At 220 Main Street in Farmington is a former one-room brick school house built in 1829 to serve the town’s South District. It was used as a school until 1904, when Farmington’s schoolhouses were consolidated into a Center School. In 1905 the former school was sold to Theodate Pope, who designed or remodeled five houses in town to become low-income housing. She converted the school house into a residence and it became the home of Reuben and Lucy Lewis and their eleven children. Reuben Lewis worked at the Lodge, a vacation home for girls working in the big city garment industry that was run by a group of Miss Porter’s School graduates. He was also a railroad porter. His father, Richard Lewis, had settled in Farmington before the Civil War after escaping from slavery on the Underground Railroad. In the 1930s the Lewis family moved out and the building has since been used as an antiques shop, a nursery school, a lawyer’s office and, most recently, Farmington Valley Dance & Music, LLC.
The house at 1344 Saybrook Road in Haddam was built around 1825 by George E. Bailey. It is a late example of a gambrel-roofed Cape house more common to the later eighteenth century. In 1828 he sold the house to Jonathan Dickinson (1792-1861), a shoemaker.
According to the 1985 pamphlet Federal Hill: A series of walking tours of the Federal Hill neighborhood and of other areas of interest in Bristol, Connecticut, written and designed by C. Houihan, the 1842 house at 492 Jerome Avenue in Bristol was once the home of Bronson Alcott, the transcendentalist and father of author Louisa May Alcott. But Alcott’s stints as a teacher in Bristol occurred earlier than 1842. He taught for four months in the Fall Mountain District of Bristol in the winter of 1823-1824 and was at the district school on West Street for four months in 1824-1825. His last period as a teacher in Bristol came when he was again at the school on West Street for a few months, in the autumn and winter of 1827-1828. Does anyone know more about this house and its connection to Bronson Alcott?
The house at 50 High Street, in the Baileyville section of Middlefield, was built by Edgar A. Nettleton (1843-1922) with the pay he received after serving in the Civil War (13th Connecticut Volunteer Regiment). Nettleton worked at the Metropolitan Washing Machine Company in Baileyville. He married Philena C. Geer and had at least five children. His son Walter inherited the property in 1923 and lived there until 1947. Walter S. Nettleton was a Master of the Middlefield Grange.
At 3015 Bronson Road in Fairfield is a windmill erected in 1893-1894 by Frederic Bronson on his estate, called Verna Farm. Standing 105 feet high, the Bronson Windmill pumped water from a well 75 feet below ground into a 7,500-gallon wooden storage tank 70 feet up inside the windmill. Note: the wheel on top of the windmill was not installed at time the photo above was taken. It remained in operation into the 1930s. The estate became the property of the Fairfield Country Day School, which gave the windmill to the Town of Fairfield in 1971. The windmill was restored around 1980. Damaged after a storm in 1996, the Bronson Windmill was restored under the management of the Fairfield Historical Society. Today it also serves as a cell phone tower: Sprint restored and rebuilt part of the structure as part of its leasing agreement.
In the first half of the early nineteenth century, a store occupied the lot at 63 Hurlbut Road in Gales Ferry in Ledyard. Starting in 1831, the store was owned by Samuel and Ira Vincent. At Samuel‘s death in 1837, his widow Martha sold off the store goods. She owned the property until 1843 when it was inherited by Ira’s widow, Sarah Baker Vincent (1802-1885). Around 1850, she built a house in place of the store.
Harmon B. Johnson
Union Army Private
Died For One Flag
March 8, 1865
Harmon B. Johnson served in the 15th Connecticut Infantry Regiment during the Civil War. His name is inscribed on the Soldiers’ Monument in Guilford under the heading “Fredericksburg.” The 15th Connecticut fought at Fredericksburg but Johnson was killed at the Battle of Wyse Fork, fought March 7-10, 1865 near Kinston, North Carolina. The house is now a condominium unit.