Starting as a general practitioner in the 1890s in an office on Main Street in Bristol, Dr. William M. Curtis’s successful practice allowed him to build an impressive Queen Anne house at 23-25 High Street in 1905. His residence also served as his office, which accounts for the house having two entrances, one for the family and one for his patients. Dr. Curtis married Genevieve Bierce in 1896 and the couple had a daughter. After Dr. Curtis died in 1914, his family sold the house to another physician, Alburton A. Dewey (1874-1935). Like his predecessor, Dr. Dewey both lived and practiced medicine in the house until his death. The house was then converted into a multi-family dwelling. The house has been documented as part of the Historic American Buildings Survey.
Cornielius B. Erwin (1811-1885) was a leading industrialist and philanthropist in New Britain. At his death he became the benefactor of the Erwin Home for Worthy and Indigent Women, leaving funds for the project to the Pastor and Standing Committee of South Congregational Church. Opened in 1892, the Erwin Home continues to operate today as a non-denominational residence for “worthy women of limited means.” With an address at 140 Bassett Street in New Britain, it is a large structure with several additions. Architecturally the Erwin Home is an example of the English interpretation of the Queen Anne style. The earliest section of the building, designed by Melvin H. Hapgood of Cook, Hapgood & Co and erected in 1891, consists of two wings that extend along Bassett and Ellis Streets and join at a three-story corner tower. At the rear of the Ellis Street side, facing the building’s inner courtyard, is a small gable-roofed tower. The first addition to the Erwin Home, made in 1894 and designed by Hapgood & Hapgood, extends along Warlock Street. This connects to another addition built in 1914. These later sections feature elements of the Tudor Revival style. Further addition were made in 1971 and 1973.
An early description of the building appeared in The American Architect and Building News, Vol. XXXIII, No. 814 (August 1, 1891):
The late Cornelius B. Erwin, of the Russell & Erwin Mfg. Co., left a large sum in the hands of the committee of the Congregational Church, of which he was a member, for the purpose of having a building put up which should be an actual home for such beneficiaries as the committee should approve, saying in his will: — “it being my object in establishing said Home to aid the really worthy and deserving poor, and not to encourage those who neither are, nor desire to be self-supporting.” The architects have endeavored to carry out as closely as possible the desires of Mr. Erwin, and, instead of planning a large high structure having the appearance of an asylum, a low, rambling cluster of cottages has been arranged for, all under one roof, yet each little portion retaining its individuality.
The Domestic English style of architecture was selected as being the one best adapted for giving the desired picturesqueness and homelikeness so attractive to destitute and homeless women. [. . . .] It will be seen that the key-note of the whole design is the furnishiug of independent homes for worthy and indigent women. It is well-known that many poor but respectable people have a strong prejudice, even horror of anything which is suggestive of surveillance or a binding down to rules in an institution.
Now home to Teamsters Local #191, the house at 1139 Fairfield Avenue in Bridgeport was built in 1892 for Thomas Cooke Wordin. The house, originally known as “The Pines,” was designed by the Bridgeport-based architect Joseph W. Northrop, who also designed such buildings as the Taylor Memorial Library in Milford (1895) and the Colin M. Ingersoll House in New Haven (1896). The Wordin House was illustrated in The American Architect and Building News, Vol. XLI, no. 921 (August 19, 1893)
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.