Archive for the ‘Military’ Category

Manchester Armory (1927)

Friday, October 13th, 2017 Posted in Gothic, Manchester, Military | No Comments »

In 1923, the Connecticut General Assembly approved funding for an armory in Manchester to house the town’s National Guard units. A drill shed was soon erected at 330 Main Street, followed by the remainder of the building (the front facade of the head house) after additional funds were approved in 1925. Designed in a military Gothic style by the New London architectural firm of Payne and Keefe, the Manchester Armory represents a move away from the picturesque castellated Gothic armories that were built in Connecticut in the first two decades of the twentieth century towards a more streamlined and rigidly symmetrical form related to the emerging Art Deco style. Earlier this year the state sold the armory, which had become vacant, to private owners who plan to convert it into offices and an automotive restoration shop.

Bristol Armory (1928)

Friday, May 19th, 2017 Posted in Bristol, Gothic, Military | No Comments »

By 1927, community leaders in Bristol had long lobbied the state to build an armory for the city’s National Guard units, which had been utilizing inadequate rented facilities. That year, armory supporters finally acquired funding and hired Payne & Keefe of New London to design an armory at 61 Center Street. Opened in 1928, the Bristol Armory is a Military Gothic style building that faces the intersection of Center and Valley Streets. An unusual feature is that the Armory’s drill shed floor is on the second level of the building. In 1978 a military museum opened in the building. The museum moved to the Bristol Historical Society building in 2008. More recently the state has sought to sell the building.

Hawley Armory (1915)

Monday, September 14th, 2015 Posted in Collegiate, Gothic, Mansfield, Military | No Comments »

Hawley Armory

Hawley Armory on the campus of the University of Connecticut in Storrs was built in 1914-1915 for the school’s military department, but its gymnasium and drill hall also served as the location for numerous athletic and social activities over the years. The Armory was named for Willis N. Hawley, a student at what was then called the Storrs Agricultural College. A first lieutenant of the cadet company on campus, he joined the army after graduating in 1898, but before he could fight in the Spanish-American War, he died of typhoid fever at the Red Cross Hospital in Philadelphia. As noted by President George W. Flint in the Annual Report of the Trustees of the Storrs Agricultural College (1899):

When the war with Spain was imminent, and the President of the United States issued his call for volunteers, five students of Storrs Agricultural College responded to the call, and were found to be well qualified for official positions. Of these, First Sergeant Willis N. Hawley was taken sick at Camp Meade, and died in the hospital at Philadelphia, November 19, 1898. When the State shall erect its library building at Storrs Agricultural College, we trust that some memorial will find a place in that structure to show the State’s appreciation of those who are willing to die for her honor, and for the freedom of an oppressed people.

Mention of the Armory and athletics at the College in general is made by Charles A. Wheeler in the Biennial Report (1917):

As chairman of the Athletic Advisory Board from its inception and now of the Athletic Council, which continues the work of the former organization, I think it fitting to mention our greatly increased facilities for athletic work, and the marked improvement in our standing among colleges. The Hawley Armory gives facilities for every student to exercise, and provision for athletic teams in the way of shower baths and dressing room with lockers. Our quartermile track has been re-surfaced with rock screenings and the opportunities for track-work increased. Our main interest in athletics has centered about football, basketball, and baseball. The support of athletics rests upon the student body, the faculty, and such alumni and others as attend the games. Football costs about $800. a year, basketball $300. and baseball $600. The past two years have been a transition period for us in athletics from the high and preparatory school group to the college group. We are now playing college and university teams, and, though victories for us are scarce, we have as a rule made a creditable showing in each game and have the respect of our adversaries. It seems to me that the past two years have shown 100% improvement in athletics. Looking back over a period of thirty years as student and teacher in college, I believe the interest of students in athletics has been a helpful influence in college life, and that our armory and gymnasium, is our most useful college building.

