The building at 349 Main Street in Cromwell was built in 1853 as a Baptist church and later served as an American Legion Hall. The church was organized in 1802. According to Rev. Myron Samuel Dudley’s History of Cromwell (1880):
In 1803 the church built a plain frame edifice Meeting-House on the West Green, and held their public meetings there until 1833, when the house was moved to the central part of the village and placed on a lot nearly opposite the present site of the Post Office. Worship continued in this house until Nov. 3, 1853, on which day a new house of worship, located a little North of the old one, built during the pastorate of the Rev. C. W. Potter and largely through his instrumentality, was dedicated. This latter edifice was remodeled, somewhat, internally in 1872, and is the house of worship of the church at the present time.
The church disbanded in 1936 and the building’s steeple was removed.
Elisha Sage (1755-1801), of the Upper Houses of Middletown (now Cromwell) served in the Revolutionary War. A mason, he built bridges and worked on the construction of the Old State House in Hartford. Sage married Martha Montague. His house, at 64 West Street in Cromwell, was built circa 1776.
The house at 350 Main Street in Cromwell was built around 1870 on land purchased by Stephen P. Polley in 1869. Born in Chatham (Portland), Polley and his brother, Hiram Nelson Polley, moved to Wilmington, North Carolina, along with Levi Austin Hart of Southington and established Hart & Polley, a machine shop and metals manufacturing company. Stephen P. Polley later returned to Connecticut and founded the Cromwell Dime Savings Bank in 1871. He served as Cromwell’s town clerk from 1872 to 1878 and again from 1879 to 1881. After he died in 1887, his widow Catherine (from North Carolina) lived in the house until her death in 1891.
At 353 Main Street in Cromwell, between the First Congregational Church and the former Baptist Church building, is an Italianate house built around 1853. It was constructed for Rev. C.W. Potter, pastor of the Baptist Church, who had acquired the land to build the church and then built his own house next door. Rev. Potter sold the house when he left Cromwell in 1855.
The former parsonage of the First Congregational Church in Cromwell was constructed in 1834-1835 on Main Street. It was the second of three buildings to be constructed by the Church at the time, following the Academy building of 1834 and preceding the Meeting House of 1840. All three buildings are brick and in the Greek Revival style. The house remained a parsonage until the Church sold it to a private owner in 1965. The house’s Stick style circular side porch is a later addition. Read the rest of this entry »
Middletown’s Second or North Ecclesiastical Society was incorporated in 1703 in the community known as “Middletown Upper Houses,” now the Town of Cromwell. A minister was settled in 1715 and the congregation had their first meeting house on Pleasant Street. This was succeeded by a larger second meeting house, built in 1735-1736 on the town green. When Rev. Zebulon Crocker was pastor, the congregation undertook several ambitious building projects, constructing an Academy (1834), Parsonage (1835) and the third meeting house (1840), all designed in the Greek Revival style. The foundation stones of the church were dragged by volunteers across the ice on the Connecticut River from the Portland brownstone quarries. The architecture of the church was influenced by the Greek Revival of the old Middletown Court House, designed by Town and Davis. The upper tier of the steeple was lost in the 1938 hurricane and replaced in 1976. Read the rest of this entry »
The Riley-Gridley House was probably built around 1780 by Julius Riley, in Cromwell, at a time when it was a part of Middletown known as “Upper Houses.” Riley sold his house in 1784 to Isaac Gridley, with the stipulation that his two unmarried sisters could live in the house until they married; they never did and remained in the house, both living to be over 100 years old. Isaac Gridley was a graduate of the Yale Class of 1773 and had been a roommate there of Nathan Hale. He bought the house in Cromwell the same year he married Elizabeth, the daughter of Capt. John Smith. From 1855 to 1880, the house was owned by Elizabeth Crocker, the widow of Zebulon Crocker, the former minister at the First Congregational Church of Cromwell. Read the rest of this entry »