Benjamin Smith, a descendant of early settlers of Haddam, erected the house at 432 Candlewood Hill Road in 1807, the year he married Lydia Burr, daughter of Captain Jonathan Burr. Their son Benjamin W. Smith inherited the house in 1833. He left Haddam in 1856 and sold the house to the Skinner family. The house once had a central chimney that was removed about 1904.
The house at 110 Maple Avenue in Higganum in Haddam is a transitional Greek Revival/Italianate structure. It was built in 1856 by Storrs (sometimes spelled Stores and Storris) Lee Hubbard on land he had acquired the previous year. Born in 1825, Hubbard, a farmer, was the son of Stephen Hubbard and Sarah Johnson Hubbard. In 1846 he married Martha Ely. In 1894, Hubbard left $3,600 to the Middlesex County Orphans’ Home. It was used to pay off the mortgage of a house the Home had bought on Wyllys Avenue in Middletown c. 1890.
Camp Bethel is a historic Christian camp meeting site in the Tylerville section of Haddam that is located on a high bluff overlooking the Connecticut River. It was established in 1878 by the Life and Advent Union. In the early years as many as 10,000 people would gather on the property for several weeks each summer. At first they stayed in tents but later began building small cottages on their camp sites. Over the years Camp Bethel grew to include a chapel, a memorial hall, two boarding houses and over forty cabins. Most of these structures were built between 1889 and 1920. The current Dining Hall was built in 1992, replacing an earlier building destroyed by fire. Camp Bethel continues to operate as a camp meeting site today, one of the few that survive in New England. It is owned by the Camp Bethel Association, a non-denominational, evangelical organization that holds camp meetings each August and also rents the facility to different religious and educational groups for retreats, conferences and workshops. [If you are interested in learning about another camp meeting site with Victorian cottages in Connecticut, see my post about the Plainville Campground]. Read on to learn more about some of the buildings and to see more images of Camp Bethel! Read the rest of this entry »
Methodist meetings were held in Higganum (in Haddam) in the Old Red Schoolhouse from 1834 until it burned down in 1857. The congregation then met in private home until they built a church at 248 Saybrook Road in 1862. It is the only Methodist Church remaining in the town of Haddam (an earlier church erected in 1837 on Walkley Hill Road is no longer standing).
Jeremiah Shailer (1770-1845) built the house at 168 Camp Bethel Road in Haddam around the time of his marriage to Jerusha Shailer (1766-1843), i.e. just before 1800. Their daughter, Maria, married Smith Clark and her son, Jared Shailer Clark (1824-1888), a farmer and teacher who held the office of constable and justice of the peace, later occupied the house. The house’s original Federal-style doorway was later removed.
Happy New Year! The Carpenter Gothic house at 216 Saybrook Road in Higganum was built around 1855 by Norman Smith (1831-1895), a farmer. In 1854 he had married Mary Clark Willard of Brattleboro, Vermont. Their son, George Norman Smith, inherited the house but resided in Hartford.
Brothers Daniel and Hezekiah Scovil, Jr. founded the the D. & H. Scovil Hoe Company in 1844. Their father, Hezekiah Scovil, Sr. was a blacksmith in Higganum. Daniel Scovil had traveled through the south and observed the methods and tools used by slaves in cultivating cotton. He was inspired to invent an improved type of hoe called a “planters hoe” that was self-sharpening. He approached his brother Hezekiah to partner with him in manufacturing and marketing the new hoe. Like his brother, Hezekiah had been trained as a blacksmith, but due to poor health he had taken a job as a teller at the Middletown Savings Bank. The brothers’ new company thrived for over sixty years. Hezekiah married Caroline A. Bonfoey, daughter of Benanual Bonfoey, in 1860. Fifteen years later he built a grand Gothic Revival house at 72 Maple Avenue East in Higganum. Hezekiah and his wife passed away in the first decade of the twentieth century and the house was inherited by their great-nephew Whitney S. Porter. In 1947 it was sold out of the family. In 1963 it was purchased by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Norwich for use as a convent. Since 1982 it has again been a private residence. Read the rest of this entry »