The Hockanum Methodist Episcopal Church, later the Hockanum United Methodist Church, was started in the early 1820s in the community of Hockanum in the south part of East Hartford. It was one of the first churches founded after the new Connecticut constitution of 1818 guaranteed the separation of church and state. Their original church building on South Main Street was built in 1838 and was remodeled in 1883-1884. A kitchen wing was added in 1911. Rev. Benjamin C. Phelps, who was a minister at the Hockanum Methodist Church, built the octagon house on Naubuc Avenue in East Hartford in 1852. After the neighborhood grew rapidly during World War II, plans were made to move the old church to a new site, just 50 feet to the south, where it would form part of a new and larger structure. Before being moved, in October 1951, the old building was raised to create room at the new site for a basement hall. Completed early the following year, the new church consisted of the old sanctuary, remodeled and lengthened, with a new front entrance and a new education wing at the rear. The facade of the new church was 20 feet further from Main Street than its predecessor, allowing space for a front lawn. In 2007 the church (address 178 Main Street) was sold to La Iglesia de Dios Evangelica El Refugio.
In 1949 the Town of East Hartford opened three new or expanded schools: Hockanum School and Sunset Ridge School, both built in a similar Colonial Revival style, and a new addition to the Woodland School (originally built in 1928). On August 28, 1949, the Hartford Courant (“New Schools to Open on September 7”) reported that contractors had been ordered to focus on completing the classrooms, leaving gymnasiums, auditoriums and cafeteria kitchens until last (and therefore not yet fully completed when the buildings were opened to students). At Sunset Ridge School, at the corner of Forbes Street and Silver Lane, work on the grounds was focused on at least finishing one walkway as a dry summer had raised a considerable amount of dust. On September 25, 1949, the Courant reported (“New Building Contains 10 Classrooms”) that Sunset Ridge School, erected in less than a year at a cost of $825,000, could accommodate 350 pupils. The school was situated on 10-acre plot that had required extensive grading. The excess dirt had been used to fill in the site of the Woodland School addition and what remained was given to any residents who were willing to haul it away. A lot of clay had been encountered during the digging, which brought to mind that there was once a brick manufacturer located across the street from the school. A 12-classroom addition was constructed in 1951.
In 1911 the First Company Governor’s Horse Guards became Troop B Cavalry, Connecticut National Guard. Troop B soon began construction of a privately funded armory (with stables and drill shed) at 836 Farmington Avenue in West Hartford. The plans were provided by architects and troop members A. Raymond Ellis and Francis E. Waterman, who made the building very functional without extra features in order to keep costs down. Built in 1912-1913, the armory was soon officially acquired by the state. The unit served along the Mexican border in 1916 and in World War I as a Machine Gun Battalion. By the late 1930s mechanization was bringing an end to horse cavalry in the US Army. In 1940 the unit became part of the 208th Coastal Artillery Regiment and the Armory was converted to store large vehicles. After the War, the First Company Governor’s Horse Guards was reorganized as a state militia unit and today has a facility in Avon. The Army continued to house various units in the West Hartford Armory until the early 1980s, when the building was decommissioned and sold by the state. It was then extensively altered for use as professional office suites.
The Colonial Revival house at 110 South Street in Bristol was built c. 1909 by local builder George J. LaCourse (1880-1941). He first moved an earlier house from the site, that had been built about a century before by Thomas Barns, Jr. That house was later occupied by Barns’ grandson, Thomas Barnes (who added an e to the family name). LaCourse, who is credited with having built 250 residences in Bristol (both single-family and multi-family), later built a new house for his own family at 57 George Street. In 1918, the influenza epidemic spurred plans to start a hospital in Bristol. The Wallace Barnes Company, which owned the house at the time, sold it to the Hospital Association to use as a temporary home until a new hospital complex was built. In December 1921 the house opened in its new role with space for 22 patients and quarters for nurses. When the new hospital opened the house was converted into a multi-family dewelling.
The Town Hall of Watertown stands on the site where the town’s meeting house of 1772 had once stood. Town offices had previously been located in the Amos Gridley Store before the Town Hall was erected in 1894. The date is on the front of the building in Roman numerals: MDCCCXCIV. The Town Hall is an interesting combination of the Richardsonian Romanesque (similar to the former Watertown Library building across the street) and Colonial Revival styles. Read the rest of this entry »
The church was organized on May 5th, 1859, at the residence of John L. Burbank, on South Main street. Mr. and Mrs. Burbank were deeply interested in their church, and their home was bequeathed by them for a Baptist parsonage, nearly forty years after the church was organized within its walls. [. . .] The Rev. L. D. Gowen was chosen pastor at this meeting and the first services were held in Smith’s Hall, which is now Tilly’s carriage factory, on May 22, 1859. [. . .] A temporary place of worship called the Baptist Tabernacle was completed shortly before Mr. Fagan’s advent as pastor of the church [in 1861]. That building is now occupied by William Podmore, on North Main street, on the site of the present church edifice [built in 1885], on West avenue. [. . .]
The 1885 church building burned on February 2, 1936. Instead of rebuilding on the same West Avenue site, which had become a business area, parishioners decided to rebuild at 105 East Avenue and the church’s name was changed from the South Norwalk Baptist Church to the Community Baptist Church. The cornerstone was laid April 11, 1937 and the first service was offered October 17, 1937.
Between about 1868 and his death in 1900, Dr. Robert A. Manwaring had practiced medicine in a house in New London where the building at 225-237 State Street now stands. The building was constructed in 1913 as the result of a bequest by the doctor’s son, Wolcott B. Manwaring (to support a memorial children’s hospital). Designed by Dudley St. Clair Donnelly, the Manwaring Building has housed many businesses over the years. Read the rest of this entry »