The Town Hall of Westport, 110 Myrtle Avenue, was originally built in 1923 as the Bedford Public School. In 1978 the school closed and the building was converted to become the Town Hall, opening in 1983. The Town Hall had previously been in a building at 90 Post Road East, built in 1908.
Located in Mill Hill Historic Park in Norwalk is the former Town House (or Town Hall), a Federal-style brick structure erected in 1835. Norwalk’s first Town House was erected by 1736 at the site of the old Trolley Barn at Wall and Knight Streets. A newer Town House was later built at Mill Hill, but it was destoyed when the British burned Norwalk on July 11, 1779 during the Revolutionary War. It took fifteen years before a new structure was erected in 1794. As described by John Warner Barber in his Connecticut Historical Collections (1836):
The old town house was pulled down in July, 1835. It had been long in a ruinous state, and much disfigured the appearance of the place. Some persons in the town who took upon themselves the responsibility of regulating things of this nature about the town, being impatient of the “law’s delay,” took advantage of the darkness of night, pulled down the obnoxious building, and piled up the rubbish by the side of the road.
The current building was built by by Captain Lewis Raymond, who used brick brought to Norwalk as ship’s ballast. The building was used as the seat of government until the Town of Norwalk and the City of South Norwalk were consolidated in 1913. Starting in 1924, the Norwalk Daughters of the American Revolution leased the building from the city, eventually adding a rear kitchen wing. The building was restored in 1965 for meeting and educational purposes. Still owned by the city, it is maintained, along with the rest of Mill Hill Historic Park, by the Norwalk Historical Society and the Norwalk-Village Green Chapter of the DAR.
The Town Hall of Branford, built in 1857, has been attributed to the architect Henry Austin of New Haven. It has a columned front portico that was added in the early twentieth century. The building was renovated in 1869 and had a rear addition constructed in 1968. The building is located at 1019 Main Street.
The former Hall of Records building, at 66 Center Street in Manchester, was built of amber brick in the Colonial Revival style in 1896. Land for the building was donated by Frank Cheney (1817-1904). The building was designed by the Hartford architectural firm of Hapgood and Hapgood and built by Charles R. Treat. The Hall of Records contained the Probate Court and the Town Clerk’s office until a new Town Hall was built in 1926. 66 Center Street was then the home of home of the Manchester Police Department until 1954 and was used for various town offices thereafter. It was refurbished and rededicated as the Probate Court building in 1982.
The Norwich State Hospital, located in Norwich and Preston, was an extensive facility for the mentally ill and those found guilty of crimes by insanity. It opened in 1904 in a single building, but in the following eight years 13 new structures were added. The Hospital had over 3,000 patients by 1955 and was a huge complex of over twenty buildings linked by underground tunnels. In later years deinstitutionalization led to a large decrease in the patient population and the Hospital closed in 1996. It then became an infamous abandoned site, said to be haunted. The complex was frequently visited by urban explorers. Syfy Channel’s Ghost Hunters visted the site in 2010, but since then the majority of the buildings have been demolished in preparation for future redevelopment. Once at the center of the Hospital, the Administration Building, built in 1908, now stands alone, weatherized to prevent further decay and awaiting future development.
When I took a picture of the old Congregational Church, at in Willington on Wednesday, it was having some wok done (no doubt in response to this proposal)! The Congregational Church in Willington was established around 1728.
As described in the Tolland County Press (published in Stafford Springs) of October 12, 1876, p. 3:
THE NEW CHURCH. —One cold dreary evening during the past winter, the members of the Congregational society met together in the study of the old church to talk over the subject of building a new house of worship. A few were opposed to the project, but most of the members were heartily in favor of the proposed enterprise. Thus the long-needed work of building a new church was in embryo, which is now completed, and on Tuesday last was dedicated to the worship of Almighty God. Before giving an account of the dedication we will devote a brief space to a description of the edifice. At a subsequent meeting held in the early spring, it was voted to build, and nearly $1,000 was pledged by the people toward the enterprise. April 12th ground was broken for the building, on land generously donated by Mr. Geo. E. Robbins, and April 29th the corner stone was laid with religious ceremonies.
On Saturday, June 17th, the body of the main building was raised, and soon after the conference room. From the very beginning the work has progressed finely, everything seeming to work in the favor of the church and society. The main building is 36×46, and the conference room is 22×26, both built in Gothic style. A handsome tower rises from the center of the front end of the church, to the height of 61 feet. Near the top of the tower are four dormer windows, from which one has a fine commanding view of a wide expanse of country. Above the mam entrance is a triple window, which, surrounded by a neat display of architectural work, adds much to the beauty of the tower, which is surmounted by a neat vane. The main entrance is from the south, leading through a vestibule 12 feet square, into the audience room. This is neatly finished with open timbered roof, beautifully jetted with fancy brackets and scroll work. Tbe windows, which are of flicked glass, are finished with architraves. The ceiling is tinted with blue, while the walls are of light drab. The pulpit elevation is at tbe opposite end, with the orchestra on tbe left, both highly finished in oak and black walnut. The elegant railing around the latter, together with the breast-work in front of the slips, add much to the architectural beauty of the room. There are 46 slips, with a seating capacity of 230. The church is furnished with a fine pulpit set, including a communion table, bible stand, etc., from Baldwin Bros, of Springfield. In the orchestra is a superb organ of the Esty manufacture, the gift of E. T. Fitch, of New Haven. On its south wall is a handsome clock, donated by H. L. Wade, secretary of the Waterbury Clock Manufacturing Co., while the highly ornamented chandeliers, containing six lamps, also six side lamps, was the gift of L. G. Merrick, Esq. of Bristol, Conn. On Tuesday, Oct. 10th, the new edifice was dedicated to the worship of Almighty God. The weather was everything desirable, in perfect harmony with the interesting occasion. The church was filled to its utmost.
The Congregational Church merged with the Willington Baptist Church in 1911 to form The Federated Church of Willington. The congregation then moved to the Baptist meeting house across the Green. From 1926 to 1974 the old Congregational Church was used as the Town Hall, so the former church is also known as the Willington Old Town Hall. The church’s bell, purchsed from the First Church in Stafford in 1876, was removed during World War II to allow airplane spotters to used the tower. Instead of being placed back in the tower, it was mounted on a pedestal outside the building.
One of numerous US post office buildings produced during the New Deal era is the Bridgeport Main Post Office, located at 120 Middle Street, completed in 1934. A strikingly unornamented Art Deco/Art Moderne structure, it was designed by local architect Charles Wellington Walker under the supervision of Louis A. Simon, the supervising architect of the United States Treasury Department. The lobby has murals by R. L. Lambden depicting mail delivery through the ages.