Cornielius B. Erwin (1811-1885) was a leading industrialist and philanthropist in New Britain. At his death he became the benefactor of the Erwin Home for Worthy and Indigent Women, leaving funds for the project to the Pastor and Standing Committee of South Congregational Church. Opened in 1892, the Erwin Home continues to operate today as a non-denominational residence for “worthy women of limited means.” With an address at 140 Bassett Street in New Britain, it is a large structure with several additions. Architecturally the Erwin Home is an example of the English interpretation of the Queen Anne style. The earliest section of the building, designed by Melvin H. Hapgood of Cook, Hapgood & Co and erected in 1891, consists of two wings that extend along Bassett and Ellis Streets and join at a three-story corner tower. At the rear of the Ellis Street side, facing the building’s inner courtyard, is a small gable-roofed tower. The first addition to the Erwin Home, made in 1894 and designed by Hapgood & Hapgood, extends along Warlock Street. This connects to another addition built in 1914. These later sections feature elements of the Tudor Revival style. Further addition were made in 1971 and 1973.
An early description of the building appeared in The American Architect and Building News, Vol. XXXIII, No. 814 (August 1, 1891):
The late Cornelius B. Erwin, of the Russell & Erwin Mfg. Co., left a large sum in the hands of the committee of the Congregational Church, of which he was a member, for the purpose of having a building put up which should be an actual home for such beneficiaries as the committee should approve, saying in his will: — “it being my object in establishing said Home to aid the really worthy and deserving poor, and not to encourage those who neither are, nor desire to be self-supporting.” The architects have endeavored to carry out as closely as possible the desires of Mr. Erwin, and, instead of planning a large high structure having the appearance of an asylum, a low, rambling cluster of cottages has been arranged for, all under one roof, yet each little portion retaining its individuality.
The Domestic English style of architecture was selected as being the one best adapted for giving the desired picturesqueness and homelikeness so attractive to destitute and homeless women. [. . . .] It will be seen that the key-note of the whole design is the furnishiug of independent homes for worthy and indigent women. It is well-known that many poor but respectable people have a strong prejudice, even horror of anything which is suggestive of surveillance or a binding down to rules in an institution.
Rogers & Stevens was a men’s clothing store in Norwalk. In 1922 the store erected the building at 27-29 Wall Street, which housed the store on the first floor (now used for a restaurant) and apartments above.
Built in 1737 by Nathaniel Lathrop, its prosperity was maintained by his son, Azariah. From here was started the first stage coach to Providence in 1768. In 1829 the property was sold to the Union Hotel Company, who erected the present building, which was later used for a boarding school.
According to Mary Elizabeth Perkins in her book Old Houses of the Antient Town of Norwich (1895):
Azariah died in 1810, aged 82, leaving the house to his widow, and son, Augustus [. . .]. Augustus Lathrop died in 1819, and in 1821, the administrator of the estate sells the tavern to Bela Peck. It was shortly after partly destroyed by fire. In 1829, the land was sold to the Union Hotel Company, who erected the large brick house now standing, which was used for some years as a hotel, but when the courts were moved to the Landing, lost its popularity, was later occupied as a boarding school, and was finally sold to John Sterry, who now occupies it as a summer residence.
In the early twentieth century, the building became The Johnson Home, a home for aged and needy Protestant woman (now accepting all denominations) incorporated in 1907 by the Connecticut branch of the King’s Daughters, a Christian philanthropic organization. A description of “The Johnson Home for Old Ladies” is given in the Report of the State Board of Charities to the Governor for the Twenty-one Months Ended June 30, 1920 (1921):
The Johnson Home is one of the more recently established places of this character and is situated near the Green in the Norwich Town district, about two miles north from the center of the city. Electric cars pass near the house.
The building occupied is a large brick structure, three stories high, which, some years ago, was an old-time inn. There are accommodations for eleven residents, and all of the rooms give an impression of home-like comfort. The management of the Home is liberal and few restrictions are imposed in the life of the occupants. An entrance fee of $500 is required for each person accepted as a resident in the Home.
The Johnson Block is a retail and apartment building built in 1910 at 705-713 Main Street in Manchester. Recently the Johnson Block was purchased by new owners with plans to make much-needed repairs to the building.
The developer of the Whitfield Shore condominiums, built in 1985 on the site of an old restaurant named Berenice’s, 446 Whitfield Street in Guilford, asked architect Wilfred J.O. Armster to create “something wild.” Armster’s modern design has such a distinctive appearance that it has been popularly known as the “Spaceship” ever since it was built. Proposing the construction of such a futurist structure in a town filled with so many colonial and nineteenth century houses led to a heated public hearing; but the building was approved and was built with Armster himself as general contractor.
The apartment building at 270 Sigourney Street in Hartford was built in 1916. It is a four-story structure. On two sides it has four tiers of wooden porches featuring “Chinese Chippendale” balustrades.
Now used as office space, the brick building at 96-98 Connecticut Boulevard in East Hartford was built in 1892 as an apartment building with four tenements. The building’s earliest recorded owner was George W. Darlin (1825-1916), who according to his advertisement in Geer’s Directory, was in the livery and trucking business, real estate and tenements and was a dealer in wool and coal in East Hartford. Darlin summered at Middle Beach in Westbrook. In the 1930s the apartment building was known as “The Clifford.”