Wheeler’s Island is one of the Thimble Islands, which are located in and around the harbor of Stony Creek in the southeast corner of Branford. Vacation homes, displaying a variety of architectural styles, are located throughout the archipelago. Not far off shore is Wheelers Island, first known as Page’s Island. In 1865 Henry B. Frisbie purchased the island from Alonson Hall and built a Victorian cottage with an Italianate cupola. Frank Wheeler of Meriden, an avid yachtsman, acquired the island in 1885 and the Wheeler family owned it until 1998. It was acquired by Christine Svenningsen, a wealthy widow. The old house on Wheeler’s Island was torn down in 1999, but soon replaced with a recreation. Svenningsen began purchasing more of the Thimble Islands from 2003 to 2007, spending $33 million and eventually owning ten. In 2010 she married John G. Chiarella, Jr., a landscaping entrepreneur whose company managed the island properties. The couple divorced three years later and a $250 million legal battle followed. Wheeler’s Island is also known as Ghost Island because it is reputed to be haunted.
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.
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.
The Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury was first established in 1877 as the Mattatuck Historical Society. Initially dedicated to preserving the history of Waterbury and its surrounding towns, the Museum‘s mission later expanded its focus to include the work of Connecticut artists. From 1912 to 1987, the Museum was located in the John Kendrick House on West Main Street. It then moved into a former Masonic Temple, located at 160 West Main Street. Built in 1912, the steel-framed Temple, with a facade of brick and limestone, was designed by Waterbury architect W.E. Griggs. The Museum’s new home comprised two distinct structures, meeting at a right angle: the West Main Street building and the Park Place auditorium building. Located between the two wings of this “L” was a former service station (144 West Main Street), built c. 1930, that had a modern retail front added in 1966. This structure was replaced, in 1986, by the Museum’s new entrance and courtyard garden, designed by renowned architect César Pelli, who also renovated the interior of the 1912 building. The materials of the new addition match the brick and limestone of the original building, while the new main entrance has a copper crown, indicating the Museum’s public function. Read the rest of this entry »
The parish of St. Alexis was founded in 1995 in Clinton as a mission of the Orthodox Church in America. The parish was named for St. Alexis of Wilkes-Barre. Originally a Carpatho-Rusyn Eastern Rite Catholic (Uniate) priest, Alexis Toth came to America in 1889 to serve at St. Mary’s Greek Catholic Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Confronted by a Roman Catholic clergy which, seeking to Americanize Catholic immigrants, was hostile to to ethnic parishes, St. Alexis and his parish entered the Russian Orthodox Church in 1892. He would be responsible for many conversions of Uniate Catholics to Orthodoxy. St. Alexis died in 1909 and was canonized in 1994 as St. Alexis of Wilkes-Barre by the Orthodox Church in America. The church in Clinton, at 108 East Main Street, was constructed in 1997-1999 to plans drawn by the firm of Hibbard and Rosa, Architects of Middletown.
Built between 1984 and 1989, Bridgeport Center is an office complex of low-to-mid-rise buildings connected to form a single continuous structure. A highlight of Bridgeport Center, also known as the People’s Bank Building, is the 16-story office tower. The complex, located at 850 Main Street in Bridgeport and intended to revitalize the city’s downtown, was designed by Richard Meier.
Happy New Year from Historic Buildings of Connecticut! Hartford’s three tallest buildings are City Place, at 163 meters (535 ft), the Travelers Tower, at 161 meters (527 ft), and Goodwin Square, at 159 meters (522 ft). In the image above are Goodwin Square (left) and City Place (right), both designed by the architectural firm of Skidmore Owings And Merrill. City Place I was built in 1980 and has thirty-eight floors above ground (the adjacent City Place II was built in 1989 and has 18 floors). Most of the building is office space, with retail and restaurant space on the lower floors. Goodwin Square was built in 1989 and has thirty floors. This modern skyscraper connects to and shares a lobby with the Goodwin Hotel, originally built as an apartment building in 1881. The facade of the Goodwin Hotel remains, but the interior was completely replaced in the 1980s. The skyscraper was eventually deemed to have been a bad investment and the hotel closed in 2008. Also visible in the lower left of the above photograph are the tops of the two towers of the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch.