The building at 21-23 Colony Street in Meriden was erected in 1877 as a Y.M.C.A. The rear of the structure has a mansard roof and the front facade once had one as well, but the building was altered c. 1920 after the Y.M.C.A. moved to a new building on West Main Street. At that time the building was converted to commercial use with a new facade in the Neoclassical style.
The handsome and commodious new building is now ready for occupancy, and it has been built almost solely through the untiring energy and exertions of the president of the association, Mr. W. E. Benham. He has never faltered since he took the matter in hand, but has kept on through difficulties and discouragements which few other men would have surmounted. The association now has one of the handsomest buildings of the kind in the state. Its large and pleasant reading rooms, its gymnasium, and the pleasant parlors will furnish places of resort which cannot fail of doing much good, and Mr. Benham can certainly reflect with great satisfaction upon the good work he has accomplished.
According to The Life and Writings of W. E. Benham (1882):
Its whole internal arrangements are found to have been wisely planned for the accomplishment of its benevolent purposes. It is said to be the most elegant and best built building in Meriden, is admired by all, subscribers and citizens generally, as the right building in the right place, an attractive, convenient center, in which the public, especially young men, in large numbers, delight to resort and pleasantly improve their leisure hours in intellectual, physical, social, moral and religious culture, where, away from the evil, all the surrounding influences are good and elevating. It is estimated’that between 1,000 and 2,000 persons average daily to enter this building, for the various purposes of water, baths, hair-dressing, food, clothing, reading, singing, gymnastics, writing, arithmetic, lectures, concerts, mission schools, lyceums, religious and other meetings. In short, it is an inestimably important building for the moral welfare of Meriden, and could not be spared without an irreparable loss.
The grand High Victorian Gothic-style Humphreys Building is prominently situated at 131-139 Main Street in downtown Seymour. The building was erected in 1891 by Carlos French (1835-1903), a prominent businessman and industrialist in Seymour.
The building at 163-169 Main Street in Seymour was built in 1921 and was originally called the Donavan Building. Its front marquee was added c. 1941 when the Stand Theater opened. It later became a second-run theater and is one of Connecticut’s few remaining single-screen movie houses. Its Art Deco interior was restored in the 1990s. The building is owned by the Knights of Columbus.
The building at 613-617 Main Street in Middletown was built in 1876 as a business venture by Edwin Scranton. The first tenant was John McIndue, who ran a confectionary and ice cream business. Later occupants were a bottling works and a printing company. The building is now home to St. Vincent de Paul Middletown. Founded in 1980 by the Sisters of Mercy and the Catholic Diocese of Norwich, SVDM is a shelter that serves the poor and homeless in greater Middletown.
The building at 945 Main Street in Manchester was built in 1909 to replace the Oak Hill Building that had stood on the site but was destroyed in a fire in 1909. Since 1897, that building had contained the dry goods store of Edwin E. House and Justus W. Hale, who quickly hired architect Isaac A. Allen, Jr. to design a replacement structure. The new House & Hale Building would be larger than its predecessor and a two-story wooden building (could it be this one?), next to the adjacent Cheney Block, was moved to the rear to make way for the structure. House & Hale, who had begun with two separate stores (begun in 1853 and 1875 respectively), soon evolved their joint businesses into a full department store which, by 1920, also had a self-serve grocery store in the basement. The department store was in business until January, 1980. The building was then converted into rental office space and is now called “One Heritage Place.”
A German immigrant who arrived in the United States in 1874, Bernard C. Apel established a furniture and undertaking business at Depot Square in North Manchester. In 1888 he erected the large brick commercial building that stands at the corner of Apel Place and Oakland Street (35 Oakland Street). The basement contained the undertaking establishment and above it was his mercantile showroom, which he had expanded to include a wide variety of products, from carpets, wall paper and curtains, to crockery, lamps, clocks, stoves and pianos. The upper floors of the building housed a large community hall/theater called Apel’s Opera House. A fire gutted the opera house in 1899. Apel rebuilt, but did not reconstruct the original audience gallery. Serving as a warehouse and salesroom in later years, the building was acquired by the Central Connecticut Cooperative Farmers Association in 1977. The Co-op, which had been located on Apel Place since 1942, was a major supplier of livestock feed to farmers and had a retail store and farm stand in the former Opera House. The Co-op closed in the summer of 2016 due to current economic conditions and the decline in the number of farms.
At the corner of Main and Prospect Streets in Bristol is a four-story Romanesque Revival red brick commercial building called the Linstead Block (238 Main Street). It was built by William Linstead, an English immigrant who, according to Men of Progress: Biographical Sketches and Portraits of Leaders in Business and Professional Life in and of the State of Connecticut (1898), “erected many of the large buildings in Bristol all of which compare favorably with the best work of their kind, and are a credit to the town and their builder.” Two storefronts on the Main Street side of the building have been altered, but those on the corner and on the Prospect Street side retain their original cast-iron columns. Trinity Episcopal Church was moved from Main Street around the corner to High Street to make way for the construction of the Linstead Block. The church burned down in 1945 and a new one was erected on Summer Street.
Attached to the Linstead Block and continuing along Prospect Street is the Funck Block (13 Prospect Street), also constructed in 1889. It was built for C. Funck & Son, a furniture company that also made coffins. The undertaking business was located further down Main Street until an addition made to the Funck Block allowed it to join the furniture store in 1930. While the earlier section of the building has cast-iron columns like the Linstead Block, the addition at the end has a Tudor Revival storefront. Ten years later the undertaking business (now Funk Funeral Home) moved to the George W. Mitchell House on Bellevue Avenue. The furniture part of the business was absorbed into the Bristol Furniture Store, which continued for some years on Prospect Street.