Part of a row of historic buildings on Chapel Street in New Haven are two structures with Queen Anne and Eastlake design elements. Located at nos. 841-843 and 845-847, both were built in 1878. They are currently owned by the Young Men’s Institute and the second and third floors at 847 Chapel Street (above no. 845) are the current home of the Institute Library, founded in 1826. Just west is the Optical Building, at 849 Chapel Street, built in 1912 and designed by Leoni Robinson. To the east is the English Building at 837-839 Chapel Street, named for Henry F. English. It was built in 1882, but after a fire a new Renaissance Revival facade by Leoni Robinson was installed in 1898.
Resembling a Venetian Palazzo, the building at 124 Temple Street in New Haven was built in 1909 as the offices of the United Illuminating Company. The company formed in 1899 when the New Haven Electric Company acquired the Bridgeport Electric Light Company. The company is now based in Orange. A third floor and rear wing were added to the building in 1916. Both the building and the addition were designed by R. W. Foote of Foote & Townsend.
Rogers & Stevens was a men’s clothing store in Norwalk. In 1922 the store erected the building at 27-29 Wall Street, which housed the store on the first floor (now used for a restaurant) and apartments above.
John F. Butler (1840-1905), who was born in County Kilkenny, Ireland, founded the long-lived Butler Paint Company in Meriden in 1876. The store opened on June 25, 1876, the same day Custer made his last stand at the Little Big Horn. In 1892 Butler organized a joint stock company, taking a number of his employees into the new corporation. The store was originally located in the Horace C. Wilcox Block on Colony Street. As related in An Historic Record and Pictorial Description of the Town of Meriden, Connecticut and Men who Have Made It: A Century of Meriden “The Silver City.” (1906):
With a progressive spirit always characteristic of him, Mr. Butler in connection with the Meriden Furniture Co., in 1894, built the handsome block on Colony street which the John F. Butler Company now occupy.
Located at 51-53 Colony Street, the building housed the Meriden Furniture Company on one side and Butler Paint on the other. The Meriden Furniture Company went out of business in 1965, replaced for a time by the Music Box. Butler Paint went out of the family in 2001 and finally closed in 2011.
The building at 7 Church Street in Roxbury, near the Green, was built circa 1840 as a hat shop by Frederick W. Lathrop. Hat making was an important cottage industry in Roxbury at the time, although industrial manufacturing supplanted it by the time of the Civil War. The building was later used as a residence.
The building at 357 Main Street South in Woodbury was built sometime in the nineteenth century. Now home to a dental office, it was once the grocery and dry goods store of George N. Proctor, who primarily sold his wares door-to-door. In March 1909, Proctor’s wife disappeared after withdrawing from the bank nearly $1,000 bequeathed to her by a relative. A few hours before her disappearance another resident of town had also vanished: Rev. Charles W. Dane, pastor of the Woodbury Methodist Church. Rev. Dane and Mrs. Proctor’s names had been linked for several months and it was thought they had run off together. Just a week before, Dane’s wife had sued for a divorce, alleging intolerable cruelty. She believed he had been deliberately mistreating her to drive her away so that he could divorce her on the ground of desertion. Mrs. Proctor had arranged to meet the minister in New Britain, but he failed to appear and she went on to New York City alone. Mr. Proctor, who believed the minister had hypnotized his wife to lure her away, soon located her in the city Fifteen years before Proctor had also lost his first wife, who ran off with a clerk from his store.
In 1797 the Town of Willington granted permission for Gen./Dr. Miner Grant to build a store to the southeast of the town green. It was built as a one-and-a-half story cape with its gable end facing the street. The store was in operation until the period of the Civil War. It was then converted into a residence and significantly altered. The original store entrance was located in the center of the gable end, where there is now a chimney. By 1801, Dr. Miner Grant’s son, Miner Grant, Jr., was working as a store clerk for Dr. Samuel Willard of Stafford. An accidental explosion on December 23, 1801 led to a fire that destroyed the store. Willard and Grant escaped, but another clerk, Augustus Miller, was killed. The store was rebuilt the following year and the business was acquired by Miner Grant, Sr., who was setting his son up in business. In 1806, Miner Grant, Jr. took over the Stafford store, which was moved to Old Sturbridge Village in 1938. His father’s earlier store, now a house, remains in its original location at 242 Tolland Turnpike in Willington.