The William Ross Public Library, built in 1911 at 57 Chaplin Street, is the original library building in the town of Chaplin. The library has since moved to the building at 130 Chaplin Street, a former elementary school built in 1948 and renovated for the library in 2000. The history of the library is described by librarian Ruth Eveline Snow in “The William Ross Public Library, Chaplin” in A Modern History of Windham County, Vol. I (1920):
About two years before the regular organization, a circulating library was kept first in the old Davenport House by Nettie E. Snow. At a town meeting October 7, 1901, the town gave a vote of thanks to Mr. Seth Moseley of New Haven for his gift of $100 toward the establishment of a free library. At the same meeting it was voted that the town should give $200, and “should spend annually for maintenance and increase $25.”
[. . .] The library has at present $50 a year from the town, $25 for heating, lighting, magazines, etc., and $25 for the librarian’s salary; $50 a year, interest on the William Ross Trust Fund. The library is under the state law and the state gives $100 worth of books each year.
The library was kept in different places. It had no regular library building. At the death of Mr. William Ross, a public-spirited citizen, it was found that his will provided money for a suitable library building. His widow added more money to the fund, so that a $6,500 brick building was erected. The dedication of the building was Saturday, November 18, 1911.
[. . .] The new building was built by George Eastman Snow. A guest book is kept on one of the tables and now shows the names of many visitors from many different states.
The library now numbers about two thousand volumes. Collections of books are sent each term, to each of the three schools in the town. The children use the library to a great extent, and it is very popular with the adults also.
At 248 Main Street, corner of High Street, in Bristol is a three story brick commercial building built c. 1896 with remodeled first-floor storefronts. It is called the Neubauer Building and was possibly built by George W. Neubauer, a German immigrant who established himself in Bristol as a wood clock case carver before expanding into many other business ventures.
To serve the Irish community in Kensington (in Berlin), Father Luke Daly of New Britain acquired land on Main Street for a church in 1873. Construction began in October of 1878 and the unfinished church was dedicated in May 1879. St. Paul’s became a full parish two years later. A suspicious fire destroyed St. Paul Church on March 5, 1913. Construction soon began on the current church, at Alling and Peck Streets. The cornerstone was blessed on November 2, 1913 and the church was dedicated on May 24, 1914. According to the Hartford Courant (“Bishop Dedicates Kensington Church,” March 25, 1814):
The edifice itself was built of red brick with Kentucky limestone cornices. The roof is Spanish tile. The architecture is English Gothic with a hint of Spanish mission in the tower. There are three porticos.
The Nathaniel White School, named in honor of an original settler of Cromwell who had left land in his will to be used for school purposes, was erected at 41 West Street in Cromwell in 1901 and dedicated in 1902. The original portion of the building was supplemented with a nearly identical southern block in 1925. Other additions were made to building over the years, which served as a high school until 1956 when a new Cromwell High School opened. The Nathaniel White School was then used as a middle school and, since c. 1985, the building has been the Town Hall of Cromwell.
The City Mission Building (also known as the City Missionary Society Building) is located at 234 Pearl Street in Hartford. The Hartford City Mission (also called the City Missionary Society) was founded in 1851 by the city’s six Congregational Churches to provide for the welfare of Hartford’s poor through Sunday schools, cooking and sewing classes and charity work. Designed by architect William D. Johnson, the building on Pearl Street was constructed in 1890-1891. It is a three-story structure with a tower on the side adjacent to the Goodwin Building. An illustration of a different design for the building appeared in August of 1890 in the Hartford Times and the Hartford Weekly Times. A clipping of this article was placed in the scrapbook kept by the architectural firm of Cook, Hapgood & Co. I am not sure why this design was not used.
An article in the Hartford Courant on August 14, 1890 (“Some New Buildings; Pearl Street Will Become a Busy Thoroughfare”) described “the new and handsome building of the City Mission, which when completed will be not only one of the prettiest but one of the most substantial buildings on the street.” The article mentions that “The second floor will contain a hall capable of seating two hundred and fifty people and a large room for the meetings of the City Mission board, and the ladies of the City Mission Association.” City Mission Hall was a meeting place for various events, including the golden wedding celebration of lawyer John Hooker and his wife, Isabella Beecher Hooker, a women’s suffragist and sister of Harriet Beecher Stowe.
The City Missionary Society sold the building in 1910, relocating to another building they had erected six years earlier on Village Street. The old organization no longer exists, but a new Hartford City Mission began serving youth in Hartford’s North End in 1998. The building on Pearl Street was later used by the Italian-American Home and then served as the offices of a family of attorneys. The building has recently been on the market.
Happy Easter! St. Gabriel Catholic Church is located at 379 Broad Street in Windsor. Before St. Gabriel parish was established in 1921, Catholics in that part of Windsor had been the responsibility of St. Mary parish, Windsor Locks (1852-1892) and then of St. Joseph parish, Poquonock (1892-1921). Father James Smyth purchased an Episcopal church named for St. Gabriel on November 1, 1865. A wood frame building, it had been built in 1843-1845. It served as St. Gabriel Catholic Mission Church until a new stone edifice was erected in front of it. The cornerstone of the current St. Gabriel Church was blessed on May 16, 1915 and the church was dedicated on May 14, 1916.
The building at 489-493 Main Street in Middletown was built in 1905 for the F.L Caulkins Auto Company. Known as the Caulkins Garage, it had an automobile showroom on the first floor with residences above. It was constructed when the company was expanding its automotive business from its quarters across the street, in the 1890 Caulkins & Post Building. The garage building continued to serve its original purpose throughout much of the twentieth century. The building is now home to Luce Restaurant (98 Washington St #1).