Riley Ives and his son Edward produced uniform buttons during the Civil War in Plymouth Center. After the War they switched to the production of parts for mechanical wind-up toys. They assembled their toys in several shops in the village. In 1868, Edward Ives founded his own factory on Maple Street. Called the Ives Manufacturing Company, he soon moved it to Bridgeport where it became the largest manufacturer of toy trains in the United States from 1910 until 1924. His father continued to make toys in Plymouth. In 1921 an Ives factory building, built c. 1870, was moved from Maple Street to 694 Main Street to be used as the Plymouth Grange Hall. Plymouth Grange, No. 72, was organized on December 7, 1887. As described in the History of the town of Plymouth, Connecticut (1895), compiled by Francis Atwater:
The grange now own the building on Main street next to the post office, in Plymouth Center, and have a well furnished hall where meetings are held every alternate Wednesday evening. One prominent feature at each meeting is the “lecturer’s hour.” This is composed of select readings, essays, and discussions on farm topics, recitations, music and debates. In fact, anything that pertains to the household or the farm. This gives the farmer and his family an opportunity for social intercourse and intellectual improvement, which, owing to their isolated vocation, were it not for the grange, they would be deprived of. “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity,” is one of the underlying principles of the order.
The building now houses businesses.
Built in 1843 (or perhaps c. 1860) for two blacksmiths, the house at 104 Main Street in North Stonington is a vernacular residence with Victorian-era embellishments. John Own Wheeler (1818-1900) and Thomas William Wheeler (1822-1900) (who may have been a laborer and not a blacksmith) were sons of Jesse Wheeler (1786-1852), who was also a blacksmith.
Adjacent to the Rising Sun Tavern in North Haven is a barn on the same property that was originally located on Long Hill Road in Guilford. Built circa 1820-1830, the barn was moved to North Haven in 1999 and rebuilt. The original post and beam construction was maintained with few timbers needing to be replaced, although new siding was required as the original had deteriorated.
The sign on the house at 534-536 Naubuc Avenue in Glastonbury indicates that it was built c. 1820 by George Wrisley. The Commemorative Biographical Record of Hartford County, Connecticut (1901) mentions a George Wrisley who built a house later occupied by his son, George Smith Wrisley, and grandson, Ransom Wrisley, but that house must have been built earlier than 1820 if it was built by George, Sr. The 1855 map of Hartford county indicates an “H. Risley” living about where the house is located.
The oldest one-room schoolhouse still standing in New Haven County is the Little Red Schoolhouse in Northford in North Branford. Built in 1805, it was used as a school until 1890. The League of Women Voters moved the Little Red Schoolhouse from its original location on Forest Road to its current address at 13 Old Post Road in 1933 to serve as to the Northford Public Library. The building was recently restored to become a museum maintained by the Totoket Historical Society.
The building at 311 Main Street in Wethersfield was built in 1862 as the High Street School. A brick building, it replaced an earlier wooden school building, built in 1770, which stood just to the south-east. It was in this earlier building that Wethersfield’s first library, called the Union Society Library (established in 1783) was located until 1798. The former brick schoolhouse was converted into a residence in 1928 and wooden side dormers were added.
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.