Renovated in the 1990s, the Hawley Armory now serves as a health and fitness training facility for the University community. Read the rest of this entry »

West Hartford Armory (1913)

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015 Posted in Colonial Revival, Military, West Hartford | No Comments »

West Hartford Armory

In 1911 the First Company Governor’s Horse Guards became Troop B Cavalry, Connecticut National Guard. Troop B soon began construction of a privately funded armory (with stables and drill shed) at 836 Farmington Avenue in West Hartford. The plans were provided by architects and troop members A. Raymond Ellis and Francis E. Waterman, who made the building very functional without extra features in order to keep costs down. Built in 1912-1913, the armory was soon officially acquired by the state. The unit served along the Mexican border in 1916 and in World War I as a Machine Gun Battalion. By the late 1930s mechanization was bringing an end to horse cavalry in the US Army. In 1940 the unit became part of the 208th Coastal Artillery Regiment and the Armory was converted to store large vehicles. After the War, the First Company Governor’s Horse Guards was reorganized as a state militia unit and today has a facility in Avon. The Army continued to house various units in the West Hartford Armory until the early 1980s, when the building was decommissioned and sold by the state. It was then extensively altered for use as professional office suites.

Branford Armory (1913)

Monday, March 2nd, 2015 Posted in Branford, Gothic, Military | No Comments »

Branford Armory

The Militia Act of 1903, also known as the Dick Act, was federal legislation that mandated greater oversight of National Guard units by the regular army. As part of the military reforms arising from the act, the federal government had provided the Connecticut National Guard with an artillery battery, subject to inspection by regular army officers to ensure both performance and proper care for government property. In 1909 the War Department was dissatisfied with a recent inspection and demanded that the state erect an armory to house the equipment. Following negotiations, in 1911 the state General Assembly approved a new armory to be built in Branford to house Battery A of the field artillery. Completed in 1913, the armory was designed by the architectural firm of Palmer and Townsend, which had just completed the Meriden Armory. Located at 87 Montowese Street, the armory has been updated at different times and housed various National Guard units over the years (the original field artillery moved out in the 1920s). Branford Armory & OMS is now also home to the 2nd Company Governor’s Foot Guard, which moved out of its New Haven armory in 2009. Controversy arose in 2011 when the Branford Armory Tank (actually a Marine armored personnel carrier), placed on the front lawn in the 1970s as a memorial by Korean War veterans, was removed by the Guard without warning as part of an effort to restore historical military equipment for display at Camp Niantic. Branford veterans and citizens successfully lobbied to have the tank returned. For more information about the Branford Armory, see Built to Serve: Connecticut’s National Guard Armories 1865-1940 (2003), by Geoffrey L. Rossano & Mary M. Donohue, pages 58-61.

West Haven Armory (1932)

Saturday, September 27th, 2014 Posted in Art Deco, Military, West Haven | No Comments »

West Haven Armory

The former National Guard Armory at 511 Main Street in West Haven was built in 1932-1933 and remained an active military facility through the late 1970s. Designed by the architectural firm of Fletcher & Thompson, it is an Art Deco structure–the first armory building in Connecticut to break with the earlier castellated Military Gothic style. The armory was later converted into apartment units.

Redmen’s Hall/Carberry Theater (1911)

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 Posted in Bristol, Military, Neoclassical, Organizations, Theaters | 1 Comment »

Former Redmen's Hall and Carberry Theater in Bristol

A chapter (called a “tribe”) of the Improved Order of Red Men was established in Bristol in 1890. The organization constructed a three-story brick meeting hall at 43 Prospect Street in Bristol in 1911. Designed by Walter Crabtree and built by B.H. Hubbard Co. of New Britain, the Redmen’s Hall had a state armory on the first floor and a meeting hall on an upper floor. Many town events were held in the hall in the early years of the twentieth century. In 1940 the building was renovated to become a movie theater called the Carberry Theater. The building is now owned by the Christian Fellowship Center.