George J. Capewell (1843-1919) invented an automatic process to make horse nails. In 1881 he started the Capewell Horse Nail Company in Hartford. His residence in the city was an Italianate-style house at 903 Asylum Avenue, built in 1870. The house, long owned by the Holcombe family, was later converted to apartments.
The building that is called Winthrop House, at 166 Rowayton Avenue in Rowayton, Norwalk, was built in 1848 by Charles L. Raymond as a a four-story summer hotel. It has had many names, being called the Fairview Hotel by the turn of the century. It was a private home around the time of World War I, but then became a hotel again under various names over the years: Colonial Inn (1926), Pleasant Inn (1930) and Rowayton Inn (1935). During the Second World War it was purchased by the Bassler brothers. At the start of the twenty-first century there were plans to demolish the building, but in 2005 the Norwalk Preservation Trust worked with developer Andrew Glazer, the Rowayton Historical Society, the Rowayton Community Association and the Norwalk Planning and Zoning Office to restore the exterior to its nineteenth-century appearance. The interior was converted into three luxury condominiums.
According to the sign on the house at 196-200 Thimble Islands Road in the Stony Creek section of Branford, the building was erected in 1819 by Levi Frisbie. The house has been much added to over the years, additions including an Italianate cupola. In the 1860s it was the home and tin shop of Martin Bishop.
Built c. 1850, the building at 305 Broadway in Norwich was originally the home of Amos Wylie Prentice (1816-1894). Born in Griswold, Prentice settled in Norwich in 1823. As described in Representative Men of Connecticut, 1861-1894 (1894):
His first business experience was as clerk for W. A. Buckingham, subsequently the war governor of the state. In 1831 Mr. Prentice entered the employ of Mr. John Breed, a hardware merchant, in the store which proved to be his business home for the larger part of his life. Such was his faithfulness and zeal that in 1840 he was made a member of the firm, the name becoming John Breed & Co. In 1856 Mr. Breed went into a different line of business, and, with Mr. Amos C. Williams, Mr. Prentice continued the sale of hardware specialties under the old name. Six years later Mr. Williams died, and Mr. Prentice formed a new partnership with Messrs. William A. Williams and Francis A. Dorrance, taking the name of A. W. Prentice & Co. This connection lasted till 1888, when Mr. Prentice sold out his interest to his clerks who had been with him for a long series of years. The firm name now is Eaton, Chase & Co., the latter being Mr. Prentice’s son-in-law, and they carry on business along the same lines on which it was established nearly seventy years ago.
Mr. Prentice has devoted no small share of his time and talents to the management of financial institutions. He has been president of the Norwich Savings Society since 1890. With one exception, this is the largest savings institution in Connecticut. He has been senior director of the First National Bank of Norwich for over twenty-five years. Besides the financial-organizations mentioned, Mr. Prentice is a director in the Richmond Stove Company, and other companies of lesser note, and is a trustee of the Norwich Free Academy.
Men of Mr. Prentice’s stamp must expect to have official stations tendered them for acceptance. In 1854 he represented the old eighth senatorial district at the state capitol, and served on the committee on state prisons as chairman. [. . . .] In 1859 his fellow citizens elected him mayor of Norwich, and it was during his term of office that the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the city was celebrated. He was equal to all the responsibilities of the occasion, and nothing occurred to mar the festivities of the day. Mr. Prentice served his constituents so satisfactorily that he was re-elected the following year. The year 1877 again found him at the capital of the state, this time as the representative of his city in the lower branch of the legislature. [. . . .] He was a member of the judiciary committee, which is usually composed of lawyers, and was appointed on a special committee on the examination of the state capitol.
The house was later the residence of Alice A. Allis, who served as a Trustee of the Norwich Free Academy. Upon her death in 1957, Allis left the house to the NFA and it now serves as the Academy’s administration building.
The Italianate house at 289 Main Street in Kensington (in the town of Berlin) was built c. 1855 for Milo Hotchkiss (1802-1874). At first a painter, Hotchkiss became a wealthy landowner (in 1850 his real estate holdings totaled a substantial $5,000). He also operated a station on the Underground Railroad. Hotchkiss was a descendant of Gideon Hotchkiss, who served in the French and Indian and Revolutionary Wars. The biography of Milo Hotchkiss is given in David N. Camp’s History of New Britain: With Sketches of Farmington and Berlin, Connecticut (1889):
Milo, son of Charles Todd and Leva H. Hotchkiss, was born at Homer, Courtland County, N. Y., Oct. 10, 1802. He married Rhoda Barrett, a native of Kensington, Jan. 22, 1826. Mr. Hotchkiss improved the limited advantages for education which he had in youth, and acquired habits of careful observation and thinking which characterized him through life. He early developed a natural taste for drawing and painting, and devoted several years to portrait painting, which brought him steady employment until other interests required his constant attention. He removed to Kensington in 1831, where he passed the remainder of his life. He had the care of a farm upon which he worked a part of the time, but was largely occupied in the settlement of estates and in public business. He was for many years justice of the peace, and was notary public until his death. For more than forty years he was a member of the board of school visitors, and for much of the time acting visitor. He was untiring in efforts to advance the cause of education, and especially to increase the efficiency and usefulness of public schools. He united with the Congregational Church soon after coming to Connecticut, and was ever a liberal supporter of gospel ordinances. He was an ardent advocate of the temperance and anti-slavery reforms, sometimes suffering in person and property from the attacks of opponents of these causes. He died Oct. 12, 1874.
As a young man, Nelson Augustus Moore, a Kensington-born photographer and painter, was inspired to further his artistic career after assisting Hotchkiss in painting a life study of a child killed in an accident in 1842.
The Southport Savings Bank was chartered in 1854. The bank’s building at 226 Main Street in Southport (in the town of Fairfield) was erected in 1863-1865 across from the Southport National Bank. The bank became a branch of People’s Savings Bank, Bridgeport (later People’s United Bank) in 1955. The bank branch closed on May 6, 2016.
The building at 613-617 Main Street in Middletown was built in 1876 as a business venture by Edwin Scranton. The first tenant was John McIndue, who ran a confectionary and ice cream business. Later occupants were a bottling works and a printing company. The building is now home to St. Vincent de Paul Middletown. Founded in 1980 by the Sisters of Mercy and the Catholic Diocese of Norwich, SVDM is a shelter that serves the poor and homeless in greater Middletown.