Captain Nathaniel Root, Sr. (1757-1840), a farmer, was one of the original seven proprietors who in 1813 agreed to erect a glass factory in Coventry, along the Boston Post Road. The Coventry glassworks would be in operation until 1849. Root built the Federal-style house at 1046 Boston Turnpike in 1809.
In 1822 Solomon Bidwell built a three-floor hotel at 1220 Main Street in Coventry. After Solomon died in 1858, his son Nathan Lyman ran the business, adding a wing to expand the hotel. When Nathan L. Bidwell died in 1877, it passed to his son Charles (died 1881) and then to Charles’ widow Lydia (died 1918). The hotel ceased operating in 1938. The Greek Revival building has a Colonial Revival two-story open porch across its front facade, added in the early twentieth century.
The main block of the Loomis-Pomeroy House, located at 1747 Boston Turnpike in North Coventry, is a transitional Federal-Greek Revival house. It was probably built c. 1833 by Eleazer Pomeroy (1776-1867), who had been operating a tavern in the vicinity since 1801. He deeded the house to his son George in 1843 and the Pomeroy family continued to own the house and farm until 1873. After passing through various owners, the property was acquired by James Otis Freeman in 1881. It was then owned by Freeman’s daughter Louise and her husband S. Noble Loomis and remained in the Loomis family until 1987. The Loomis farm, called Meadowbrook, extended to 100 acres, but was subdivided after 1968. Louise Loomis was librarian at the Porter Memorial Library across the street. In 1987, June Loomis bequeathed the house to the library association. It was eventually owned by the Town of Coventry, which leased to Coventry Preservation Advocacy for restoration and later sold it to support the Booth & Dimock Memorial Library.
At the northwest corner of the Boston Turnpike at 21 Bread & Milk Street in Coventry is a house built circa 1735 by John Wilson (1702-1773). After his death in 1773, the house passed to his son William (1729-1819), who married Sarah Rust, and his grandson Jacob (1749-1826), who married Hannah Dimmock in 1771. Jacob Wilson operated a tavern at the house from 1773 until 1817, when he sold the property to Joshua Frink.
Another early tavern in Coventry was the Pomeroy Tavern, at 1804 Boston Turnpike. It was built in 1801 by Eleazer Pomeroy II (1776-1867) to take advantage of the opening of the Boston Turnpike in 1804. By 1810 the Tavern was also a stage house where stagecoaches would stop (stages had previously stopped at the Hunt House to the west). Pomeroy placed some advertisements in the Hartford Courant seeking to sell the property in 1810-1811. One of these (appearing March 27, April 17 and May 29, 1811) reads:
That valuable and well-known stand, now occupied as a tavern and stage-house, situated in Coventry, north society, thirty rods west of the meeting-house, and sixteen miles from Hartford, on the great middle turnpike and stage-road from Hartford to Boston, and near the intersection of the Providence turnpike-road through Windham, with a large convenient two-story house and large stables almost new, and other out-buildings; and from 30 to 40 acres of choice land under high cultivation, well proportioned for mowing, pasturing, &c; with a well and aqueduct conveying water into the kitchen and barn. Said stand will be sold, a bargain, and possession given when wished.
Samuel Tracy Loomis (1819-1896), a farmer, acquired the property in 1868 and ran a hotel there until he moved to Andover in 1891. He also served as postmaster and the local post office continued to be at the building until 1905. Early stenciling from c. 1815 was found under later wallpaper in the hall on the building’s second floor.
The precise date for the construction of Brigham’s Tavern, at 12 Boston Turnpike in Coventry, is uncertain, but what is certain is that George Washington stopped here for breakfast on November 9, 1789. The full entry from Washington’s Diary for that day reads as follows:
Set out about 7 o’clock, and for the first 24 miles had hilly, rocky, and disagreeable roads; the remaining 10 was level and good, but in places sandy. Arrived at Hartford a little before four. We passed through Mansfield, (which is a very hilly country, and the township in which they make the greatest qty. of silk of any in the State,) and breakfasted at one Brigham’s, in Coventry. Stopped at Woodbridge’s in Et. Hartford [now in Manchester], where the level land is entered upon, and from whence, through East Hartford, the country is pleasant, and the land in places very good; in others sandy and weak. I find by conversing with the farmers along this road, that a medium crop of wheat to the acre is about 15 bushels—of corn, 20—of oats, the same —and in their strong and fresh lands they get as much wheat as they can rye to the acre—but in warm or sandy land the latter yields most. They go more, however, upon grazing than either; and consequently beef, butter and cheese, with pork, are the articles which they carry to market.
The tavern served travelers from 1778 into the nineteenth century. Uriah Brigham, son of Elnathan Brigham, had acquired the property in 1753 from Mathias Marsh. He occupied what is now the rear section of the building, which may date to c. 1717. His son Gershom Brigham was the first tavern-keeper, constructing the tavern sometime before it was first licenced in 1778. The west section was also built around that time or a little later. The sections of the building have been much altered over the years.
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.