The brick Greek Revival house at 24 Hawkins Road in South Britain was built in 1835 for Judson Manville, a hat manufacturer. As mentioned in South Britain, Sketches and Records (1898), by W. C. Sharpe, in a section headed “The Hat Business,”
This was at one time quite a flourishing business here. One of the early shop owners was Judson Manville, whose shop was west of the church, on the east bank of the Pomperaug River, where a portion of the shop is yet standing. He employed about a dozen men, among whom was Thomas Solley, who afterwards had a hat shop at Kettletown, which was then a thriving community, most of the men being hatters by trade.
In the nomination for the South Britain Historic District, the house is listed as the Mrs. B. Chatfield House, built in 1850. The house’s wraparound porch is an early twentieth-century addition. The house was used for many years as the office for the nearby Hawkins Company factory.
Bradley, Hoyt & Co. constructed a textile mill in South Britain, on the east bank of the Pomperaug River (modern address: 24 Hawkins Road) in 1866. Two-story additions were later made to the original four-story mill. In 1901 the building was taken over by the Hawkins Manufacturing Company, makers of animal traps and other metal products. In 1895, the Hawkins Company, makers of tacks and buttons, had merged with the Blake and Lamb Company, animal trap manufacturers. The factory was powered by a nearby dam, part of which was knocked down in the Flood of 1955. The factory operated into the 1960s.
Having made the trek to the Congregational church in Southbury each Sunday for three decades, residents of the South Britain section of town petitioned the General Assembly to have four months of winter preaching near their own homes. The South Britain Ecclesiastical Society was formed in 1766 and built a meeting house on the Green in 1770. The current South Britain Congregational Church, located at 693 South Britain Road north of the first building, was built in 1825. The interior was renovated in 1869, when the pediments over the three front doors were also changed from semi-circular fanlights to one curvilinear and two triangular pediments (more in keeping with the Greek Revival style).
According to the National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination for the South Britain Historic District, the house at 712 South Britain Road in South Britain in Southbury was built c. 1795 and was the home of Dr. Baldwin, South Britain’s first physician. A more recent brochure for the South Britain Historic District, however, lists the Wheeler House at 715 South Britain Road as the home of South Britain’s first physician, Dr. Wheeler. The NRHP Inventory Nomination’s description of No. 715 lists it as the S. Johnson & Miss N. Mitchell House and does not mention Dr. Wheeler. The Nomination further relates that, early in the nineteenth century, No. 712 served as “Miss Pierce’s Academy for Fashionable Young Ladies,” which later moved to Litchfield, although other sources state Sarah Pierce‘s Academy was founded in her Litchfield home in 1792.
The house at 846 Southford Road in Southbury was built circa 1785. The house may have been inherited by Aaron Bronson from his father, Noah Bronson. A cordwainer (shoemaker) and button maker, Aaron Bronson (1768-1834) left the house to his son, Augustus, who sold it in 1847. With the exception of a later Greek Revival doorway, the house’s exterior is typical of a late eighteenth-century Cape. The interior is notable for its early Federal-style features. The house has a later kitchen ell, attached at the left rear around 1820. A modern wing was added to the rear of the ell in 1987.
Also known as the “Cassidy Saltbox” (it was once owned by John H. Cassidy), the house at 715 South Britain Road in the South Britain section of Southbury is an excellent example of an integral saltbox house. Probably built before 1735, it was the home, around 1750, of a Dr. Wheeler, South Britain‘s first physician. The house was owned by Rev. Bennett Tyler from 1807 to 1822. During that time, Rev. Tyler was pastor at the South Britain Congregational Church. He then became president of Dartmouth College.
Built around 1785 by Moses Downs, the house at 639 South Britain Road in Southbury served for many years as the parsonage of the South Britain Congregational Church. The house has a Greek Revival door surround, added in the 1830s or 1840s.