The first Catholic parish in Union City in Naugatuck began as mission of St. Francis of Assisi Church in Naugatuck, becoming St. Mary Parish in 1907. A chapel was erected the following year and the finished St. Mary Church, located at 338 North Main Street, was dedicated on May 27, 1923. St. Hedwig Parish, Union City’s other Catholic parish, was founded by Polish immigrants in 1906. The current St. Hedwig Church and school complex on Golden Hill Street was dedicated in 1968.
The railroad came to Naugatuck in 1849 and by the turn-of-the-century the lines through town were owned by the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad. When the time came to design a new and larger railway station, John H. Whittemore, Naugatuck’s great manufacturer and philanthropist, who had done so much to shape the architecture of the town center according to his vision of a “City Beautiful,” offered to help pay for its construction if he could select the building’s architect. Whittemore, who was also director of the New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad, commissioned Henry Bacon to design the station, which was constructed between 1908 and 1910. The style of the building has been described as Spanish Colonial Revival, but also as Italian Villa style. Although trains still stop at a newer station nearby, the old station closed in the mid-1960s. Used for a time as a newspaper plant by the Naugatuck Daily News, the building has more recently been restored and converted into a museum by the Naugatuck Historical Society.
St. Michael’s Episcopal Church on the Green in Naugatuck is a High Victorian Gothic structure, built in 1875 and designed by David R. Brown, who had been an apprentice of Henry Austin. St. Michael’s Parish was formed in 1786 and a church was built in Millville in 1803. That structure was moved to what would become the center of town in 1832, to land donated by innkeeper Daniel Beecher, who also provided land next door for the Congregational Church and established Naugatuck’s Green, thereby providing the then dispersed communities of Naugatuck with an institutional center. The relocated original church was in use until 1875, when it was sold to the Naugatuck school board and removed to make way for the current church.
In contrast to the many other Classical Revival buildings nearby in Naugatuck Center, the Naugatuck Main Post Office was constructed with elements of the Spanish Colonial Revival style, most notably a Spanish tile roof. Built in 1916, the Post Office was designed under the supervision of James A. Wetmore, Acting Supervising Architect for the Federal Government. It was one of the first post offices to be built under the Public Buildings Act of 1913.
One of the most important buildings designed by McKim, Mead & White in Naugatuck is the High School on Hillside Avenue, constructed in 1905. Naugatuck industrialist and philanthropist John H. Whittemore wanted the school to have a prominent position on a hill overlooking Naugatuck Green and the many other structures that he had commissioned the firm to design. To adapt to the sloping site, the firm created a building in which each of its three floors has an entrance at ground level and each side is designed with its own distinct appearance. Based on Greek temples, the school is constructed in pink granite and pressed buff brick. A new High School was built on Rubber Avenue in 1959 and, although the original school’s interior was damaged by fire in the 1960s, it was painstakingly restored to become a junior high school, now called Hillside Middle School.
Built in 1930 on Church Street in Naugatuck, the cubic Naugatuck National Bank building has prominent quoins and a strongly rectilinear appearance. The Bank was founded in 1883 and the 1930 building replaced an earlier structure, also once located on Church Street, which was built in 1893 and designed by McKim, Mead & White.
In 1858, John Howard Whittemore formed a company with Bronson B. Tuttle to produce malleable iron hardware, a company that was eventually known as Naugatuck Malleable Iron. Tuttle’s brick house, unlike that of his partner Whittemore, survives today in Naugatuck Center, at the north end of Church Street. Built in 1879 to 1881, the brick and brownstone residence, designed by Robert Wakeman Hill of Warterbuy, is Queen Anne in style, elaborated with elements of other styles. The gable ends and tower dormers are decorated with a quarter sunburst design. There is quatre-foil-pierced terra-cotta cresting along the roof line. The original wraparound porch was later removed. The house remained in the Tuttle family until 1935, when it was given to the Borough of Naugatuck, the house has served as a school and is now the offices of the Naugatuck Board of Education.