The Westport Reading Room and Library Association was founded in 1886 and was initially located on the second floor of the Hurlbutt Block. In 1896 Ambrose S. Hurlbutt generously reduced the lease and the Library moved to the first floor. It also started a building fund to construct its own home across the street. Morris Ketchum Jesup, a New York City banker and philanthropist, who was born in Westport in 1830, donated land and funding for the new building, which was dedicated on April 8, 1908. The building fund was then redirected to the endowment and acquisition of new books. The library grew and a new wing facing the Saugatuck River was added in 1956. Eventually a new Westport Public Library building was opened adjacent to Jesup Green on the Saugatuck River in 1986. In 2013 the Westport Library dropped the word “Public” from its name. The former library building on Post Road East is now used as retail and office space.
The Plant Building (now called the Dewart Building) at 300-310 State Street in New London was built in 1914 for Morton F. Plant (1852-1918), a millionaire financier who invested substantially in the development of New London. The building contained shops on the first floor with offices and a large assembly hall above. It was designed by architect Dudley St. Clair Donnelly, who had his own offices on the fourth floor. The Plant Building was later renamed for William J. Dewart, the local business manager for Frank Munsey, the magazine publisher who built the Mohican Hotel in New London.
At 359 Hazard Avenue in Hazardville in Enfield is the former Hazardville Grammar School. The older section of the building, which was built in 1864, is in the rear. In the twentieth century (perhaps 1948?) the school lost its pedimented front pavilion and tower with a pyramidal roof, which were replaced by a two-story brick addition that became the building’s new front facade. Not used as a school after 1974, the building was later leased to the Y.W.C.A. and is today the Hazardville Daycare Center.
At 15 Bank Street in New London is the Lawrence Hall Building, built in 1920. It replaced an earlier Lawrence Hall building on the same site, which is described in Frances Manwaring Caulkins’ History of New London (1895 edition) as follows:
Lawrence Hall, a private building owned by Joseph Lawrence, Esq., is the principal Hall in the city for public lectures and exhibitions. It was completed in Feb. 1856, and is 105 feet in length, 57 in breadth, and arched above to the height of 24 feet from the floor. It is a beautiful Hall in decoration, proportion and interior accommodation, and with its gallery or corridor, will accommodate 1,200 persons. Architect, W. T. Hallett.
It deserves to be remembered here that the elder Lawrence was the first man who gave New London a strictly metropolitan building, Lawrence Hall, a fine structure built from the plans of the celebrated architect, Hallett. When it was going up some of the citizens expressed their fears that it would overshadow the rest of the city, and Mr. Lawrence replied: “ That is all right; the city will grow up to it.”
The 1920 Lawrence Hall was built after the 1856 Lawrence Hall was destroyed in a fire. The new building was described in the book Modern Connecticut Homes and Homecrafts (1921) soon after it was built:
In the making of the design for Lawrence Hall Building on Bank street, New London, there is shown again [the architects] Mssrs. Bilderbeck and Langdon’s marked ability to obtain decorative quality through their knowledge of the resources of materials, and beauty of form in the development of natural structural lines.
At 67 Wall Street in Norwalk is a building constructed in 1922 for the Fairfield County Savings Bank. The bank, chartered in 1874, had an earlier building at 51 Wall Street whose facade was significantly altered in the 1970s. The building at 67 Wall Street was renovated in 1990. The Fairfield County Savings Bank merged with the Ridgefield Bank to form the Fairfield County Bank in 2004.
The largest synagogue in Bridgeport was constructed by Congregation Rodeph Shalom in 1947-1949, with a school addition built in 1956. A group that broke away from the Reform Congregation B’nai Israel formed the Conservative Congregation Rodeph Shalom in 1909. The congregation met in Veruna Hall until 1923, when it purchased a church on Iranistan Avenue. The current synagogue, at 2385 Park Avenue in Bridgeport, was designed by architect Jesse James Hamblin of Milford, who also designed Saint John the Baptist Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church in Bridgeport. It combines elements of the Neo-Classical and Art Deco styles.
The building listed in the nomination to the National Register of Historic Places for the Colony Street/West Main Street Historic District as the Cahill Beef Block (55 Colony Street [historically 57 Colony Street] in Meriden) is a Georgian/Neoclassical Revival structure built in 1902-1903. It was also a branch of the Swift Beef Co., as described in Meat-packer Legislation: Hearings Before the Committee on Agriculture, House of Representatives, Sixty-Sixth Congress, Second Session, on Meat-packer Legislation, Tuesday, March 18, 1920:
C. W. Cahill, Meriden, Conn.: Local slaughterer became Swift agent, organized Cahill Beef Co. 1909. Sold out his interest to Swift 1915 because he had to handle Swift goods exclusively. Corporation dissolved 1916. Now Swift branch house.
A more detailed account of Cornelius W. Cahill’s career can be found in An Historic Record and Pictorial Description of the Town of Meriden, Connecticut and the Men Who Have Made It, AKA A Century of Meriden (1906):
He was born in Ireland, Februarv 12. 1844, and his parents located in Middletown when he was three years old. . . .
In 1865 he came to Meriden and became a clerk in the provision store of Samuel C. Paddock where by courteous attention to patrons he made himself not only valuable to his employer but popular with a large number of customers. When he was offered a more lucrative position in the same line of business he made up his mind that he could be as much value in his own store as in that of others and encouraged by his customers, of whom he had made personal friends, established the City Market. After carrying on the business for some time alone he took in a partner, John W. Coe, and continued the business for three years. John W. Coe sold his interest to Patrick Cahill and M. O’Brien. It then became known as Cahill & O’Brien Later with Bartholomew & Coe he went into the pork packing business, but within a year returned to the retail business at the City Market. Some time afterward he retired from the retail business, selling his interest in the City Market to B. B. Lane, and became again the partner of Bartholomew & Coe, who in the meantime had become the Meriden agents for Swift’s beef. At the end of a year Messrs. Coe and Bartholomew retired, selling their interest to Mr. Cahill,; who for the past twenty-five years has continued the wholesale commission business in handling the Swift beef, which at the close of the first century of Meriden’s history has increased to almost mammoth proportions.
In 1903 Swift & Co. erected their present handsome brick building on North Colony street which is equipped with every modern facility for receiving, keeping and handling the large amount of beef shipped daily from Chicago and supplied by Mr. Cahill to the meat markets in the vicinity of Meriden.
The former Swift/Cahill building is now known as The Studios at 55 and features band rehearsal rooms, a recording studio, and a performance hall.