The Samuel Weed House, at 2 Park Street facing Norwalk Green, was built in 1917. It may be named for the Samuel L. Weed who was cashier of the Fairfield County National Bank. The house is now used as offices.
The H. E. Bishop House, at 87 East Avenue in Norwalk, is a Colonial Revival residence, built c. 1905-1906. Designed by Joy Wheeler Dow of Wyoming, NJ, architect and author of American Renaissance: A Review of Domestic Architecture (1904), the house is modeled on the c. 1723 house at Shirley Plantation, on the James River in Virginia. The Bishop House attracted much attention after it was built, being featured in several magazines. In “Residence of H. E. Bishop, Esq., at Norwalk, Connecticut” (American Homes and Gardens, Vol. V, No. 21, February, 1908), Francis Durando Nichols writes:
The site chosen for the house was fortunately an elevated corner lot, more spacious by far than is usually to be had in the popular residential section of a city. Taking its situation as a keynote, the designer has given his composition an effect of massive elegance which makes it one of the most striking houses in its vicinity.
The house is surely not one of the million that we are perfectly content to pass by with never a second look. It compels attention, not because of any eccentricity in design, not because of any weird hybrids among its architectural motives, nor because of any unusual and dazzling color scheme, but solely because it does have that elusive quality of architectural distinction.
In “Four Colonial Houses” (American Forestry, Vol. 23, No. 279, March, 1917), Rawson Woodman Haddon writes:
The way by which we may preserve in the domestic architecture of today an undefinable charm—a certain warmth of personality with which American history has invested the wooden house——is what Mr. joy Wheeler Dow shows us in the buildings he has designed, and in his writing upon the various developments of American architecture, both historic and modern.
This is the second oldest ecclesiastical organization in Norwalk. As early as 1729 there appears to have been desultory Episcopal services holden in Norwalk. Rev. Henry Caner of Fairfield, was probably the first clergyman known to have here officiated. His incumbency dates from 1737, at which period the worship of the Episcopal church seems to have been celebrated in a small and temporary frame structure which stood on the extreme northeasterly portion of the present St. Paul’s grounds on Newtown avenue. This structure seems to have served the parish purpose until 1742, when the building, afterward destroyed by Tryon, was erected. [. . .]
A new church edifice rose over the ashes of the temple burned in 1779, which building stood until 1840
That third church building was replaced by a frame Carpenter Gothic structure that stood until it was torn down and replaced by the current church on Norwalk Green. The cornerstone was laid on November 12, 1927 and the church was consecrated on June 9, 1930. Visitors reach the church through its ancient burial ground (see photo) from St. Paul’s Place, a short street along the northern boundary of the Green. Read the rest of this entry »
Today is the Ninth Anniversary of Historic Buildings of Connecticut! It’s been one post a day for nine years!
Frederick Belden (1818-1893) was a wealthy Norwalk merchant. C. 1850 he built the Italianate house at 75 East Avenue across from Norwalk Green. Frederick Belden married twice, first to Catherine E Gruman Belden (1822-1864) and then to Sarah E Hill Belden (1840-1911), the oldest daughter of Ebenezer Hill, a banker and founder of the Norwalk Lock Company and the Norwalk Iron Works. The Belden house is mentioned in Norwalk (1896), by Charles M. Selleck:
The Frederick Belden residence “on the green” supplanted the more ancient Grumman home, and was presided over by those to whom refinement and good breeding seemed a second nature. Mrs. Belden was gracefully dignified and of pleasing presence. Her good mother, Mrs. Gruman, who was for many years her daughter’s care, was, like her near neighbor, Mrs. Senator Thaddeus Betts, a feeling friend. Those of Miss Susan Betts’ school children who yet remain may recall how that good instructress was wont, during the noon recess on the green, to receive warm, appetizing viands, as a mid-day luncheon. She was unforgotten in the school’s generous vicinity. As the Belden children approached maturity the bright home invited the young. The second Mrs. Belden has preserved its reputation.
Most recently used as a funeral parlor, last summer the house sold for $250,000.
The first meeting house of Norwalk’s First Congregational Church was erected in 1659 at the corner of East Avenue and Fort Point Street. The current building, at the corner of Park and Lewis Streets, faces Norwalk Green from the west. It was built c. 1924, replacing the 1848 church on the site that was destroyed by fire in 1917. The meeting house on the Green before that was burned by the British in 1779 during the Revolutionary War. In 2012 a hive of honey bees that had nested in church’s steeple were rescued.
Located in Mill Hill Historic Park in Norwalk is the former Town House (or Town Hall), a Federal-style brick structure erected in 1835. Norwalk’s first Town House was erected by 1736 at the site of the old Trolley Barn at Wall and Knight Streets. A newer Town House was later built at Mill Hill, but it was destoyed when the British burned Norwalk on July 11, 1779 during the Revolutionary War. It took fifteen years before a new structure was erected in 1794. As described by John Warner Barber in his Connecticut Historical Collections (1836):
The old town house was pulled down in July, 1835. It had been long in a ruinous state, and much disfigured the appearance of the place. Some persons in the town who took upon themselves the responsibility of regulating things of this nature about the town, being impatient of the “law’s delay,” took advantage of the darkness of night, pulled down the obnoxious building, and piled up the rubbish by the side of the road.
The current building was built by by Captain Lewis Raymond, who used brick brought to Norwalk as ship’s ballast. The building was used as the seat of government until the Town of Norwalk and the City of South Norwalk were consolidated in 1913. Starting in 1924, the Norwalk Daughters of the American Revolution leased the building from the city, eventually adding a rear kitchen wing. The building was restored in 1965 for meeting and educational purposes. Still owned by the city, it is maintained, along with the rest of Mill Hill Historic Park, by the Norwalk Historical Society and the Norwalk-Village Green Chapter of the DAR.