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.
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. Read the rest of this entry »
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.”