Episcopal services began to be held in private homes in Southington in the 1780s. The first church building was begun in 1791, but was not finished for many years. Many early members of the church were not dedicated Anglicans, but were Universalists who joined because of doctrinal disputes with the town’s Congregational church. As described by Heman R. Timlow in Ecclesiastical and Other Sketches of Southington, Conn. (1875):
It was a difficult work to build the house of worship, but it was more difficult to sustain service after it was built. It was a very plain building, and had Gothic windows to distinguish it from the “meeting house.” It stood where David P. Woodruff’s market now is. The original “proprietors” held possession of it, and for many years there were legal questions as to its rightful ownership. It was finally sold and converted into a store. In 1860 it was burned. [...]
In 1828 the parish was united with that of St. Andrews, Meriden, then under the rectorship of Rev. James Keeler. Under the labors of this rector the parish gave signs of new life, it having thrown off entirely the Universalist element and established itself upon the doctrines of the Prayer Book. In 1829 the building was consecrated by Bishop Brownell. For a year or two there followed prosperity and harmony, but another secession took place in 1831 during the revivals that visited the town that year, and several of the leading members of the congregation became members of the Congregational and Baptist churches. Services were occasionally held by Rectors of adjacent parishes, and in this way a nominal existence was preserved. In 1840 the Unitarian movement absorbed most of the parish so that scarcely a remnant remained. [...]
In 1862 an attempt was made to reorganize the church under the name of The Church of the Redeemer. The Rev. B. F. Cooley officiated for a year, and he was followed by Charles Allen, of Trinity College, as Lay Reader, who labored zealously for a year. The enterprise however did not succeed, and it was abandoned in 1864. Occasional services have since been held in the town by the Rev. Dr. Horton of Cheshire, and others.
In later years, the Episcopal church was again revived in Southington and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, at 145 Main Street, was built in 1892 in the Shingle style. A parish hall was added in 1899. It was considered a mission church, until becoming a “self-sustaining parish” by 1919. The church added a new parish house and classrooms in 1957.
According to one source, the Scudder-Smith (or Smith-Scudder) House at 17 Main Street in Newtown was built in 1905 as a two-family house for two sisters. It was also the home of Arthur J. Smith, publisher of the Newtown Bee newspaper which began in 1877.
Frederic S. Newcomb was a New London dry goods merchant. His Shingle-style house on Vauxhall Street was built in 1896-1897 and was designed by G.W. Dietrict of New York. The pink granite for the ground floor was quarried in Maine and brought by barge to New London. In 1953, the house was converted into a convalescent hospital called Beechwood Manor.
The house at 66 Marina Park Circle in Bridgeport is a Shingle-style cottage built in 1892 for Charles B. Read. It was acquired by the University of Bridgeport in 1947 and served as Linden Hall, a women’s dormitory. The above picture shows the side of the house. Charles Barnum Read (1858-1912) was the son of David M. Read and Helen Augusta Barnum, the daughter of P.T. Barnum‘s half-brother, Philo Fairchild Barnum. According to Men of Mark in Connecticut, Volume 4 (1908):
Mr. Read has from his earliest years been closely identified with the social and civic life of Bridgeport, having resided there his entire life. He attended the public schools, and graduated from the high school in 1877, going from there into the mercantile house of his father where he occupied a position in the financial department and became thoroughly acquainted with the details of the business. In 1884 The D. M. Read Company was founded, and he became associated with his father, David M. Read, and his brother, David Farnum Read, in that corporation. [...] He is a lover of horses, an automobilst, and greatly enjoys different forms of sport, but perhaps finds his greatest relaxation in golf and squash. He is a member of the vestry of St. John’s Episcopal Church, and is always interested in any movement which may arise for furthering the interests of Bridgeport in social or municipal affairs.
Charles B. Read died on July 4, 1912 at his country home in Greenfield Hill in Fairfield. The water supply to his house was pumped in by a gas engine, 100 feet away. There was a break in the gas pipe and the gardener, John Ruhl, went to investigate. When he did not return, his wife went to find him and shrieked when she found his body. They were both overcome by the gas, as was Read, who suffocated while trying to bring the two bodies out himself.
The building now known as Infinity Hall in Norfolk opened in 1883 as the Norfolk Village Hall. It was designed by an unknown architect, but is similar to buildings in the shingle style by noted architect Stanford White. The building originally served as a cultural center and contained an opera house, general store, barbershop, saloon and several town offices. The theater closed in the 1940s and various retail businesses continued on the first floor until the building was closed in 1994. In 1998, playwrights and theater producers Maura Cavanaugh and Richard Smithies purchased and restored the building as the Greenwoods Theater, which closed in 2007 due to financial difficulties. It opened again under new owners as Infinity Hall, a performing arts theater and restaurant.
On Brightwood Lane in West Hartford is a Shingle-style house, built in 1900-1901. It was once part of the extensive agricultural estate of the Beach family, known as Vine Hill Farm. The farm was begun by Charles Mason Beach, who had earlier established with his two brothers the Hartford firm of Beach & Co., dealers in paints, aniline dyes and other chemicals. Beach settled in the area of South Main Street in West Hartford in 1859, purchasing a farm house. He began buying land for a dairy farm, which soon gained a reputation in the area for its high-quality milk, cream and butter. Beach’s son, Charles Edward Beach, managed Vine Hill Farm for many years and became a prominent citizen of West Hartford, serving on the town Board of Selectmen and being elected to the Connecticut General Assembly in 1907. In the 1860s, Charles E. Beach’s father had hired a German immigrant named Louis Stadtmueller, who planted the vines on the property which gave Vine Hill Farm its name. His son, Frank Stadtmueller, developed the farm’s process of producing infant milk formula that would keep for two to three weeks. Stadtmueller was later appointed Connecticut’s State Dairy Commissioner.
The house that Charles E. Beach built on Vine Hill Farm has an asymmetrical exterior covered with wood shingles, while the interior has rich architectural details. Parcels of Vine Hill Farm land began to be sold to developers in the 1920s, with the last piece of farmland being sold in 1948 by Charles Frederick Beach, grandson of Charles M. Beach. Smaller houses, built on the subdivided land, now surround the Beach House. The home’s original cobblestone port-cochere is now to the rear of the house, because the laying out of Brightwood Lane led to the entrance being shifted from South Main Street to the newer road.
The house at 86 Buckingham Street in Waterbury was built around the end of the First World War for Alfred Hart, vice-president of the R. F. Griggs Company. The house, which has cedar shake siding, was designed by Davis and Brooks of Hartford.