Brothers Solomon and Hiram Fox built houses on Naubuc Avenue in East Hartford c. 1824. Solomon’s has disappeared, but Hiram’s remains at 204 Naubuc Avenue. The house has later Victorian alterations probably made by later owner Ira Anderson and his son Harry.
Not much is known about the origins of the house at 71 Broad Street in Guilford. It dates to c. 1850 and the original owner was John Evarts. It may have been built as a barn and converted to a house later on. Among various other changes over the years, the front entrance was moved from the side to the front and a porch was added to the west side (later removed).
Today I’m featuring the infamous Archer-Gilligan Murder House in Windsor. The play and film Arsenic and Old Lace was inspired by the true story of Amy Archer-Gilligan (1873-1962), AKA “Sister Amy,” who ran the house at 37 Prospect Street (built c. 1875-1880) as the Archer Home for the Elderly and Infirm. She and her first husband, James Archer, had earlier run a home for the elderly in Newington, moving to Windsor in 1907. James Archer died in 1910, a few weeks after his wife had taken out an insurance policy on him. In 1913 Amy married her second husband, Michael W. Gilligan, a wealthy widower with four adult sons. He died on February 20, 1914, again leaving her financially secure. Between 1907 and 1916 there were 60 deaths of her clients in the Archer home, 48 of them from 1911 to 1916, many of whom passed away after paying her large sums of money. Suspicious relatives of her clients brought the story to the Hartford Courant, which published several articles on the “Murder Factory.” A police investigation followed. Exhumations of the bodies of Gilligan and four others revealed that they had been poisoned. Archer-Gilligan had also been purchasing large quantities of arsenic. A jury found her guilty of murdering one of her tenants in 1917 and she was sentenced to death. In 1919, on appeal, she was found guilty of second degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. In 1924 she was declared temporarily insane and was transferred to the Connecticut Hospital for the Insane in Middletown, where she remained until her death.
The house at 52 Hurlbutt Road in the village of Gales Ferry in Ledyard was probably built around 1827 by William Browning, who acquired the land that year from his father-in-law, Jabez Averill (Browning married Eliza A. Averill in 1826). In 1822 Browning had purchased the nearby Thames River ferry, which he operated until 1856. He also had a store on the Upper Wharf. He sold the house to Simeon A. Bailey in 1843. Bailey’s second wife, Esther Bailey, sold land in the rear of the property to the Norwich & Worcester Railroad in 1898. Frederick Moulton purchased the house from the bankrupt railroad in 1942. The rear ell of the house was significantly altered in the 1960s with the addition of dormers and a porch.
In the nineteenth century the area of Baileyville in Middlefield was an active industrial district. The building at 93 Baileyville Road was probably constructed around 1850 as an outbuilding for one of the mills along Ellen Doyle Brook. In 1876 it was converted into a residence by George W. Miller to house an employee of his phosphate mill. In 1921 it was purchased by the Lyman Gun Sight Corporation to house factory workers and their families.
The building at 7 Church Street in Roxbury, near the Green, was built circa 1840 as a hat shop by Frederick W. Lathrop. Hat making was an important cottage industry in Roxbury at the time, although industrial manufacturing supplanted it by the time of the Civil War. The building was later used as a residence.
In 1797 the Town of Willington granted permission for Gen./Dr. Miner Grant to build a store to the southeast of the town green. It was built as a one-and-a-half story cape with its gable end facing the street. The store was in operation until the period of the Civil War. It was then converted into a residence and significantly altered. The original store entrance was located in the center of the gable end, where there is now a chimney. By 1801, Dr. Miner Grant’s son, Miner Grant, Jr., was working as a store clerk for Dr. Samuel Willard of Stafford. An accidental explosion on December 23, 1801 led to a fire that destroyed the store. Willard and Grant escaped, but another clerk, Augustus Miller, was killed. The store was rebuilt the following year and the business was acquired by Miner Grant, Sr., who was setting his son up in business. In 1806, Miner Grant, Jr. took over the Stafford store, which was moved to Old Sturbridge Village in 1938. His father’s earlier store, now a house, remains in its original location at 242 Tolland Turnpike in Willington.