Occupying a dramatic site at the corner of Main and Deforest Streets in downtown Seymour is a Neoclassical-style U.S. Post Office (address at 91 Main Street) built in 1916. It is one of the many architecturally impressive post offices and other federal buildings built across the country under the supervision of James A. Wetmore, who served as Acting Supervising Architect of the United States from 1915 to 1933.
John Edward Cowles (1818-1898), prosperous farmer and a director of the Hartford bank, built the house at 47 Main Street in Farmington in 1844. When it was erected, the house was in the Italianate style. It was inherited by Cowles’ son, Henry Martyn Cowles (1845-1926), who was the New England agent for the M.H. Birge & Sons, manufacturers of fine wallpapers. The house was inherited by H. M. Cowles’ two unmarried nieces who sold the property to Rose Anne Hardy Day Keep in 1927. She and her husband, Robert Porter Keep, headmaster of Miss Porter’s School, extensively remodeled the house in 1927 in the Neoclassical Revival style, adding two-story porticoes with Corninthian columns on either end of the building’s street-facing elevation. Since 1968 the house has been a dormitory of Miss Porter’s School called Porter-Keep House.
At 153 Main Street in Ansonia is a large former factory building that was built c. 1900 by the Ansonia Osborne and Cheeseman Company. As described in The History of the Old Town of Derby, Connecticut, 1642-1880 (1880), by Samuel Orcutt:
Osborn and Cheeseman conducted a mercantile business in Birmingham some years, and in 1858 went into the hoop-skirt business at that place, and removed to Ansonia in 1859. In 1866 the Osborn and Cheeseman Company was organized with a capital stock of $120,000. Charles Durand was president of the company until 1875, when he sold his interest in the enterprise. The company now manufactures a great variety of goods, such as sheet and brass ware, gilding metal, German silver, copper and German-silver wire, seamless ferrules, and other kinds of metallic goods, which are sold in all parts of the United States.
Attached to the factory on the Main Street side is a yellow brick Neoclassical Revival former company office building (pictured above), erected c. 1910 with a third floor added sometime later. The entire factory building is now known as the Palmer Building because Palmer Brothers Trucking was located there, with other businesses, from 1955 to 1985. The building was then acquired by the City of Ansonia, but remained vacant, except for the Doyle Senior Center on the ground floor, for years as the city tried to sell it to a developer. There are now plans to convert the property for apartments and retail use.
The building at 21-23 Colony Street in Meriden was erected in 1877 as a Y.M.C.A. The rear of the structure has a mansard roof and the front facade once had one as well, but the building was altered c. 1920 after the Y.M.C.A. moved to a new building on West Main Street. At that time the building was converted to commercial use with a new facade in the Neoclassical style.
The handsome and commodious new building is now ready for occupancy, and it has been built almost solely through the untiring energy and exertions of the president of the association, Mr. W. E. Benham. He has never faltered since he took the matter in hand, but has kept on through difficulties and discouragements which few other men would have surmounted. The association now has one of the handsomest buildings of the kind in the state. Its large and pleasant reading rooms, its gymnasium, and the pleasant parlors will furnish places of resort which cannot fail of doing much good, and Mr. Benham can certainly reflect with great satisfaction upon the good work he has accomplished.
According to The Life and Writings of W. E. Benham (1882):
Its whole internal arrangements are found to have been wisely planned for the accomplishment of its benevolent purposes. It is said to be the most elegant and best built building in Meriden, is admired by all, subscribers and citizens generally, as the right building in the right place, an attractive, convenient center, in which the public, especially young men, in large numbers, delight to resort and pleasantly improve their leisure hours in intellectual, physical, social, moral and religious culture, where, away from the evil, all the surrounding influences are good and elevating. It is estimated’that between 1,000 and 2,000 persons average daily to enter this building, for the various purposes of water, baths, hair-dressing, food, clothing, reading, singing, gymnastics, writing, arithmetic, lectures, concerts, mission schools, lyceums, religious and other meetings. In short, it is an inestimably important building for the moral welfare of Meriden, and could not be spared without an irreparable loss.
The Valley National Bank, with offices at the corner of Main and Bank Streets in Seymour, was formed in 1900. In 1904 it dissolved and was replaced by the Seymour Trust Company. The company erected a new building in 1922-1923 at 115 Main Street, which opened on October 26, 1923. Today the building is a branch of Bank of America. It has a single-story stone-faced addition, built in 1981, that stretches south of the main block. Read the rest of this entry »
The Pequot School is a former public elementary school building located at 214 Main Street in the Southport section of Fairfield. Designed by W. H. McLean and built in 1917-1918 (it opened for classes in January 1918), it replaced an earlier Pequot School building erected in 1854. The school closed in 1972 and the town’s Board of Education used the building until 1984. Local citizens, concerned about intrusive commercial development targeting the building, formed the Southport Conservany, which purchased the former school and has since leased it to the Eagle Hill School, a private school for children with learning disabilities.
Built in 1922 on the site where a train station had once stood for 28 years in Meriden, the Colony Building (39-49 Colony Street) is a Neoclassical Revival-style structure. The original occupants of the building included Emerson & Whitney Shoe Co. and Jepson’s Book Store. The latter store later moved to 31 Colony Street. It had been founded in 1910 by Louise J. Jepson and was later run by George S. Jepson and Mildred Jepson.