The current City Hall of Norwalk (125 East Avenue) was built in 1938 as Norwalk High School. Its original entrance, since altered, faced East Avenue. It and other buildings in Norwalk contain one of the largest collections of WPA Depression era murals in the country (45). Twenty-three of the City Hall murals were restored in the 1980s. Others were brought to the building bringing the total on display there to thirty-one (now thirty after the recent removal of a controversial painting). The High School moved to a new building in 1971 and the 1938 building became City Hall in place of the 1912 City Hall in South Norwalk (which became home to the Norwalk Museum until 2011).
Gilead Hall was erected to serve as a public meeting and gathering place for residents of the Gilead section of Hebron. Built by the Gilead Hall Association, it was dedicated on September 4, 1905. It was used as a Grange Hall until 1950. In 1978 it was converted into a residence and has a much modified interior. Its modern address is 667 Gilead Street.
The building at 945 Main Street in Manchester was built in 1909 to replace the Oak Hill Building that had stood on the site but was destroyed in a fire in 1909. Since 1897, that building had contained the dry goods store of Edwin E. House and Justus W. Hale, who quickly hired architect Isaac A. Allen, Jr. to design a replacement structure. The new House & Hale Building would be larger than its predecessor and a two-story wooden building (could it be this one?), next to the adjacent Cheney Block, was moved to the rear to make way for the structure. House & Hale, who had begun with two separate stores (begun in 1853 and 1875 respectively), soon evolved their joint businesses into a full department store which, by 1920, also had a self-serve grocery store in the basement. The department store was in business until January, 1980. The building was then converted into rental office space and is now called “One Heritage Place.”
The building at the corner of Myrtle and Linden Streets (63 Linden Street) in Manchester was built in 1940 by Temple Beth Shalom. The synagogue added a school wing in 1946. The Temple later moved to a larger building at 400 Middle Turnpike East and in 2009 merged with Temple B’nai Israel of Rockville to form Beth Shalom B’nai Isreal, which is one of the largest Conservative Jewish congregations east of the Connecticut River. The former Temple Beth Shalom building was purchased by the Town of Manchester in 1965 and was remodeled to become the Manchester Senior Center. Today it houses the Manchester Youth Service Bureau.
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.