Faith Living Church, located at 20 Grove Street in the Plantsville section of Southington, was built in 1873-1874 as the Plantsville Baptist Church. As related in the Memorial History of Hartford County, Vol. II (1886):
The Baptist Church of Plantsville was a colony from the Baptist Church in Southington, and was organized Aug. 13, 1872. Its present house of worship was dedicated in 1874.
As related in Heman R. Timlow’s Ecclesiastical and Other Sketches of Southington, Conn. (1875):
The society was organized May 8, 1872, and steps were at once taken to build a house of worship. The land for the purpose was given by Dea. Plant. The building committee consisted of A. P. Plant, E. H. Plant, and R. W. Cowles. The corner-stone was laid with appropriate services, May 13, 1873, and the building was dedicated March 11, 1874, the sermon on the occasion having been preached by Dr. Rollin H. Neale, of Boston. The cost of the building was about $13,000.
By 1979, church membership had dwindled to 12 and the decision was made to sell the church and neighboring parsonage (built c. 1890). In 1985 the buildings were sold to Faith Living Church, which made some alterations to the facade and the entry.
Across Church Street from the old Railroad Depot in Wethersfield (the subject of yesterday’s post) is an old factory building erected c. 1880. Early on, the factory was occupied by Hopkins & Chapin and then Bailey Manufacturing (aka Bailey & Co. book binders). The Elmer Tool Company occupied the building until c. 1914. It then remained vacant until 1919, when it was acquired by the National Machine Company (see “National Machine Co. Has Option on Wethersfield Plant,” Hartford Courant, October 18, 1919). It had remained in or had returned to an abandoned state by September 3, 1927, when the Hartford Courant ran a story: “Eight Boys Accused Of Vandalism: Charged With Having Damaged Abandoned Plant of National Machine Co. on Church Street.” It was reported that the boys tore slate off the roof, broke windows, stole a telephone and caused other damage. The following year the factory was acquired by the Gra-Rock Bottling Company. In 1980 the building became home to Clearing House Auction Galleries, a company operated by the LeClair family since 1955. Not long after the death of the company’s president, auctioneer and appraiser Thomas G. LeClair, in 2011, his sister decided to close the business. Earlier this year the Wethersfield Wetlands Commission approved a development proposal to convert the old factory for residential and commercial use and to erect a new building with 30 condominiums behind it.
The house at 110 Maple Avenue in Higganum in Haddam is a transitional Greek Revival/Italianate structure. It was built in 1856 by Storrs (sometimes spelled Stores and Storris) Lee Hubbard on land he had acquired the previous year. Born in 1825, Hubbard, a farmer, was the son of Stephen Hubbard and Sarah Johnson Hubbard. In 1846 he married Martha Ely. In 1894, Hubbard left $3,600 to the Middlesex County Orphans’ Home. It was used to pay off the mortgage of a house the Home had bought on Wyllys Avenue in Middletown c. 1890.
The former Machine Shop of the Cheney Brothers silk mill in South Manchester was constructed in several phases beginning in 1895. Extending from Elm Street to Pine Street, the 40,000 square-foot Machine Shop was built to repair German-made velvet looms. In later years, after the silk mill closed, David Rines operated a one-man machine shop on the lower level (Forest Street side) of the building from 1975 to 1995. Located at 175 Pine Street, the building was purchased by the Manchester Historical Society in 1999 and rehabilitated to become the Manchester History Center.
Today is the Ninth Anniversary of Historic Buildings of Connecticut! It’s been one post a day for nine years!
Frederick Belden (1818-1893) was a wealthy Norwalk merchant. C. 1850 he built the Italianate house at 75 East Avenue across from Norwalk Green. Frederick Belden married twice, first to Catherine E Gruman Belden (1822-1864) and then to Sarah E Hill Belden (1840-1911), the oldest daughter of Ebenezer Hill, a banker and founder of the Norwalk Lock Company and the Norwalk Iron Works. The Belden house is mentioned in Norwalk (1896), by Charles M. Selleck:
The Frederick Belden residence “on the green” supplanted the more ancient Grumman home, and was presided over by those to whom refinement and good breeding seemed a second nature. Mrs. Belden was gracefully dignified and of pleasing presence. Her good mother, Mrs. Gruman, who was for many years her daughter’s care, was, like her near neighbor, Mrs. Senator Thaddeus Betts, a feeling friend. Those of Miss Susan Betts’ school children who yet remain may recall how that good instructress was wont, during the noon recess on the green, to receive warm, appetizing viands, as a mid-day luncheon. She was unforgotten in the school’s generous vicinity. As the Belden children approached maturity the bright home invited the young. The second Mrs. Belden has preserved its reputation.
Most recently used as a funeral parlor, last summer the house sold for $250,000.
Some would date the house at 22 Main Street in Farmington to c. 1855 based on stylistic considerations (it combines Greek Revival and Italianate characteristics). The house, however, does not appear on an 1869 map of Farmington, so it has also been dated to c. 1870. It was built by William Gay, who operated a store in Farmington. In 1875 William Gay sold the property to his son Richard H. Gay. According to American Biography: A New Cyclopedia, Volume 12 (1922):
Richard Holmes Gay, the oldest son of William Gay, was born April 7, 1832, and died March 30, 1903. He married, September 25, 1856, Gertrude Rivington Palmer, who was born in Whitehall, New York, September 25, 1835, daughter of Hunloke and Mary (Rivington) Palmer. Their children were: Mary Rivington, Margaret Palmer, Anna Rivington, and Gertrude Holmes.
On the west bank of the Saugatuck River in Westport, at 2 Post Road West, is the National Hall Building. It was built in 1873 to house the First National Bank of Westport, two stores and a meeting hall called National Hall. The building was constructed at a time when the west bank of the river was Westport’s commercial and social hub and it represents the town’s growing prosperity after the Civil War. Horace Staples, a prominent Westport businessman and president of the bank was the driving force behind its construction. Various businesses have used the building over the years, including the Fairfield Furniture store and a luxury hotel, the recently closed Inn at National Hall, where President Bill Clinton once stayed. Today it is home to Vespa Italian Restaurant.