The house at 60 Main Street South in Woodbury was built in 1829 for Dr. Frederick B. Woodward. The house’s front porch is a later addition. In 1842 it was purchased by Alexander Gordon, Sr. (1814-1893) who owned a tannery across the street. His son, Alexander Gordon, Jr. (1847-1914) befriended the famous wanderer called the Old Leatherman. Gordon provided scraps of leather to replace worn parts of the Leatherman‘s patchwork suit. In 1915 the house was purchased by George H. Benham as a Christmas present for his wife Antoinette Judson Benham.
The building at 357 Main Street South in Woodbury was built sometime in the nineteenth century. Now home to a dental office, it was once the grocery and dry goods store of George N. Proctor, who primarily sold his wares door-to-door. In March 1909, Proctor’s wife disappeared after withdrawing from the bank nearly $1,000 bequeathed to her by a relative. A few hours before her disappearance another resident of town had also vanished: Rev. Charles W. Dane, pastor of the Woodbury Methodist Church. Rev. Dane and Mrs. Proctor’s names had been linked for several months and it was thought they had run off together. Just a week before, Dane’s wife had sued for a divorce, alleging intolerable cruelty. She believed he had been deliberately mistreating her to drive her away so that he could divorce her on the ground of desertion. Mrs. Proctor had arranged to meet the minister in New Britain, but he failed to appear and she went on to New York City alone. Mr. Proctor, who believed the minister had hypnotized his wife to lure her away, soon located her in the city Fifteen years before Proctor had also lost his first wife, who ran off with a clerk from his store.
Next to the North Congregational Church in Woodbury is the church parsonage. It was built circa 1828-1829 as a residence by Leman Sherman, who died in 1831. It passed through other owners until 1871, when it became the parsonage and has been a home to the ministers of North Church ever since. The parsonage, which was in danger of collapsing, was extensively restored and the interior modernized in 2012-2013.
Early Catholics in Woodbury were few in number and were subject to various ecclesiastical jurisdictions in the nineteenth century. While under the jurisdiction of Watertown, the cornerstone of a mission church was blessed on June 30, 1903, and the dedication was held on September 4, 1904. St. Teresa of Avila Church in Woodbury and St. John of the Cross Church in Middlebury were established together as a parish on March 1, 1916. The parochial seat was moved to Middlebury in 1922, but in 1955 St. Tereasa of Avila became an independent parish.
The Federal-style house at 19 Washington Road in Woodbury was built in 1830 by Joseph F. Walker. As related in The Town and People, a Chronological Compilation of Contributed Writings from Present and Past Residents of the Town of Woodbury, Connecticut (1901), edited by Julia Minor Strong:
The honor of longest service as “Chorister” [at the North Congregational Church in Woodbury] probably belongs to Joseph F. Walker (more familiarly known and generally spoken of as “Uncle Fred”). His voice was a peculiarly rich and melodious tenor, always pleasingly prominent in fullest chorus. The very tuning fork that he used for so many years is now sacredly kept by his son, F. A. Walker, of Waterbury, Conn. It always has a place in his vest pocket.
The house later belonged to the Dawson family, who opened a store in 1884 at the corner of Washington Road and Main Street.
As described in the Town of Woodbury History Walk, by Elizabeth Computzzi and William Monti, pp. 60-61, the house at 259 Main Street South in Woodbury was built by Josiah Beers between 1778 and 1784, when it was bought by John Rutgers Marshall (1743-1789), the first Rector of St. Paul’s Church. In 1809 the house was acquired by Judge Charles B. Phelps, husband of Rev. Marshall’s daughter Elsie, from his wife’s older sister and husband. Phelps used the house for both his law office and a tavern. After his death in 1859 the house became dormitory for the neighboring Parker Academy. The roof was raised and dormer windows were added at that time. In the early twentieth century the house was the Woodbury Inn and from the late 1940s until 1980 it was Rest Haven Manor, serving as housing for the elderly. Today it is home to The Elemental Garden, an antiques store.
At 5 Pleasant Street in Woodbury, facing the North Woodbury Green, is a house built in 1793. An imposing mansion with lavish interiors, the house was built for Daniel Bacon (1774-1828), a wealthy merchant, and his new wife, Rebecca Thompson, daughter of Judge Hezekiah Thompson. As described in Woodbury and the Colonial Homes (1900):
They entertained with a kind and generous hospitality. One of their descendants writes that Mr. Bacon was a remarkable man and his wife a queen among women.” They are credited with having the first cook stove in Woodbury, the ladies of the town expressing interest in the new invention.
Daniel Bacon inherited much business ability from his father Jabez Bacon for he was a successful merchant having a store near his home and adding to his already considerable wealth. He possessed great strength of character and filled a large place in the community in both political and church affairs. He was instrumental in having the North Church built on its present site giving five hundred dollars toward it.
Daniel Bacon, Esq. is vividly described by William Cothren in his History of Ancient Woodbury (1854):
In early life he was a merchant, as was his father before him, and in business added largely to his patrimony, already large; but he subsequently relinquished this for a semi-public life of ease and independence, employing his leisure in the care of a large landed estate, on which he resided until his death. It was here providence assigned his place, and this place he filled. In the struggle whence originated the north church, he had a large share of responsibility and labor, which he cheerfully bore.
In the community also, as an eminently useful citizen, he had his place, which he filled with credit to himself. Toward all ecclesiastical expenses he contributed a tenth of the sum to be raised, and said to others, “Come, fill the rest,” and it was done. Such a man, one to take the lead, and mark out the way, occupies a position in community seldom appreciated till he is removed from it. He was the friend of every young man in the town. Did a boy, “just out of his time,” in a trade, want a hundred dollars, Daniel Bacon gave it to him. Many of these, now first in society in point of wealth and character, leaned on Daniel Bacon’s purse and counsel in their “trial day.” Many in political life, had to assemble first, in Daniel Bacon’s “old counting-room,” in the old store now demolished, and take counsel of his foresight, and catch a little of his vigor, before they felt they were well prepared for the fray; and many, in different parts of the state, still remember him, pushed into the van and bearing the brunt of the fight in the legislature, at Hartford, in those somewhat Hudibrastic contests, for which our legislatures are making themselves every year more and more remarkable. When he died, it was found that men of moderate means, all over the town, were indebted to him, in small sums from fifty to two hundred dollars, for which he had their paper. Some of it, though regularly renewed, had been outstanding nearly a quarter of a century. This was because such persons found it inconvenient to pay, and he let the paper lie to accommodate them. Acts like this, in a man of large wealth, constantly dealing in public stocks elsewhere, where his money was worth double the legal interest, show the usefulness of the individual, and the sort of character he chose to make. It should be added, that he was a sincere Christian, and his monument has no epitaph but that consoling one of “Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord.”
In private life he was beloved by a large circle of relatives and friends. His doors were always open, his house always full, his tables ever groaning under the “old-fashioned profusion.” His descendant, now occupying the “old homestead,” said to the author the other day, “he could not but hear, almost every hour, as he walked about the grounds, the bustle, and almost roar of active life, that once swelled through the old mansion.” Alas, these old-fashioned men of strength and girth, this ancient hospitality of country life, are they not passing from among us? and do we not forget, in the hum and progress of the present, the old-fashioned, solid, country worth, that gave to such hospitality its greatest charm? We live, indeed, in a progressive age. Society is hurrying on with great velocity to a state of the highest intelligence, and the most extended power. The author is not of those who fear this state of affairs. He would, however, look back occasionally, receive the light of the past, and never forget the founders of that edifice that is so rapidly rearing its top in the sky.