The Colonial Revival house at 17 Broad Street in Norwich was built in 1923. Its first occupant was Mrs. Frances E. Leonard Johnson, widow of Robert C. Johnson, who had been Assistant treasurer at the Aspinook Company textile mill in Jewett City.
On the 18th of March, 1778, Mr. Joseph Strong was ordained as colleague pastor with Dr. [Benjamin] Lord [of the First Congregational Church]. The audience, gathered from all parts of the county, was unexampled in point of numbers, and the services were unusually solemn. Dr. Lord was eighty-four years of age, venerated and beloved by all, but small and frail in appearance, while his colleague, in the full glow of youth and health, large and stoutly built, stood over him like a sheltering oak. [. . .]
Mr. Strong was the son of the Rev. Nathan Strong of Coventry. By his mother’s side, he was descended from the Williams family, who were taken captives by the Indians at Deerfield, in the night of Feb. 28, 1704. The general circumstances of this tragedy are well known. The two little daughters of Mr. Williams who went into captivity with their father were named Eunice and Esther. The former was never redeemed, but being adopted into the family of a chief, she became attached to the Indian manners and customs, refused to return to her relatives, embraced the Roman Catholic religion, and married a chief named Roger Toroso, who resided at St. Johns, twenty miles from Montreal. Esther was ransomed and returned home with her father. She married the Rev. Mr. Meachum of Coventry, and one of her daughters became the wife of the Rev. Nathan Strong, who was ordained pastor of a Second Congregational Church in Coventry, in 1745, and was the father of the Rev. Nathan Strong, D. D., of Hartford, and the Rev. Joseph Strong, D. D., of Norwich. At the ordination of the latter, the sermon was preached by his brother, and the charge given by his father. [. . .]
Dr. Strong in person was above the middle size and stature, and he had a calm dignity of address which impressed every one with respect. This dignity, however, was blended with great kindness and courtesy, and his manners, far from inspiring awe, were gentle and attractive. In his latter years especially, it was delightful to listen to his conversation, flowing as it did in an easy, graceful stream, enlivened with anecdotes and enriched with sketches of character, curious incidents, and all the varied stores collected by an observant mind through long years of experience.
Rev. Strong married Mary Huntington. Their house was built on land her father, Jabez Huntington, had acquired from Peter Morgan. As related in Old Houses of the Antient Town of Norwich (1895), by Mary Elizabeth Perkins:
Mrs. Strong received from her father a large amount of additional land, both in 1784 and at his death in 1786, and Dr. Strong also bought adjoining land, so that their domain covered many acres, but the house site was on the Morgan land. We do not know when the Morgan house disappeared. After the death of Rev. Joseph Strong, the homestead was inherited by his son, Henry Strong [who became a lawyer], and is now in the possession of the latter’s daughter, Mary, wife of the late Dr. Daniel Gulliver.
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.
Colonel Joshua Huntington (1751-1821), a merchant and ship owner, occupied the house at 11 Huntington Lane in Norwich, built for him by his father, Jabez Huntington, in 1771. During the Revolution Joshua Huntington served as a Lieutenant in the militia at Bunker Hill. He also outfitted privateers to attack British ships. He was an agent for Wadsworth & Carter of Hartford, engaged in supplying the French army at Newport with provisions, and he had charge of the prizes sent by the French navy to Connecticut. He is described by Lydia Huntley Sigourney in Letters of Life (1866):
Colonel Joshua Huntington had one of the most benign countenances I ever remember to have seen. His calm, beautiful brow was an index of his temper and life. Let who would be disturbed or irritated, he was not the man. He regarded with such kindness as the Gospel teaches the whole human family. At his own fair fireside, surrounded by loving, congenial spirits, and in all social intercourse, he was the same serene and revered Christian philosopher.
As described yesterday, Ponemah Mills in the village of Taftville in Norwich began with Mill #1, constructed in 1866-1871, which was the largest textile mill in the world under one roof. In 1884 the company moved its weaving operation to a new building, called Mill #2. Smaller than the first building, it did resemble its neighbor by having two main stair towers. These towers have unusual double hipped roofs that meet at right angles with one side being higher than the other. Behind the building there was once a trestle used for the mill’s electric railway. In 1902, weaving was again moved to a new building.