The Wallingford Public Library was first organized in 1881 as The Ladies’ Library and Reading Room Association. In its early years, the library occupied space in several locations, including the Wallace Block and the Simpson Block. The library was able to move into its own building through a bequest of Samuel Simpson (1814-1894) in memory of his daughter, Martha DeEtte Simpson (1841-1882). He donated land at 60 North Main Street, $25,000 for construction and $20,000 for an endowment fund. The cornerstone of the building, designed by Wilson Potter, was laid on September 21, 1899 by Margaret Tibbits, Samuel Simpson’s great-granddaughter. That same year, the library became a free library. In 1958 membership was opened to men as well as women and the name was legally changed to the Wallingford Public Library Association. An addition was constructed in 1931 and the building was extensively renovated in 1962, but the need for more space led to the construction of a new library at 200 North Main Street in 1982. The cornerstone for the new structure was laid by the same great-granddaughter of Samuel Simpson, Margaret Tibbits Taber (1891-1985)! The former library was converted into office space. The current owner is considering future uses for the old library.
In 1789, Octrober 3, Saturday my new house on Lower Town St. was raised. Samuel Doolittle of Pond Hill hued and fraimed the house, and Timothy Carrington and his son Lemuel clapboarded and shinggled the house. Col. Isaac Cook dighed the sellar wall, Zebilon Potter of this town near Tyler Cook’s East, North of this Town, made the brick. Trobridge and Jordan of New Haven put up my chimney, topt it of in eight days. (Up to Oct. 29, 1790, Bill Brout in and settled $17.00) Captain John Mansfield of Wallingford did the inside work, with them and Abel Mansfield, son to John Mansfield.
The Renaissance Revival building at 35 South Main Street in Wallingford, built in 1882, was originally the home of the First National Bank (founded in 1881), which moved to a new building in 1921. The building’s original first floor arcade has been partially filled in.
At 43 North Elm Street in Wallingford is a house built in 1789 and known as the John Hall House. One website notes that Jeremiah Hall, a descendent of the early Wallingford settler John Hall, once farmed land behind the house. The house is now owned by Choate Rosemary Hall and is used as a faculty residence.
The building which today serves as the Town Hall of Wallingford, was built in 1916 as the Lyman Hall High School. The school was named for Lyman Hall, a native of Wallingford who signed the Declaration of Independence. It later was the Robert Early Junior High School, before becoming the Town Hall in 1988. It was designed by John T. Simpson.
Incorporated in 1881, the First National Bank in Wallingford was originally located in an 1882 Renaissance Revival building at 35 South Main Street. In 1921, the bank moved to a new Beaux-Arts building at 9 North Main Street. This building was bought by the town in 1960 and was the location of the town’s electric division payment office and tax collector’s office until 1989. It has since housed a drug store, bookstore and now a restaurant.