Built in 1922 on the site where a train station had once stood for 28 years in Meriden, the Colony Building (39-49 Colony Street) is a Neoclassical Revival-style structure. The original occupants of the building included Emerson & Whitney Shoe Co. and Jepson’s Book Store. The latter store later moved to 31 Colony Street. It had been founded in 1910 by Louise J. Jepson and was later run by George S. Jepson and Mildred Jepson.
Pictured above are two buildings on Main Street in Middletown that are joined together with a bracketed cornice. The one on the right, 420 Main Street, was built between 1867 and 1868 by Ephraim Sheldon, who had his furniture store in the building until 1892. The building was modernized c. 1895 with a Pompeian brick facade and brownstone window surrounds. Probably around that same time the cornice of the adjacent Fagan Building was extended across the Sheldon Building. Fagan’s Block, at 422 Main Street, was built in 1868 by Patrick Fagan. After his death in 1869, his sons continued their father’s real estate business with an office in the building. They added an addition on the north side that was demolished in the late 1930s to make way for the Woolworth Building.
The Lawrence R. Shea Building, at 43-47 Bank Street in New London, was built in 1903. The building once had an elaborate Classical Revival cornice, long since removed. The building was redeveloped c. 1984.
The building at 15 Center Street in Andover, built c. 1860, was originally the house and store of Jasper A. Fitch. Fitch’s father was a shoemaker, so he may have apprenticed to his uncle, William (or was it Henry?), a merchant in Hebron. Frederick A. Sackett, who came to Andover from Rhode Island, was a later storekeeper. F. A. Sackett also served as town clerk, treasurer and judge of the Andover Probate District. In 1938 the Andover Volunteer Fire Department was formed and the town acquired the Sackett store, which was remodeled to become a fire house. A third bay for vehicles was added to the existing two in 1955. Another bay was added in 1982. The Fire Department later moved to Andover’s new Public Safety Complex.
The house that now stands at 4 Parsonage Lane in Washington initially stood facing Washington Green. It was built circa 1790 by Samuel Leavitt as a store. His son William continued to operate the store, which was adjacent to the Leavitt House. At some point early on it was moved to its current address. For a time it was used as a school before being converted into a residence.
The commercial building at 969-985 Main Street in Manchester, called the Cheney Block, was built in 1899. It was the successor to the old Cheney Brothers general store which was located on the southeast corner of South Main and Charter Oak Streets and burned in 1898. The new building’s location, between Maple and Oak Streets, contributed to the shift of the town’s commercial district northwards to a former residential area. Many businesses, as well as the South Manchester Post Office, have occupied the Cheney Block over the years. The building has lost its original roof-top balustrade.
The white-painted brick building at 943 (AKA 947) Worthington Ridge in Berlin was built c. 1862 by Henry N. Galpin as a general merchandise store, replacing a previous store building on the site that had been destroyed in a fire. As related in Catharine Melinda North’s History of Berlin (1916):
From the time as far back as the memory of the oldest living person goes, a prosperous store has been conducted at the stand south of the Freedom Hart place, which for many years has borne the sign of Henry N. Galpin.
Names obtained of those who have been at the head of the business here are as follows: Orrin Beckley, about 1810; Samuel Porter (died 1838, aged eighty-eight); Horace Steele & Dr. David Carpenter; Plumb & Deming, 1835; Benjamin Wilcox; S. C. Wilcox; Galpin & Loveland; Henry N. Galpin; Strickland Bros., and lastly E. E. Honiss. This store formerly carried a line of everything that the community might need, including drugs. Physicians’ prescriptions were compounded here until, by mutual agreement, H. N. Galpin surrendered his drug department to Alfred North, who, in exchange, gave up the sale of his drygoods to Mr. Galpin.
. . . . . .
Mr. Galpin was a public-spirited citizen, ready at all times to respond liberally to every good cause. He was also a man of sterling integrity, as one, who knew him well, said, she would not fear to trust him with the last cent she owned.
As described in New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial, Vol. III (1913):
Hon. Henry Norris Galpin, son of Norris Galpin, was born in the old Galpin home on the lower end of Berlin street, Berlin, December 22, 1820, died December 22, 1892. He attended the common schools and academy in his native town and at an early age began to work for a living, his father dying when he was but a boy. He began an apprenticeship in a harness maker’s shop, but found that he preferred mercantile life and entered the employ of Edward Wilcox as clerk. He continued with Mr. Wilcox and his successor in business, Samuel C. Wilcox, until after 1850 when he purchased the business and continued it successfully to the end of his life. He owned considerable real estate in the vicinity of the store building. In 1861 his building and goods were destroyed by fire, but he erected a new building and resumed business. Though partly paralyzed from the effects of a fall in 1883, he continued to manage his business.
He was one of the leading citizens of the town, a substantial and capable man of business, active and useful in town affairs. Before the civil war he was a Democrat, but he became a Republican in 1860 and continued to support that political party to the end of his life. For many years he was town auditor and in 1863-80-82 represented his town in the general assembly. He was treasurer of school district No. 5 from 1878 until he died, and was also trustee of the Selden school fund. He was one of the organizers of the Wilcox Cemetery Association and was its first president, continuing to fill that office until his death. In 1845 he was first commissioned as postmaster of Berlin and he held the office almost continuously until he died. The post office was in his store.
The Galpin Store, much altered over the years, operated as a store into the 1950s. It is now a private residence.