The 1855 map of Hartford county indicates an “H. Risley” living about where the house is located.