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.
The house at 106 Windham Street in Willimantic was built in 1894 for Giles H. Alford (1827-1900). Born in Otis, Massachusetts, Alford studied at the Westfield Normal School and became a teacher in Windsor. As described in the Commemorative Biographical Record of Tolland and Windham counties, Connecticut (1903):
In 1851 Mr. Alford went to Riverton, Conn., to take a position as clerk in the store of his uncle, Alfred Alford, who was extensively engaged in the furniture business at that point. At this time he made his first visit to Willimantic, part of his work being to deliver a load of chairs to a customer in that city. After a short time spent with his uncle, Mr. Alford bought out the Union Shoe Co., of Riverton. then comprising a general store, and this was his first business venture. Although he incurred a heavy load of debt, he pulled through, and became the sole owner of the establishment. During the first years of the Civil war Henry Alford cared for the store while Giles H. Alford was engaged in Virginia and Maryland as a sutler with Gen. McClellan’s army in 1861 and 1862.
In 1862 Mr. Alford removed to Willimantic, Riverton not affording as broad a field as he desired. In company with his cousin, James Alford, he opened a grocery store on Main street, in the present location of Purinton & Reade, but the close confinement soon undermined their health, and both retired from the store, Giles H., exchanging his interest for a farm belonging to Chauncey Turner in Mansfield, to which point he removed at once. Farm life restored his health, and after about two years he was again strong and rugged. According[ly] he sold the farm and became a traveling salesman for the Upson Nut Co., of Unionville, Conn. He came into contact with machine manufacturers, and for eight years followed the road. During this time his family lived at Unionville, but later removed to Willimantic. It was also during this time that Mr. Alford bought the bankrupt hardware stock of Mr. Simpson, and put it in charge of his oldest son. Upon his retirement from the road he went into this business himself. C. N. Andrew was at one time a partner with him, and later bought his interest in that store. At a later period Mr. Alford opened the hardware store where he is found at the present time, in company with his son, the firm being G. H. Alford & Son. This son was Howard R. Alford, and on his death, his brother, Carl R., succeeded to his interest, and the firm is unchanged in its title.
Built circa 1895, the Victorian house at 973 Worthington Ridge in Berlin was originally the home of Mary Brandegee. She lived there until her death in 1909. Before the house was built, the property had once been owned by John Brandegee (died 1858) who ran the family store.