On Washington Green is the H-shaped parish house of the First Congregational Church of Washington. It was erected in 1874 and was originally called The Hall on the Green. Owned by the Washington Hall and Conference Room Association, it served as a meeting hall, chapel and library. In 1927 it was deeded to the church and extensively remodeled. It was dedicated on June 21, 1929 and called the Judea Parish House after the original name of Washington’s church: the Parish of Judea.
Methodists in Norwich first organized in 1796. They built the city’s first Methodist Episcopal Church in the Bean Hill neighborhood in 1831-1833. As explained by Edgar F. Clark in The Methodist Episcopal Churches of Norwich, Conn. (1867):
The name of the Church Society, as appears in the minutes, was first called “Norwich;” in 1834, “Norwich North,” which appellation it has very generally retained. In local conversation, it is often called “Bean Hill,” from its locality.
The Methodist society on Bean Hill for many years held their public services in the venerable building which had served successively and alternately for a classical academy, a free school, and a Separatist conventicle. In this extemporized chapel, many of the early noted itinerants preached in their rounds. Here Lee, Asbury, and other messengers of the church, proclaimed their message. Here Maffit delivered one of the first of his flourishing effusions on this side of the water. When the eccentric Lorenzo Dow was to preach, the bounds were too narrow, and the audience assembled in the open air, upon the hill, under the great elm.
The present Methodist church on the hill was erected in 1833.
The church was altered in 1879 (the current pediments above the pair of blue doors date to that alteration). The congregation moved out of the building in the twentieth century (c. 1960) and it was then unsympathetically remodeled as a furniture store and is now a photography studio.
In 1873, the Saybrook Bank erected a new building on Main Street in Essex (its previous building, built in 1849, was taken over by the Essex Savings Bank). The Saybrook Bank was reorganized in 1907 as the Essex National Bank, which remodeled the front facade of the building in 1936-1937 to the appearance it has today. The bank later merged with other banks and today the building houses a branch of Liberty Bank.
The house at 126 North Street in Watertown was built in 1910 for Mary E. Woodward, who bought the land in 1899. A primary school was located in the house for many years during its ownership, until 1940, of the Woodward family. At some point an owner of the house replaced the siding, stripping much of the original decorative trim.
Nathaniel B. Wheeler, partner in Wheeler & Wilson, manufacturers of sewing machines, acquired land near the Green in Watertown (now 14 Woodbury Road) from Alanson Warren, Sr., on which he built an Italianate house in 1852. Later owners of the house, Harry H. and Charlotte Heminway, hired Waterbury architect Wilfred Griggs to remodel the house. In 1914 it was altered to the Colonial Revival style with the addition of front and rear two-level porches, French doors on the east side and a fanlight over the main entrance.
Dr. John Bagg Griggs was a general practitioner in Farmington, from 1897 to 1899 living with his wife, Mary Ellen Bolter, at 41 Main Street, where their son, Dr. John Bolter Griggs, was born. After next living at 101 Main Street, they moved to Stamford in 1903. After his first wife died in 1905, Dr. Griggs married again and moved with his wife, Valina D. Griggs, to Hartford in 1907. Dr. Griggs practiced as an internist until 1917 and was involved in the first X-ray laboratory in the city, established at Hartford Hospital in 1910 under the leadership of Dr. Arthur Heublein. Completed in 1918, the Griggs residence at 1380 Asylum Avenue in Hartford was designed by architect Edward Thomas Hapgood.
By 1996 the house had been owned by the State of Connecticut for nearly fifty years. Once used as offices but then left vacant and considered to be “surplus property,” the house was bought at auction by Peter and Diane Valin, who lovingly restored the much deteriorated house to once again become a grand West End residence.
Frederick Gunn, founder of the Gunnery School in Washington, was also the founder, in 1852, of the Washington Library Association, of which he became president in 1855. In the 1880s the Library Association evolved into the Washington Reading Room & Circulating Library Association, which opened a reading room in 1891. E.H. Van Ingen pledged land and money toward erecting a permanent library building in 1902 and the completed building was dedicated in 1908. It was designed by noted architect Ehrick K.Rossiter, who had become a summer resident of Washington. The interior has ceiling murals by Washington resident H. Siddons Mowbray and bronze busts by English sculptor A. Bertram Pegram. The local DAR branch had opened a historical room in a nearby house in 1899. This collection was turned over to the library in 1907. Originally located in the library’s basement, the museum later collection moved to the adjacent house, bequeathed to the library by June S. Willis in 1965. A new 7,500 square foot addition, five times the size of the original library, was completed in 1994. The plans were drawn by King & Tuthill.