Camp meetings, religious revival meetings where parishioners would set up their carts and tents around a central preaching platform, were once a vital feature of frontier American Protestant Evangelicalism in the nineteenth century. Participants, freed from their daily routines, could attend the almost continuous services that often lasted several days. While Presbyterians and Baptists sponsored camp meetings, these religious gatherings came to be particularly associated with the Methodist denomination. Methodists soon introduced the camp meeting, originally a western phenomenon that flourished before the Civil War, to the east.
The New Haven District of the Methodist Church founded a campground for summer revival meetings in the west end of Plainville (320 Camp Street) in 1865. Methodist camp meetings would continue to be held there every summer until 1957. Initially tents were pitched around a central platform. Soon the Association Building was constructed, where equipment could be stored. Individual churches then began constructing 2-story cottages facing the center of the Campground, along what is known as The Circle. Nineteen of these central cottages survive today. Individual families also began to build their own cottages on the narrow avenues radiating from The Circle, replacing the tents of the campground‘s early years. Most of the cottages date from the 1880s to 1910, although a few were constructed as late as 1925. The present Auditorium building was built around 1905 in place of the original preaching platform. At one time a screened pavilion, the Auditorium is now open to the outside. The Plainville Campground Association purchased the property from the Methodists in 1957. 87 of the cottages are now private residences, the other 39 being owned by various churches. A few of the cottages have been modified for year-round use, while the rest are occupied in the summer. I have additional photos of the Campground: Read the rest of this entry »
The Town Hall at 9 Devotion Road across from the Green in Scotland was built in 1896 as the Scotland Consolidated School on the site of the former Center District School. At that time the building provided space for the town hall and library on the second floor. Read the rest of this entry »
The house at 51 Holmes Avenue in Waterbury was built in 1890 for Alfred F. Taylor, who owned a painting and decorating company. He had previous lived for about a year in the house next door at 47 Holmes Avenue. The house at 51 Holmes Avenue is now used as a law office.
Now used as law offices, the house at 80 Central Avenue in Waterbury was built c. 1885-1890 for John Mullings, a tailor and real estate speculator. In 1907, it became the home of Frank Hodson, a saloon keeper, who donated the house in 1923 to the Waterbury Women’s Club. In 1941, it was sold and converted for use as office and apartment space.
This is my 100th post for Bridgeport! The William Leigh House at 450 Beachwood Avenue in Bridgeport (not to be confused with Waldemere Hall, the 1913 home of William and Frances Leigh at 409 Waldemere Avenue) was built in 1892. William Leigh was a piano dealer. He got a patent for a design he made to decorate a piano-front.
The Henry Bunce at 34 Hackley Street in Black Rock, Bridgeport, was built in 1893 for the Bartram family’s head gardener. Bunce also worked for Rev. Henry Collings Woodruff, minister of the Black Rock Congregational Church. The house was constructed in the same year as its more elaborate neighbor on an adjoining lot, the Arthur Smith House at 118 Ellsworth Street.
At 67 Union Street in Thomaston is an elaborate Queen Anne-style house built in 1884. It is named for David Plume, Treasurer of the Plume and Atwood Manufacturing Company, which produced lamps and supplied brass for Seth Thomas clocks. The house served as living space for various mangers of the brass mill. It was owned by the company until 1914, when it was sold to a company stockholder, Leslie E. Blackmer.