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.
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.
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.
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.
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’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.
The house at 23 Broad Street in Norwich was built 1913 (or c. 1920) for Henry E. Church, partner with William Smith Allen in the Norwich funeral business of Church & Allen. The company was then located at 15 Main Street and is now at 136 Sachem Street. The house is an example of the Craftsman style with a screened-in porch.
The official property card for the house at 6 Huntington Avenue in Norwich dates the house to 1708, but the nomination for the Bean Hill Historic District states that it was built in the last half of the eighteenth century and names it the Roger Huntington House. This may be Roger Huntington (Comptroller) who is described in The Huntington Family in America (1915):
Roger Huntington, born February 1, 1784, in Norwich, Conn.; married, January 30, 1814, Ann, daughter of Benadam Denison. She was born in 1784, and died September 15, 1819. He married for a second wife, August 30, 1820, Amelia Matilda Lambert. He was engaged early in life in trade, and was a man of most unwearied industry, and a pattern for the nice method and accuracy with which he executed every trust. His moments, not employed in his business, were most actively devoted to reading and study. He rose to a high rank among the citizens of his native town, in all those qualities which secure public esteem and confidence.
He represented Norwich, and the Senatorial district to which it belonged, in the State Legislature, and was Speaker of the House of Representatives while in that branch.
He was Comptroller also of the State. He died at his residence in Bean Hill, Norwich, June 27, 1852. The general sentiment of the community, among which he had always lived, was well expressed in an obituary notice in one of the city papers. It says, “We are pained to record the unexpected death of our most respected friend and fellow citizen, the Hon. Roger Huntington, of Norwich Town. Mr. Huntington was no ordinary man; and his high character and superior talents justly entitled him to the confidence and trust reposed in him by his fellow citizens.” His wife, Amelia Matilda, died at Norwich, Conn., May 27, 1883.