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.
Union Station in New Haven, the city’s main railroad passenger station, was built in 1917-1920 for the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad. The station was designed by the noted architect Cass Gilbert.
It is the third major passenger station to serve New Haven. The first Union Station, opened by the New York and New Haven Railroad in 1848, stood on Chapel Street east of downtown. It was designed by Henry Austin. The NY&NH merged with the Hartford & New Haven Railroad in 1872. The consolidated company decided to construct a new station a few blocks south of the old Chapel Street station. Built in 1874 in the Second French Empire style, it stood at the site of the current Union Station parking garage and was later destroyed in a fire.
After World War II the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad fell into decline. Union Station was shuttered in 1972, leaving only the section under the tracks open to passengers. The station came close to demolition before Northeast Corridor Improvement Project led to renovations in the 1980s. Union Station reopened in 1985.
The town of Suffield’s first library building was erected in 1899 at 119 High Street on land where the Old South building on the Connecticut Literary Institute (now Suffield Academy) campus once stood. Designed by Daniel Burnham, the library was built using funds provided by Suffield native Sidney A. Kent, as described in Celebration of the Two Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the Settlement of Suffield, Connecticut, October 12, 13 and 14, 1920 (1921):
In 1897 Mr. Sidney A. Kent, a native of Suffield and for many years a prominent and successful business man in Chicago, returned to Suffield and, desirous of erecting a memorial to his parents whose ancestors were prominent in the early history of the town, offered to erect a library building costing not less than $35,000, if the town would provide a suitable site. The site of the old South building was secured from the Connecticut Literary Institution and was a part of the grant or allotment of land made in 1678 to Samuel Kent, the first of his ancestors to come to Suffield. Upon this he erected the beautiful Kent Memorial building and in addition furnished the library with 6872 carefully selected volumes and thirty-two magazines and periodicals. That the library might be properly provided for in addition to town appropriations, Mr. Kent created an endowment of $25,000, one-half of the income of which should go annually to the maintenance of the library, and the other half added to the principal for a period of twenty years, after which the whole income of the increased fund should become available. The building was dedicated November 1, 1899 at which time Mr. Kent presented to the town the building, books, certificate of trust fund and a check for $5000 to cover the cost of site. On September 1, 1901 the library had 10,759 volumes in its stacks and 10,773 naa been drawn by the public during the year. There are now over twenty thousand volumes and the number of books drawn annually by the public has steadily increased. The town annually appropriates $1200 and the income from the Kent fund is about $1400.
The former Temple B’Nai Israel at 265 West Main Street in New Britain was built in 1927-1929 as a Masonic Temple. It was designed by architect Walter P. Crabtree. The Masons sold the building to the Jewish congregation Aheyu B’Nai Israel (Brethren Sons of Israel) in 1940. Aheyu B’Nai Israel was organized in 1889 as an Orthodox congregation, but reorganized as Conservative in 1924. Members who held to Orthodox views split off and built Tephereth Israel Synagogue. Temple B’Nai Israel closed in the summer of 2007. Its Torah scrolls were transferred to the Hillel organizations at Trinity College, the University of Hartford, and the University of Connecticut
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.
The Capitol Theater in New London was built in 1921 at 39 (29-41) Bank Street on the site of a earlier theater called Aborn Hall. A vaudeville and movie theater (legend has it that George Burns and Gracie Allen met here), it has been closed since 1974 and is in need of restoration. Read the rest of this entry »