The first Congregational meeting house in what is now Bridgeport (then called Statfield) was built by 1695 at what is today Park Avenue and Worth Street. It was replaced by a new meeting house c. 1717, located on the northwest corner of Park and North Avenues. The third meeting house, located on Broad Street, was dedicated in 1807. The powerful influence of the Second Great Awakening led to a division of the congregation in 1830, with a new Second Congregational Church being built at Broad and Gilbert Streets. The old church was called North Church and the new church was called South Church. A new North Church was built (on the same site as its predecessor) in the Gothic Revival style in 1850. A new brick South Church was also constructed (on the same site as its predecessor) and was dedicated in January, 1862. In 1916 the North and South Churches merged and planned to erect a new united church on the site of the old North Church, which was demolished. Construction was delayed by the First World War and then, when the former site of North Church was deemed to be too small, a new lot was purchased on the corner of Park Avenue and State Street in 1924. The new United Congregational Church was completed and dedicated in 1926. A Georgian Revival edifice, it was designed by Allen & Collens of New York.
In 1886 the Fairfield County Bar Association and county representatives decided that the time had come to build a new county courthouse in Bridgeport. The city’s first courthouse (now called McLevy Hall), built in 1854, had become inadequate and its location near the public square meant that noise from the street, including from streetcars, had become a a nuisance when court was in session. As had occurred before in the 1850s, when the county seat was moved from the town of Fairfield to Bridgeport, the city of Norwalk made its own bid to build the new courthouse, but Bridgeport leaders, including Sidney B. Beardsley and P.T. Barnum, appropriated more funds and won legislative approval. The cornerstone for the building, located near the northwest corner of Golden Hill and Main Streets, was laid on June 24, 1887. Completed in 1888, the Courthouse is a Richardsonian Romanesque structure designed by Warren R. Briggs. There is also a Fairfield County Courthouse in Danbury.
The Queen Anne house at 128 Milne Street in Bridgeport was built in 1896 for Michael Casey, a teamster at Frank Miller & Company, a coal company which was in business until 1907. The house’s architect was Harrison G. Lamson. Read the rest of this entry »
The house at 800 Clinton Avenue in Bridgeport was built in 1915 for George T. Hatheway, a real estate and insurance agent. As related in Vol. II of The History of Bridgeport and Vicinity (1917), George Thomas Hatheway “was born in Pequonnock, town of Windsor, Hartford county, August 5, 1865.”
George T. Hatheway was but a young lad at the time of his father’s death. He acquired his early education in the public schools, pursuing a course in the New Britain high school and also in the normal school there. The necessity of providing for his own support forced him at the age of sixteen years to become a wage earner and he secured a clerkship in a drug store at Unionville, Hartford county. In that store the village postoffice «»s conducted and in addition to selling drugs and sundries his duty included handling the mail. After two or three years there spent he removed to Winsted, Connecticut, but in the meantime, while still in the drug store at Unionville, he had taken up the study of telegraphy, there being a telegraph office also in the store. He thus picked up a knowledge of telegraphy and at Winsted was appointed to the position of Western Union operator. When about nineteen or twenty years of age he came to Bridgeport and accepted the position of operator in the Bankers & Merchants telegraph office. In a short time he went to New York city as operator in the main office of the Western Union Telegraph Company. He remained there for about two years after which he returned to Bridgeport with the Western Union Company and devoted eight or ten years to telegraphy in this city and also taught telegraph; in a local business college, his teaching paying his tuition for a course of study in the same institution, from which he in due time received a diploma. He then devoted five or six years to bookkeeping in a wholesale and retail hardware store and in August, 1901, he embarked in his present business of insurance and real estate. In this connection he soon forged to the front and for many years he has been one of the city’s leading fire insurance and real estate men, his business having now assumed extensive and gratifying proportions, he has never had a partner, always conducting his interests under his own name, which has become a synonym for progressiveness, enterprise and reliability in insurance and real estate circles. He is now president of the Bridgeport Fire Underwriters Association. He is thoroughly familiar with property upon the market, is correct in his valuation and has negotiated many important realty transfers satisfactory alike to seller and purchaser.
The Colonial Revival house at 720 Clinton Avenue in Bridgeport was built in 1915. It was the residence of Clifford Brittin Wilson (1879-1943), a lawyer who served as Mayor of Bridgeport from 1911 to 1921 and simultaneously as the 56th Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut from 1915 to 1921, the same period of time that Marcus H. Holcomb was serving as Governor. According to the History of Bridgeport and Vicinity, Volume II (1917), “there are few interests of public concern in recent years with which he has not been associated, his influence always being given on the side of progress, reform and improvement.”
This is my 100th post for Bridgeport! The William Leigh House at 450 Beachwood Avenue in Bridgeport (not to be confused with Waldemere Hall, the 1913 home of William and Frances Leigh at 409 Waldemere Avenue) was built in 1892. William Leigh was a piano dealer. He got a patent for a design he made to decorate a piano-front.