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.
In the early twentieth century a community of Hungarian immigrants was established in the town of Ashford. There is a Hungarian Social Club at 314 Ashford Center Road and at 200 Ashford Center Road is the former First Magyar Reformed Church. According to Ashford assessor records, the church was built in 1930 and was sold to a private owner in 2003. It was then renovated to become a residence. Next door to the former church is the Woodward Cemetery, which has burials primarily from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
The Samuel Weed House, at 2 Park Street facing Norwalk Green, was built in 1917. It may be named for the Samuel L. Weed who was cashier of the Fairfield County National Bank. The house is now used as offices.
The H. E. Bishop House, at 87 East Avenue in Norwalk, is a Colonial Revival residence, built c. 1905-1906. Designed by Joy Wheeler Dow of Wyoming, NJ, architect and author of American Renaissance: A Review of Domestic Architecture (1904), the house is modeled on the c. 1723 house at Shirley Plantation, on the James River in Virginia. The Bishop House attracted much attention after it was built, being featured in several magazines. In “Residence of H. E. Bishop, Esq., at Norwalk, Connecticut” (American Homes and Gardens, Vol. V, No. 21, February, 1908), Francis Durando Nichols writes:
The site chosen for the house was fortunately an elevated corner lot, more spacious by far than is usually to be had in the popular residential section of a city. Taking its situation as a keynote, the designer has given his composition an effect of massive elegance which makes it one of the most striking houses in its vicinity.
The house is surely not one of the million that we are perfectly content to pass by with never a second look. It compels attention, not because of any eccentricity in design, not because of any weird hybrids among its architectural motives, nor because of any unusual and dazzling color scheme, but solely because it does have that elusive quality of architectural distinction.
In “Four Colonial Houses” (American Forestry, Vol. 23, No. 279, March, 1917), Rawson Woodman Haddon writes:
The way by which we may preserve in the domestic architecture of today an undefinable charm—a certain warmth of personality with which American history has invested the wooden house——is what Mr. joy Wheeler Dow shows us in the buildings he has designed, and in his writing upon the various developments of American architecture, both historic and modern.
Frederick L. Scott built a house he called “Ingleside” at 113 Main Street in Farmington in 1894. Two years earlier Edward H. Deming had made Scott his partner in a general store on the west side of Main Street. Scott bought out Deming’s interest in the store in 1901 and succeeded him as postmaster the following year. Scott married Alice F. McKeen (1856-1912) in 1892. She was a music instructor at Miss Porter’s School and directed the Congregational Church choir. Scott sold the store in 1920 but retained ownership of the house for a number of years.
The house at 35 Wolfe Avenue in Beacon Falls was built in 1916 for Tracy S. Lewis, president of the Beacon Falls Rubber Shoe Company. The company had been founded in 1898 by Tracy S. Lewis and his father, George Albert Lewis. The Lewis House and its grounds are part of a neighborhood created on the highland above the rubber factory for the company’s workers. Called the Hill, the neighborhood was designed by the renowned landscape architects, Olmsted Brothers. Parts of the house may date to c. 1855, when the property was owned by the American Hard Rubber Company. The house later lost its original wood shingle siding. The town acquired the property in 2008 for future municipal use and in 2010, after a report was released on the feasibility of restoring the house, there were debates over whether the house should be razed or renovated. The house’s future remains undetermined.