Archive for the ‘Norwich’ Category

Ponemah Mills Office Building (1929)

Monday, November 27th, 2017 Posted in Industrial, Italianate, Norwich | No Comments »

Ponemah Mills, in operation from the 1870s to the 1970s, was a cotton textile manufacturer with a massive mill complex in the village of Taftville in Norwich. Along Norwich Avenue can be found Mill #1, built in 1871, and Mill #2, built in 1884. In 1929, the company erected a building for its offices, attached to Mill #2, directly in front of that structure’s north tower. The building is now home to Amazing Furniture. The former mill buildings are now being converted into luxury apartments.

Edmund Gookin House (1724)

Wednesday, June 7th, 2017 Posted in Colonial, Houses, Norwich | No Comments »

The colonial saltbox house at 199 West Town Street in Norwich, adjacent to Bean Hill Green, is listed in assessor’s records as dating to 1724. A sign on the house gives a date of 1723 and the name John Waterman, Jr. This is presumably the John Waterman (1694-1742), who was called junior to distinguish him from his uncle of the same name. John Waterman, Jr. was one of the neighboring proprietors who re-set the green’s boundaries at a Town Meeting in 1729.

The sign next lists “Edmund Quincy Gookin, 1726.” According to Old Houses of the Antient Town of Norwich (1895), by Mary Elizabeth Perkins, Edmund Gookin, or Goodkin, (1688-1740), of Sherborn, Mass., bought the Norwichtown house of Sarah Knight (who operated a tavern) in 1722 and resided there until 1733, later purchasing a house in the Bean Hill district. Gookin was a follower of the Church of England and the first Episcopalian services in town were held at his house in 1738. According to Frances Manwaring Caulkins’ History of Norwich (1866):

The Gookin House was on the central plat of Bean Hill, “bounded southerly on the main road and easterly on the Green:” (now belonging to C. C. Williams.) The last of the Gookin family in Norwich was an ancient spinster, Miss Anna Gookin, who held a life interest in tho house for more than thirty years, and died in 1810, aged about eighty.

The last listing on the sign is “Lt. Jacob Witter’s Tavern, 1774.” Lieutenant of a militia company, Jacob Witter (1737-1798) kept a tavern/public house at Bean Hill. He was the son-in-law of Capt. Ebenezer Baldwin, who sold Witter his Bean Hill house in 1778. Witter then used that house as a tavern. An intriguing reference in the Genealogy of the Allen and Witter Families (1872), by Asa W. Allen, reads:

Jacob Witter, son of Ebenezer, married and lived on Bean Hill. He had no children and was insane.

Today the house is used as offices. Read the rest of this entry »

Jarvis Hyde House (1780)

Saturday, April 15th, 2017 Posted in Colonial, Houses, Norwich | No Comments »

The most elaborate eighteenth-century house in the Bean Hill district of Norwich is the gambrel-roofed Jarvis Hyde House. Located at 5 Huntington Avenue, it was built c. 1780 and may have served as a tavern.

Allis House (1850)

Friday, February 17th, 2017 Posted in Houses, Italianate, Norwich | No Comments »

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.

Frederick S. Camp House (1880)

Thursday, February 16th, 2017 Posted in Houses, Norwich, Stick Style | No Comments »

The house at 124 Washington Street in Norwich was built c. 1880. By the turn of the century it was the home of Frederick Sewall Camp (1848-1907) and his family. Camp had come to Norwich in 1871 and became a clerk at the Ponemah Mill. In 1874 he married Harriet Bell Blackstone, the daughter of Lorenzo Blackstone, one of the mill owners. On January 1, 1907, having suffered Bright’s Disease for six months, Camp took his own life by shooting.

Former Bean Hill Methodist Church (1833)

Sunday, November 27th, 2016 Posted in Churches, Colonial Revival, Norwich | No Comments »

Former Bean Hill Methodist Church

Methodists in Norwich first organized in 1796. They built the city’s first Methodist Episcopal Church in the Bean Hill neighborhood in 1831-1833. As explained by Edgar F. Clark in The Methodist Episcopal Churches of Norwich, Conn. (1867):

The name of the Church Society, as appears in the minutes, was first called “Norwich;” in 1834, “Norwich North,” which appellation it has very generally retained. In local conversation, it is often called “Bean Hill,” from its locality.

Before erecting their church, the Society met in the Old Academy building, as described in Frances Manwaring Caulkins’ History of Norwich (1874):

The Methodist society on Bean Hill for many years held their public services in the venerable building which had served successively and alternately for a classical academy, a free school, and a Separatist conventicle. In this extemporized chapel, many of the early noted itinerants preached in their rounds. Here Lee, Asbury, and other messengers of the church, proclaimed their message. Here Maffit delivered one of the first of his flourishing effusions on this side of the water. When the eccentric Lorenzo Dow was to preach, the bounds were too narrow, and the audience assembled in the open air, upon the hill, under the great elm.

The present Methodist church on the hill was erected in 1833.

The church was altered in 1879 (the current pediments above the pair of blue doors date to that alteration). The congregation moved out of the building in the twentieth century (c. 1960) and it was then unsympathetically remodeled as a furniture store and is now a photography studio.

Jesse Brown Tavern (1790)

Saturday, November 26th, 2016 Posted in Federal Style, Norwich, Taverns & Inns | No Comments »

Jesse Brown Tavern

Jesse Brown’s house in Norwich, at 77 East Town Street, facing Norwichtown Green, was licensed as a tavern and stage coach stop in 1790. President John Adams and First Lady Abigail Adams were guests at the Tavern on August 1, 1797. The Tavern was sold to William Williams of New London in 1814. Captain Bela Peck owned it from 1817 until his death in 1850. The next owner, Moses Pierce, bought the building in 1855. He gave it to the United Workers of Norwich to be used as a home for poor and orphaned children. It was called the Rock Nook Home, which is today part of United Community & Family Services.