In 1893, Emily Wells Foster, a Sunday school teacher at the Morgan Street Mission School/Morgan Street Chapel in Hartford, started the nation’s first nursery for blind children in a house on Kenyon Street in Hartford. Her efforts began with her interest in a blind baby on Hartford’s East Side who spent his waking hours in a small pen in a dingy room. In 1983 she also became Assistant Secretary of the State Board of Education for the Blind, later serving as Secretary and Treasurer from 1901 to 1905. (“Will Honor Benefactor Of Blind People: Memorial to Be Placed on Grave of Mrs. Foster, Who Started Education Program Here,” Hartford Courant, November 12, 1936) The nursery school soon moved to a larger residence on Asylum Avenue. A grammar school was also added, which moved to a new building at 120 Holcomb Street in Hartford in 1911. A Colonial Revival building, it was designed by Andrews, Jacques & Rantoul, the same firm that designed the Governor’s Mansion and the Hartford Club. The Nursery and Kindergarten for the Blind had moved to Garden Street in Farmington, but later moved to join the grammar school in the building on Holcomb Street after a fire. The school would become known as the Connecticut Institution and Industrial Home for the Blind, then the Connecticut Institute for the Blind. In 1952 it was renamed the Oak Hill School. Today Oak Hill serves children and adults with intellectual, developmental and physical disabilities.
Albert Gurdon Gulley Hall at the University of Connecticut was built in 1908 as the Horticulture Building (aka Horticultural Hall) at a time when the school was called the Connecticut Agricultural College. It was the second masonry building to be erected on the campus. The first floor once contained a classroom, a laboratory and offices. The second floor had a lab and a large room for the Museum of Natural History. The basement contained spray apparatus for plant cultivation. Next to the building there was also once a greenhouse. The Horticultre Building was later named for Albert Gurdon Gulley (1848-1917), who was a professor of horticulture at the college from 1894 until his death. Since the 1960s, the building has housed University administrative offices, including those of the President and the Provost.
On Sunday morning, April 4, 1897, ten people interested in Christian Science met at a private house to hold the first Christian Science service in Bridgeport. At the testimony meeting the following Friday evening, April 9, fourteen were present. For two years the Sunday services and Wednesday evening meetings were held in residences. In 1899 the organization was strengthened by the coming of a teacher and practitioner.
In May, 1899, a Christian Science Society was formed and a room in the Court Exchange Building was engaged and suitably furnished to be used for church services and also for a reading room. The reading room was kept open every day and also Friday evenings. The first service held in the Court Exchange Building was a Wednesday evening testimony meeting, June 7, 1899; and the society was encouraged by an attendance of twenty-four at the service the following Sunday. In December of that year the society was dissolved, and First Church of Christ, Scientist, of Bridgeport, Connecticut, was organized and incorporated.
[. . .] As the church grew in numbers and in contributions, it was ready again to move to larger quarters, and the Froebel Kindergarten, at 871 Lafayette Street, cordially opened its doors. In 1902 the church rented the kindergarten rooms for the Sunday services, and in 1906, as the property was on the market, it was thought best to buy it. Reading rooms were furnished and finally a new auditorium was added to the rear of the building.
[. . .] In the spring of 1917 it seemed wise to take another forward step and remodel the church building in order to double the seating capacity. Architects from New York were engaged, and at an expense of approximately thirteen thousand dollars, the building has been strengthened and remodeled. The interior of the auditorium has been enlarged and beautified, pews added, and an organ installed. Various other changes have been wrought which make the building and its surroundings an appropriate place for Christian Science services. [. . .] The dedication service was held on September 15, 1918.
A new church, designed by Robert C. N. Monahan of Monahan, Meikle & Johnson, was built in 1958 at the corner of North and Clinton Avenues in Bridgeport. Because Christian Science churches can only be dedicated when freed of all mortgage indebtedness, the church was dedicated over five years later, on June 14, 1964. Today the building is home to a different church, the Holy Tabernacle Church Of God In Christ.
The two-story building (with a partially exposed basement) at 167 Boston Post Road in East Lyme was built in 1916 as the Flanders Elementary School. It was designed by architect James Sweeney of New London. It served as a school until a new Flanders Elementary School building, attached to the 1916 building, opened in 1964. The original school building then became the Central Office of the East Lyme Public Schools.
The first Congregational church building, or meetinghouse, in Newington was built in 1716. By 1784 the congregation needed a new building, but the bitter debate over where to erect it lasted thirteen years. Some members forcefully supported relocating the church from the center of the parish to the southern part. These members owned extensive tracts of land there and wanted to increase the vale of their property. The church society finally agreed to build the church in 1797 in the center of Newington. Those on the losing side separated from the congregation to build their own church, an Episcopal church called Christ Church, on what is now Church Street. The church only lasted for thirteen years and the building was then torn down. Newington’s Church of Christ Congregational, on the other hand, prospered. A parish house was added in 1893 and and a new two-story brick parish house in 1949. The 1797 church was torn down in 1960 to make way for the current church building, designed by architect Francis Newell of the firm of Jeter and Cook and built by Wadhams and May Construction Company. The cornerstone was laid on October 23, 1960 and the building was dedicated on March 5, 1961. A new three-story addition was dedicated in 1997. For more information see Barbara Lukens, “Facilities Often Shared By Newington Church” (Hartford Courant, February 12, 1956); Jean Weatherbee, “Dedication Set Sunday For Church Buildings” (Hartford Courant, March 1, 1961) & “Tombstones Mark Site Of Newington ‘Battle'” (Hartford Courant, April 30, 1961).
The house at 107 Cornwall Avenue in Cheshire was built in 1855. The house has been renovated a number of times over the years. The current doorway and front entry porch are thought to be the work of local architect Alice Washburn.
The house at 35 Rose Hill Road in Southport was not always a house. It was built in 1912 by the Southern New England Telephone Co. as its Southport Telephone Exchange. The business office was on the first floor and the telephone switchboard operations were on the second floor. The Telephone Exchange moved to reef road in 1947 and the 1,722-square-foot building was converted to residential use. For a time it was divided into two apartments until recent owners returned it to being a single-family home. The property also has a guest house that was once a four-bay garage used by SNET.