Elmer Risley, a farmer, built the house at 252 Naubuc Avenue in East Hartford in 1895. After his father Ralph Risley died in 1899, Elmer’s son Cassius married moved into his grandfather’s house at 266 Naubuc Avenue. Elmer’s daughter Nellie, who married Merritt Smart, owned the house at 252 Naubuc Avenue after her father’s death. The house has notable decoration on its front porch with a wave lattice pattern under the roof in which the carpenter utilized machine-made wooden balls at regular intervals. Elmer Risley and his family are described in the Commemorative Biographical Record of Hartford County, Connecticut (1901):
Elmer Risley, who was born on Main street, in Hockanum, attended his first school in that village, and then entered the East Hartford high school, from which he graduated in 1868. He then engaged in farming on the place now ocupied [sic] by his son, Cassius E., and has carried on agriculture ever since, with the exception of the year 1871, when he was employed in William Rogers & Co.’s plating works. On Dec. 3, 1872, he was married, by Rev. William A. Turkenston, to Miss Adelaide M. Selen, who was born Sept. 3, 1852, and is a daughter of John and Maria (Hills) Selen. To this union have been born two children: Cassius E., born Feb. 6, 1876, married Jessie Wadsworth, of Glastonburv, Oct. 10, 1898, is a very industrious, upright young man, and now occupies the farm formerly owned by his grandfather[;] Nellie S., born May 25, 1880, is a young lady of rare musical ability, and is giving instruction in her art.
Elmer Risley is Democratic in his political proclivities, but votes for the candidate he deems best fitted for office, rather than for a less worthy one that may happen to be the nominee of his party, He is a charter member of East Hartford Council, No. 1237. Royal Arcanum, has held several offices in the council, and is also past master in the East Hartford Grange. He aid his wife and daughter are members of the Hockanum Methodist Episcopal Church, and Mr. Risley is a member of the board of trustees of that society. In addition to his farming operations, Mr. Risley acts as agent for Olds & Whipple’s fertilizers. He is enterprising, industrious and strictly upright, and no family in East Hartford town is more sincerely respected than that of Elmer Risley.
Hyde Kingsley of Willimatic became wealthy in the lumber and coal business in the 1860s and 1870s. He was partner in the firm of Loomer & Kingsley with Silas Loomer, who would build the Loomer Opera House in Willimantic (torn down in 1940). In 1883 Kingsley retired and the lumberyard was acquired by George K. Nason. That same year Kingsley built a Queen Anne house at 133 Prospect Street in Willimantic.
Edward Everett Honiss (1866-1927) operated a grocery and general merchandise store in East Berlin. He was one of a series of men who had run the store, as described by Catharine Melinda North in her 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.
The Honiss family also had interests in a flour and grist mill. E.E. Honiss’ substantial Queen Anne house, built around 1893, is located at 255 Berlin Street in East Berlin.
Typical of the many middle class residences built in the West End of Hartford in the first decade of the twentieth century is the two-family house at 192-194 Oxford Street. It is one of a number of similar houses on the street erected by Malcolm A. Norton. The house was initially built in 1906 but was devastated in a fire on February 9, 1908. An article in the following day’s Hartford Courant (“Two Families Burned Out. Sunday Fire Wrecks New House on Oxford Street. Occupants Driven from Their Beds. Delayed Fire Alarm Largely to Blame for the Loss.”) gives an detailed description of the disaster. At the time of the fire, Bernard A. Block, his wife and two children lived on the first floor and three members of the Beardsley family lived on the second floor. The house was rebuilt: the nomination for the Oxford-Whitney Streets Historic District gives the house a date of 1908. The house has an unattached garage built c. 1920. A current resident of the house is a white bunny named Ruby.
Part of a row of historic buildings on Chapel Street in New Haven are two structures with Queen Anne and Eastlake design elements. Located at nos. 841-843 and 845-847, both were built in 1878. They are currently owned by the Young Men’s Institute and the second and third floors at 847 Chapel Street (above no. 845) are the current home of the Institute Library, founded in 1826. Just west is the Optical Building, at 849 Chapel Street, built in 1912 and designed by Leoni Robinson. To the east is the English Building at 837-839 Chapel Street, named for Henry F. English. It was built in 1882, but after a fire a new Renaissance Revival facade by Leoni Robinson was installed in 1898.
Happy Halloween!!! The exterior of the vacant house at 220 Middlesex Turnpike in Old Saybrook was used as a location for the 1971 horror film, Let’s Scare Jessica to Death. Interior shots were filmed about a mile away at the E.E. Dickinson House in Essex. The house in Old Saybrook was owned, then as now, by the Piontkowski family. The house was built in the 1880s as a farm house. By the turn of the century an owner had added the elaborate tower and named it “Fairview Farm.” J.P. Newton, a Hartford market-owner, purchased it from the Denison family in 1889. He set up an extensive farming operation to supply his markets. By 1930 the property was acquired by Fred Pointkowski (1893-1968) and his wife Bertha Kruck Pointkowski (1903-1979). It was inherited by their son, Carl F. Piontkowski (1931-2013). Read the rest of this entry »
In the 1890s the Berlin Iron Bridge Company in East Berlin was expanding and this led to a real estate boom. Fred W. Lang purchased land from Mary O. Bunce, who was very active in the real estate market at the time, and built four adjacent Victorian Vernacular houses on Main Street which he rented to the Bridge Company’s employees. The least altered of these is at 129 Main Street. According to the 1891 Berlin Agricultural Fair Bulletin, Fed W. Lang ran a bakery cart to Kensington, Berlin, East Berlin, Westfield, and West Cromwell from corner of Hart and Hawkins Streets in New Britain. In the 1880 census his occupation is listed as Retail Bread Dealer.