The building on the left in the image above is the Woodbury Town Archive Building. Next to it, on the right, is a building that was opened in 1884 as the Corner Store by G. F. Morris and Louis E. Dawson. They sold dry goods, clothing and groceries. Starting in 1889, Morris was also the postmaster, a position taken over by Dawson when Morris left for another store in Hotchkissville in 1893. The building had several additions over the years as the store continued under the management of Louis Dawson’s sons, L. Clyde and Jim Dawson. The store eventually closed in the 1940s.
Not to be confused with another nearby Elijah Sherman House, the house at 50 Main Street South in Woodbury was erected by Deacon Elijah Sherman on land owned by Lee and Timothy Terrell. As related in the c. 1900 book Woodbury and the Colonial Homes:
The Sherman place is now occupied by Chas. Roswell, and the stone door step still bears the date May 19, 1791 A. D., chiseled on it. In the basement of this house, a tannery was located, later being moved across the street.
The house has been home to the Newell family since 1918.
At 366 Main Street South and Doolittle Hill Road in Woodbury is a house built c. 1823-1824 by brothers Benjamin and George Doolittle. The brothers divided the house equally between them, including the basement (the house is on a hill and there is an entrance to it on the left side of the house, not visible in the image above), where Benjamin and George each had a Dutch oven. During the War of 1812, Benjamin Doolittle (1798-1868) was a drummer boy with the New Haven Grays. He became a cabinetmaker, manufacturing chairs in Litchfield, and moved to Woodbury in 1822. He was an active member of King Solomon’s Lodge, No. 7, of Free and Accepted Masons and of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. From 1854 he ran an express business between Woodbury and New Haven, as well as routes to other points, such as Waterbury. He died en route to New Haven in 1868. The house remained in the Doolittle family until George’s widow, Betsey Collier Moore Doolittle, died in the Blizzard of 1888.
The small brick structure at 6 Main Street South in Woodbury was built in 1888 on land sold to the town by Charles Hurd with the stipulation that the town would retain use of it or ownership would revert to his heirs. The building served as the Town Clerk’s office from 1888 until 1952. It was renovated in 1986 by the Old Woodbury Historical Society, which uses it as a library and archive of old town records.
The house at 5 Judson Avenue, adjacent to the First Congregational Church in Woodbury, was built in 1829 by Benjamin D. Beecher. This is probably Benjamin Dutton Beecher, an inventor who built a steam boat propeller similar to the screw-propeller that would later be invented by John Ericcson. His career is described by Frederick J. Kingsbury in an article entitled “An Ericcson Propeller on the Farmington Canal” (The Connecticut Magazine, Vol. VII. Nos 3-4, 1902):
Benjamin Dutton Beecher was born at Cheshire, Connecticut, November 2, 1791, and was educated at the Academy there, the late Admiral Foote having been his school-fellow and life long friend. He learned the trade of a carpenter, and at the age of twenty-two, during the war with England, he invented the first fanning-mill for cleaning grain known to the world. This invention he patented May 13, 1816. In 1828 he was living in Woodbury, Connecticut, where several of his children were born. In 1830 or 1831, he removed to New York City. While living in Woodbury he received a patent October 20. 1830, for a grain-threshing machine. In New York he bought a steam tug-boat, which he commanded himself, and did a successful business and made improvements on the boat and engine. In 1832, when the cholera broke out in New York, he left with his family by packet for New Haven, and by canal to Cheshire. His son says that so great were the fear and the haste of their flight that they abandoned everything but the clothes that they wore, and that at some point they were quarantined for a considerable period in a barn. He then took up his abode in Cheshire, On the Mountain Brook road, near where the boat was built, and erected a shop with a water-power engine attached. When his dam broke away, being in a hurry to complete his boat, he invented and built a horse-power engine, which he patented in December, 1833. In one of his trips on the canal, Admiral Foote—then lieutenant—accompanied him.
In 1819 the Reverend Grove L. Brownell (1790-1855), the first minister of the North Congregational Church in Woodbury, acquired land where he soon (by 1824) erected a house. After Rev. Brownell left Woodbury in 1840, the house was deeded to three trustees, who then passed it on in 1845 to the church’s next minister, Rev. John Churchill (1811-1880). Between 1850 and 1853, Rev. Churchill moved the house to its current location at 94 Main Street South and built a larger house for himself on the original site. He sold the old house in 1855. The original rear of the house was replaced by a new addition around 1894.
The house at 6 Green Circle in Woodbury was built around 1823 for William Camp Cogswell (1796-1874). A merchant, Cogswell was twice married, first in 1821 to Frances Pomeroy Whittlesey (1801-1837); second in 1838 to Catharine A. Sherman. Cogswell ran a shop south of the house under the name Cogswell and Sherman. As described by W. A. Strong in a letter printed in The Town and People: A Chronological Compilation of Contributed Writings from Present and Past Residents of the Town of Woodbury, Connecticut (1901):
The pleasant days when I attended school in the old brown school house come back with greater force when the changes since that time are considered. Then the country store kept by Mr. Cogswell was where the people from far and near brought their butter and eggs to exchange for sugar, molasses, dry goods and Yankee notions. “Doc” was the presiding genius behind the counter, and we small boys looked with wonder and envy on the treasures he controlled. His fiddle was our delight and nothing could excel the music from his magical bow.