In 1879 Rockwell Keeney established the Somersville Manufacturing Company, a textile mill located in Somersville, a village in the town of Somers. The company specialized in heavy woolen cloth, with which it supplied the military during both World Wars. The mill prospered, first under Rockwell Keeney and his sons and then under his grandsons, until the 1960s when rising labor costs and the effect of the Clean Water eventually led to the company’s closure in 1969. Ralph Denison Keeney (1882-1960), Rockwell’s grandson, served as president of the company from 1927 to 1960. In 1912 a Colonial Revival house was built for Ralph Keeney at 87 Main Street in Somersville. Its columned front porch was enclosed when the house was later converted for use by commercial tenants.
The Somers Inn, 585 Main Street in Somers, originally opened in 1804 as the Kibbe Hotel (some sources indicate 1768, which may have been an earlier building on the site). It was run by Warren Kibbe and then by George Kibbe. The building started as a Federal-style structure with a hip roof, but it was remodeled around 1860 as a Greek Revival building. In 1931 it became Ye Olde Homestead Inn, run by Alphonse and Hilda Joerg and George and Emily Schiessl. In the early 1960s was renamed The Somers Inn. The historic property, which has not offered lodgings in many years, has been a popular restaurant. It was recently sold and reopened in April as the Copper House Tavern.
The house at 611 Main Street in Somers was built in 1795 and has later Greek Revival details. It was the home of Claudius Buchanan Pease, whose third wife was Mary W. Chapin Pease (1820-1889). Having spent much of her childhood in her mother’s hometown of Cornwall, Mary Chapin became one of the first students at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in 1837. After graduating she returned to Cornwall to teach, but then in 1843 returned to Mount Holyoke as a teacher. She served as the school’s principal from 1850 to 1865, when she retired and married Claudius Pease. After her children grew up, Mary Chapin Pease ran the Elm Knoll Preparatory School for girls from her home in Somers. The house was converted into two apartments in 1925 and became a flower shop in 1985.
There are a number of questions about the house at 603 Main Street in Somers, which is now owned by the Congregational Church next door. It is traditionally dated to 1810 and is said to have been built by Otis Bradley. The nomination for the Somers Historic District notes that it has more of the appearance of a Greek Revival house, c. 1835. It is known to have been occupied by the Otis family from 1876 to 1953. It was bought by the church in 1972.
The house at 573 Main Street in Somers was built around 1840. It was the home of Judge Solomon Fuller, Jr. (1817-1889). The son of Solomon S. Fuller, who was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, Solomon Fuller grew up in Somers and studied law at Chillicothe, Ohio. He practiced law in Ohio for some years before returning to Somers, where he was both a farmer and an attorney. He was elected Town Clerk and Judge of Probate, serving for four years before moving to Olmstead, Iowa, where he had a saw mill and engaged in lumbering for about two years. Then he returned to Somers, where he was again elected Town Clerk, Treasurer, and Judge of Probate, holding the positions until his death in 1889. He also served in the state General Assembly in 1863. Fuller’s son, Charles S. Fuller (b. 1855), opened the “Elmwood House” and engaged in the hotel and livery business. After his father’s death, he sold the hotel and succeeded his father in being elected to various public offices, including Judge of Probate. In 1922 Charles’s son, Ernest Solomon Fuller (1879-1946), became the third generation of the Fuller family to serve as Judge of Probate. He also served in the Connecticut General Assembly, for twenty years as a trustee of the Meriden School for Boys, and for about forty years he was a member of the Somers Board of Education, usually as its chairman.
The long side ell of the Pease House, located at 567 Main Street in Somers, may have been built in the eighteenth century (1715), but the main block was constructed in 1828 and the entire facade of the house reflects the remodeling of that year in the Federal style. The house became the Maples Inn and Tea Room in the early twentieth century and remained in business until 1953. It is a private home today, but the current owners open their decorated house to tours during the holiday season.
The brick house at 581 Main Street in Somers was built sometime before 1840. It was first home to Oren Clark and his sons, Ebenezer and Jonathan. The Clarks ran a store next to the house. After 1844, it was the home of Nehemiah Beach Beardsley, who was born January 20, 1780 in Stratford and died February 28 1868 in Somers. In 1805 he married Achsah Morgan (1774-1868), widow of Samuel Dwight Chapin.