On Washington Green is the H-shaped parish house of the First Congregational Church of Washington. It was erected in 1874 and was originally called The Hall on the Green. Owned by the Washington Hall and Conference Room Association, it served as a meeting hall, chapel and library. In 1927 it was deeded to the church and extensively remodeled. It was dedicated on June 21, 1929 and called the Judea Parish House after the original name of Washington’s church: the Parish of Judea.
Frederick Gunn, founder of the Gunnery School in Washington, was also the founder, in 1852, of the Washington Library Association, of which he became president in 1855. In the 1880s the Library Association evolved into the Washington Reading Room & Circulating Library Association, which opened a reading room in 1891. E.H. Van Ingen pledged land and money toward erecting a permanent library building in 1902 and the completed building was dedicated in 1908. It was designed by noted architect Ehrick K.Rossiter, who had become a summer resident of Washington. The interior has ceiling murals by Washington resident H. Siddons Mowbray and bronze busts by English sculptor A. Bertram Pegram. The local DAR branch had opened a historical room in a nearby house in 1899. This collection was turned over to the library in 1907. Originally located in the library’s basement, the museum later collection moved to the adjacent house, bequeathed to the library by June S. Willis in 1965. A new 7,500 square foot addition, five times the size of the original library, was completed in 1994. The plans were drawn by King & Tuthill.
When the house at 86 Green Hill Road, across from the Green in Washington, was built in 1795 it was a story and a half with a rear lean-to and was known as Squire Marshall’s. Daniel Canfield bought the house in 1798 and raised it to two full stories. Not wishing to pay the $200 required to raise the first floor’s seven feet six inch ceilings, he made the second floor ceilings ten feet high instead. The house remained the residence of the Canfield family until the death of Daniel N. Canfield. Daniel and his brother Lewis were carpenters, farmers and abolitionists. Daniel N. Canfield was town clerk and treasurer and started the Washington public library association. In the 1890s his daughter Florence Canfield Kinney inherited the house, which was rented out for many years. In 1899 one of the small rooms was given to the D.A.R. to use as a historical room. Rev. Herbert B. Turner bought the house to use as a summer home around 1920 and hired architect Ehrick K. Rossiter to redesign the interior, replacing its many smaller rooms with larger spaces.
The house that now stands at 4 Parsonage Lane in Washington initially stood facing Washington Green. It was built circa 1790 by Samuel Leavitt as a store. His son William continued to operate the store, which was adjacent to the Leavitt House. At some point early on it was moved to its current address. For a time it was used as a school before being converted into a residence.
In 1819, on Washington Green, a meeting house was constructed on the site where the Judea Parish House stands today. The building had a large upstairs space for town and church meetings and the walls were lined with shelves that held the town’s first library. The first floor had several rooms. These were used for a time by the Judea Female Seminary, run by Mary Brinsmade, sister-in-law of Frederick W. Gunn, founder of the Gunnery School. In the 1870s, Gunn moved the building to its current location (16 Kirby Road), attaching a former one-room district school house to the rear. After Gunn‘s death in 1881, the house was the residence of his widow, Abigail Irene Brinsmade Gunn, familiarly known to Gunnery students as Aunt Abbey. For several years the house was a dormitory for the Gunnery School known as The Abbey. In 1912 it again became a private residence. It was remodeled by its new owners, who added a north wing around 1919-1925.
The third meeting house of the First Congregational Church of Washington is located at 6 Kirby Road on Washington Green. It was built in 1801 and has a later (1910) Colonial Revival front porch. The original spire and belfry were replaced in 1845. The Ecclesiastical Society in Washington was formed in 1741. Washington was called Judea until the town was incorporated in 1779. The first meeting house was built in 1742 a little to the north of the present building. A second meeting house replaced it in 1754. It was destroyed by fire in 1800 and the current building was then erected.
The house at 84 Green Hill Road in Washington was built in 1915 for Dr. Harry E. Stewart, a Yale graduate who came to town from New Haven as an assistant to Dr. Frederick Wersebe, whose residence and office was at 13 Wykeham Road. Dr. Stewart’s house had a gymnasium on the upper floor because of his passion for physical education. He served as the Physical Director of the New Haven Normal School of Gymnastics, Physical Director of the Wykeham Rise School for Girls and as Yale University athletic coach. The house was later owned by Henry S. Mowbray, an architect [I think he was the son of the artist Henry Siddons Mowbray], who converted it to contain three apartments.