The former Methodist Episcopal Church in South Britain, Southbury, has long been vacant and is in a dilapidated condition. Located at 698 South Britain Road, the simplicity of its design contrasts with the more elaborate Congregational Church directly across the street. The early history of the church is described in the History of Ancient Woodbury, Vol. I (1854) by William Cothren:
The first society of the Methodist Episcopal church, in the present town of Southbury, was organized at the south part of the town, on “George’s Hill,” about the year 1803, and consisted of about six members. They met at that time in a building formerly occupied as a school-house. But, in a few years, it was greatly enlarged, remodeled, and made more convenient and ample in its accommodations.
The society continued to increase in numbers until the church was filled to its utmost capacity. It soon became quite too small to accommodate the worshiping congregation.
In the year 1832, the society erected and dedicated a larger and more convenient house in South Britain. There they worshiped until the year 1851, when the edifice was enlarged and made a neat and elegant house of worship. The society now (1853) numbers about sixty-five communicants, and the church is well filled with a devout worshiping congregation.
The house at 974 Southford Road in Southbury was probably built around 1830-1840, but it was adapted to its current Greek Revival form by owner Harvey Bronson. The original front facade was on the south side, but Bronson made the street-facing gable end the new Greek Revival facade, c.1850. A number of Bronsons lived in the vicinity, as described in the History of New Haven County, Vol. II (1892), edited by J. L. Rockey:
Samuel Bronson, who married Elizabeth Tanner in 1735, was the father of the Bronsons of this locality, one of whom, Harvey, had a rope walk. Noah Bronson was a cooper and also a rope maker. His son, Aaron, was a cordwainer and button maker. His son, Harvey, manufactured clock cord extensively for the clock makers of Bristol and Waterbury, and was the last Bronson thus here engaged. Abel W. Bronson, the second son of Aaron, became a well known blacksmith and gimlet maker. A grandson of Aaron, C. W. Bradley, became a well known railroad man in New York.
The Somers Inn, 585 Main Street in Somers, originally opened in 1804 as the Kibbe Hotel (some sources indicate 1768, which may have been an earlier building on the site). It was run by Warren Kibbe and then by George Kibbe. The building started as a Federal-style structure with a hip roof, but it was remodeled around 1860 as a Greek Revival building. In 1931 it became Ye Olde Homestead Inn, run by Alphonse and Hilda Joerg and George and Emily Schiessl. In the early 1960s was renamed The Somers Inn. The historic property, which has not offered lodgings in many years, has been a popular restaurant. It was recently sold and reopened in April as the Copper House Tavern.
In 1865, Horatio H. Abbe (1829-1902) of East Hampton built the Greek Revival-style north section of the house at 15 Main Street. The following year, Abbe was one of the founders of the Gong Bell Company, which manufactured bell toys and other metal toys. Around 1871, reflecting his growing prosperity, Abbe added the Italianate-style south section of the house, which includes a tower and veranda. As related in an obituary of Abbe that appeared in The Iron Age (Vol. LXX, September 11, 1902), Abbe was born in Enfield.
He was married January 26, 1853, to Miss Laura A. Hayes. After engaging in business with a brother he went to East Hampton July 31, 1862, beginning his business life there as a machinist in the employ of Markham & Strong.
January 1, 1866, he, with E. C. Barton, Ezra G. Cone and A. H. Conklin, formed the partnership of the Gong Bell Mfg. Company for the manufacture of the Abbe Gong Door Bell, of which Mr. Abbe was the inventor. This business relationship continued harmoniously and without a break for 33 years, or until the death of Ezra G. Cone, in 1898, when a joint stock company were incorporated, of which Mr. Abbe became the president and Mr. Conkiin secretary and treasurer.
Mr. Abbe was widely known in Masonic circles, of which he was a thirty-second degree member, he being prominently connected with a number of lodges and commanderies. The funeral services were held at his late residence, the interment being at Enfield, Conn.
Mr. Abbe is mourned by those who were intimately associated with him as an honored citizen and one whose generosity, loyalty and genial ways endeared him to a Iarge circle of friends and acquaintances.
Dating to 1857 (or perhaps as early as 1845 according to the nomination for the Hazardville Historic District) in the village of Hazardville in Enfield is the former Hazardville Hotel at 312 Hazard Avenue. The hotel was built and operated by Sylvester Charter. Today the building is used as retail space. Read the rest of this entry »
The house at 56 Hurlbutt Road in Gales Ferry was built c. 1842 by Stephen Gray, a carpenter. In 1863, Gray’s son sold the house to Thomas Latham (1840-1914), a teacher who had a select school on the property and taught at schools in Ledyard, Groton and Montville for 56 years.
Built around 1833 by Timothy Dwight Mills, the house at 184 Deerfield Road in Windsor is an example of one of the many brick houses constructed in town in the early nineteenth century. Timothy Dwight Mills (1803-1846), who married Sarah Welles, was a farmer and brickmaker. His brothers, Samuel Webster Mills and Oliver Williams Mills, also had houses on Deerfield Road. The porch was added in 1910.