The house built in 1882 for John Henry Sessions (also known as John H. Sessions, Jr.) in Bristol stands at 60 High Street, next to the house built later for his father, John Humphrey Sessions. As related in the 1907 history of Bristol, John Henry Sessions was
born in Polkville, February 26, 1849, and received a liberal education at the schools of Bristol. In 1873 he was admitted into the firm of J. H. Sessions & Son, trunk hardware manufacturers. He was a director of the Bristol Water Company at its organization and at the death of his father became its president. At the time of his father’s death he was elected vice president of the Bristol National Bank. Mr. Sessions, though a staunch Republican, took no active part in politics. In 1883 he was elected secretary of the Bristol Board of Fire Commissioners. On May 19, 1869 he married, Miss Maria Francena Woodford, who was born September 8, 1848, a daughter of Ephraim Woodford, of West Avon. Conn., and one son was born to them, Albert Leslie, born January 5, 1872.
The house at 52 High Street in Bristol was built in 1888 for John Humphrey Sessions (1828-1899) and his wife, Emily Bunnell Sessions. Both were born in Burlington. As described in the 1907 history of Bristol:
In November, 1854, Mr. John Humphrey Sessions, a young man of 26 years, formed a partnership with Henry A. Warner, and rented a small factory in Polkville (Edgewood, as it is now called), in which to conduct a woodturning business. The small capital which he invested was the result of his hard labors, for early-in life he had been thrown entirely upon his own resources.
This partnership was dissolved in 1865, Mr. Sessions continuing in his own name the business, which at first consisted mainly of wood turnings for the various clockmakers in the vicinity, and which grew rapidly from the beginning.
In 1869 he bought a plot of ground on North Main street, Bristol, and built the main wooden building, now standing, and moved his plant to Bristol.
About 1870 he purchased the trunk hardware business that had belonged to his deceased brother, Albert J. Sessions, and the business was a success from the commencement. In 1879 Mr. Sessions bought the property of the Bristol Foundry Co. on Laurel St., and together with his son Wm. E. Sessions, formed the Sessions Foundry Co. This business, like the others, proved a great success, and in 1896 they moved into their present plant on Farmington avenue.
All his life Mr. Sessions was identified with important concerns of the town. In 1875 he was one of the founders of the Bristol National Bank and was elected its first president, a position he held until the time of his death. He was president of the Bristol Water Company at the time of his decease. He was one of the original stockholders of the Bristol Electric Light Company and was its president until it merged into the Bristol & Plainville Tramway Company; was a stockholder in the Bristol Press Company.
The Queen Anne/Shingle style house at 220 Summer Street in Bristol was built in 1890 (as displayed on the side chimney). It was the home of Epaphroditus Peck (1860-1938), a lawyer who served as an associate Judge of the Court of Common Pleas for Hartford County, 1897-1912, an instructor at Yale Law School, 1903-1913, and a Representative in the state legislature, 1925-1935. He was a founder of the Bristol Public Library in 1891 and wrote A History of Bristol, published in 1932.
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)