Typical of the many middle class residences built in the West End of Hartford in the first decade of the twentieth century is the two-family house at 192-194 Oxford Street. It is one of a number of similar houses on the street erected by Malcolm A. Norton. The house was initially built in 1906 but was devastated in a fire on February 9, 1908. An article in the following day’s Hartford Courant (“Two Families Burned Out. Sunday Fire Wrecks New House on Oxford Street. Occupants Driven from Their Beds. Delayed Fire Alarm Largely to Blame for the Loss.”) gives an detailed description of the disaster. At the time of the fire, Bernard A. Block, his wife and two children lived on the first floor and three members of the Beardsley family lived on the second floor. The house was rebuilt: the nomination for the Oxford-Whitney Streets Historic District gives the house a date of 1908. The house has an unattached garage built c. 1920. A current resident of the house is a white bunny named Ruby.
The Goodwin Mansion at 1280 Asylum Avenue in Hartford was a large residence built in 1903 for Walter L. Goodwin, a member of Hartford’s influential Goodwin family. Walter Goodwin was the nephew of Rev. Francis Goodwin and the architect of the house, Benjamin Wistar Morris, was Rev. Goodwin’s son-in-law. In the 1950s the estate was sold to the state for use by the Cooperative Extension Service of the University of Connecticut. When UCONN moved its Hartford branch to a new site in West Hartford the mansion was sold to the city of Hartford for redevelopment. Sadly the real estate market fell apart after the acquisition and the mansion was left vacant and in a state of disrepair. The building burned in a fire in January of 1997, but the structure was considered stable and it was not demolished. Instead the 22-room mansion was restored by the Ginsburg Development Company of Hawthorne, New York, with seven condominium units. The house is the centerpiece of The Goodwin Estate, for which has 56 new town houses were also built.
Walter L. Goodwin is described in the Legislative History and Souvenir of Connecticut, vol. VII (1909-1910):
Hon. Walter Lippincott Goodwin, of Hartford, Republican Senator from the Second District, was born in New York City, September 3. 1875. He is the son of James J. and Josephine S. (Lippincott) Goodwin. He attended the Cutler School in New York. St. Mark’s School at Southboro, Mass, and then entered Yale, graduating in the class of 1897. On October 19, 1899, Senator Goodwin married Elizabeth M. Sage, daughter of Dean Sage of Albany, N. Y., and they have three children, Walter L., Jr., Henry Sage and Grenville. After graduating from college, he was with the banking house of J, P. Morgan & Co., in New York. three years. In 1902, he came to Hartford, where he has since been associated with the firm of J. J. & F. Goodwin. Senator Goodwin is serving his third term as Councilman of the city of Hartford. He was an aide-de-camp on the staff of Governor Henry Roberts in 1905 and 1906, receiving the title of Major. He is a director of the State Bank of Hartford, a trustee of the Society for Savings, president and secretary of the Connecticut Fair Association, and also a member of the Taconic Polo Club, Hartford Club, Hartford Yacht Club, University Club and Hartford Golf Club, of which he has been treasurer a number of years.
This week we’ll focus on some buildings in the West End of Hartford. The Seaverns House, designed by the firm of Goodwin, Bullard & Woolsey, was built in 1917 on a rise at 1265 Asylum Avenue. It was the home of Charles F.T. Seaverns, who taught Greek and Latin at Hartford High School, and his wife Mary Hillyer Seaverns, a granddaughter of Rev. Horace Bushnell. Her mother, Dotha Bushnell Hillyer, founded the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts. In 1927 the couple founded the Children’s Museum of Hartford. The property’s original landscape plan was designed by Olmsted Associates. In 1958 the former Seaverns estate became the campus of the Hartford College for Women, which is now part of the University of Hartford. The house is now Butterworth Hall, home of the University’s Entrepreneurial Center. Read the rest of this entry »
The Colonial Revival house at 17 Broad Street in Norwich was built in 1923. Its first occupant was Mrs. Frances E. Leonard Johnson, widow of Robert C. Johnson, who had been Assistant treasurer at the Aspinook Company textile mill in Jewett City.
The former Hall of Records building, at 66 Center Street in Manchester, was built of amber brick in the Colonial Revival style in 1896. Land for the building was donated by Frank Cheney (1817-1904). The building was designed by the Hartford architectural firm of Hapgood and Hapgood and built by Charles R. Treat. The Hall of Records contained the Probate Court and the Town Clerk’s office until a new Town Hall was built in 1926. 66 Center Street was then the home of home of the Manchester Police Department until 1954 and was used for various town offices thereafter. It was refurbished and rededicated as the Probate Court building in 1982.
The house at 564 Harbor Road in Southport was built in 1823 for Capt. Charles Perry (1795-1870), a shipowner and sea captain. His widow, Sarah Fitch Chidsey, lived in the house until her death in 1882. Their daughter Maria Perry then lived in the house until her death in 1901. A Federal-style residence, the house underwent alterations in 1889 when a rear ell was added, a two-story bay window was installed on the south side and an enclosed porch was added just above the front entrance. From c. 1915 until 1925 the house was used as the parsonage of the Southport Congregational Church.
In 1926 the house was acquired by Egbert C. Hadley, who soon hired the architectural firm of Clark and Arms to remodel the house. Under the direction of architect Cameron Clark the bay window and porch were removed and the interior of the house was altered: the original kitchen became the living room, a new kitchen was built into part of the original dining room, bathrooms were added to the second floor and two bedrooms and a bath were finished in the attic. Cameron Clark went on to become a renowned Colonial Revival architect and his partner John Taylor Arms became a leading American etcher. Very few examples survive of their early architectural partnership. Read the rest of this entry »
Congregation Beth El in Norwalk was founded in 1934 as a Jewish Conservative Congregation. A religious school was established in 1938. The Congregation met at the Norwalk Jewish Center until constructing their own building at 109 East Avenue. Ground was broken for the new building on May 9, 1948 and the first two wings, for the school and an auditorium, were dedicated a year later. In 1954 the Sanctuary was completed.