The house at 35 Rose Hill Road in Southport was not always a house. It was built in 1912 by the Southern New England Telephone Co. as its Southport Telephone Exchange. The business office was on the first floor and the telephone switchboard operations were on the second floor. The Telephone Exchange moved to reef road in 1947 and the 1,722-square-foot building was converted to residential use. For a time it was divided into two apartments until recent owners returned it to being a single-family home. The property also has a guest house that was once a four-bay garage used by SNET.
The First Universalist Society was organized in Middletown in 1829. Ten years later the Society constructed a church on Main Street at the corner of College Street (then called Parsonage Street; the building’s current address is 203-207 Main Street). Declining membership in the early twentieth century led to the sale of the building to the Odd Fellows for use as a meeting hall in 1916. The building has always had retail space on the first floor (originally the basement, as a flight of stairs led up to the church entrance from street level) and there was a conference room in the rear of the first floor. The Main Street front is currently home to Thai Gardens Restaurant.
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.
The building at 20 Broad Street in New Britain was erected in 1923 as the Rialto Theater. The owners went into receivership in the late 1920s and the building was foreclosed in 1930. Nest 88 of the Polish Falcons of America acquired the building in 1934. The Polish Falcons are a fraternal benefit society headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Nest 88 was chartered in 1907 after a first meeting in Lee Hall on Lafayette Street in New Britain. The organization has an emphasis on physical fitness, but in the early twentieth century it also trained volunteers to fight for the independence of Poland. 300 recruits from New Britain were among the 20-25,000 Polish men from North America who went to fight in the War as part of Haller’s Army (also called the Blue Army), which was composed of Polish immigrants and fought under French command in Europe. The building in New Britain has retail space on the first floor while the entire second floor is dedicated to Nest 88, with the Club Office, Club Bar, two halls, a kitchen and meeting rooms.
Though it has a front facade dating to c. 1870 and it was later much altered on the first floor, the building at 29 West Main Street in Meriden is thought to have been built in 1854. Known as the Lewis Block, should not be confused with the larger Hall and Lewis Block at the corner of Colony and West Main Streets.
Between about 1868 and his death in 1900, Dr. Robert A. Manwaring had practiced medicine in a house in New London where the building at 225-237 State Street now stands. The building was constructed in 1913 as the result of a bequest by the doctor’s son, Wolcott B. Manwaring (to support a memorial children’s hospital). Designed by Dudley St. Clair Donnelly, the Manwaring Building has housed many businesses over the years. Read the rest of this entry »
At 134 Washington Street in South Norwalk is an arcaded yellow-brick commercial building that was built around 1890. It appears to have been constructed in two stages, as the cornice does not line up evenly across the entire facade. Today, the building has stores with condominiums above. It is located between Donovan’s Saloon and Hoyt’s Theatre.