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.”
In 1852 four Sisters of Mercy came to Hartford and opened a school in the basement of St. Patrick’s Church in Hartford. The Sisters of Mercy is a religious order founded in Ireland in 1831 by Catherine McAuley to teach and care for the sick and needy. In 1880, the Sisters purchased the Toohey Farm, formerly the Terry Farm, located between Steele Road, Albany Avenue and Asylum Avenue in West Hartford. The old farmhouse became a home for aged people and the produce of he farm supported the home and the nearby Mount Saint Joseph Convent. The house had earlier been the home of Rose Terry Cooke, a writer and poet known for her humorous fiction dealing primarily with New England village life. Additional facilities were built on the farm over the years, which would develop into the Mercy Community, which is devoted to the health and comfort of its members, focusing especially on the elderly poor. The Community offers adult day care, long-term care, rehab and assisted living.
The Mercy Community campus is dominated by a large building with two towers. Work on this four-story brick structure with brownstone trim, designed by John J. Dwyer in 1893, was begun in 1894-1895 (it opened in 1896). At that time, the central administration building was completed, as well as the chapel and the northern of two planned dormitory wings. A decade later (in 1905), the increasing demand for rooms in the facility prompted the construction of the south wing, which more than doubled the number of residents the Home could accommodate. Additional modern wings have been added to the structure over the years.
The Case Block, at 22-28 Spring Street in Bristol, was built as row house block of four apartments by the builder/architect Joel Case. It was constructed a year after Case’s Castle Largo, located on nearby Center Street, which is also built of brick. Case had laid out Spring Street and, after the Case Block, proceeded to build the other houses on the street. After many years of having its original Italianate style obscured by the loss of its exterior decorative elements (including its front entry porches) and many layers of paint, the Case Block was later restored to its original distinctive appearance.
Edinburgh Crescent, at 431-449 Washington Avenue in Bridgeport, is a row house block built in 1889. The Richardsonian Romanesque building was constructed by developers Edwin G. Sanford and Mrs. Lucien W. Shephers and was designed by architects Longstaff & Hurd, who also designed the building which is now the Barnum Museum in Bridgeport. In the 1990s, the dilapidated Edinburgh Crescent was converted to serve as low income housing.