In 1778, residents of the area around what is now Prospect Green withdrew from the Congregational church in Cheshire and formed their own ecclesiastical society, known as the Columbia Society. Their meeting house was located on the Prospect Green, which is the highest inhabited elevation in New Haven County. The Prospect Congregational Society was formally established in 1798 and continued meeting in the original simple structure until a new edifice was erected in 1841, to the west of the Green. The previous meeting house was moved to a another site nearby where it was used by the Methodist church until 1858. After a fire destroyed the 1841 building, a new fieldstone church was erected. This too was destroyed by fire and was replaced by the current church, built in 1941.
The John Wesley Pentecostal Church was founded in Manchester in 1897. In the fall of 1907 (“Holiness Meeting in Manchester; In Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene,” Hartford Courant, April 10, 1908) the church became part of the Church of the Nazarene, a national evangelical denomination that formed in 1907-1908 through a series of mergers between various holiness churches and denominations, with the western-based Church of the Nazarene merging with the eastern-based Association of Pentecostal Churches of America. In 1958, the Manchester Church of the Nazarene moved from their original 1898 church at 466 Main Street to a new church at 236 Main Street. It was the culmination of a five-year building plan that included construction of a youth center (1954) and a parsonage (1957). The church’s pastor, Clarence E. Winslow, designed the buildings and prepared landscaping plans, personally clearing the land with the help of volunteers. Groundbreaking for the church occurred in the summer of 1957 and the following April (“Steeplejack Chore Planned by Pastor,” Hartford Courant, April 21, 1958) Rev. Winslow was lifted 90 feet by a giant crane to place a cross on the newly raised steeple. Rev. Winslow later moved to Florida where, in the 1970s, he led supporters of Creationism against the teaching of Evolution in Florida schools.
The Church of the Nazarene opened the Cornerstone Christian School in 1981. A new church building was erected at 218 Main Street in 1989, with Rev. Phillip Chatto this time attaching the cross at the top of the steeple (“Crowning touch installed at Manchester church,” by Randy Burgess, Hartford Courant, March 29, 1989). The previous church, now called the McLain Building, became part of the Cornerstone Christian School, housing the junior and senior high schools, and the former sanctuary was converted into a fellowship hall and gymnasium.
“New Place” is a dorm of Miss Porter’s School in Farmington. It was built in 1906 at 53 Main Street on the site of the old Rev. Samuel Whitman House. As related by Julius Gay in Farmington, Connecticut, the Village of Beautiful Homes (1906):
Crossing the road up the mountain we find on the corner the square house with the pyramidal roof and the chimney in the center, owned and occupied by the Rev. Samuel Whitman during his ministry. Parts if not the whole of the building are much older than its well-preserved walls would indicate. Tradition says the kitchen was built out of the remains of the old meeting-house and the Rev. William S. Porter who knew more about the history of the town than any man who lived or is likely to live, says that the house, probably the front, was built by Cuff Freeman, a colored man of considerable wealth, of course after the death of Mr. Whitman.
New Place was erected in 1907 by builder R.F. Jones of Hartford for Elizabeth V. Keep, then headmistress of Miss Porter’s School. Mrs. Keep lived there until her death in 1917. She willed the property to Miss Porter’s School. Her son, Robert Porter Keep II, became headmaster in 1917 and he and his wife, Rose Anne Day Keep, resided at New Place until 1929.
Starting as a general practitioner in the 1890s in an office on Main Street in Bristol, Dr. William M. Curtis’s successful practice allowed him to build an impressive Queen Anne house at 23-25 High Street in 1905. His residence also served as his office, which accounts for the house having two entrances, one for the family and one for his patients. Dr. Curtis married Genevieve Bierce in 1896 and the couple had a daughter. After Dr. Curtis died in 1914, his family sold the house to another physician, Alburton A. Dewey (1874-1935). Like his predecessor, Dr. Dewey both lived and practiced medicine in the house until his death. The house was then converted into a multi-family dwelling. The house has been documented as part of the Historic American Buildings Survey.
Washington Lodge No. 19, the first Masonic Lodge in the country named for George Washington, formed in 1791 in Monroe. By 1800 the Lodge completed what was the first Temple in Connecticut erected solely for Masonic use. This building was later moved to Hurd Street and became the Town of Monroe’s first Town Hall. A new Masonic Temple was erected in 1904 at 1 Fan Hill Road. It is a Georgian Revival structure modeled on the central section of the White House in Washington, D.C.
The house at 26 Tolland Green in Tolland was probably built sometime in the eighteenth century and was certainly standing by c. 1800. Recent research suggests it may be much older than the traditionally ascribed date of 1800. As explained in a post by the Tolland Historical Society, the land where the house stands was part of a 10-acre parcel acquired by Josiah Goodrich, Sr. in 1725. He had a trading shop on the property, which may have been located in the north wing of the present house. In 1750 Josiah Goodrich, Jr. sold the property to John Huntington, Jr.
The house is traditionally named for Judge Elisha Stearns, who was the first president of the Tolland County Bank, incorporated in 1828. The bank operated briefly inside the house until a bank building was erected in 1829. Frank T. Newcomb, Treasurer of the Savings Bank of Tolland and Tolland County Treasurer, served as postmaster and had a post office in the ell of the house from 1888 to 1893. In the nineteenth century the house was extensively remodeled in the Victorian style. It was later altered again in the Colonial Revival style.
A subscription library was organized in West Hartford in the eighteenth century by members of the Congregational Church. This became officially the West Hartford Public Library with town funding in 1897. The library remained at the church until 1917, when the first Noah Webster Memorial Library building was dedicated at 7 North Main Street. The building was also used for meetings by local clubs and organizations as well as the Town Council. This first library was soon outgrown and a new building on South Main Street was dedicated in 1938. Since then the old library has had various tenants, most recently Fringe Hair Works of West Hartford.