The John Turner House (also known as the Turner-Stebbins-Chamberlain House) is a brick Federal-style structure at 290 North River Road (at the intersection with Route 44) in Coventry. The house was built around 1812/1814 for John Turner, one of several incorporators of the Coventry Glass Company, which made and sold a variety of bottles and other glass products from c. 1813 to 1848. Turner was later one of the founders of the Ellenville Glass Company in New York state. That company was organized in 1836 by a group of glass makers from Coventry and Willington, Connecticut. Currently under development is the Museum of Connecticut Glass, which has owned the Turner House in Coventry since 1994. The house will contain the museum’s permanent exhibits and offices, while a second building, acquired by the Museum in 2005, will house the institution‘s education and activity facilities.
The building which today serves as the Grange Hall in Coventry was built in 1834 by the Second Congregational Church of Coventry. Called the academy building, it was used as a chapel and a select school until it was sold to the Coventry Grange No. 75 in 1889. Formed in 1888, the Coventry Grange has used the building since 1890, making it the oldest continually used Grange Hall in the State of Connecticut.
Coventry was the birthplace of Lorenzo Dow (1777-1834), the famous itinerant Methodist preacher and major figure of the Second Great Awakening. The earliest records of a Methodist Society in town date to 1822, but there were no doubt Methodist meetings in town before then. The town’s first Methodist church was built in the 1840s, in what is now Patriot’s Park. In 1867, it was replaced with a new Italianate-style church, erected on Main Street in South Coventry. The church lost its steeple in the 1938 hurricane and it was never replaced. By 1944, membership in the church had dwindled such that the remaining parishioners could no longer maintain the building. In 1949, they merged with the Bolton Methodist Church. The former Coventry Methodist Church was used for a number of years as a community house for meetings and gatherings and in the 1990s contained antiques stores. In 2003, it was refurbished as retail space.
The library association in Coventry was formed in 1880. With help from a donation (requiring a matching sum from the town) from a wealthy California doctor, H. G. Cogswell, who had been cared for as a homeless 10-year-old by a woman from Coventry, the Library found a home in 1894 in a small former-Post Office building. The current library, known as the Booth & Dimock Memorial Library, was built in 1912-1913. Construction was funded by a bequest from Henry Dimock, a New York lawyer born in South Coventry, in memory of his grandfather, Rev. Chauncey Booth, minister of Coventry’s First Congregational Church, and of his father, Dr. Timothy Dimock. The old Greek Revival-style Thomas Clark Homestead, which had previously stood on the property, was torn down in 1911, amid much controversy, to make way for the new library. The Georgian Revival library building was designed by James M. Darrach of New York. A modern addition was constructed in 1987-1989, with a duplicate of the architecture of the old front facade being reproduced on the side of the building facing the expanded parking lot.
The Daniel Rust House, on Main Street in Coventry, was built in 1731. The house is now a Bead and Breakfast. According to its website, the house, “was established in 1800 by the Rose family as a place to rest and refresh yourself before undertaking the remainder of your journey.”
Constructed in 1876, to celebrate the Nation’s centennial, the building which now serves as Coventry‘s Visitors’ Center was originally the Town Office. The bankruptcy of the Tracy-Elliot Mills in 1929 led to the town’s takeover of the company’s properties and the conversion of their office building to serve as the town’s offices. The 1876 building then served as a post office through the Second World War, but later fell into disrepair. The building was restored and used by the town’s Bicentennial Commission in 1976 and was again refurbished by the Coventry Historical Society to serve as a Visitors’ Center on Main Street. Since 2002, it has been operated by the Village Improvement Society.
The Italianate-style Capron-Philips House, on Main Street in Coventry, was built sometime in the 1860s. It served for many years as a post office and later as an apothecary shop (or drugstore). The house is on a corner at an important and once quite busy intersection. A large elm stood nearby, in the middle of Mason Street, until 1938. It was known as the Meetinghouse Tree because notices were posted on it.