At 24 Linwood Avenue in Colchester, next to the Cragin Memorial Library, is a historic house which is now home to the Colchester Historical Society. Built around 1840 by Reverend John Bates Ballard, a Baptist minister, it is transitional between the Greek Revival and Italianate styles. The house remained in the Ballard family until 1908, when it was bequeathed to the Colchester Borough Baptist Church for use as a parsonage. After the Baptist congregation merged with the Colchester Federated Church in 1949, the house passed through various owners. By the 1990s, it was in a dilapidated state, but was saved with grant money and funds from the Colchester Historical Society (founded in 1963). It is now a museum of the town’s history.
Begun as a lyceum in 1856, the Colchester Library Association was formally organized in 1879. Having occupied various rented quarters, the library’s permanent home at 8 Linwood Avenue was opened in 1905. A former Bacon Academy student, Dr. Edwin B. Cragin, a New York physician, provided the funds to complete the building, which was named the Cragin Memorial Library. Dr. Cragin was a specialist in obstetrics and gynecology, known for his phrase: “Once a cesarean, always a cesarean.” The Library was built on the site where the Cragin family home had once stood. The architect of the Neoclassical building was Albert B. Boss of New York. The library was later expanded with a new building in 2002.
The Greek Revival house at 55 Hayward Avenue in Colchester was built in the 1840s (perhaps 1842, the same year as the adjacent house at 63 Hayward Ave). Both houses were later owned by he Hayward family. The earliest listed owner of the house was B. Brown in 1854. The house has a twentieth-century rear addition.
The house at 23 Hayward Avenue in Colchester was built in 1765 for Joseph Isham, Jr. after his marriage to Sarah, daughter of Dr. Oliver Bulkeley (who provided the land for building the house). Isham operated a store and served in the Commissary Department during the Revolutionary War. After his death in 1810, Sarah lived in the house until 1834. The gambrel-roofed building originally had a large center chimney, which was taken down around 1820 by Isham’s son, Ralph Isham, who replaced it with two smaller chimneys and used the extra stone to build the foundation of his new house, next door at 11 Hayward Avenue. From 1834 until his death in 1852, Benjamin Swan, Jr., lived in the house. Originally from Woodstock, Vermont, he had married Ralph’s daughter Ann and worked for the Hayward Rubber Company. Later owners substantially altered the colonial house, adding a tall central wall dormer projecting from the gambrel roof, a large cupola and a porch across the front of the house.
The Colonel Avery Morgan House, at 219 South Main Street in Colchester, was built around 1824. Col. Morgan, born in 1781, was originally from Groton. He was a carpenter, merchant and farmer, who also served in the War of 1812 in the defense of New London. In 1802, he married Jerusha Gardner. Their first two children were born in Groton (they also lived for a time in Bozrah) and the other five children were born in Colchester, which they moved to in 1807. They later moved to Hartford, where Col. Morgan died in 1860 and his widow in 1861. The Colonel Avery Morgan House in Colchester is now a branch of Liberty Bank.
Built sometime between 1830 and 1840, the William Niles House, at 184 South Main Street in Colchester, is an example of Greek Revival architecture, but now has modern asbestos siding. Niles’ widow lived in the house after his death.
The Joseph N. Adams House is a Greek Revival home on Hayward Avenue in Colchester. The house was built around 1842 by Pomeroy Hall, one of several he built and sold in the vicinity, this house being purchased by William Mooney. It was next sold to the widow, Mrs. Lucinda Armstrong in 1847 (she later married Jared Hurlbut and moved to East Hartford); next to Nathaniel Hayward in 1857; and then to Joseph N. Adams in 1866. Adams was a shopkeeper, Justice of the Peace and secretary of the Colchester Savings Bank. The house remained in his family until 1939. Please Read my latest article on the architecture of Connecticut houses, which focuses on Early Twentieth Century Houses: Colonial Revival, Tudor Revival & American Foursquare!