In 1873, the Saybrook Bank erected a new building on Main Street in Essex (its previous building, built in 1849, was taken over by the Essex Savings Bank). The Saybrook Bank was reorganized in 1907 as the Essex National Bank, which remodeled the front facade of the building in 1936-1937 to the appearance it has today. The bank later merged with other banks and today the building houses a branch of Liberty Bank.
The Benjamin Williams, Jr. Homestead was erected in 1814 at what is now Essex Square in Essex. In 1925 the old house was removed and replaced by the Essex Square Theatre building. The theatre showed movies and also had space for four retail stores and four offices. Films played there until 1972 and in 1984 the building was acquired by Talbots.
The house at 51 Main Street in Essex was built in 1803 by Thomas Millard, a shipcarver and housewright, and was the home of Felix Starkey from 1805 to 1856. Felix Starkey (1777-1856) was a merchant and the brother of Timothy Starkey. He married Esther Hayden. (The sign on the house reads “Timothy Starkey 1720”).
In 1848 Lucius Lyon constructed a seminary building on the site now occupied by Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church in Essex. It was constructed to house students at the neighboring Hills Academy. In 1869 the building was converted into a hotel called the Pettipaug House. Operating under several other names over the years, the building was sold to Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic parish in 1926. The parish‘s previous church had been the former St. John’s Episcopal Church, acquired by the parish in 1897 and destroyed by fire in 1925. Extensive work was undertaken on the former hotel to convert it into a church, such that it was considered to be essentially a new building, although remaining on the earlier building’s foundation. The original east-facing entrance was replaced by the new church’s south-facing entrance. The church was again completely renovated in 1997, giving it a much altered appearance.
The Hayden-Starkey Store, at 48 Main Street in Essex, was only the second brick building in town when it was built in 1809. A warehouse and ships store, or chandlery, it was constructed by Samuel and Ebenezer Hayden, sons of Capt. Uriah Hayden, and was situated between their two residences. Their cousin, Richard Hayden, had recently built his house, Essex’s first brick building, nearby. Timothy Starkey, Jr., the Hayden brothers’ brother-in-law, became their partner in 1810. It is said that the British destroyed rope and took merchandise from this store during their raid on Essex in 1814. Remaining in the Hayden family for many years, the building became a residence in 1856.
The former residence, now a gift shop, at 12 North Main Street in Essex, was originally located about 150 feet south of its current location. Built by Farnham Parmelee in 1818, it was purchased by Jacob Arkin in 1919, who moved it to make way for the Arkin Block, a brick commercial building.