A Baptist church was established in Ashford in the village of Westford in 1780. In 1848 a new church was built in Warrenville section of town, as Richard M. Bayles describes in his History of Windham County, Connecticut (1889):
John Warren, Esq., manifested much anxiety to have a Baptist church organized in the western part of Ashford, in a village on the turnpike from Hartford to Boston and Providence. The First, or as it was often called, the Knowlton meeting house, was not considered so central, nor easy of access as many thought desirable. But the people in the vicinity of the old church were greatly opposed to giving up worship in their sanctuary, and continued for a time to worship there after another congregation was formed in “Pompey Hollow,” as the place was then called. Mr. Warren offered a fund to support worship in the Hollow, and the name of the village was changed to Warrenville. A church was organized January 22d, 1848[.]
The meeting house was completed that same year (1848). Later called the United Baptist Church, it is now known as Living Proof Church.
About 1850 the town of East Windsor organized its schools into twelve districts. The 7th District School in the village of Melrose was built around that time and remained in use as a school until 1938. The Melrose Library was also located here from its founding in the 1930s until it closed in 1950. After that the building, located at 195 Melrose Road, was used by local community groups as a meeting place. In more recent years it was restored by the Melrose School Restoration Committee. The building’s Neoclassical front portico is a later addition that fits in well with the school’s Greek Revival architecture.
The ell of the house at 30 State Street in North Haven was built in the eighteenth century. This original home became a side-wing when the larger Greek Revival section was built in the 1840s. It was the residence of J. Boardman Smith and is thought to have once been the home of Oscar Benson, chauffeur of Frank L. Stiles.
Built c. 1800, the house at 2 North Street, corner of Main Street, in Plymouth Center is thought to have once been the Red Tavern, an inn on the Hartford Turnpike. In the mid-nineteenth century it was the home of George Pierpont and later became the rectory of the neighboring Episcopal Church, which is now the Baptist Church. Owned by the Baptist Church, the building is now called Gaines House.
In the center of Eastford is a Greek Revival building called the Ivy Glenn Memorial. It was built as a Methodist Church in 1847, the same year Eastford separated from Ashford to become a new town. In 1916, Eastford Methodists joined with Congregationalists to form a Federated Church and the former Methodist Church was sold to the town for $200. The building’s basement was repaired to serve as a place for town meetings. Restoration work was completed in 1934 with funds from the Civil Works Administration. The upstairs hall was now used for town meetings and the library and town offices were located in the basement. A new Town Hall was erected in 1969 and after town offices moved to the new building, the library was able to expand in the basement of the former church. This required a new renovation which was funded by a bequest in honor of Ivy Glenn made by her husband, Wilmer Glenn, a New York stockbroker who spent summers in the Phoenixville section of Eastford. The enlarged library opened in 1972. Another renovation was made after a fire in May 1979 damaged the front of the building.
Eastford is one of those towns in the state where the center of population nearly coincides with the geographical center of the township. Miss Ellen Larned, in her valuable History of Windham County, tells us that “the first inhabitant was John Perry from Marlborough, Mass.; who bought 350 acres of land on both sides of Still River and settled upon it near the site of the present Eastford Village.” The grave of this rude forefather of the hamlet may be seen, if I am not mistaken, in the old grave-yard back of the Congregational Church. From the beginning the chief settlement has gathered around this original spot. The village is favorably located, with a healthful environment, a fine outlook, and excellent water power. There are six roads which unite at the village green in front of the Methodist Church; and now that the state road is constructed the facilities for travel are all that can be desired. A fresh hope for the place can be confidently indulged in. The old-time saying of one of its people is fast coming more true than ever before: “Eastford is the biggest place of its size on earth.”
The Captain William Clark House at 45 Old Boston Post Road in Old Saybrook is thought to have been built c. 1780/1790, with later alterations made in the Greek Revival style in the 1850s when it was acquired by Thomas C. Acton. The house would become known as Acton Place. T. C. Acton (1823-1898) was a politician and reformer in New York City and was the first person to be appointed president of the city’s Board of Police Commissioners. During the early stages of the New York City Draft Riots in 1863, after police superintendent John A. Kennedy had been incapacitated due to a beating by the angry mob, Acton took active charge of police forces in Manhattan. This tense experience placed a strain on his health and after the Riots Acton took a five year leave of absence from the NYPD. He later served as Assistant U. S. Treasurer, a position he eventually left to establish the Bank of New Amsterdam. In 1896 Acton moved to his summer home in Old Saybrook where he died on May 1, 1898. The house remained in the Acton family well into the twentieth century.