The Italianate house at 49 Church Street in Guilford was built c. 1848 by Frederick A. Fowler. He was married to Laura Brooks, sister of Captain Oliver N. Brooks, who also lived at the house for a time. Captain Brooks was the lighthouse keeper at Faulkner’s Island from 1851 to 1882. He was described in Forest and Stream (Vol. LXXX, No. 8, January 18, 1913):
It was a piece of heroism performed on the night of Nov. 23, 1858, that caused Captain Brooks to be spoken of as the “Hero of 1858.” That night the schooner Moses F. Webb went ashore in a heavy gale on Goose Island, not far from Faulkner’s Island. Captain Brooks, disregarding the weather, put out to the stranded vessel in an open boat, and safely took off the five men of the crew. This feat was widely heralded. The Life Saving Benevolent Association of New York presented him a gold medal and the citizens of New Haven gave him a purse of gold.
Captain Brooks was known to every Connecticut ornithologist of thirty years ago as a careful observer of birds, and as possessing in his home at the lighthouse a collection of birds of unusual interest. His name has been quoted in many a list of Connecticut birds during the last forty or fifty years.
Captain Brooks was a delightful man, full of stories of his experiences and observations. He was twice a member of the Connecticut General Assembly.
Settlers from Wethersfield established themselves in Branford in 1644 and built a log meeting house. This was enlarged to twice its original size in 1679. As related in the second volume of J.L. Rockey’s History of New Haven County (1892), from the church’s records:
November 30th, 1699. ‘Whereas it hath been agreed upon by the town to build a new meeting house, and there being different notions respecting the form— some being for a square house and others for a long brick house with lean-to— it is agreed by the town that a lott shall be drawn to decide the matter, and it is agreed that Benj. Harrington shall draw the lott.’ The lot being drawn fell for a square meeting house. The form of the tower and turret was left to the committee. The inhabitants agreed to work out their proportions of expense as near as they can in such work as the committee judge them capable. The committee were to deduct from wages of those who come late or are negligent. They sell the new part of the old house to help pay joiners for work on the new house. They sell the old part of the old house to Richard Wilford for teaching school. This new house stood on the common, about in front of the town hall.
Built in 1700, this meeting house was deemed inadequate by 1738, when the decision was made to erect a new one. It was completed in 1744. As described in A history of the First Church and Society of Branford, Connecticut, 1644-1919 (1919), by J. Rupert Simonds:
The steeple was not added until 1803, and the clock was placed therein in the summer of 1804. There is an interesting story concerning the erection of the steeple. It happened that, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, the newly reorganized Episcopal Church purchased some fine lumber to be used for building a steeple for their new church, but their funds proved insufficient for the carrying out of their plans, and so they were compelled to sell the timbers, which they had prepared, to the Congregational Society, and they were used in the erection of the Congregational steeple. Inasmuch as the feeling between the two churches was not very cordial at that time, this was regarded, by the Episcopalians, as a cause for much chagrin, and, by the Congregationalists, as an occasion of considerable satisfaction. [. . .]
The new meeting house was situated nearly in front of the present edifice, but faced almost in the opposite direction. It was occupied by the church for practically a century, or until the erection of the present building, in its original form, in 1843.
Simonds describes the building of the 1843 meeting house in its original form:
It was decided to have a brick house, with a porch and large fluted pillars in front, a steeple in the center, and with two aisles in the audience room. The work went steadily, tho not rapidly, forward. The old Meeting House was in the way of the builders, so it was torn down and services were held, for a time, in the Academy. In January of 1844 the slips, which had been placed in the new building instead of the old square pews, were appraised and rented. It was also decided to have an organ in the church. The basement was not finished until January 1, 1845, for it had been necessary to sell part of the Indian Neck timber to obtain sufficient funds.
On January 19, 1845, the new Meeting House was finally dedicated.
After some little discussion, and the revision of the plans several times, it was decided to enlarge the church by removing the original facade and adding to the length of the roof sufficiently to enable the placing of thirty more pews, and replacing the old facade with a new one. This was accordingly done, and the result is the edifice in its present form. The addition at the rear of the building, comprising the chancel, was also made at this time and the walls of the auditorium were frescoed.
The building has been attributed to architect Sidney M. Stone.
The house at 6 Poquonock Avenue in Windsor was built around 1871 by Daniel Mack on land he had acquired from Horace Bower. The building has substantial twentieth-century additions and is now used as for apartments and offices. Daniel Mack worked at the Mack Brickyard in Windsor, founded by his father William Mack in 1830. Daniel Mack also owned a house on Mack Street.
Part of a row of historic buildings on Chapel Street in New Haven are two structures with Queen Anne and Eastlake design elements. Located at nos. 841-843 and 845-847, both were built in 1878. They are currently owned by the Young Men’s Institute and the second and third floors at 847 Chapel Street (above no. 845) are the current home of the Institute Library, founded in 1826. Just west is the Optical Building, at 849 Chapel Street, built in 1912 and designed by Leoni Robinson. To the east is the English Building at 837-839 Chapel Street, named for Henry F. English. It was built in 1882, but after a fire a new Renaissance Revival facade by Leoni Robinson was installed in 1898.
Built in the mid-nineteenth century, the Italianate house at 20 Park Place North in Winsted has interesting columns on its front entrance and side porch. I think they resemble Egyptian Revival columns. The nomination for the Winsted Green Historic District describes them as resembling elongated vase-shaped legs of furniture. The house is now owned by Northwest Community College. Used for offices it is known as the Regina M. Duffy Administration Building, named for Dr. Regina M. Duffy (died 2007) who was president of the College for seventeen years and was the first woman in the state to head a Community College.
In 1851 John Haskell acquired property from the Bulkeley family on Main Street in Cromwell. He took down the Bulkeley Homestead, built in the mid-eighteenth century by Jonathan Stow, and in 1852 erected an Italianate house on the site (current address: 358 Main Street). Haskell was a joiner and a partner in the lumber firm of Willard and Haskell. It is uncertain that Haskell and his wife, Maria Wilcox Haskell, ever lived in the house. In 1861 he sold it to Rev. Stephen Topliff, a retired Congregational minister who, from 1829-1838, was pastor of the Third Congregational Church, located in the Westfield section of Middletown. The house remained in the Topliff family until 1905.
The large brick Italianate villa-style house at 37 Maple Avenue E in Higganum was built in c. 1841-1843 by Orrin Freeman, a wealthy bachelor. As a prominent local businessman, Orrin Freeman (1807-1880) was part-owner of a brickyard started by his father. He also ran the largest lumberyard and sawmill company in Middlesex County with his brother. They supplied lumber for the shipbuilding operations at Higganum Landing until 1862. Freeman also served as Judge of Probate. The house remained in the Freeman family until 1904. Eugene Orlando Burr purchased the house in 1908. Between 1910 and 1942 he ran a dairy farm known as Higganum Dairy. The house has continued in the same family ever since. In 1976, to commemorate the Bicentennial, Burr’s son-in-law, Francis Wright “Bill Gardner, Jr., who acquired the property in 1957, painted a large “Spirit of ‘76” mural on the house‘s southwest elevation. The house is now a bed & breakfast called The Spirit of 76 House.