D. Luther Briggs and Albert J. Briggs were brothers from Sackville, New Brunswick, who came to Cromwell in 1871 and set up D. L. Briggs & Company, a wholesale meat-packing firm which imported western beef by railroad. The company is described, in The Leading Business Men of Middeltown, Portland, Durham and Middlefield (1890), as “dealers in Chicago Dressed Beef, Lamb, Mutton, Pork, Lard. Hams, etc.” D. L. Briggs moved to Middletown (to a house on Washington Street), eventually becoming the mayor (1890-94). Albert Briggs remained in Cromwell, living on Main Street in an 1891 Queen Anne style house, with Stick elements, until his death in 1901. His widow, Eugenia C. Briggs, was in Europe when the First World War started in 1914. 400 American “refugees,” who had gathered in Genoa, found passage home on the steamship Principe Di Udine.
The Edward S. Coe House, on Main Street in Cromwell, was built in 1876. Coe was the son of the Middletown butcher, Samuel Coe. He married Elizabeth Strickland Savage, a daughter of Ralph Bulkely Savage. By 1869, Edward Coe was treasurer for the J. & E. Stevens Company, founded by his uncles, John and Elisha Stevens. He eventually became president of the company (1898-1907). He was also president of the Cromwell Dime Savings Bank and was Cromwell‘s delegate to Connecticut’s 1902 Constitutional Convention. Coe’s house is in the Italianate style, which was favored by other members of the Stevens Family.
Constructed on Main Street in Cromwell in 1834, when it was still part of Middletown, the Upper Middletown Academy served as a private and a public school from 1834 to 1902. It was originally built as an extension of the Ecclesiastical Society, being right across the street from the old Congregational Church. In 1938, the Academy was acquired by the Belden Library Association (which later moved to a new location on West Street). The Greek Revival building, now used as offices, originally had a bell tower which was later removed.
Built on Prospect Hill Road in Cromwell in 1854, the Ebenezer W. Beckwith House is one of very few Octagon houses in Connecticut. The house served as a residence and boarding school, which by 1866 was known as the Mineral Springs Military Institute. Later, the house was rented by Dr. Winthrop B. Hallock as a retreat for the insane. In 1887, Hallock purchased the house from Beckwith’s daughter and it became the main structure of the private sanitorium known as Cromwell Hall. After Cromwell Hall closed in the 1950s, the house became the administration building for Holy Apostles College and Seminary. Various additions have been added to the building over the years, including the porte-cochere.
The Greek Revival-style home of Edward Savage, on Main Street in Cromwell, was built in 1837. Savage had inherited half of his father’s farm and then bought the other half from his brother. He was also involved with manufacturing, founding the Savage Revolving Firearms Co. in 1858. The house was later significantly altered, with the addition of the cupola, porches and a new wing on the north side. Some of these changes were probably in response to the popularity of the Italianate style on Cromwell’s Main Street in the 1850s and 1860s.
Joseph W. Waters was a New York-born industrialist who came to Cromwell and worked for the J & E Stevens Company. He married John Stevens‘ daughter Sarah and around 1865 he had an Italianate-style house built on Main Street in Cromwell. After Waters was killed in an accident, his widow married George Gillum of Portland. She lived in the residence until her death in 1896.
The Stevens-Frisbie House is an Italianate-style home built in 1853-1854 at the intersection of Main Street and New Lane in Cromwell. It was built by John Stevens, who came to Cromwell in the 1830s and, with his brother Elisha, founded the J & E Stevens Company, which manufactured hardware and toys, including mechanical banks. After John Stevens’s death, his widow sold the house to Russel Frisbie in 1892. Frisbie was superintendent of J & E Stevens and had lived in a neighboring house on Main Street since 1873. The house was passed down in the Frisbie family, until it was bequeathed, with all of its Victorian-era furnishings, to the Cromwell Historical Society in 1968. It now serves as the Society’s headquarters and is open to the public for tours as a historic house museum. The most significant alteration to the house has been the turn-of-the-century addition of a Colonial Revival-style front porch. Read the rest of this entry »