Archive for the ‘Essex’ Category

Ivoryton Congregational Church (1888)

Sunday, November 5th, 2017 Posted in Churches, Essex, Folk Victorian | No Comments »

In the mid-nineteenth century, Ivoryton in Essex developed as a factory village around Comstock, Cheney & Company, manufacturers of products made from ivory. The heirs of company founder Samuel Merritt Comstock, under the leadership of Harriet Comstick, erected the Comstock Memorial Chapel in 1887-1888. As a mission of the Centerbrook Congregational Church, the Chapel allowed church members in Ivoryton to attend services closer to their homes. In 1898 the building became the property of the new Ivoryton Congregational Church, which had become a separate church from the one in Centerbrook. The Ivoryton Church, located at 57 Main Street, was enlarged in 1906. In 2017, the congregation, which now has approximately 25 active members, decided to put the church building on the market. It was acquired by a developer who plans to convert the building into condominiums. The final service in the church was held on October 1, 2017. The congregation now holds services at the Essex Congregational Church.

H. Wooster Webber House (1896)

Wednesday, October 4th, 2017 Posted in Essex, Houses, Queen Anne, Stick Style | No Comments »

Henry Wooster Webber (1866-1911) was a superintendent at Comstock, Cheney & Company in Ivotyton, a position his father, Lorenzo Dow Webber (1833-1905), had held for thirty years. H. Wooster Webber later also served on the board of directors of the company. He married Bessie Wright in 1893. Her father, Alfred Mortimer Wright, led the Connecticut Valley Manufacturing Company in Centerbrook. Webber’s house at 81 Main Street in Ivoryton was built in 1896, next to his father’s house. He later moved his family to Hartford because of the high reputation of the city’s public schools. Then he would reside during the week in Ivoryton and spend his weekends with his family in Hartford. The family also had a summer home in Westbrook. Webber died in 1911 and after his widow’s death in 1920, the house in Ivoryton was inhereted by their son L. D. Webber, who lost the house eighteen years later when he went bankrupt.

Comstock, Cheney & Company House #1 (1872)

Friday, September 8th, 2017 Posted in Essex, Folk Victorian, Houses, Vernacular | No Comments »

At 116 Main Street in Ivoryton is the first of a number of company houses built by Comstock, Cheney & Company, manufacturers of combs and other ivory products. The company sold the house to a private owner, Giles Augustus Bull (1851-1930), in 1900. Bull was a foreman at the company who married Anna Comstock, grandniece of company founder Samuel M. Comstock.

Trinity Lutheran Church, Centerbrook (1977)

Sunday, August 6th, 2017 Posted in Churches, Colonial Revival, Essex | No Comments »

The Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Trinity Church, in the village of Centerbrook in Essex, was founded in 1898. The congregation erected their original church building, next to the Falls River millpond on Main Street, in 1907-1908. Services continued to be held in Swedish until the late 1940s. The church was destroyed by fire in the early hours of March 21, 1975. A new Trinity Lutheran Church was soon rebuilt on the same site, 109 Main Street. After the fire, the congregation had investigated the old building’s cornerstone to see if something had been sealed inside by the Swedish immigrant founders of the church. Nothing was found there, but then the great-grandson of the man who had laid the original foundation shared the story, handed down to him, that there had been indeed been a box of artifacts placed in the foundation. A new search in the wall behind the cornerstone revealed a copper box, containing a historical account of the church’s founding in Swedish, coins, a 1907 Swedish almanac and other documents. The box was resealed with other items added by the congregation in a new container and placed in the new church’s cornerstone (see Emily Sigler, “Artifacts Going Back Into Church Walls,” Hartford Courant, May 25, 1976). In 2005, the church completed a renovation and expansion project that almost completely rebuilt the structure and added 1,600 square feet on its east side. A new altar was built as an extension with windows providing views of the neighboring pond and river.

Alfred R. Wright House (1924)

Friday, July 21st, 2017 Posted in Colonial Revival, Essex, Houses | No Comments »

The house at 134 Main Street in Centerbrook was built in 1924. It was the home of Alfred R. Wright, manufacturer of of bits and augers. The Wright family controlled the Connecticut Valley Manufacturing Company. Alfred R. Wright, born in 1888, retired as president of the company in 1956.

Capt. Samuel Comstock House (1808)

Thursday, June 1st, 2017 Posted in Essex, Federal Style, Houses | No Comments »

In 1805, Capt. Samuel Comstock II was given land in West Centerbrook (now Ivoryton) by his father. Circa 1808, Capt. Comstock built the house at 123 Main Street (although it may also be an earlier residence, c. 1795, on the site that he enlarged at that time). A sea captain in the West Indies trade, Comstock was the father of Samuel Merritt Comstock, who established his ivory factory across the street in 1847. In 1857, the house was acquired by Marsena Comstock, who started his own ivory business on the property.

Copper Beach Inn (1889)

Thursday, May 18th, 2017 Posted in Essex, Folk Victorian, Houses, Stick Style | No Comments »

Now a restaurant and inn, the former residence at 46 Main Street in Ivoryton (one of the three villages in the Town of Essex) was built in 1889 by Archibald Welsh Comstock (1860-1940). His father, Samuel Merritt Comstock (1809-1878), had founded the S.M. Comstock Company, which manufactured ivory products such as piano keys, billiard balls, dominoes and combs (thus giving Ivoryton its name). After Archibald Comstock’s death in 1940, his estate passed to his wife. The house was sold in 1954 and soon became a restaurant called the Johnny Cake Inn. The Inn was forced into foreclosure in 1966, but in 1972 it was acquired by Robert and Jo McKenzie, who reopened it as the Copper Beach Inn, named for the large tree at the entrance to the property. The business has continued under various owners over the years. It closed for a time in 2013 after another foreclosure, but soon reopened under new ownership. Sadly, the Inn lost its namesake tree earlier this year — taken down after it was discovered its center was rotting due to a fungal disease.