Located at 1 Dyer Cemetery Road, just off Route 44 in Canton, is the former Dyer’s Inn and Tavern, which was featured in a recent article in the Hartford Courant (“Cars, Cash And Prohibition: The Legends Of Dyer’s Inn And Tavern,” by Dan Haar, July 27, 2014). The main house was built in 1789 by Isaac Wilcox, who moved to Pompey, New York, in 1801. In 1810 Daniel Dyer purchased the house and gave it, the following year, to his son, Zenas Dyer (1788-1856), as a wedding present. Zenas Dyer, a farmer, married Sarah “Sally” Chedsey. He opened the house as a tavern in 1821 and it soon became a favorite of travelers on the old Albany Turnpike. A tavern sign, made for the inn by by William Rice in 1823, is now in the collection of the Connecticut Historical Society. Each year, the tavern alternated the hosting of the Canton Agricultural Fair with Abraham Hosford’s Inn. Zenas, who also had a cider mill where he distilled cider brandy, operated the tavern until 1851 and the property then remained in his family for many years. In the twentieth century, Zenas’s great-granddaughter, Margaret, had a business selling fudge and salted nuts. As related in Reminiscences By Sylvester Barbour, a Native of Canton, Conn. Fifty Years a Lawyer (1908):
Mr. Zenas Dyer, grandfather of Daniel T. Dyer, was another man who took part in Canton’s setting-off proceedings. In 1812 he built the house in which the grandson lives, situated on the north side of the old Albany turnpike, near Farmington river, on an elevation commanding a fine view of varying scenery. Mr. Dyer used the house for a time as a tavern, sharing with nearby Hosford’s tavern the entertainment of the extensive traveling public. I well remember him and his son Daniel, who many years owned and occupied that house; both highly respected men. Daniel T., the only child of Daniel, succeeded to the ownership of that house, and resides there. He is the owner of some 500 acres of land, and is an honored member of the democratic party, to which party, if I mistake not, Zenas and Daniel belonged. The present Mr. Dyer and his estimable wife, to whom I have already referred, are royal entertainers. Numerically, and in winsome manners,’their children would delight the heart of President Roosevelt, and they help to make up a very happy family. Mr. Dyer’s exhibition at the centennial of his grandfather’s old tin lantern, which was a guide to travelers seeking a good inn to tarry at, attracted much attention.
The house was added to in stages over the years and the property had many outbuildings, some of which still survive today. Now the property is divided into six apartments.
The Methodist church in North Canton was built in 1871. The church, now called the North Canton Community United Methodist Church (3 Case Street), has an education addition at the rear, built in 2001.
A two-story building with Gothic Revival windows and a Doric columned entry porch (on the right in the image above) was built in 1908 on Market Street in Collinsville to serve as the Town Hall of Canton. The town hall later expanded into a much larger nineteenth-century building next door on Main Street (the large building in the image above). It was originally a commercial structure that had stores at street level and offices above.
The building in Collinsville that today houses the Canton Historical Museum is one of the original buildings of the Collins Axe Company. Built in 1865, it was used by the company for finishing agricultural plows. In 1924-1925, the building was converted to become a recreational facility for employees, with bowling alleys and a rifle range. At that time, the verandas and chimney were added to the north side of the building. Today, the museum features artifacts and memorabilia on three floors.
Since 1960 a former schoolhouse on the Canton Village Green has been home to the Canton Artists’ Guild. Now called the Gallery on the Green, the building dates to 1872, when it was known as “The Academy.” It was later called the Canton Street School House and functioned as an elementary school until it was closed in 1949. The Canton Volunteer Fire Department used it for meetings from 1950 to 1958, when a fire station was built. The schoolhouse was then rented by the Artists’ Guild until 1971, when the Fire Department deeded the building to the Guild for $1.
The Gleason-Harger House, on the Albany Turnpike in Canton, was built around 1784 by Chauncey Gleason, who was involved in the East and West Indies trade, first with Elijah Cowles & Co. of Farmingtion and later in partnership with Matthew Ives, of Westfield, Mass. Around 1835, the house was acquired by John Wesley Harger, a Deacon of the Canton Baptist Church, who replaced the original gambrel roof. The house was also most likely altered around the same time to its current Greek Revival appearance. The house remained in his family well into the twentieth century and is now used as offices.
In 1783, thirty members of the Presbyterian Church in West Simsbury (now Canton) separated to form a new church. Known as “separatists” or Strict Congregationalists, the new congregation split again just three years later, with about half of the members becoming Baptists. A Baptist church building was constructed in 1807 in Canton Village, on what is now Canton Green. In 1838, the church was moved to its present site, not far away on the Albany Turnpike, and remodeled in the Greek Revival style. The church had a bell founded in 1839 by George H. Holbrook of East Medway, Massachusetts. Later, in the twentieth century, the Canton Community Baptist Church moved to a new building on Dowd Avenue. The old church building is now used as offices.