The borough of Pine Orchard in Branford is a small community of 300 households that started as a summer colony in the late nineteenth century. Landowners Frank and Henry Wallace provided land on Chapel Drive for the construction of a non-denominational chapel to be used for summer services. Between 1872 and 1892, the Wallace brothers and their father, Robert Wallace of Meriden and later Wallingford, had developed what is now Island View Avenue in Pine Orchard as a waterfront residential enclave. Plans for the Pine Orchard Union Chapel were approved on July 4, 1896 and the building, designed by the New Haven architectural firm of Brown and Berger, was completed a year later. The Chapel had no resident minister, so ministers came from neighboring communities to lead services. The Chapel was originally painted in a darker color, but in the early twentieth century it was painted white. The chapel was closed for regular services in 1963. Community residents worked to preserve the building, which is now regularly rented out for weddings. Read the rest of this entry »
A Methodist group in East Norwalk began to hold prayer meetings and Sunday school classes in individual homes in the winter of 1870-1871. The basement of the home of James L’Hommedieu was soon set up as a regular place of worship. The growing congregation soon adapted an old railroad workmen’s shanty, which was being used by the L’Hommedieu brothers as a carpenter shop, as a new house of worship. Eventually a new church building was completed in 1872 on the corner of Rowan Street and East Avenue. The church was Norwalk’s fourth Methodist church, following those in South Norwalk, Central Norwalk and Rowayton. Planning for a new and larger church began in 1889. The old church was moved across the street and on its former site the cornerstone for the present East Avenue United Methodist Church was lain in 1890. The new church was dedicated on March 1, 1891.
The Queen Anne house at 128 Milne Street in Bridgeport was built in 1896 for Michael Casey, a teamster at Frank Miller & Company, a coal company which was in business until 1907. The house’s architect was Harrison G. Lamson. Read the rest of this entry »
In 1818, the North Groton Union Library was established in the area that would later become the town of Ledyard. One of the original subscribers who helped found the library was Gurdon Bill, whose son Henry Bill (1824-1891) later became a wealthy publisher in Norwich. In 1867 Henry Bill approached town leaders on the subject of donating a new library. The new Bill library collection and the earlier library collection were housed at the Congregational Church. The number of books rapidly grew rapidly through donations made by both Henry Bill and his brothers, who had also become successful. Among the Bill brothers were Gurdon Bill, who became a publisher in Springfield, Massachusetts; Charles Bill, who became a traveler; Frederic Bill, who donated the Bill Memorial Library in Groton; and Ledyard Bill, the first child born in Ledyard after it became a town, who settled in Paxton, Massachusetts and wrote the History of the Bill Family (1867).
As related in the History of the Town of Ledyard, 1650-1900, by John Avery:
When the library was first created, book-cases were made and placed in the gallery of the Congregational Church. Here the books were kept for nearly twenty-six years, but in later years, the Bill brothers, seeing the necessity of a separate and permanent home for the growing library, secured a location on the “Common” near the church at the centre, and contributed the sum of three thousand dollars for the construction of a suitable edifice, and under the supervision of Mr. Frederic Bill, there was erected, for library purposes, an appropriate building, that will remain a monument to the generosity of the family for many years to come. This building was suitably dedicated on the day of our annual meeting in 1893. It contains a hall, room for the meeting of the trustees, and a spacious apartment where the library is located. The walls are adorned with pictures of the trustees, many of the citizens of the town, also many natives of the town of Ledyard, who have gone out from among these rocks and hills and become eminent in other states.
Daniel Eels (1757-1851), a cooper, built a house on Main Street in Cromwell around 1782. He moved to Whitestown, New York in 1795 and sold the property, which then had a number of owners until 1802, when it was purchased by William Smith, who then sold it to his brother Capt. John Smith. The house (373 Main Street) may actually have been built at that time, instead of the earlier date of 1782. In the late nineteenth century, this Colonial/Federal house was altered in the Queen Anne style.
Having already resided in the house at 122 Windham Street in Willimantic, Wilton E. Little (1859-1903) and his wife Edith Clark Little (1862-1935), sold the house and moved to a new home they built in 1896 at 333 Prospect Street. Little had risen up through the ranks at the W.G. & A.R. Morrison Company.