Isidore Wise (1865-1956) was a leading merchant in Hartford and a prominent civic leader. The son of Leopold and Rosalie Wise, he was born in Hartford in 1865. At the age of eleven, he took his first job as a cash boy for $2.00 a week at Stern and Mandelbaum, a local dry goods store. At the age of twenty-one, with two partners, he opened a own store at the corner of Main and Kinsley Streets in Hartford, later buying out the Clark Company, located in the Cheney Building. Having run I. Wise & Company for several years, in 1897 he joined with Robert Smith and other partners to form Wise, Smith & Company, which opened on the opposite side of Main Street (You can read more about the growth of Wise, Smith in my book Vanished Downtown Hartford). Isidore Wise ran the store until 1948, resuming control in 1954, a month before it finally closed. Wise was a civic leader in Hartford, serving as a city councilman, alderman and police commissioner. He was also president of Congregation Beth Israel and the United Jewish Charities. In 1907, Isidore Wise and his first wife, Selma Stern Wise (1870-1931), moved into a Swiss Chalet/Craftsman-style residence at 810 Prospect Avenue in Hartford. Designed by Isaac A. Allen, Jr., the house has stylistic similarities to the nearby Charles E. Shepard House (1900), at 695 Prospect Avenue.
At 330 Main Street in the village of Hanover in the town of Sprague is a Craftsman-style American Foursquare house. It was constructed in 1913 by builder Peck McWilliams. The house was a wedding gift for William Park (1889-1971) from his father, mill-owner Angus Park, at the time of William’s marriage to Ruth Standish. The William Park House has stuccoed walls with Tudor-style decorative half-timbering and a porte-cochere on the north side.
Born in Galashiels, Scotland, Angus Park (1859-1929) emigrated with his family to Canada, where over twenty years he grew successful in the wool textile industry. As related in Men of Mark in Connecticut, Vol. V (1910):
He was employed there until 1894, when he came to East Lyme, Connecticut, and became secretary of the Niantic Manufacturing Company, being associated with an uncle, D. E. Campbell, and with a brother, William Park. He remained there until August, 1899, when he severed his connection with that concern and purchased the Allen Mill and properties at Hanover, Connecticut, which property is now known as the Airlie Mills. This mill had been closed for some time, and consequently was in poor condition. Mr. Park remodeled the mill and installed new and modern machinery at a great outlay of money. The mill is now one of the best in this region, and the product is a high grade of woolen and flannel suiting. In March, 1903, when the Assawauga Company, of Dayville, Connecticut, was organized Mr. Park became its manager, and one of its largest stockholders. In 1907, Mr. Park purchased the properties of the Crosby Manufacturing Company, at East Glastonbury, Connecticut, and organized the Angus Park Manufacturing Company, of which he is the treasurer and general manager.
In 1870, Father Patrick Duggett bought an old building (a former clock shop) on Farmington Avenue to serve Farmington Catholics. In 1885 Farmington became a mission of Plainville’s Catholic church and in 1918 St. Patrick’s Parish was established. A basement church on Main Street was dedicated on November 27, 1919. The completed fieldstone church was dedicated on June 11, 1922. The donated fieldstone came from stone walls on local farms. Located at 110 Main Street, the Church of Saint Patrick has a pew with a brass plaque reading “Misses Bouvier” – it was donated by the future Mrs. John F. Kennedy and her sister in the 1940s when they attended Miss Porter’s School.
One of the first buildings to be constructed at Avon Old Farms School in Avon was a carpentry shop (other early buildings were the Water Tower and Forge). The carpentry shop was later turned into the school’s Chapel in 1948 and named the Chapel of Jesus the Carpenter. The school buildings were designed by Theodate Pope Riddle, who utilized craftsman from the Cotswolds in England to construct buildings in a traditional English country manner. The carpentry shop is a half-timbered structure of brick nogging resembling similar buildings found in English villages that Theodate Pope Riddle had visited. Originally, students sat in the chapel on seats that faced each other along its length. The Chapel underwent a major renovation in 1999: the roof was restored and a new organ was installed inside. Next to the Chapel is a wooden cross, made in the early 1950s with hand tools using timber grown in the school’s woodland’s. It was placed in its current location when the Chapel was renovated in 2000. A tablet notes that it is dedicated to the memory of Donald W. Pierpont, Provost (Headmaster) from 1947 to 1968.
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Avon Old Farms School, which opened in 1927, is a boarding school for boys founded by Theodate Pope Riddle, Connecticut’s first licensed female architect. She lived at Hill-Stead in Farmington, which she had helped design. Planning for the school’s campus began in 1918 and the land was cleared in 1921. The buildings were modeled after English Cotswold and Tudor styles and utilized traditional English methods. Among the earliest structures to be built were the Water Tower and the Forge, located at the entrance to the campus, whose foundations were laid in 1922. The cylindrical Water Tower is constructed of red sandstone at the base, which melds into similarly-colored brick. Connected to it is the Forge, which has two large chimneys. Constructed of sandstone blocks and brick, it was built as a working forge and provided the metal hardware (hinges, door latches, stair rails, and lanterns) used throughout the campus. The Water Tower contained water until 1976, when cisterns were placed underground. It is now the Ordway Gallery. The Forge was later converted to classroom and meeting space and its exterior has recently been restored.
The Francis H. Holmes House is a residence of eclectic design (primarily Jacobethan, with Craftsman, Shingle and Classical elements) at 349 Rocky Hill Avenue in New Britain. Built in 1906-1908, the house was designed by architect Walter P. Crabtree for Francis H. Holmes, superintendent of the Holmes & Dennis Brick Company. The brick yard, of which Holmes’s father, John W. Holmes was a partner, was located nearby in Berlin, just a few blocks south of the house. The two men were also involved in the creation of the Central Connecticut Brick Company. Fittingly, for the home of a brick manufacturer, the Holmes House features a variety of types of brick. The house once had a porte cochere on the north side. Read the rest of this entry »
The Beach Memorial Library, on Main Street in Newtown, was built in 1900. It was the gift of Rebecca D. Beach, a descendant of Rev. John Beach, the first minister of Trinity Episcopal Church in Newtown. John Francis Beach, another Beach descendant, laid the building‘s cornerstone. It served as a library until 1932, when the Cyrenius H. Booth Library opened. The former library then became a private residence. The house was later home to John Reed, who served as Newtown‘s Superintendent of Schools for twenty years.