The Steele House at 63 Tolland Green in Tolland dates back to around 1800, although there is evidence it may have started as a late eighteenth-century saltbox. The house was once owned by Benjamin Ashley and later by Lucius Fuller. Several residents served as cashier at the Tolland Bank. The house was enlarged in the mid-nineteenth century and the original central chimney was eventually removed. The Steele House was the last of a series of inns and hotels that had served visitors on Tolland’s village Green. Run by John H. and Alice Webster Steele, it began taking guests in 1914. The Steeles operated the guest house until 1942 and owned it until 1958. Susan and Steve Beeching bought the property in 1985, renovated it and opened it in 1987 as the Tolland Inn, a bed and breakfast.
Left Hartford about 7 o’clock, and took the middle road (instead of the one through Middletown, which I went).— Breakfasted at Worthington, in the township of Berlin, at the house of one Fuller.
The tavern that Washington writes about still stands today at 1055 Worthington Ridge in Berlin. It was built circa 1769 and has later nineteenth century alterations. Ephraim Fuller, listed in the 1790 census, was probably the Fuller who ran the tavern. Additional details about the tavern are recorded in Catharine M. North‘s History of Berlin (1916):
Some years since, when the house was repainted, the date 1769 was discovered on the brick work of the chimney, about half-way between the roof and the top of the chimney. It was built to be used as a tavern with a public hall and ballroom on the second floor. [...] Amos Kirby assumed the proprietorship of Fuller’s tavern about the year 1814, and lived on the place until his death in 1846 at the age of seventy-one. During the latter part of his years he carried on the business of a butcher and peddled meat about the town.
Around 1884, when wallpaper was being removed from the Tavern’s east room on the second floor, a mural displaying Masonic symbols was uncovered. The room had once been part of the ballroom, which once ran across the entire house from east to west and was later converted into a Masonic Lodge room. It is thought to have been the meeting place of Berlin Lodge, No. 20, organized in 1791, which later became Harmony Lodge No. 20 of New Britain and merged with Friendship Lodge No. 33 of Southington in 1995.
The house at 711 Main Street in Plymouth Center was built in 1765-1766 and was owned by Major David Smith, who served with George Washington at Valley Forge. Washington stayed at this house in September 1780 on his way to meet the Comte de Rochambeau in Hartford. The house was later (c. 1850) operated as an inn by A.B. Curtiss and, after his death, by his widow. It was called it the Quiet House because alcohol was not served. As related in the History of the town of Plymouth, Connecticut (1895):
A. B. Curtiss was born in the town of Plymouth in 1819, and died at the age of sixty-seven. While a boy he entered the store of Edwin Talmadge as clerk, and his aptness for business and pleasant manners so commended him to his employer that when he became of age he was taken into partnership. The firm did a large business for those days, but unfortunate endorsements caused their downfall. Mr. Curtiss started in business again in the Stephen Mitchell store, but soon after bought the property where he died, remodeled the house, and opened a hotel. Except for a couple of years, when he kept the Brown hotel in Waterbury, he had for forty years welcomed strangers to his house and catered to their wants. He was well fitted for a landlord by his care to have everything pleasant, his genial hearty manners and business like ways. He was a benevolent, public spirited man. always ready to do his full share in common enterprises. His later years were full of suffering, yet to the last he had a bright and cheery word for each friend and acquaintance. Mrs. A. B. Curtiss still keeps the doors of the Quiet house open to strangers and travelers, some of whom often travel out of their way to indulge in the homelike accommodations that are to be had there.
The Phelps-Tiffany Tavern, at 432 East River Road in Riverton, was built in 1813 as a private residence by Pelatiah Ransom, Jr. and later served as a tavern. The Tavern’s Federal-style fanlight over the front door was later covered.
Lemuel Camp built his house on Main Street in Durham in 1806 and it was soon opened as a tavern. Lemuel Camp died in 1843 and his widow, Martha Pickett Camp, in 1860. The house was then divided between their surviving children, Edward Pickett Camp of New Haven and his unmarried sister, Sophronia Camp, but neither lived in the house. Sallie B. Strong bought the property near the turn of the century and rented rooms to tenants. Edward P. Camp’s daughter, Hattie Camp, married the watercolor painter Wedworth Wadsworth (1846-1927) and they rented rented the house as a summer residence. The house has passed through other owners over the years and was restored in 1978.
According to tradition, Asa Barnes established a tavern in his home in the Marion area of Southington in 1765, the same year he married Phebe Adkins. In 1781, when French troops under the comte de Rochambeau were marching through Connecticut on their way south, the eighth campsite of their march was established nearby on French Hill. During the four nights of the encampment, Rochambeau and his officers were entertained by Barnes in the tavern. They would stop there again during their return march, on October 27, 1782. Barnes continued to live in his tavern/house until his death in 1819. His son, Philo Barnes, leased the home to Micah Rugg and Levi B. Frost, pioneers in Southington’s bolt manufacturing industry. Frost, a blacksmith, purchased the property in 1820. The original building burned in a fire in 1836 and Frost rebuilt his house in the Greek Revival style. While the Frost House, which is located at 1089 Marion Avenue, features the classic hallmarks of that style of architecture, it is unusually long at 50 feet. This may be due to the house being constructed on the foundations (and perhaps even incorporating the original framework) of the original eighteenth-century tavern.
Church’s Tavern, also known as the Old Post Tavern and the Risley House, is a colonial house at 11 Main Street South in Bethlehem. While Aaron Burr was a student at Dr. Joseph Bellamy‘s theological school in Bethlehem, he mentioned the house in a letter to his sister dated January 17, 1774. The letter is quoted in volume 1 of James Parton’s The Life and Times of Aaron Burr (1893):
P. M., 2 o’clock.—I have just been over to the Tavern to buy candles; there I saw six slay-loads of Bucks & Bells, from Woodberry, and a happier company I believe there never was; it really did me good to look at them. They were drinking Cherry Rum when I entered the room, and I easily perceived that both Males and Females had enough to keep them in Spirits. The Females especially looked too immensely goodnatured to say no to anything. And I doubt not the Effects of this Frolic will be very visible a few Months hence.