The house at 30 Tolland Green in Tolland is an example of a older building that was later completely transformed. It was built in 1848 by William F. Wescott as a simple gable-front structure. Daniel Ely Benton owned this vernacular residence for a few years while he operating a general store on the corner. Two doctors later owned it and practiced medicine here: Dr. W. H. Clark owned it until moving to New York State in 1888; it was acquired by Dr. Willard N. Simmons in 1889, the same year he received his MD from the University of Vermont and married Alice Phillips. As related in Men of Progress (1898), a Connecticut biographical compendium:
At the time he began his medical studies he was a nurse in the Retreat for the Insane in Hartford. After two years and a half there, he divided his time between the Hartford Hospital and the Connecticut Hospital for the Insane in Middletown, Connecticut. He was also Assistant to Dr. J. E. Root in the Hartford Free Dispensary. He began practice in Tolland, his wife’s home, in August 1889, and has remained there since, building up an excellent practice. Most of this time he has been Physician of the county jail and Town Physician. Under appointment by Governors he several times has examined prisoners as to their sanity. From June 1, 1892, to June 1, 1896, he was a Deputy Sheriff of Tolland county, and for eight years has been Medical Examiner of the town.
The house was altered to the bungalow style in 1922.
Knowlton Memorial Hall, located at 25 Pompey Hollow Road in Ashford, was built in 1924 to serve as a town hall and library. These facilities are located on the second floor, while a large hallway and auditorium occupy the first floor. The building was the gift of Charles C. Knowlton (1844-1924), a native of Ashford who was a partner in a Putnam silk mill. He resided in New York City, where he marketed the firm’s silk, but he would spend summers in his home town of Ashford. He gifted Knowlton Memorial Hall in honor of his father, Jonathan W. Knowlton, and his ancestor, Col. Thomas Knowlton (1740-1776), who had served in the Revolutionary War. Col. Knowlton led a company of men who fought at the Battle of Bunker Hill and was killed the following year in fighting in New York. Knowlton Memorial Hall was designed by Herbert Loud and is constructed of local fieldstone, reflecting a rustic aesthetic associated with the Craftsman movement. The Babcock Library, originally opened in 1866, was established through a gift of $3,000 from Archibald Babcock (1780-1862), another successful Ashford native who became a brewer in Charlestown, Massachusetts. Initially located in the Warrenville General Store, the library had for many years been housed in the residence of librarian Peter Platt before finding a permanent home in Knowlton Memorial Hall. Babcock also gave $3,000 to establish the Babcock Band, which is the nation’s oldest civilian cornet band.
The house at 23 Broad Street in Norwich was built 1913 (or c. 1920) for Henry E. Church, partner with William Smith Allen in the Norwich funeral business of Church & Allen. The company was then located at 15 Main Street and is now at 136 Sachem Street. The house is an example of the Craftsman style with a screened-in porch.
Horace H. Raymond (1897-1954) married Grace Lillian Lattin in 1924. Soon thereafter (about 1825) she built a Bungalow style house at 198 Hundson Street in Berlin. Horace Raymond worked as an engineer for The Stanley Works and additions made to the rear of the house contained his own shop. In the early 1930s he took on a personal project: developing a pneumatic operator for an automatic door triggered by an optic device. He patented his invention in 1934. The first commercial installation of his “magic eye doors” was at Wilcox Pier Restaurant, at Savin Rock in West Haven. Another set of his automatic doors can still be found at the main entrance of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In the late 1930s he established his own company, Raymond Engineering, which was based in Middletown.
One of the most prolific builders in the West End of Hartford at the turn of the century was William H. Scoville (1869-1932) (his brother A. W. Scoville was also a builder). W. H. Scoville had a distinctive way of taking the basic American Foursquare form and applying elements of the Queen Anne/Shingle/Craftsman/Colonial Revival styles in an individualistic way. His many houses show great deal variety in the way he combined and exaggerated different architectural features in each one. The house at 55 Lorraine Street, built in 1900, is a particularly intriguing example of his work that seems to be almost Asian-inspired.
As described in the 1917 edition of the Encyclopedia of Connecticut Biography:
William Harris Scoville, architect and builder, was born in Elmwood, a suburb of Hartford, Connecticut, June 10, 1862. Shortly afterwards his parents moved to Hartford, where he received his education in the Wadsworth street school. He learned the carpenter’s trade with his father and became a skilled worker. At the age of nineteen, being ambitious, he began contracting and progressed rapidly as an architect and builder, employing the services of draftsmen. Now for over a quarter of a century Mr. Scoville has made a special study of the development of real estate and general building, one of his special ideas being to sell houses on the rent payment basis. He has for many years been active in public affairs, both political and educational.
After the 8-room wood-frame Center School in Watertown burned down in December of 1906, it was replaced by the brick Baldwin School at 68 North Street in 1907. The new school was named for Truman P. Baldwin (1838-1907). An interesting Arts & Crafts building that combines Classical and Victorian design elements, the school was in use until 2000, when the town opened a new school. The town sold the building to a developer planning to convert it into elderly housing (neighbors challenged the zoning for housing in court). In 2014, however, the building was sold to the Taft School. Read the rest of this entry »
The building at 305 Main Street, at the corner of Peck Street, in Kensington, Berlin is currently home to the Berlin Historical Society. It was built in 1901-1902 as the permanent home of the Kensington Library Society. Founded in 1829, the Library Society had stored its books at various places around town before the building was constructed: first at the Kensington Congregational Church; from 1874 to 1877 at Hart’s Hall; next in a room in the Berlin Savings Bank; and in 1890 back at the church. In 1900, Susan A. Peck was a leader among those seeking to build a permanent home for the library. She convinced her cousin, Henry Hart Peck, to donate the funds for a new building, which was built on land donated by Miss Harriet Hotchkiss and Mrs. Fannie Hotchkiss Jones. The Library Society was incorporated in 1901 in order to receive the donation. The Peck Memorial Library building was dedicated on November 5, 1902. A modern addition to the library was built in 1963. In 1986 the Town of Berlin took over the library, thus making it a public institution. In 1989, the Berlin-Peck Memorial Library moved into a new building at 234 Kensington Road. The former building on Main Street then became the home of the Berlin Historical Society. The building was renamed the King-Peck Memorial in 1994 to honor Ron King, who was active in various civic groups in Berlin.