Shubal Smith, an attorney, purchased property on Towne Street (now now 176 South Main Street) in Colchester in 1839 and around that time constructed a Greek Revival house. By 1854 the house was owned jointly by Smith and Enoch Brown and passed to Deacon Smith’s son George Smith in 1868. The house was sold to Norman Palmer in 1879. His heirs, Isabelle A. Worthington, Flora Brown and Etta Miner, sold the house to John Condren in 1912. The house’s front porch was added sometime after 1903.
At 196 South Main Street in Colchester is a house with distinctive Stick style ornamentation. The land was originally sold to Bradford Sparrow by Dennison Smith in 1839. In 1875, a residence here was being rented out to Dr. M. W. Robinson. Alden A. Baker, owned the property from 1877 to 1925, when it was given to his daughter, Lillian Baker Bunyan. She lived in the house with her husband, Edward T. Bunyan, until his death in 1952. It is not certain if Sparrow or Baker is responsible for construction of the house in its present form.
Born in Stonington, John Breed (1752-1803) later settled in Colchester, where he married Lucy Bulkeley (born 1749) on 13 May 1773. He purchased land on Town Street (now South Main Street), then the main road between between New London and Hartford, and built a tavern in 1777. It had a large ballroom that extended the entire width of the house on the third floor. The Wooster Lodge of Masons met at the tavern between 1789 and 1801. Breed was also a gold and silversmith. After Breed died, his widow continued to operate the tavern until her own death in 1821. It was then purchased to become the residence of Elisha Avery, a wealthy Groton merchant and manufacturer. He died a year after buying the house (208 South Main Street), but it remained in his family for many generations. There is an old English Bank type barn on the property.
The house at 144 South Main Street in Colchester was built around 1840 by John Kellogg, who sold it in 1842. It was purchased in 1854 by Philo Gillett, who had been renting it for some years. A merchant from Boston, Gillett formed the firm of Wheeler and Gillett in Colchester in partnership with Joshua B. Wheeler. Gillett died in 1858 and his widow in 1862, after which the house was sold to Samuel D. Tilden of Yonkers, New York, who added an ornamental wrought—iron fence, sadly since removed, along the front of the property. In 1878 the house was acquired by Henry C. Morgan, who served as Assistant Quartermaster-General and then Commissary-General of the State of Connecticut and used the house as a country home. The house then had other owners and since 1954 has housed the Belmont Funeral Home.
Ukrainian immigrants in Colchester formed a church in 1921, purchasing a house on Pleasant Street. The ground floor was to serve as a chapel and the second floor as the residence of the pastor. The new church was called the Greek Catholic Orthodox Independent Church of St. Mary. The parish became a member of the Ukrainian Catholic Diocese in 1948 and a church with a gilded Byzantine cupola was soon constructed. The church was destroyed by an explosion on September 10, 2004. The cornerstone for a new St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Church was dedicated on Monday, August 15, 2005 and the building, located 178 Linwood Avenue, was completed the following year.
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.